Saturday, July 14, 2018

1980/1981 Spanish Department Break In

1980 Spanish Department, Envoy

1980/1981 Spanish Department Break In
By Wes White

            Around 1980 - 81, I was part of a scandal at Ambassador College in Pasadena.  It was called “the Spanish Department Break In” and the top guys in the WCG did pretty good job of hushing it up.  
            Before I get into this historical recounting, I want to back up a bit and mention a few things about “The Browning of America” which got posted on Banned a few weeks ago.  Byker Bob asked me for my thoughts on the comments that were being made and I never responded for a couple of reasons.   
First, I can post comments to the Painful Truth site, but I can’t seem to post comments for the Banned site.  It may because I’m attempting to perform this function from my phone or because I’m not the most knowledgeable when it comes to social media.    
Second, I figure that my chance to talk is when I get something posted.  After that, it’s everybody else’s turn to talk. At that point, it doesn’t hurt me to just sit and listen and learn.  
            I appreciated all the comments – even the ones that took exception to what was in my script.  (Yes, what was published was only a script for a “Start Our Sabbath” program.  It was never intended to be a finished article.)  
I have been asked if it bothers me when people on Banned disagree with what I write.  To that, I always respond with, “Of course not.  I expect the readers of Banned to disagree with a lot of what I say.   Disagreement is part of the exercise.  This is healthy.  If disagreement bothers me, I have no business sending material to Banned.” 
            Further, I always point out that, when Banned’s readers have disagreed with me, they have never gotten personal or hateful as I have experienced in the COGs where church leaders and their wives have said things about me like: 
n  Wes is looks like Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges. 
n  Wes’ long hair makes him look like an ugly old woman. 
n  Wes’ motive is to become the face of our church organization. 
n  Even though Wes is a member of our organization, “he has no standing.”  
            I have found that any disagreement with me on Banned is always issue-oriented and never gets into personal attacks. Again, I think that issue-oriented discussion is healthy and necessary.  When a guy preaches something or writes something, he doesn’t deserve a free pass. No one.  Including me.   
            So again, I am grateful to Banned for allowing me to post material.  
            Now, for the story of the Spanish department break in. 
            In either late 1980 or early 1981, I was approached by one of HWA’s aids.  He was gunning for Tom Turk, who was the director of the church’s office in Mexico City. This HWA aid wanted to get rid of Tom and replace him with Robert Flores Jr, the aid’s good friend.   I have never been given any indication that Robert had anything to do with the events I am about to describe.  
HWA’s aid told me that there were “illegal things” going on in the Spanish department and that he needed to get this information to HWA so HWA could fix it.  So the aid told me it would be helpful if I were to participate in a late-night break-in of Leon Walker’s office.   Leon was the head of the Spanish department. 
            I was leery of the whole idea and told him, “You don’t need me to break into the Spanish department offices.  You can get into any office on campus that you want.”  I reminded him of how he and his cohorts had done a midnight raid of the Ambassador Faculty offices a few months prior. They had brought with them a bunch of manila envelopes.  Each envelope had the name of a faculty member.  The burglars also brought many typewriter ribbons to match the various typewriters in the offices of the faculty.  When they entered a faculty member’s office, they took the typewriter ribbon from his typewriter and replaced that used ribbon with a new one. They put the used ribbon in the corresponding envelope for later review.  The next morning, the faculty member would have no idea that someone had taken his ribbon.  The HWA aid and his cohorts then spent the next few days painstakingly reading what had been typed on the typewriter ribbon.  BTW, the only “bad” information they found was that Dave Albert had written a letter to Bell & Howell to apply for a job.  
            After I expressed my concerns to HWA’s aid, he told me why he wanted me to join him in this expedition.  He said he actually needed my Spanish-speaking wife to go on the mission. She was bilingual and an employee of the Spanish department.   
At the time, I was married to Linda Hardy White.  After 25 years of marriage, she died of ALS in 2003 and I have since remarried.  The aid told me that he needed Linda to translate documents for him while going thru Leon’s office.  My presence was needed because he felt it was “inappropriate” for him to be in a building alone at night with a woman without her husband there.  My next thought was, “Great.  I get to be a chaperone for two felons.” 
            So, in an effort to aid “the apostle” in his work as the “head of the church,” I consented.  
            I make no excuse for participating in this horrible act. It was illegal and immoral and unethical.  I never should have done it.  
            So, on a Friday evening around 10:00 pm, the aid (with the assistance of a college maintenance employee who disabled the alarm systems) took Linda and me into the Spanish department and we did our “investigation.”  HWA’s aid had flashlights, a tiny camera he had bought in Hong Kong, a small tape recorder, and a few other Watergate burglar-type items.   
If you know anything about Leon Walker, you will not be surprised to learn that we found nothing incriminating in Leon’s office.  Absolutely nothing.   I was relieved because I really liked Leon.  
            By Monday morning, my guilt feelings were kicking into overdrive, so I went to Leon and confessed the whole thing.  He recommended I tell HWA. 
            The next question for me was: “How do I do this?”  HWA lived in Tucson.  He was afraid to enter California because he might be served with a subpoena.    
We didn’t have email back in those days.  And, if you wrote to HWA, you had to type your letter on a special typewriter that had extra-large print because his eye sight was so limited.  Back then, we had no personal computers with various small-to-large font sizes. 
            So I went to HWA’s executive offices on the fourth floor of the Administration building and asked if I could type a letter on their big-print typewriter.  Stan Rader’s secretary begrudgingly obliged me.  After I typed the letter, I gave it to her and asked if she would fax it to HWA in Tucson.  There were very few fax machines on campus in 1980.  She rolled her eyes and agreed to do this for me.    
            Several weeks later on President’s Day 1981, my boss (Raymond McNair) showed up at my house, told me to put on a suit, and informed me we were going to Burbank Airport to see the apostle on his private jet.   
            When Raymond and I arrived at the airport, he told me that HWA would not be getting off the plane.  Process servers, remember?  So we boarded and sat down with HWA and Leon Walker and Greg Albrecht.   I believe Bill Stenger and Leroy Neff were there. 
            Right off the bat, HWA thundered his first question to me, “Who made you write this letter?!?”  I was insulted.  I stiffened and told him that no one made me write the letter.  He told me that, if I lied to him, I would be struck dead in the same way that Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead after they had lied to Peter.  He again tried to get me to say that I was forced to write the letter.  I wouldn’t budge.  We were at a stalemate.   
Then he started insisting that Stan Rader made me write the letter.  I really denied that one.  After a few minutes of this badgering, Leon Walker (bless his heart) came to my rescue.  He informed HWA that it was he (Leon) who had recommended I tell HWA about the break in.  
            So the apostle shifted gears.  He then started berating me because he said I had no business involving Rader’s secretary in the matter.  (He didn’t want Rader to know about the break in.)  I told HWA that the Executive office was the only place on campus I knew of that had a big print typewriter and fax machine.  Then Leon intervened again.  Bless his heart.  He told HWA that he shouldn’t fault me for working with Rader’s secretary on this because (he reminded HWA) he (HWA) had only recently written a front page article in the Pastor General’s Report that heaped high praise on Rader’s secretary.   
I will never forget HWA’s response.  He said plaintively, “I had to write those nice things about her because she threatened to go to the press about me!”  I thought he was about to cry.   
            This was a bombshell.  First, what information could this woman have on him that scared him so much? And second, he was admitting to several of us that he wrote things in the Pastor General’s Report that were false!   
            I already had my doubts about his leadership before I got on that plane.  I mean, I had already figured out that his teachings on interracial marriage were totally off base.  And I had already figured out that his practice of marking and disfellowship was the antithesis of Christian love.  His admission regarding lying about Rader’s secretary was the coup de grace for me.   From that moment forward, he had lost all credibility in my eyes.  
            But my story doesn’t end here.  My punishment was that I was temporarily  banned from being in California.  Linda and I would be sent anywhere outside of California where we wanted to go and live for six months (on probation) so that I could “think about things.”  I gladly complied with leaving because I reasoned I would soon be exonerated and that, when I returned to Pasadena, I would find that things had been cleaned up at headquarters.  After all, I had given HWA the smoking gun which clearly showed the corruption that was right there in his executive office.  
            Was I naïve or what?  I would have been better off trying to buy some bridge in Brooklyn.  
            Needless to say, things did NOT get cleaned up.  They only got worse.  A month or two later, HWA wrote in the Pastor General’s Report that “there was no Spanish department break in.”  Not true.  There was a break in.  I was part of it. 
Then, about six months into my banishment, I received a call from another of HWA’s aids.  He asked me to recant of my claim of a Spanish department break in.  I stood firm that there had been one.   
Finally, I received a call from Raymond McNair, asking me to return to Pasadena. I refused.  By that time, the gig was up.  I saw what these guys were all about.  Shortly thereafter, I resigned.  
This is not a story of how Wes got screwed.  I brought this situation onto myself.  I ask for no pity and deserve none. 
Rather, this is a story of how Wes got delivered from the jaws of men who were doing evil things.  God blessed me with an escape from that loony bin.  I left Ambassador and got a job in the real world where I learned real-world skills.  I was able to have a career until I retired in 2014. 
Many of those poor guys who worked in Pasadena or in the field ministry have not been so blessed.  Today, many of them have no career skills.  They have no pension – no 401K -- no Social Security.  They’re stuck working for one of the Armstrong offshoot organizations because they have no other prospects for real employment.   Many of them don’t agree with what’s being preached by their churches.  They don’t agree with the way things are run.  Yet they stay because they have nowhere else to go.   
Further, they are scared because they have no other options when it comes to putting food on the table for their families.  I understand that some people reading this will gleefully say these guys deserve every bit of the misery under which they suffer.  They may indeed deserve it.  That’s not a judgment for me to make.   
The point is that I have sympathy for anyone who suffers – even those who have brought their misery on themselves.  To be sure, I would sympathize with them more if they would admit their guilt and repent of it.  So many of them have done so much damage. 
Let’s conclude this story.   
I praise God that He got me out of that viper’s nest!  My escape had nothing to do with my own goodness.  It has everything to do with God’s mercy.  
People who I know in the COGs get upset with me when they see my posts on Banned and on the Painful Truth.  They demand to know why I am in communication with these blog sites.   Long ago, I gave up trying to explain to them that I view the blog sites as watchdogs against the tyranny of the Armstrong movement.  Usually, these blog sites are the only place people can go to hear the other side of the story.   
So I am relating this break in incident as accurately as I humanly can for the purpose of making sure that we retain as much of our church history as we can.  Warts and all.  Even bad stuff done by me.   I mean, isn’t the Bible full of accounts that show the sins of so many people?   
Also, we’ve got to learn from our past.  The WCG was so dysfunctional in so many ways.  (Understatement of the year?)  One of the organization’s dysfunctionalities was that they were so deficient in showing Christian love for one another.  No matter how you try to spin it, breaking into someone’s office was not an act of love. It was a horrible thing to do.  I confess my sin so that others can learn from my mistake.   
Again, my thanks to Banned for this opportunity to relate history and to discuss the current state of affairs in the COGs.  There is so much that needs to be fixed in so many of these offshoots.   I don’t criticize their behavior and teachings out of malice.  I criticize them in the hope they will change and learn to exercise more of Matthew 5, 6, and 7 in their dealings with those they serve. 



Byker Bob said...

Wow! This is very insightful, it is the first time I’ve been aware of it (I left in ‘75), and I appreciate you sharing it with us, Wes!

So apparently, the sabbath was much more than a test commandment for HWA. It was also “cover” for breaking the law and not getting caught by the very people he had taught to keep the sabbath as a requirement for salvation! Sadly, this isn’t the first instance of him having used the sabbath as cover.

I had also heard the man state many times that the worst sin is lying, because once you catch a person in a lie, you can never trust anything that they say to you again.

Whether by deliberate fabrication, or by mistake, there is a significant amount of HWA’s “research” that has proven over the years to be totally unreliable. Hard to deny pathology.


Anonymous said...

These admissions prove even more what we all knew all along about the WCG. What it REALLY shows, powerfully, is the method of operation that HWA used to advance his agenda: Fear, Intimidation, and LIES.

When interrogating Wes, the first thing he does is invoke fear to get Wes to tell him the truth. Amazingly, he uses lies (that he would be struck dead if he lied) to make sure Wes does not lie to him. This method - that HWA could lie to others, but others could not lie to him, was used by HWA over and over and over again to get what he wanted.

HWA would lie about the constant financial crises to get more money when he would overspend. HWA would lie about prophecy to increase income by setting "dates that were not dates". HWA would lie to members about members losing their salvation if they did not give enough. HWA would lie that members would go to the Lake of Fire if they slacked or went against one of his judgements. He would invoke Christ's authority (a lie), he would then threaten their salvation (another lie) because they did not give enough to avert a financial crisis (another lie) that was always happening (another lie).

In this case, he threatened God would strike Wes (a lie) if he lied, then proceeded to admit that HWA lied in the PGR report about Stan Rader's secretary, because that might expose hidden things to the press. His entire house of cards was built on using lies, fear, and intimidation to build his empire of corruption from the beginning to the end.

HWA also reveals a very high paranoia that he would "get caught" doing whatever it was he was scared would be revealed to the press to skillfully lie in the PGR about the break-in - and encourage others to lie about it further.

Also - it would appear those in the plane - high ranking evangelists in that plane - were fully aware of the fact - and AFTER the fact - and seemed to have no problems at all with HWA's use of lies and intimidation and the fact that there was something that that Secretary "had on HWA".

WCG was a house of corruption built on lies for the furtherance of HWA's corrupt agenda.

Anonymous said...

The acknowledgement and praise to Stanley Rader's Secretary as referenced in the article is here:

Anonymous said...

"So apparently, the sabbath was much more than a test commandment for HWA. It was also “cover” for breaking the law and not getting caught by the very people he had taught to keep the sabbath as a requirement for salvation! Sadly, this isn’t the first instance of him having used the sabbath as cover. "

BB- Wow. Never looked at it in this light before. That's an eye opener!

Dennis Diehl said...

Thank you Wes for your openness here. Sitting at work with tears in my eyes of memories and my sincere but really bad choices when younger. Perhaps we can chat again sometime soon. All I ever wanted in life was to understand what is real and true. Your experience is a painful reminder of so much wasted time on the wrong subjects in my own experience...

Near_Earth_Object said...

Being judgmental in a situation like this is dicey. HWA was clearly very shrewd in what he presented as "the Truth." His management of information was expedient. But how would the average Armstrongist today respond to this write-up by White? They would just say that it is all lies that come out of the Dark Side for which this evil blog provides a convenient place to post fake news - if you read it and are hurt by it, and you will be, it is your own fault.

But there is a great downside to this rationalization of HWA's behavior by his followers - it is enabling - it stimulates more of this behavior. HWA was expedient rather than pure in his words because his followers enabled that, wanted that. He knew that whatever facile statement he made would be hardened into truth by zealous followers.

HWA lived in an uneasy relationship with a group of people known as the WCG. They worked together to construct a truth necessary to sustain their odd form of Millerism. And they were mutually corrupting.

The WCG, that most judgmental of "churches", was the least judgmental in its view of HWA.

Connie Schmidt said...

My vote is for Shemp Howard and the rest of the 3 Stooges to be head of the COGS, and that they had done so way back in the 1930s!

Some of my favorite people have been Ugly Old women as well!

Anonymous said...

I read this article this morning in bed.

It was early in the morning. While reading this, my head started shaking back and forth in bewilderment about the things that went on we seat-warmers knew nothing about. As I read further on, I began to get more outraged as I read the absolute carnality that came from Herbert. When I finished reading, I sat my device down, and laid there - unable to sleep.

All the things that went on behind our backs, while we seat-warmers held visions of utopia in three years, Gehenna fire if we didn't tithe everything we had to pay for raises to the ministers and HWA's extravagant lifestyle, and everything else in between that completely messed up our lives.

When I was little I used to think that the ministers of the Church were such holy people. I thought God himself was using them so powerfully. I envisioned the Spirit of God working with them to help people make it to the Kingdom and the World Tomorrow. I used to admire ministers with fan-like admiration. I used to fear them with just as much intensity. The power they wielded over my life, and my family, was literally all-encompassing. My parents would listen to every word they said with rapt attention and unquestioning submission, thinking God Himself was speaking through them.

To read through these accounts verifying even more the sinful, carnal, worldly, money-centered SCAM that the WCG was - and it's illegal activities that they tried to cover up - on top of all the other well-known stories about the real truth of Armstrong's Money System makes me beyond disgusted. We were ALL lied to.

It also makes me thankful for God's bringing me out of that pit of hell and leading me on the path of recovery which continues to this day.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Wes White wrote, "Rather, this is a story of how Wes got delivered from the jaws of men who were doing evil things. God blessed me with an escape from that loony bin. I left Ambassador and got a job in the real world where I learned real-world skills. I was able to have a career until I retired in 2014".

MY COMMENT - I have mentioned multiple times here on Banned that I am an Ambassador College reject. Although I was terribly disappointed at the time, I thank God today for the rejection. You mention Bill Stenger. I still have William Stenger's rejection letter written to me. We knew Mr. Stenger from the Washington, D.C. WCG congregation where we attended prior to his employment at the Church's Pasadena, California headquarters. His rejection letter was cold and formal and conflicted with the person we knew from Church.

Had I been accepted to Ambassador College, a different dynamic would have occurred in my life. I would have been suckered in further to what I now know was a religious fraud. I could have been like those you describe as "the many of those poor guys who worked in Pasadena or in the field ministry who have not been so blessed. Today, many of them have no career skills. They have no pension – no 401K -- no Social Security".

Thankfully, I graduated undergraduate from the University of Maryland and postgraduate from Drake University. Like yourself, I got a job in the real world where I learned real-world skills. I was able to have a corporate career. Today, I own a business that provides me with a comfortable living despite being semi-retired - a fulltime income on part-time work.

I thank God every day for the blessings I have received and I can't see how these blessings could have happened in my life had I been accepted to Ambassador College.


Anonymous said...

I had also heard the man [HWA] state many times that the worst sin is lying, because once you catch a person in a lie, you can never trust anything that they say to you again.

Rod Meredith picked up on this, and was known for proclaiming to the brethren, "Liars won't enter the Kingdom of God." Rod, meanwhile, was known for telling some of the biggest whoppers. The man was either an atheist or a sociopath, or maybe both. Meredith was well known for engaging people as "spies" to report to him about other people's failings, but wasn't very good at discerning when those spies lied to Meredith in order to further their own interests.

Those worrying about LCG's declining income should think about this. Several of LCG's top men are widely known as liars, and even the ones who aren't directly liars are guilty of supporting Rod Meredith's lies. Many of us know people who have spent 10 or 20 years in LCG, and we can see how their character has changed. Unfortunately, in nearly every case, long-term membership in LCG (as in many of the other ACOGs) tends to ruin a person's character, not improve it, especially if they become ordained and try to "climb the ladder" in their group.

Anonymous said...

I had several classes with Wes in Pasadena and, although I never knew him well (but remember one lengthy conversation), he seemed to be a good guy. I'm glad he got out of WCG and wish him well.

I served Bob Thiel pork while in LCG said...

I am just waiting for Bob Thiel to write some idiotic statement that this is not true and they the church and HwA would ever do such things on the Sabbath and then LIE about it. No church has ever been as sinless and perfect as Thiels imagined vision of Armstrongism

Miller Jones said...

I appreciate Wes sharing his experiences with us, and I agree with some of the other commentators here that it is indicative of a pervasive culture of corruption and lying. This is another brick in the wall of evidence which demonstrates the modus operandi of HWA. And it really was a pathology that infected many of those around him and in leadership positions.

nck said...

I've been thinking, what's the matter with the commenters?

Then it dawned on me that most commenters here must believe that hwa was the mastermind and organizer of the "break in". It shows how warped your thinking is.

The fact that hwa is covering up for his aid, kinneson, rader, garner ted and maybe a hundred more people serves as proof for the crowd that hwa ordered all the things that he tried to manage in his literally blind way.

Of course he never asked anyone to break in, be a philanderer, act as a cia agent for the government or commit financial fraud.

But yes he did try and cover up a lot exactly like most churches do. To be without blemish is religions business model. Any infringement like hundreds of thousands child molestations is covered up. Of course. Its their business model. And HWA as a blind person and no managerial skills was about the worst manager ever. A great entrepreneur though.


nck said...

HWA gathered a lot of "pleasers" through his faulty managerial style.
He was not able to discern between personal and organizational loyalty. A lot of founders make that mistake.

I see a scared, blind, incompetent manager, where the commenters wish to see a crook.


Anonymous said...

There are many lurkers from the COG groups here. Some don’t believe us when we share stories about the dorms at Ambassador being bugged, or tithes checked by computer, or the underhanded goings on during receivership. The events we report are true, but people remaining in the splinters find happenings reported by dissidents easy to dismiss.

This Spanish Department Caper and Coverup, however, is not so easily dismissed. It has been reported to us as a first person experience by someone who is still part of the COGs, someone who is actually doing something to acknowledge and correct negatives. I hope everyone who reads here carefully considers all of the implications.

Anonymous said...

Scared, blind and incompetent managers have no business managing ANYTHING.

In normal business operations, if a CEO is scared, blind, and incompetent, the Board of Directors would either never have let that person have a front-line, entry-level position, nonetheless a CEO job. And if a CEO BECAME Scared, Blind, and Incompetent, the Board of Directors would have the responsibility to remove such a CEO from the Company for the good of the corporation.

In the WCG, The Worldwide Church of God was a Corporate Sole. HWA bore the full responsibility for all actions in and around his church. If HWA, as the Sole President and Executive Officer of a Corporate Sole ALLOWED such behavior to happen, and then agreed to cover it up, etc., then the only person who bears the responsibility as to how he handled the organization is him. If he did not know how to manage it, he never should have ran it. But that is not how the story went.

There's no excuse any apologist could ever make that could possibly excuse the corporate corruption and behavior as demonstrated by Herbert Armstrong on all levels. You may wish to water down the CEO's behavior all you want to and blame HWA's "senile behavior", I'm guessing, on just that all you want. The fact is, he was in charge, he would not relinquish the position, he firmly cemented his authority IN the name of Christ, used fear, guilt, anger and his words to berate, intimidate, coerce, and belittle his subjects into submission to his will at any and all expense. Your attempts to water down the situation as it was at least to me hold absolutely no weight and are dismissed.

This doesn't mean that God doesn't have the power to forgive even this, as only God knows the heart and the mind as to what happened on an internal level. My point is on a corporate responsibility level, as the leader of an organization that SEVERELY impacted HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of people on a moral, spiritual, and physical level in every aspect of their lives - something an ordinary company ran by a Board can not do.

Byker Bob said...

“I see a scared, blind, incompetent manager, where the commenters wish to see a crook.”

OK, nck. We are evaluating the results here, which incidentally remain the same, whether perpetrated by a crook, or allowed to happen through incompetence.

A general is held accountable for everything that happens in his watch. HWA was sold to us not as a mere general, but as “God’s Apostle”, a quasi-Biblical figure. We, as members, were never permitted to see him as fallible, or incompetent. The man stated in his letters and Good News articles that challenging him, or disagreeing with him was tantamount to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit! We hold him accountable on the level that he ascribed to himself! In that position, he wasn’t just incompetent, he was a fraud.

What do you do with a scared, figuratively blind, incompetent manager? You replace him. You use his mistakes as object lessons in training classes. But you also hold him accountable, and you don’t give him a pass.


Anonymous said...

@ 1:20PM,

This doesn't mean that God doesn't have the power to forgive even this, as only God knows the heart and the mind as to what happened on an internal level

Would Microsoft forgive me if I crafted a sneaky new virus and promoted it as Microsoft's newest and best operating system upgrade? Of course not! Well, HWA claimed to be God's Apostle, His truest representative on planet Earth. If God is in the business of forgiving people who use His name to promote self-aggrandizing lies that turn people away from the true God, then I suppose anyone can do anything and expect there to be no negative consequences.

Anonymous said...

We’re not just into incompetent here! We’re into fraudulent credentials. There is no way that HWA was an apostle, or there would have been Christ-like honesty and transparency, to say nothing of more loving ethics. The Wizard of Oz or some leprechaun would have been more competent!

Anonymous said...

Nck, the whitewasher extraordinaire of HWA, strikes again.

Anonymous said...

1:51 -

I said forgiveness - not cessation of consequences.

Big, big, BIG difference between the two. And of course, there's the whole "repent" clause too. I simply meant that nothing's too big for God to handle, which is why I avoid judgement on a macro-scale level. That's not for me to do.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting experience revealed be Wes Wright and I am not surprised that things like this happened in WWCOG. What surprises me is that things like this was covered up by those who had leadership roles. It reveals that those in those leadership roles who kept them covered up had little or no understanding of how a true Christian believer should live. It is one thing to suspect this type of behavior but being knowledgeable of it participating in it makes a person as guilty as those promoting these activities.
I personally spent 42 years in WWCOG and there were many things that I questioned as being appropriate and some that suspected were wrong. If it was my responsibility to do something to correct the problem I would verify all facts and take the action that was needed. If it was not my responsibility I took it to God and let Him take care of it. I lay no claim on being Godlier than anyone else but those problems were solved.
Many have claimed to have their life damaged or destroyed by the all the flaws in HWA & WWCOG but those 42 years gave me many opportunities to help other church members and my personal family grew to maturity and beyond in the biblical principles.
When the changes were made after HWA died I recognized that the WWCOG no longer had anything to offer I withdrew as a member of the organization and turned to focusing on my relationship with God and the members of families that I have been and always will be a part of until the death of this body. I rejoice that God has given me a mental peace in a body that is well beyond the allotted fourscore years.
I would like to encourage all those who have suffered from HWA and WWCOG to not give up on a belief in God and the hope that Jesus promised those who come to Him.

Anonymous said...

This whole story is based on the false premise that God had/has anything to do with this organisation in the first place. Like God led someone to leave, God led someone to stay, to talk to HWA, to do whatever. I don't think God had anything to do with it, and when people finally woke up and started thinking for themselves, about time, finally they opened their eyes, they weren't led by God to leave or to join a new organisation.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Get on the web and read a little about Warren Jeffs of FLDS. See if you don't get an eerie feeling.

Anonymous said...

I just cannot help but wonder HOW MUCH went on behind the scenes - that is, beyond the archives of the Ambassador Reports - that we really don't know of. The things that "never made it to press", so to speak.

I can tell you, in the local church congregation I grew up in, there was never any shortage of drama. From "house cleanings" by the Local Pastor to internal member-to-member drama - to the ol' Rumor Mill and the Grapevine - there was always something that was seemingly going on. You just knew what wasn't said. I can't even imagine the stories that were held by Neff, McNair, McCollough, Meredith, Hoeh, Tkach, Albrecht, Feazell, and of course,Armstrong & Armstrong. If it was this chaotic with just ONE story, I can only guess it was so much worse on the Executive Fourth Floor on the Hall of Administration.

I would guess that if you were ever called up to Floor Four by Ames or by McNair or Tkach, going up that elevator was probably the Longest Elevator Ride Ever. I wonder how many workers ever heard the conversations coming from the Executive Office with the Biggest Desk of Any CEO Ever. I'd even bet the unwritten rule on Floor Four was simply "Tread Carefully".

Anonymous said...

This was not the only time I have read logs where a minister had to intervene in HWA's wrath and anger to save a poor soul who had to "take it".

I think it's somewhere on the PT Site - where there was an Ambassador College Landscaper - a student, I think - who also encountered HWA's temper and wrath. HWA wanted to speak to a particular mananger and asked the young student to get him. The student, if I recall the story right, could not, HWA got extremely angry and ordered the student to get that manager, and Ellis LaRavia, I believe, had to run up and save the student, explaining to HWA that that manager was away and could not be reached. Without even an apology, HWA just turned and walked away.

Makes me wonder if the ministers in the evangelist rank were constantly working on behalf of the staff and workers to ensure that the rage of HWA was deflected when need be.

DennisCDiehl said...

Great talking to you Wes. Thanks for the response. We proved over an hour and twenty three minutes that birds not of a feather can flock just fine together!

Anonymous said...

You definitely get it. Well said.

nck said...

As a benign dictatorship or theocracy, it was not in the nature of the wcg to replace its spiritual leader.

Its virtually impossible to replace the pope, even if a good many of the conservative princes of the church would want the current "blasphemer" to leave. One "Rader" of that church was hanging on a bridge in Rome as million of banco vaticano were smuggled into switzerland. I'm at least not acting surprised about the workings and cover ups of dictatorships offering utopia and therefore prese nt unblemished criteria.

I could name a thousand companies tnat would choose survival over "uncovering" their internal politics.

In fact much of the billion dollar consulting business is based on "internal" distrust. The entire philosophy of wcg_hwa was based on the idealistic premise that if you build a campus based on the principles of eckbo, the modernist philosophy of mendenhall, teach uncompromising and make some connection with god, peoples hearts would change for the better.

Unfortunately HWA never realized that the quality to draw people is a sure guarantee for a feeble moral chatacter. Since it is human nature to follow the sexual prowess and supposed safety provider instead of the nerdy engineer who is actually making the axes to kill the mammoth.

And oh yes, even the axe makers would cover up if a hunter died because of malfunctioning axe.

I have seen so many companies fail from the year 2000 - 2009. When on the alumni blog I spoke of the corruption at Enron, Quest, Andersen etc etc most at the blogs would answer me that the "board" was to decide on the bonusses.

After 911 I heard calls to hand over most freedoms to the state "since we have nothing to hide".

I see fear and blindness everywhere. Especially when (unsustainable) "growth" is expected.

As if anyone on this blog cares or acts on knowledge who produces their chocolate or batteries.

We want this to be covered up.


nck said...

My comment are less about whitewashing hwa then an expression of my disappointment there are no further revelations on the (spanish) work and the united fruit companies of guatamala or the us meat lobby that grinded the guatamakan rainforest to dust for cattle.

The Spanish Work of "the Company"

nck said...

Or Cargill that exactly according to the world tomorrow scenario is feeding the world with soybeans while the Pantanal is "being made fruitfull".

Wcg was the American empire corporatisms apologist.

And most here are benefitting for its cover ups.


Anonymous said...

interesting article.

it does not negate anything in the bible, however.

it does show why we don't follow men, no matter how high up the ladder they are....even the Apostle Paul, an genuine Apostle, said to follow him AS he followed Christ...and he encouraged the membership to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good, ...he never said "take my word for it"....

yep, HWA was a filthy sinner, just like the rest of us, and everyone that has ever lived.

I sometimes wonder how many, if any, of the top leaders will be in the first many hold to tightly to HWA's position on things, errors and all, that they mislead the flock

I heard a minister say in a sermon once, that he didn't really need a bible because he had HWA's writings to fall back on....I think he's in LCG now.

those that dig into their bibles and prove all things aren't overly concerned with HWA's shortcomings and mis-teachings...Jesus is his judge. (and ours too)

nck said...


You said it well.

I think the most disgruntled people are the ones who followed hwa (or their local pastor). Guarantee for disappointment and a guarantuee for never understanding why the church doubled in size and scope AFTER 1975. Impossible to understand for those focussed on men.


Anonymous said...

11.27 PM
The problem is that "prove all things" is a ongoing process. In the meanwhile, members, especially the newer ones, were dependent on Herb and his ministers. This power was abused, resulting in often severe harm to members. The faulty healing doctrine and 1975 being good examples. Telling these victims not to be "overly concerned with HWAs shortcomings and mis-teachings" is rubbing salt into their wounds.
It sounds like you are one of the unscathed members. It's easy to be a armchair critic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment AB

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that "prove all things" is a ongoing process."


we are continually making course corrections to our path as we learn. I think we'd choke if God gave it to us all at once.

unfortunately, there are many with the idea that if they just do as the minister says they'll be ok....(and I think there are many in the ministry that encourage that mindset)...those are the folks that suffer the most, blown to and fro with every changing wind.

and by the way, I'm not criticizing anyone, and I apologize to anyone that took it that way.

Byker Bob said...

“Church doubled in size and scope AFTER 1975.”

Actually, I personally considered that to be not a positive thing, nck, but rather, the further spread of a disease. Once they battened down the hatches and reassumed autonomic control following the receivership evasion, I knew that HWA and Rader had become so twisted, so disingenuous, that they could survive nearly anything. You are not going to find evidence of a scared, incompetent HWA during the so-called “back on track” era. That time period was much like the union-busting era of Ford Motor Company. And, of course, as in the case of Ford, change was right around the corner.

In retrospect, from today’s vantage point, it really doesn’t matter how big that church became. All that matters is that an unseen hand from somewhere divided and confused their tongue. Armstrongism today is boring and impotent, and HWA has been reduced to a bizarre footnote in 20th Century churchianity, a largely forgotten figure whose empire arose and faded comparatively quickly, never meeting expectations.



Lake of Fire Church of God said...

nck said, "Guarantee for disappointment and a guarantuee for never understanding why the church doubled in size and scope AFTER 1975".

MY COMMENT - OK nck, I'll take the bait. WHY...why did the church doubled in size and scope AFTER 1975? This after the turbulent 1970s with the failed 1972/1975 in prophecy, the sex and financial scandals, the heir apparent being thrown out of the Church, the Receiver taking control of the Church assets, and the start of the first splinter groups taking thousands from WCG to Associated Churches of God and Church of God International?


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I grew up in the WCG and left after the split in the 90’s. I spent a long time reevaluating my spiritual beliefs, but it has only been in recent years that I have come to understand the corruption that went on. I really hate that so much of my life was wasted on this despicable organization. It is only by people sharing their experiences, though, that we can see it for what it was - and unfortunately still is in various forms. Thank you for your bravery in putting yourself out there and subjecting yourself to ignorant and malicious comments. Your story is helpful to me and many others.

Alllen Dexter said...

I don't believe the church really grew after 1975 because many of us opted out at that time. However, we were retained on the rolls as "inactive members" where the computer was concerned. It was a device to hide the fact that membership was actually declining. Virtually my whole former department, the Personal Correspondence Department, had divorced ourselves from the organization, but you wouldn't know that from the official stats.

Anonymous said...


I too would like to see your proof that the church grew after 1975.

In 1980 I had access to the computer records and was responsible for generating historical reports for the accounting and data processing departments (which were under the same manager at that time). From 1975 to 1980 U.S. church income was essentially flat after adjusting for inflation (which was in the double digits during most of the '70s).

I cannot speak for what happened after 1980 or for outside the U.S. But I saw no evidence of real growth after that time.

nck said...

I remember the post 1980 period as "dust settling down". Rapid increasing growth. Sinister figures like garner ted and rader finally sidelined.

JR Ewing broadcast was pounding the Berlin wall. WCG money flow doubled, SEP camps tripled. It was "morning again in america". Tom Cruises Tom Cats protected the world as the final push to bring the Soviet Union down was being delivered. World Tomorrow broadcasting from Leningrad, Maos friends disacossiating themselves from rhe Soviet Union on conversations with Rader and HWA sending the Shanghai school children on an AICF sponsored diplomatic tour all over the USA ending in the White House signalling the Cold War was over as AICF broadcast the important Horowitz concert to the Soviet Union signalling a diplomatic message by the State Department that a new order was beginning.

The World Tomorrow had started as we are now rapidly moving into technological singularity.

Then HWA declared that his work was over and done and the Tkaches pulled the plug and were heavily rewarded for doing so.


Anonymous said...

A new wave of members started attending around 1977. The explanation given in the church was that God held back these people until the church eased up on its tyranny.

Byker Bob said...

A lot of the more reasonable, humane, and moderate ministers left in the revolt of ‘74. Presumably, they too had to go out and get jobs. I ran into one at Santa Anita Mall who was selling mens’ clothing in one of the better department stores. He could hardly get his work done that evening, because smiling ex-members kept walking up to him to shake his hand! Suddenly, he was the “Elvis” of ex-ministers!


Mickey said...

The increase in membership after '75 may have been a result of the lifting of the divorce and re-marriage policy. Thus enabling a larger number of co-workers, such as my mother to attend.

nck said...


Your data for the 1975-1980 period is correct.

1980-1985 perhaps the 2nd generation was at baptismal age.

Huge financial increase during the Reagan, "televangelist heydays", boost in national pride leaving the vietnam trauma behind. Setting the stage for tkach senior adding perhaps another 30.000 members up to 155
000 feast attendees destroying my personal 144.000 theory.
Then the Jr team reduced it all to about 40.000 with perhaps (25.000 or less attendants?) in cgi today and 29.000? in the combined splinters