Ambassador College Pasadena Campus Demolition and New Construction UPDATED 8/1/2014







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Friday, August 1, 2014




(Double click on all picture to super enlarge)


 Maranatha High School owns the Hall of Ad, Student Center, track, gymnasium and Grove Terrace.  The recently changed the track to be a regulation size football field.  
The track was dispensed of and a new field surface was installed. 
 New flood lights to the field were installed 
and it was painted this week for its upcoming football season.


 This picture looks south towards where the Custodial Dept. used to be between 360/380 dorms.  Building in background is new million dollar condo's sitting on the former site of the grass lawn in front of Manor Del Mar


This location was where the bougainvillea vine used to be by the Health Center.  
The white condo in the background sits a few feet from the front patio of Manor Del Mar.


This view of the million dollar condo's is on the site of the Del Mar Gardens, the original gardens of the Merritt family.

 This is my favorite picture right now.  
They have planted a tree smack dab in the center of the Hall of Ad driveway.



Where once hand weeded dichondra lawns rolled gracefully is now dried out and dead, 
much like the COG's

This is looking towards the location the 12 Trees were planted.  Another legacy dead and gone.  This is the temporary staging ground for all the trees and shrubs from the Academic Center complex area as they prepare to build the million dollar condos.



 Planted in the driveway to block the flow of HWA's message to the world.

 Looking from the Hall of Ad front lawn up the hill to where the TV studios once were.


The driveway down to HWA's private parking spot.  Soon to be bulldozed over.



At the gumby fountain up by 380 dorm.  
This is sitting on the lawn area that was directly in front of the old library.

Another view looking West in front of the library.



 This view is of the building sitting on the site of the Library Annex building and is also a few feet from HWA's back patio of his mansion.

 Looking at the new condos from the sidewalk between 380 and 390 dorms.


Looking up towards the old library location from stream.

 

 Looking up the old steps of the library to new condo's

 Location of old library, the Fowler Estate that the church ruined by remodeling it so much over the decades, and was never maintained after the library moved out, so it had to be torn down.  The original building of the college.

This view is from the lower gardens looking up to where the lawn used to be between the library and Mayfair.

 

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Ambassador College Fine Arts Hall Demolition Continues


 Click to enlarge all pictures







 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Public More Concerned About College Demolitions Than The WCG Ever Was



It is pretty sad that the public cares more about our buildings and grounds than the Old WCG ever did.  It was quit obvious that the church was eager to get away from the property and divorce it's self from it.  When the sale process was going on many WCG members wondered why the church did not hold the title to the land but lease it out.  It would have had a perpetual income coming in from property leases.  It was sold for pennies on the dollar and here we are today.

Ambassador College's Modern Honeycomb Has Been Destroyed



And another underrated but beautiful mid-century building bites the dust: we've heard from a few places (including these photos) that the honeycombed Fine Arts Building at Pasadena's Ambassador College has been demolished. The Ambassador was run by the Worldwide Church of God from 1947 through 1990; the Fine Arts Building was designed by Peter J. Holdstock and built in 1966 (it matches the adjacent Science Hall). (The campus was used pretty mouthwateringly in Tom Ford's mid-century porn film A Single Man). In the mid-aughts, there were big plans to redevelop the whole campus, but they all sort of petered out in the recession; in 2010, OC developer City Ventures picked up part of the project and revived plans to build condos and senior housing. Sarah Gilbert of the LA Conservancy's Modern Committee tells us via email that the project includes demolition of three buildings--the Fine Arts, Science, and the Hall of Administration (also by Holdstock). ModCom asked Pasadena to reconsider the demolitions when it extended approvals in January 2012, but no dice. Goodbye Fine Arts, we'll miss you.
· Pasadena's Ambassador West Project is Back On [Curbed LA] 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Fine Arts Demolition Continues

 Standing where Olcott used to be.

click to enlarge all pictures

 Fine Arts parking lot.



 Standing where TV studios used to be.

5 comments:

Glenn said...
Glad I got to see the campus one last time a couple of years ago. One of my first jobs was taking photos of the 2 academic center building as they were going up - documenting constructions issues, etc. Like Dennis, my wife and I got married in that building and had our wedding reception outside by the fountains. Had a lot of classes in those buildings. Saw them on the King of the Nerds TV show. I am a little sad to see them go. NOt sad at all to see Armstongism fade into nothing.
Douglas Becker said...
Apparently God doesn't care much about Herbert Armstrong's legacy.
Anonymous said...

Very beautiful building, pity it can't be saved.

I have to say HWA had amazing taste in architecture,
maybe this was the evil man's greatest talent?
James said...
I like the remodel!
Byker Bob said...
When I first arrived on campus, these buildings simply didn't exist. If they were even planned, we didn't know.
The thing is, I actually preferred the gardens that they replaced. What we came to know as the Loma D. Armstrong Academic Center really looked out of character with the surrounding mansions from yesteryear. I could never understand how or why these buildings were ever even allowed to be built. Most historical societies would probably have regarded the LDAAC to be cultural pollution.

During some of the construction, I actually lived in one of the refurbished, and formerly unknown dorms on Olcott.
Out of my dorm mates that semester, there was one who was actually even cool. Rich, from New Jersey, had a degree in teaching prior to coming to AC, and we had two common hobbies, weight training, and Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Since I was under age, each year, I had to find a "mentor" to buy beer for me, and unfortunately my mentors had a bad habit of getting expelled from AC, but, that's another story. That particular year, the senior, or graduation ball was at the Hollywood Palladium. Rich and I did what we always did! We left the ball, got a sixer of Colt 45 tall boys, and chugged them behind a neighborhood gas station! We surreptitiously made our reentrance to the Palladium just in time, too. They were reading the Senior Class will, and both of us ended up being bequeathed something by seniors, and would have been conspicuous by our absence had we been as much as 5 minutes later.

HWA and Loma used to take nightly walks. One time, during the construction, the late Orlin Grabbe, another friend named Bill, and I happened to be walking around on Olcott Place. Those two guys were on the construction crew, and were giving me a tour. For some unknown reason, Orlin decided to climb into one of the large round planters which were perched along the property line of Ambassador Hall, put some sort of long grass weed into his mouth and began flapping his arms, and "wawking" like a parrot. Bill suddenly proclaimed, "Why Orlin, didn' t you see Mr. And Mrs. Herbert Armstong walking up the street?" Orlin replied, "You're just lyin', Bill!"' And then to his horror, discovered the reality of the slow but sure approach of Herbert and Loma. Of course, he climbed down, we all nervously smiled and waved, and there were no further repercussions . Spontaneous Armstrong sightings were often tense, like the commotion which was caused when HWA was leading a tour of Japanese dignitaries through the dining hall, and a plastic container of mustard with which I was playing suddenly ruptured and sprayed on a nearby wall. They most certainly had to have seen both the rupture, and my dutiful effort at cleaning it up from their vantage point of the mezzanine of the dining hall!

There's a wealth of material that never made it into your Envoy, or AC College Catalogue. I like to see the evil empire dissolve, no doubt about it, but there are so many delicious illegal memories that demolition cannot obliterate, our own little flipping of the bird before it was cool, to HWA, GTA, and all of their lackeys who tried to dominate us, break our will, and subvert us to their version of the Borg, yet failed miserably! Let us raise a Colt 45 to all such illegal memories! Or as my bud, Richie Soul would quote from Kool and the Gang, "Celebrate good times, come on!!!!....."


BB

 

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Monday, June 17, 2013


Ambassador College Fine Arts Hall Demolished


 
Click to enlarge all pictures to large size
 You can see the insides have been stripped of all wall coverings, lights, etc.  I was lucky enough to snag some of the Czechoslovakian crystals off the chandeliers in the Recital Hall before they trashed them.




16 comments:

DennisCDiehl said...
Painful a bit to see part of life experience crumble. A good symbol I suppose, of how life is as well as fleeting ideas that serve no purpose anymore.

Got married under those crystals. I watched them sway and tinkle during earthquakes and aftershocks during classes.
DennisCDiehl said...
Isn't there a scripture somewhere that says:

" Though an Angel from Heaven or the Demons of hell, Yea verily God Himself or Jesus, who is the Christ, tell you what will come to pass with the WCG, they would not believe even if someone rises from the dead."

Yeah..it says that somewhere, I just can't find it right now.

No wonder the guy asked for a drop of water to cool his tongue. Mine still overheat in this flame.
Sweetblood777 said...
Tithe payers money down the drain.

Does anyone know who got HWA's money after he died? We know that he didn't leave it to GTA, so who got it?

Pack says/implies that he left nothing behind when he died, but one can surmise that this is just another of Pack's lies.

The last salary reported amount that I am aware of, is $200,000 per year that HWA claimed was justified as he was a CEO. Strange considering that even Peter said that he himself had no money.
Joe Moeller said...
Ecc. 1:2--

...vanity of vanities; all is vanity

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY
Anonymous said...
Wow, it's really nice to see "the house that herb built" being demolished in so many ways!

Most people have left herb's nutty teachings by now, and the most gullible ones who remain in the offshoot churches can only help but notice that those "churches" continue only with infighting and splintering.
Head Usher said...
Whether there were windows in them or not, I always thought that honeycomb thing was an odd look for a building. There's no accounting 1960's tastes. That's when we first dabbled in post-modernism I guess, and ugly was chic. Not unhappy to see it go away. Is the "Science" building next?
Corky said...
Don't worry, the CoGs will build some more buildings with tithe money. Need to hurry though because Jesus is coming any day now - it's the final gun lap I tell ya. I'm sure Jesus will be impressed by those CoG buildings, probably even make them his world headquarters in the kingdom age.

People seem to forget there already was a kingdom of God on earth, yeah...they called it "the kingdom of Israel". Jesus and Paul are not talking about a physical, on the earth, kingdom, folks. We already had one of those. Otherwise, why NOT "lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth"? Won't you be back to claim them?
Byker Bob said...
Surely they must have replaced the carpet I ruined when I picked up and threw the lecturn during my attack speech back in 1968. But if they didn't, the demolition erases an embarrassing event at Embarrassing College!

You got the crystals? Way to go! Problem is that in the ACOGs, that's like winning the lottery! Now you'll probably need to change your phone number and email!

LOL
BB
Anonymous said...
I have a copy of HWA's 1981 income tax form. Federal adjusted gross income, $421,052. Deduction for medicine and drugs $208.00. Contributions, $46,589.
1980 Income taxes: wages, salaries, etc. $387.755. Contributions: $37,427. Notice, he claimed donations LESS than 10%.
BTW, 1980 Ramona Armstrong earned $38,308.08 from WCG.
Anonymous said...
Anonymous, I don't guess you could be persuaded to post those income tax forms? And...dare I ask...where did you find them?


Anonymous said...
What a beautiful sight to behold! I only wish the auditorium would be paved over too.
Anonymous said...
BB said,
"Surely they must have replaced the carpet I ruined when I picked up and threw the lecturn during my attack speech back in 1968. But if they didn't, the demolition erases an embarrassing event at Embarrassing College!"

Care to share?
Anonymous said...
LOL!
It's clear that no jerkwad "herbie-splinters" like the UCG and others will be removing the large portraits of Herbert W Armstrong that occupy prominent places in those cult's headquarters, anytime soon!
Byker Bob said...
No. I'm just thankful the lecturn didn't injure any of my classmates, since it bounced and cartwheeled through the class and came to rest against the back wall. Ain't you guys glad I didn't want to be a minister?

BB
Anonymous said...
You... threw that lectern OUT to the audience, and not to the side?

It literally bounced and cartwheeled?

You didn't throw that, you HEAVED that!!! Man, I wish there were video recording equipment back then!!!

I can see it now. Right after the lectern was repositioned and you sat down...

"Well, thank you for that inspiring message, Byker Bob, we certainly do appreciate your enthusiasm and energy. And certainly, we're thankful no one was hurt."

:D
Anonymous said...
I don't recall how I came across HWA's tax forms. What would his salary be in today's dollars? Why would he need that sort of salary when his housing, transportation, etc were covered by the church? One Fri p.m. in the AC Gym he defended his salary by saying that what he received is typical of a CEO of a similar size corporation. The difference, of course, is that the WCG was a church, not a for profit corporation. The income came from many who sacrificed modest incomes. As Stanley Rader said, "It is not what you own, it is what you control." Shirley Armstrong lives in a lovely home in Texas. She and her son Mark receive less than $55K a year in salary. How do they live on that? I suspect everything is in the name of the church. They have the use, but perhaps not ownership. All the benefits, none of the responsibilities.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013


Demolition of Ambassador TV Studios and Men's Dorm Olcott

Former men's dorm Olcott on Green Street
Remains of Television Studio


41 comments:

Anonymous said...
glad to see the ministry of propaganda finally destroyed
Allen C. Dexter said...
We thought those places would endure into the millennium and become shrines. The futility of it all! Just a lot of scrap now.
DennisCDiehl said...
“The First thing to understand about the universe is that no condition is “good” or “bad.” It just is. So stop making value judgments. The second thing to know is that all conditions are temporary. Nothing stays the same, nothing remains static. Which way a thing changes depends on you.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch

Nothing can undo what is done , "It is what it is..." is the conclusion
Assistant Deacon said...
A prophecy of those gaudy campuses in Edmond and Wadsworth in another 50 or 60 years.
Anonymous said...
Damn! I guess the invading German armies will not be using the campus for their invasion HQ after all! Now they will not be able to use the TV studios to make their propaganda films regarding the invasion. Franz Joseph Strauss wont be living Herb's house, the Berlin Philharmonic wont play in the auditorium. Meat hooks will not be used in the Student Center. I am so disappointed!
Joe Moeller said...
How much dirt did they find that was swept underneath the carpets?

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY
Douglas Becker said...
The last remnants of The most important WORK in the world today!
Corky said...
Well, there went millions and millions of tithe dollars down the drain for the last time...not that it wasn't already gone but it kind of puts a stamp of finality on the whole affair.

But, that's what happens when one man owns your life and the buildings you built. He can sell either one, or both, at any time.
Velvet said...
No response from Six-Pack? He was pretty vocal about them demo'ing the Library. In fact, Six-Pack whining (or claiming, or both) that PCG has the original literature (it doesn't) is where I heard about Junior's reaction. Says a lot about the Church, doesn't it, when we get updates on what's going on at "denominational headquarters" from the opposition.

Not to mention the fact that we still haven't been told that Feazell isn't the VP any longer; I found that out on Otagosh, and Gavin found out a year after the fact, himself.

Gary Deddo, the new VP, is not a member of the Church, and never was, he's one of those babbling "theologians" who are on the videos all the time. Not sure what type of professing Christian he is (nor do I care), but given how one American evangelist was promoting "The Presbyterians were right!" the last time he was out this way, it's likely Deddo is one.

As for Junior's Feb 1 letter, I have no idea what he's trying to say; is he promoting the (entirely false) idea that we thought of the Pasadena campus as the Temple? That's assigning a whole other level of idol-worship to the members, than actually existed, in my experience.

I also don't know who he's trying to address; either he's preaching to the choir, so the Evangelicals can crow over it, and attempt to rub it in the faces of the faithful, or Junior's trying to rub it in the faces of the faithful. Once again proving that the only thing Junior wants more than first tithe from every minister in the Church (which is mandatory) is division in the Church.
Douglas Becker said...
For Velvet:

Request a free booklet. (U.S. addresses only). We offer the following titles:

- We Won The Battle For Hell
- The Christian Sunday
- Getting a Grip
- A Brief Introduction to Trinitarian Theology: Three Gods in One
- Procrastination: Does God Let You Choose Your Own Rut?
- Standing Outside the Light
- Statement of Disbeliefs
- The Gospel Really Is No Longer The Good News
- Take a Flying Leap

Well, that's assuming you have that sort of sense of humor.
Byker Bob said...
Olcott brings back memories! I didn't know the place even existed until finding out that that was my dorm assignment for first semester of Sophomore year. I guess that was the first time they were inhabitable.

And, yes, there were some memorable moments. A very vocal new student from New Jersey telling everyone who would listen that Olcott Place had certainly not been in the college catalogue.
And, on top of that, we had a plague of ants that even got inside the refrigerator within the first week or two of classes.

Crawling up through the ivy covered hill at 2:00 AM, drunk, and with a whole pack of Juicy Fruit gum that the girls had stuffed into my mouth. Ditching sabbath services and sunbathing on the roof. Pranking all of the good little boys who had attended the ministerial ball by making their beds on doors that had been removed from their hinges, filling the makeshift prayer closet with empty Budweiser cans, and sheeting rolls of toilet paper, neatly stacking it, and hanging a sign above it that read "For Sabbath Use". It was a blast, but they reassigned key members of our merry band to other dorms for the second semester. Of course, that just meant that more dorms got infected with our rebellious nonsense.

Lots of Colt 45, and the occasional cigar or cigarette. The little old ladies "in the field" would have freaked, to say nothing of the majority of the student body. Seems tame compared to what happened 5-6 years later, though, when people weren't just smoking cigarettes on the sly!

BB
G. G. said...
Byker Bob--
You mentioned "the little old ladies" who would have freaked. That's about the first mention I have read that even mentions the female sex in connection with that crazy church. What a bunch of sexist pigs were involved in that organization, not to mention child abusers and A #1 Scam Artists. Why would any woman have gone near the place. Oh well, I guess they were brain-washed too. Evil!
G.G.
Byker Bob said...
GG,

Many of the ladies who attended thought that the church was what they were told it was. God's one and only true church during the endtime era. Of course, they wrestled with the many red flags just as the men did. However, we were conditioned to attribute our natural defense mechanisms to Satan and the demons, and to work very hard at circumventing them.

It was a negatively based religion, not one that was terribly nurturing or anticipating of blessings during this lifetime.

Add racist British Israelism, and you can imagine the additional difficulties brethren of color must have experienced in controlling their natural defense mechanisms.

Most of us were very conflicted, and suffered from varying degrees of depression and paranoia, but you are quite right that it went way beyond this for some.

BB
Leonardo said...
Byker Bob wrote: "...they wrestled with the many red flags just as the men did. However, we were conditioned to attribute our natural defense mechanisms to Satan and the demons, and to work very hard at circumventing them...Most of us were very conflicted, and suffered from varying degrees of depression and paranoia..."

Psychological cause and effect. A primary example of how primitive supernaturalism in many ways cripples the human mind. Any kind of natural internal warning system - like asking questions or seeking out reasonable evidence - were (and still are) discouraged to the point of atrophy. Why? Because they directly threatened the very foundations of the ideology.

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1793)
G.G. said...
I apologize for sounding angry at the Worldwide Church of God. I had a teenaged relative who killed himself after being born into and growing up in that church and possibly a splinter group later. I don't know how much the church was to blame but it couldn't have helped. I just kind of put god and religion on the "back burner" until the 3 days of the Beslan School Massacre in Russia, which I followed closely onTV. It was the first day of school for innocent little children and their excited parents with special welcoming events. The terrorists held the 1000 children and adults without food or even water in extreme heat. That was when I knew their was no loving god father figure up there. No god would allow that! That was just the final straw. I never could buy the story even before that. Quote:. "Over a thousand people were taken hostage in Beslan’s secondary school on September 1, 2004. For over fifty hours, the hostages were held at gunpoint and denied water, food or medical help. On September 3, the disaster was finally brought to an end – apart from the fact that families were still to learn who died and who survived. "
G.G.
Michael said...
Ouch that hurts :-) The TV dept bldg was where i worked for several years!

As a tangential note, i recall it was there where i briefly met and was introduced to HWA face-to-face for the one and only time, entering for one of his tapings. A very awed and serious young sophomore, I was nonetheless left a bit confused as he, the one and only Apostle in these End Times, struck me as rather "out of it", or senile if you will, much too obviously overweight given the church's preaching on being an example leader ("your body is the temple of god"...), and a rather high-pitched whiny voice unlike what one heard on the processed broadcasts. I wondered, this is the fellow meeting world leaders with god's urgent message ....? :-)
Leonardo said...
G.G. wrote: "I had a teenaged relative who killed himself after being born into and growing up in that church and possibly a splinter group later. I don't know how much the church was to blame but it couldn't have helped."

You're right, G.G., its hard to come to definite cause and effect conclusions about such a horrible tragedy of teenage suicide, which often have multiple causes.

But the WCG did have a higher-than-average rate of suicide than occurs within the general public. Though like many other unpleasant things associated with it, the Church tended to sweep such events under the carpet and be hush-hush about it.

Here's a link that discusses this tragic issue in a little more detail, though I'm quite sure the list it includes is not comprehensive:

http://hwarmstrong.com/suicide.htm
G.G. said...
Thaks Leonardo, for the link. I wonder if these COG groups had any idea of the pain and harm done by cutting children off from extended families and other potential social supports. Not to ever celebrate Christmas, get a birthday gift from your grandmother or aunt, exchange a valentine with a friend. The true evil was that old man in Pasadena that people worshipped as they put their brains far, far back on the back shelf. I had figured out long ago that the less spent on gifts or family holidays the more there was for the old bastard in Pasadena and I had never gone near a COG, not that I could have, as they keep the locations hidden. No church building --- more money for Pasadena.
G.G.
Leonardo said...
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal
Velvet said...
Doug,

The Surrey office actually already sent me those booklets. :-)
Velvet said...
GG,

My condolences on your loss. The suicide list at the PT is sobering, to say the least. The couple on the list that I find really disturbing, are the people (one minister as well I believe) who killed themselves after (because of) the changes. The Church always was sorely lacking in ministerial support, but I find it horrifying and ironic that, for all the Evangelicals screaming about how their Jesus is love, after the changes, they became even more hateful than they were before, as faithful(??) leaders(??) of the people.
Anonymous said...
What really needs to be demolished is the ability of men to control the minds of people that are easily swayed by their smooth words. We need to help people develope critical thinking skills.
Leonardo said...
Amen to that, Anon! And the American public school system indeed used to teach such a vital subject in principle all throughout a student's academic career!

But then something to consider: if we once again re-instituted the teaching of basic critical thinking skills much of the huge marketing and advertising industry would be neutralized in its intended effects very quickly, the pop Hollywood culture would pretty much collapse due to lack of interest, and perhaps worst of all, politicians in Washington would actually have to work in the best interests of their constituents instead of duping them by their fancy rhetoric that they care when in reality they undermine such interests virtually every chance they get.
Joe Moeller said...
The rate of suicide in the United States is about 12 to 15 individuals per 100,000 per year.

Suicide is actually a top cause of death around the world, and 1.53% of ALL deaths in the USA can be accounted to by suicide.

If we give the WCG universe a minimum of 200,000 who attended at one time or another, then the 51 collective suicides over the years, shown over at the "Painful Truth" website seems very low.

If statistics be a guide, then there should be about 28 suicides a year amongst those who once part of the WCG. This would mean over the last 20 years, a number of about 500 suicides would equal the "normal" rate for the rest of society.

It appears to me that the suicide rate for the COG community is lower than average.

The top reasons for suicide are schizophrenia , PTSD, BiPolar disorder, Substance abuse, Gambling addiction, financial problems and severe medical conditions.

This post is not to deny any situation or tragedy of those who have been in the COG and who have committed suicide. Please note this disclaimer carefully before you flame me.

However, in any large group of people, statistically, you will have a reversion to the mean. COG people have their share of problems , hangups, dysfunctions etc. It appears though that suicide has a lower incidence amongst them than average though.

Peace Brothers.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY
Anonymous said...
Suicide is not surprising. What does surprise me is that there were not more homicides. Imagine having your health, family, wealth destroyed by this cult. Should we not be surprised that leaders were not assassinated? Think of the damage they did do so many individuals and families.
Head Usher said...
I have personally known several young people who have committed suicide, although I was not in contact with any of them immediately prior. While I'm not glad that they did it, because it is tragic, it remains a rather obvious fact that they felt so unhappy and so completely trapped by their circumstances that they couldn't proceed. I respect the fact that they needed to get out of their situation, even though it is sad that they couldn't find any other exit.

If all the hullabaloo were right about Armstrongism being the one and only way to find god, then you would expect the suicide rate to be at least lower, if not nonexistant. If the church provided so many answers and solutions, and that "way of life" really did produce "true freedom" and happier lives, as promised, the suicide rate would not be on a par with the evil outside "world." If god were really at work exclusively with members of the cult, intervening to help in people's lives, instilling them with divine peace and hope, those people would be really remarkable. How many remarkable church members were there? More to the point, how many people were transformed into remarkable people as a result of their contact with "the church"?

One of the people I knew who committed suicide was born into "the church." He was about 30 years old when he hung himself. All those years steeped in Armstrongism. Where was god? Where were all the supposed benefits?

The suicide rate is just one variable, but it is a very telling one. It is just another proof that Armstrongism offers none of the answers to life it claims to offer. All it does is take your money and fill your head with lies and empty promises that make you even more trapped and hemmed in than you otherwise would be. Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem, and Armstrongism is definitely part of the problem.

If you are considering joining or are a new convert, learn from us, the survivors, who have been there and done that. Especially those like myself who were born and raised in Armstrongism, but survived because we eventually came to see through its smoke and mirrors to recognize it for the empty, dangerous cult that it is.
Anonymous said...
While the suicide information at Painful Truth is informative, I don't believe we would be correct in using it as any basis for statistics. Most of that info was probably provided by former members.

It is probable that suicide was very much underreported in WCG. Actually, where would you even be able to report it? I think it was much more prevalent than believed.

BB
Anonymous said...
I think suicides in general are under-reported. If you are a family member, it's easier to say it was an accident with a gun than to say it was an intentionally self-inflicted wound. If you're a parent, it makes it look like you're a terrible parent. If you're a family member, it just avoids lots of uncomfortable questions about what was wrong. If you're also under all that pressure to appear "perfect" put on you by the church, I can imagine suicides are even more under-reported. In addition to any normal stigma, there's the added church stigma that it casts doubt upon everything that everyone is doing, so there's a whole bunch more uncomfortable questions that it poses, that no one is too keen to face.
Leonardo said...
Head Usher wrote: "If god were really at work exclusively with members of the cult, intervening to help in people's lives, instilling them with divine peace and hope, those people would be really remarkable. How many remarkable church members were there? More to the point, how many people were transformed into remarkable people as a result of their contact with "the church"?


Exactly. Those are just the kind of practical real-world questions I'm interested in.

Of course we would not reasonably expect to see an unrealistic degree of perfection, but I think it fair to say that the actual fruits produced over many decades were considerably less than what could have realistically been expected, and FAR less than "advertised." The actual results did not come anywhere close to what the theory predicted.

Though the diehards will be quick to point out that various parables in the gospel accounts predicted that the failure rate would be high. I once knew a long-time minister who had a quite poor reputation in virtually all the areas he served in, as such areas apparently had fairly high drop-out rates for members during his tenures. But the minister, instead of humbly asking himself some serious questions, arrogantly (and publicly in a sermon) said that this is exactly what the Bible predicted would happen.
Anonymous said...
Correlation is not necessarily causation. Those who committed suicide in the WCG may have been tormented by the church which led to suicide or they may have been tormented before their WCG experience and joined the church to find answers. What types of personalities are drawn to the WCG and other cults? To what degree does insecurity, suggestibility, lack of critical thinking skills, pessimism, paranoia, etc. play in someone joining a cult? What do cults offer people that some find so appealing?
Velvet said...
"It appears to me that the suicide rate for the COG community is lower than average."

Joe Moeller,

Statistically speaking, you might be correct (though your peak membership numbers are sky-high; the last membership numbers I recall being reported were in the 140K range and this was in the mid-80s, when Church growth began to stagnate), your argument highlights a more distressing point.

IF (big if) statistically, the suicide rate in the Church was lower than in the general population, then the fact that certain individuals in the Church, actively drove individual members to suicide, makes your suggestion sound worse.

Which doesn't even touch on the fact that there are suicides listed on the PT site, of those who killed themselves because of the changes (I consider anyone who takes their own lives in one of the splinter groups to be in this category as well -- yes, even Ratzmann); I do believe their blood is not on their own hands, however (nor any of those mentioned) but instead, their blood is on the hands of those who drove them to it.

Generally speaking, I mean; I am sure every case is different.
Velvet said...
"It is probable that suicide was very much underreported in WCG."

This might be true; I can't recall any suicides being mentioned from the pulpit when I was a kid, but the suicide of one (adult, never raised in the Church) schizophrenic son of one of the members was discussed.

In the Church of the present day, it seems any "sudden death" that's reported, without qualifiers (i.e. heart attack, stroke, etc. especially if they are young) is likely to be; but they won't say that from the pulpit! (Although there seems to be no problem discussing it amongst the members during fellowship.)

That could be endemic to my area, though, because the local newspaper has a habit of doing the same. So, they may just be following the example of the world around them in that.
Leonardo said...
Anonymous 5:40 wrote: "What do cults offer people that some find so appealing?"

Probably first would be the absolute sense of CERTAINTY cults pretend to offer with their overly-simplistic answers to life's biggest questions. Not a whole lot of thought or reflection is required to comprehend the simple and appealing explanations they tend to offer.

Second may be the sense of personal importance such "answers" offer new recruits - the heady feeling that "I'm special now that I possess secret knowledge known to only a select few." Let's not underestimate the tremendous appeal this has to human vanity, which we all have to one degree or another.

Third probably would be the strong sense of community and tight-knit social cohesion that cults almost always offer, and which recruits often find hard to escape from once formed.

These, and other factors unique to each separate recruit coming into the cult, account for much of what lures them. And like you mentioned, a person's pre-existing insecurities, suggestibility, lack of critical thinking skills, paranoia and so on all exert their influence.

I think it important to think upon such things, because as American culture continues to split apart at the seams this will create a dumbed-down society more and more desperate for the simple answers cults specialize in.
Leonardo said...
Velvet, I agree with your comments above about COG suicides. I've seen this happen a lot: a relatively young or otherwise healthy person suddenly dies. And then it becomes almost a dead giveaway (and truly no pun intended) when the cause of death is never mentioned. But what tends to be the very first question that pops up in your mind when you initially hear such unexpected sad news?

Yes, of course: "What happened?"

I had to directly deal with a suicide in my family many years ago, and I choose to inform relatives and friends of the tragic news with the unvarnished truth, because I figured covering up the reality would only serve to promote rumors and all manner of unseemly speculations among those concerned. And the sad part is that I learned this principle from the very same person who chose to end their life in this manner. They told me once to always tell the simple truth as best as you know it, because telling falsehoods is so much more complicated a business, and in most cases gets you tangled up in more and more as time goes on.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

And besides, 99% of the time people will eventually find out the truth anyway. Does not the long and often sordid history of the WCG prove this in spades?
Anonymous said...
Hey, I ate a bottle of chemicals from my chemistry set as a WCG child, and fully intended on it being a permanent solution to chaotic, random, excessive punishment experienced in daily life.

Two things happened. I had a horrible case of gas the following day, and when I confided in a fellow church teenager who told his parents, I ended up getting spanked, reprimanded for bringing dishonour to the family, and told never to do it again.
Leonardo said...
You know, Anon 1:43, that account is so tragic, and sadly, it was experienced in principle by far too many kids raised in the WCG, especially in its more oppressive era - i.e., the time following the initial publication of GTA's epic treatise on proper child-rearing, 1963, I think it was, though it continued to be published into the mid '70's.

I was not raised in the Church, and during my early years in it I foolishness looked upon those who were as being far superior to me, very fortunate and blessed by God to have gotten off to such a proper start in life. Seriously, I had absolutely no idea at the time what many of these kids had endured growing up. When I first went out to AC (1976) I distinctly recall that many of the students (about 95% of which had come from church families) seemed to suffer from a LOT of repressed anger, even to the degree of rage. Then I started hearing the stories, began connecting the dots slowly over time, and finally saw the utter futility of GTA's advice, at least how it was put into practical action in many church homes, at Imperial Schools, etc.

There was a friend of mine at AC who confided to me once that he tried to take rat poison as a young teenager, with the same intent you had with the chemicals.

Just terrible.

On the humorous side, though: first, I'm glad your knowledge of and expertise with chemical compounds at the time wasn't all that well developed! And two, that following day with the horrific case of intestinal gas must have been a doozy, I should think, depending of course upon what specific components were involved!

But the kid who ratted on you, whatever became of him, the little rascal?
Joe Moeller said...
Velvet:

You are correct. Peak attendance in WCG (which included man, woman and child) was about 140,000 in the early 1980s.

My 200,000 guess (which is likely low) would have included EX-members as well. I actually think that it was likely about 300,000 or more people attended WCG at one time or another. There has been a high attrition rate in WCG, and I once heard someone in Pasadena give me some stats on it.

Pasadena was always stat crazy, and the COG as a whole still is. Similarly, the Nazis were also stat nuts too! LOL! The number that I heard as the average "HALF LIFE" of a WCG member was around 11 to 12 years. WCG grew by being able to bring them in faster than they lost them.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY
Leonardo said...
Joe, the stat I heard from the Mail Processing Center (which was a primary source of many stats issuing out of HQ's) was that in terms of sheer numbers every ten years the WCG lost roughly HALF it's membership due to attrition. And of course certain biblical references were used to explain and justify such a dreadful record.

And I think the height of WCG membership was around the FOT of 1989, if I recall correctly. The numbers started a slow downward spiral from about that point onward, culminating in 1995 when the WCG as a viable organization collapsed in upon itself fairly rapidly.
Velvet said...
"They told me once to always tell the simple truth as best as you know it, because telling falsehoods is so much more complicated a business, and in most cases gets you tangled up in more and more as time goes on."

I agree with your relative, Leo, though if there is anything that would unequivocally qualify for "the straight and narrow path," that would be it. My condolences on your loss.

Though I should point out, the "sudden death" announcement actually occurred in the present-day Church (it was a relative of a Church member), not in the past; in the past, from what I can recall, suicides were treated as DFs; and never mentioned again. Though I am a bit fuzzy on that, as I can only just barely recall the two suicides in the Victoria congregation. (Membership of about 300, for those looking for statistics.) One of whom was not a member of the Church.

"And besides, 99% of the time people will eventually find out the truth anyway. Does not the long and often sordid history of the WCG prove this in spades?"

Perhaps. Though I don't think the ex-member websites promote the whole truth. Our discussions here certainly seem to reinforce that.
Velvet said...
"GTA's epic treatise on proper child-rearing, 1963, I think it was, though it continued to be published into the mid '70's"

When I was growing up, Arch Bradley's booklet was far more widespread; but GTA had long since been volubly discredited, and all the garbage he ever spewed, dumped by that point in the Church's history. Though it doesn't surprise me that such evil as Anon @ 1:43 recounts, happened as a result of the writings of someone who quite clearly followed the devil, instead of God.
Anonymous said...
Velvet, in the Kingdom, Ted will be the boss of Herbie, since Herbie was a better friend of Satan than Ted was.

(Ted certainly tried to outdo his pop in that area, but when he discovered his sister had a copy of the secret booklet 'Hop on Pop', he realized his efforts were in vain.)

---------------------------------------

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Demolition of AC Library Pasadena, Where It All Started

click on all pictures to enlarge
These are the pictures that Victor Kubik Ripped Off Without Permission and posted on his web site prior to having to watermark photo's.


The picture above is looking from the site of the library annex.  
HWA's original office is the brown paneling at the top of the building.

The Fowler Estate was the very first building that HWA bought when he came to Pasadena to start his college.  It housed the library, offices and classrooms.  The Library Annex, which used to be the carriage house to the Fowler Estate has already been demolished. The entire property is in really bad shape.  The only good part is the area that Marantha bought on the lower campus and the Grove Terrace dorm.  They have dumped millions of dollars into refurbishing and property upkeep.


  GTA's old office is the top floor on the left and the remains of HWA's is top floor on right.  Middle floor was the KABC Radio, sounds recordings, typing room, and book collections.






15 comments:

Anonymous said...
Hmmmm..memories. Sat many an hour in that front reading room from 18-22 year old. Seems like an hour ago.

M.T.Bookshelves
Assistant Deacon said...
What a building. Like its counterpart in Big Sandy, it exemplified the odd priorities of HWA's college. Dusty, musty, outdated volumes that were barely suitable to serious study and scholarship, all situated among glittering, ornate buildings gilded in teak, gold and the finest furnishings and decor.

A not-so-subtle message to students about what we really mattered at this "college."

Buh-bye.
Anonymous said...
That's true AD I think they stocked it with books because they had to. I often walked over to Fuller Theological Seminary to use their library when really needed. I should have stopped in at the registrars office lol


Richard said...
Gasp! You mean Gerald Flurry or David Pack were unable to move it across the country to their grounds???
Allen C. Dexter said...
I have to admit to some nostalgic feelings. I spent many hours in that building from 1955 to 1960. We used to go to the radio studio to watch Herb do the program live. We felt very privileged to be able to do so.

That building had been around a long time when he bought it. I'm not surprised that it was pretty rundown by now.

Ah, such blind cultists were we. Many of those who were there with me are now long gone, and the world doesn't miss a one of them even a little bit. Realizing how little I'll be missed is humbling.
Anonymous said...
The AC library was a complete joke. I had several term papers graded with red pen on them because my book sources were too old. When you have access to a library with limited books that go clear back to the mid 1850's how can you do an up to date term paper. I started using the Pasadena and Fuller libraries after that. The book collection was miniscule compared to other colleges in the area. It was big on pyramidology and World War II
Anonymous said...
In 1968 I found a book in that library about someone (Robert Fulton?) who had invented a prototype submarine and tried to sell it to representatives of Napolean. I am glad to see Armstrongism disappear but it is painful to me to see the campus being broken up. I was there a couple of years ago and walked all over the campus. I finally realized that it was sad to see the place in such a state of neglect, that I missed the people and I missed being 23 tears old.

Glenn Parker
Douglas Becker said...
I take it back: Herbert Armstrong was correct about his predictions of the end of the world.

The end of his little world.

Indeed, he was the End Time Prophet for Armstrongism.

There hasn't been one to really replace him and the WCG is so gone....
Anonymous said...
"The book collection was miniscule compared to other colleges in the area. It was big on pyramidology and World War II..."

That's interesting, because I remember reading an HWA article in the Bible Advocate in which Herbert seemed enthralled with pyramidology.

Norm

Anonymous said...
I am suprised that Gerald Flurry didn't buy the toilet in the men's room so he can sit where HWA sat.
Anonymous said...
I am suprised that Gerald Flurry didn't buy the toilet in the men's room so he can sit where HWA sat.

I think he would have, if he'd only had sufficient advance notice.

Just imagine, maybe a chunk of one of HWA's poops still clings to the inside of the toilet, waiting for Flurry to bow down and worship it, illuminated by the flickering light of the HWA candelabra.
It would be practically romantic!

That would be better than even the BEST FEAST EVER!

Norm


Painful Truth said...
Al Dexter wtote:
"Many of those who were there with me are now long gone, and the world doesn't miss a one of them even a little bit. Realizing how little I'll be missed is humbling."

It is meaningless. We are all on a journey, for what purpose I do not know. I would venture to guess that the end game is what we learned and our personal growth that we used to make a difference to those near us.

The concept of the Armstrongist becoming priests and kings is a fallacy. A laughable one at that. These people are morons that buy into the concept that HWA created. After all, he was just one of a 1,000 cult leaders in the last 100 years that made a claim as to being inspired by God. He wasn't.

Whatever is "God" is not known to the armstrongist using their Catholic created book. God is...what none of us ever thought of. The concept is beyond us. The worship unnecessary. IMHO.
Byker Bob said...
The library was right across the street from my freshman year dorm.

I can't claim to have spent a lot of time there, but did have the grounds surrounding it as part of my work as a student gardener. Students would instinctively look at the parking lot for GTA's Imperial (or Continental later), HWA's limo, or Richard Plache's Dodge Charger. It was a place where one would often see senior members of the ministry entering and exiting.

They had a listening room upstairs, and a collection of Classical music LPs. Music Appreciation class was mandatory as part of the cultural indoctrination for all students, and in conjunction with that class, you had to spend a measurable amount of time listening to the compositions of any of a number of composers.

In 1967, some farmer from Texas had isolated the bacteria naturally found in cow intestines. Called "the experiment", it was touted from the pulpit by HWA as having the capability to revive the world's deserts. To use the AC vernacular of that day, it smelled ghastly! I mean, like somebody's colon, or like manure on steroids. But, they dutifully spread it over the lawns and shrubs of the entire campus. I associate the odor with the library, because that was the area to which I was assigned.

There was also a short cut from the dorms on Grove to the student center. A walkway cut through the grounds, providing a diagonal, more direct route. The flat lawn area at the base was used for graduation ceremonies.

Love the grounds, hate the lies and scary falsehoods that were taught there. Somehow, our little underground group always managed to have fun, though!

BB
Allen C. Dexter said...
Yeah, healthy young people find ways to have fun. We did also when I was a student. Nothing too extreme, but probably would have been frowned upon by some at times.
Douglas Becker said...
Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.

And we had such high hopes....

Should have known.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have to comment on how humorous this site is !Some of the comments make me want to wet myself they are so hilarious ! Lots of memories from the AC Campus. Spent many nights passed out on the sofa on the top floor of Grove Terrace after a rousing ten rounds of beer. The Security guy only woke me up once during his rounds but was wise enough to leave me alone and sleep it off ! Sad to see it go but eventually, I will of had my time here, on earth too.

Anonymous said...

Recently an angel tapped the shoulder of HWA and said to him "I want to show you what has happened to your old home in Pasadena" so they went. After viewing the destroyed buildings he said to the angel "I liked Tuscon better"
the angel then said to him "your most famous alum is the infomercial king and the former advertising exec said "After all I appointed him student body president didn't I?"

Ken Edwards said...

As an outsider, who followed the WCG for over a decade in the 80s, I am shocked at all this. I guess the one major proof above all others, that this whole endeavor was a fraud, is simply by just looking at you people - its fruit. Your ugliness, your unforgiving, your hatred, your self-centered pity parties and your disdain for anything that may be good out in the world - is rock solid proof, to me, of a false prophet that HWA may have been (I do not know). Still, you are the product of your own choices, yet you never say this - your focus, to this DAY, is still on a flawed human (who is now dead). You JUST WILL NOT LET GO OF HIM will you? Move away from all this and find peace if you can. You are in charge of your life. Forgive yourself and start finding peace with God. Although, many blame God more than they do HWA, so be it; time may even heal that wound as well.

John Hill said...

Out of my dorm mates that semester, there was one who was actually even cool. Rich, from New Jersey, had a degree in teaching prior to coming to AC, and we had two common hobbies, weight training, and Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Since I was under age, each year, I had to find a "mentor" to buy beer for me, and unfortunately my mentors had a bad habit of getting expelled from AC, but, that's another story. That particular year, the senior, or graduation ball was at the Hollywood Palladium. Rich and I did what we always did! We left the ball, got a sixer of Colt 45 tall boys, and chugged them behind a neighborhood gas station! We surreptitiously made our reentrance to the Palladium just in time, too.

Is this what you jerks posting here went to a Bible College for? Not one of you will amount to a fraction of what Mr. Armstrong was. What have you done with your lives? His work lives on...

John Hill said...

Out of my dorm mates that semester, there was one who was actually even cool. Rich, from New Jersey, had a degree in teaching prior to coming to AC, and we had two common hobbies, weight training, and Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Since I was under age, each year, I had to find a "mentor" to buy beer for me, and unfortunately my mentors had a bad habit of getting expelled from AC, but, that's another story. That particular year, the senior, or graduation ball was at the Hollywood Palladium. Rich and I did what we always did! We left the ball, got a sixer of Colt 45 tall boys, and chugged them behind a neighborhood gas station! We surreptitiously made our reentrance to the Palladium just in time, too.

Is this what you jerks posting here went to a Bible College for? Not one of you will amount to a fraction of what Mr. Armstrong was. What have you done with your lives? His work lives on...

Rosanna West Walker said...

I was very young when my brother, John Walker, indoctrinated me into the church.
I can say that it ruined my life for five years, and I still feel the scars . . .