Samuel Martin, the son of Ernest Martin who formally with the Worldwide Church of God. Samuel referred me to his link about his father's story about leaving the WCG. It is included below.
Samuel is in Jerusalem with his own ministry where he is involved with working against family violence and child abuse by whipping/punishment. Armstrongism has been rife with child abuse because of it's horrific policies on child "rearing." Armstrongisms theory seemed to be that it was better to beat a child than to spare the rod. This mostly is due to Garner Ted's horrific child rearing booklet and Rod Meredith's perverted child rearing stances in the past.
Samuel has the following web sites:
Samuel Martin Blog
Century One Foundation
Ernest L. Martin about his experiences in the WCCG with Mr. Armstrong and why he left...
This is the testimony of my mother who is still alive about how she joined the church - In fact, my mother, Helen was well acquainted with the WWCG and Herbert. W. Armstrong before my father was. Note what she said about this:
“I became involved with the WCG of God in the summer of 1952 when I turned 16. My sister Joan and I began to study the Bible with some friends. We would go out every Saturday with a picnic lunch for our Bible studies. Our friend Dean Blackwell had been introduced to the WCG and was considering leaving Texas A&M to study theology at the Pasadena, California campus of Ambassador College. He told us about the World Tomorrow radio program and we started listening to Herbert W. Armstrong. HWA was the founder and leader of the WCG. Dean helped us in our study to understand the teachings of the WCG according to what they thought the Bible taught.
By the end of that summer, he had decided that he would go to AC. It was very excited as something that “rang true” for me. I truly believed that it was “God’s Church” on earth and I wanted to be a part of it. I believed that God was at work in my life. I also believed that HWA was a sincere Christian minister.
Our parents were good, salt of the earth people who taught us Christian principals, but they did not attend church. They taught us to love and respect others, not to lie, cheat or steal. We considered it a Christian home even though we were not religious.
I actually became interested in church before this time. When we moved from Oklahoma to Texas in the summer of ’45 I started to go to the Methodist Church with our neighbours. I think I needed more social contact than we had living in the country. I missed my school friends during the summer so I went to church to keep in touch and have more social contacts.
The Methodist Church did not have many social functions for young people so I went to other churches also. The local Baptist Church had lots of young peoples’ events so as I got older I attended those functions as well.
It was at the Baptist Church that we met Dean Blackwell and his family. He was engaged to my sister’s classmate. We became good friends and remained friends till now. Dean and his wife, Maxine have both passed away, but we are still in contact with his brothers, all of which became members of the WWCG.
I was baptized into the WWCG when I was 19. I was baptized by Raymond Cole. They taught you needed to be accountable and understand what it meant repent and join the church. That fall I entered AC.
Before the end of that first year, Ernest Martin had become interested in me. He was older, had finished two years of college and four years of the Air Force before he came to AC mid-semester in 1955.”
Comment - My mother knows a little bit about the history of the WWCG as you can plainly see from this statement
How did Ernest Martin learn about the WWCG? - Ernest was finishing his fourth year in the USAF and had spent the better part of 1953 in Greenland. During that time, he was quite isolated and it gave him a lot of time to study the Bible on his own and that isolation forced him to learn that he had to rely on himself to learn about the teachings of the Bible. In early 1954, he was on a furlough from the Air Force and he went home to visit his family in central California. He said: “At that time, one of my cousins introduced me to a subject that I had never heard before – British Israelism.” His cousin was quite good at explaining things and within a period of several hours, Ernest had come to believe that there must be something to this issue.
It was at that time that Ernest first heard Herbert W. Armstrong. He and his father were listening one night to XZLO, a radio station that Mr. Armstrong appeared on, and right near the end of the broadcast, Mr. Armstrong said: “You know, the people of the United States are related to the people of Israel and have their ancestors among those people in the Middle East. For more information, send for your booklet ‘The United States in Prophecy.’” Ernest then turned to his father and asked: “Dad, does this minister believe that we people here in the USA are related to Israel? His dad said: ‘I believe he does. At that point, I decided I would send for the booklet. That was my first contact with Mr. Armstrong.”
A Brief Background of the Director
The organization with which I was associated for about twenty years
was important in helping me to see what real Christianity was. They
claimed to be "the true church of God" on earth. The leaders were very
active in saying that they would change when shown to be wrong or when
new truths were disclosed. This was a notion that appealed to me very
much. I was fully aware that most religious organizations of the past
changed only when they broke away from another denomination, but they
were very reluctant to adjust their thinking once the "complete truth"
had been arrived at. [True enough, if absolute truth were within the
grasp of man, then once obtained, no more "growing" would be necessary.]
Unfortunately, the group that I was associated with claimed to be the
"Philadelphia Church" of Revelation Two. They made the identification
without the slightest proof to back it up (historically or biblically).
But let's face it, since the Philadelphia Church was one of the nicer of
the seven, the leaders picked that one as the church that represented
them. By doing so, they came to believe that the following descriptions
depicted them precisely: "[Thou] hast kept my word, and hast not denied
my name" (Rev. 3:8). This, to them, was a sure sign that all the
doctrines they were espousing must have been correct. This principle
helped me comprehend what real Christianity was, because it became
evident that their erroneous beliefs were truly what it wasn't. When one
feels his organization is "the true church," it stops growth in its
From 1955 to 1960 1 accepted the tenets of that "true church"
because I was told it was the "Philadelphia Church" of Revelation. By
1958 I was graduated from college, sent to England by the denomination
to head their London office, and in 1960 appointed as instructor of
Bible and History at their new English College. But in preparing for my
classes, it was necessary to study the Bible on my own. I came to see
in early 1960 that the theory that the seven churches of Revelation were
prophetic time periods, each describing seven eras of the Christian
Church was completely false. Indeed, it was very clear in the Bible that
all seven churches would exist at the same time in "the Day of the
Lord"just prior to, and leading up to, Christ's coming in the clouds
of heaven. [For an explanation of this, send for our Exposition 103.]
When the "Pastor General" came to England for the opening of college, I
had a chance to see him in my office. Since he had an hour's free time,
I became bold enough to tell him of this wonderful "new truth" that was
very clear from the Scripture. After hearing my explanation, he
summarily told me my view was not correct and that he was God's
representative for the revelation of new truth and that I had no
business operating in that field. He spoke with authority! As strange as
it may seem, in that 1960 meeting I accepted his "authoritative"
position over the plain teaching of the Bible. That was my first
mistake! I was to make many more!
The next doctrinal problem came in late 1961. For about a year I
had been doing research on the time for celebrating the Feast of
Pentecost. Yet the doctrine of the "true church" of which I was a
minister and educator, taught that Pentecost was on the wrong day. My
biblical, historical, and linguistic studies had shown that this belief
was wrong: Pentecost according to the Bible was on Sunday, not Monday. I
wrote a 93 page (legal sized) paper on the subject which rehearsed the
proper teaching on the matter. In accordance with normal procedure, I
submitted it to my iminediate superior in England for evaluation before
I sent it to the top authorities in Pasadena. He took about two weeks to
review the research and finally he told me that he could find nothing
wrong with the fundamental issues. In fact, he commended my research as
being at the highest academic level and that I would no doubt get a
feather in my cap for the new information. He advised me to send it to
the "Pastor General." This was done. But instead of a feather in my cap,
I got one somewhere else. [I say this now in humor, but it was very
serious business for me at the time.] In full conference with all the
recognized theologians, historians, and church administrators, the
"Pastor General" rejected the whole concept. Again I was told, with much
stronger emphasis than in 1960, that I had no business in "wasting a
year of my time" to research a subject with such a ridiculous
conclusion. I was informed that God had put only the "Pastor General"
into a position of authority for the determination of doctrine not me.
And again, I reluctantly accepted the appraisal because I firmly
believed (at that time) that he was indeed the only authority. [It is
most interesting that the same "Pastor General" has now changed his mind
and he accepts almost every one of my suggestions offered in that 1961
paper as being the will of Almighty God.] Still, at that time, I let men
rule in the matter when I full well knew that the Bible taught
oppositely on the subject. This confession is not very flattering to me,
but the truth needs to be told. I was then a follower of men completely
a follower of men, even in their grossest of errors! The main problem
was my acceptance of their organization as being "the true church of
God." The reason for mentioning this is to give some background on why
the Foundation has adopted the principle that the Bible is the only real
source for doctrine and that no man, or any group of men, has authority
to void the teachings of Holy Scripture. There is a true Church of God
but its headquarters is in heaven, and we do not need an organization of
men here on earth to substitute for it. In no way are we against
churches as places for fellowship and learning of the Bible, but to say
that the "true church of God" is located on earth and is in the hands of
men for adininistration, is contrary to the Word of God. [Send for our
article: The True Church Can Be Found for biblical proof of our
Then, in 1965 the authorities elevated me to the position of Dean of
Faculty at the English campus. It was then being confidently taught in
the denomination that in January, 1972 the whole of the "true church"
(that is, all the faithful ones) would be wafted away to the area of
Petra southeast of Jerusalem to be in a position of physical
protection from the Great Tribulation that would envelope the rest of
the world in that very year. They also taught that by 1975, Christ would
come back to earth. This teaching was based, not on biblical revelation,
but on certain nineteen year time cycles that were observable in the
heavens. It was believed that the early New Testament church had two
such nineteen year cycles in which to preach the Gospel before the
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and that the last remnant of the
church [represented by our "true church of God"] would also have just
two such cycles. Since it was clear that official preaching by the
"Pastor General" started in January, 1934, and his first teaching to
Europe went out nineteen years later (1953), then it was taught that the
Gospel message from the church would cease in January, 1972. That's
when the Great Tribulation would begin but all faithful members would
flee to Petra at the end of the second nineteen year cycle (1972) just
as the early church fled to Pella in A.D. 69 exactly two nineteen year
cycles from the church's beginningin A.D. 31.
The only trouble was, I now had plain historical information found
in the writings of Josephus, that the early church fled to Pella in A.D.
66, not as we were teaching in A.D. 69. I once again submitted the
historical material to the same superior in England. He was impressed.
He told me that this information needed to get to the "Pastor
General." Strangely, it took almost two years for the top man to even be
aware of the problem. There was always something more important to
discuss with him when he came to England than these prophetical matters.
Indeed, after many attempts to get a hearing on the topic, I was
finally assured that the next time the "Pastor General" came to England
that the subject would definitely be taken up. He was to come over in
two weeks. But, in the meantime a great sociological disturbance
occurred in the two colleges in America that became more important to
solve so that the English campus would not be infiltrated with the
"leaven of sinfulness" that had come into both American campuses.
Matters concerning this great disturbance took up the whole time of the
"Pastor General" while he was in England on that trip. No time was
allotted for prophetical matters concerning the fleeing of the church to
Petra. Other things were more crucial. And what was the important
sociological disturbance? It was whether the college girls should be
allowed to wear their skirt lengths at the middle of the knee or, as the
risque ones in America were doing, an inch above the knee!
In all fairness, however, it must be mentioned that we finally got
around to discussing the important prophetical and chronological
problems. When? It was in December, 1971 just one week before we were
all supposed to be transported on eagles wings to Petra. [The meeting
had been called because most of the "authorities" now knew that some
other explanation for the nineteen year time cycles had to be invented
so that the people would not think we had made an error.] Actually,
because I showed the utter fallacy of the so-called prophetic nineteen
year time cycles at that time, and countered the "Pastor General" with
his erroneous teachings, I almost got fired indeed, I almost quit. Had
it not been for a dear friend who persuaded me otherwise, my wife and I
would have left the organization back at that time. [They finally
assigned two evangelists to talk some sense into me. One of them
suggested that I not read the Bible (except parts of the Psalms) for ten
years. He later lowered the restriction to five years if I kept on good
behavior. What nonsense!]
Strangely., the "authorities" still looked on me with some esteem
even after the 1971 confrontation. In the Summer of 1972 I was appointed
to the position of Chairman of the Department of Theology at the
headquarters campus. I was told about this new appointment while I was
on my regular Summer responsibilities at the archaeological excavation
at Jerusalem. [From 1969 to 1973 I was at Jerusalem and in charge of the
college students from our three campuses. It was these times when away
from the environment of "headquarters" that I had time for much research
into biblical matters.]
Then, in the Summer of 1973, we received word in Jerusalem that the
majority of the theological classes which were primarily arranged by me
and my immediate superior to accommodate an academic accrediting
committee, had been changed. This was done without consulting me and I
was the Chairman of the Department of Theology. I informed my
immediate superior that he had six weeks to get those classes restored,
as he and I had worked out, or I was resigning my position. To make a
long story short, the authorities were too busy to do this, so I
resigned from my job with the college.
There was no intention on my part of starting anything like the
Foundation at the time or, it was so utterly remote in my mind that
the thought was practically non-existent. Once out of the organization.
I obtained work with the International Exchange School which was
responsible for sending students abroad on study programs for the
Summer. The Bible says that one should work to support his family or
else he is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). I secured this job. For
all I know I would still be working for the firm today (or something
similar) had not an incident changed the whole course of my career. That
event was the resignation of my wife and me from membership in that
"true church." We did so in late January of 1974. The knowledge of this
spread throughout the United States and to England. Near the same time
several ministers in the church left the organization along with many
members. All of a sudden letters began to come to my home asking me
doctrinal questions most of the questions dealt with matters concerning
the "true church." I was deluged with telephone calls. On one Friday
alone, I started answering the telephone about 8 A.M. and there was a
constant series of calls that lasted almost till midnight. The people
were concerned about the questions of tithing, marriage and divorce,
healing, the law, holy days, the sabbath, clean and unclean meats, etc.,
etc. And this is where the problems arose.
Here I was trying to hold down a job that required more than forty
hours a week to accomplish and I was being barraged with queries from
all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc., about
biblical matters concerning the doctrines of the "true church." Some of
them were pitiful cases: accounts of homes broken up, children suffering
great afflictions for lack of proper medical attention, people having
been reduced to poverty because of giving almost all their money to the
church, etc. For the first time I began to realize how traumatic the
situation had become to many of the members. It became evident that the
doctrinal issues which many of us academic men had been discussing in
"doctrinal committees" were no longer mere intellectual discussions
that exercised or titillated the mind NOW it was different. People's
lives were at stake! This is not an overdramatic statement, it was
actual fact! All of a sudden doctrine became important, not because of
what it was, but what it was doing to people. And it wasn't the true
doctrines of the Bible that were the problem, but men's
misinterpretations of them.
After resigning from my former denomination, I thought seriously of
having a simple "Bible class" once a week with a small number of my
friends, but the fact that so many letters were coming in for answers
and I was being deluged with telephone calls, it was felt that a larger
organization could be started to handle them. It was then that we
founded the Foundation for Biblical Research. Our first board members
were Ken Storey, Gary Arvidson, and myself. The board now consists of
Vic Orn, John Cheetham, Gary Reid, Ken Fischer, and myself. All of us
who have been connected with the Foundation in an executive way are
friends and we all respect one another very much. We all saw the need to
help our friends and loved ones with some real biblical teaching for a
change! Some who helped us at the start have branched out into other
jobs, but I think we are all satisfied with our association with the
FBR and the help we all have given.