Sunday, August 12, 2018

Herbert Armstrong: Yes, I know they are revolting...but you had better show your children these pictures!

By SHT, Contributing Writer

I don't get angry that often - really angry - when I read the way we were. But this is different.

I am literally fuming at what members of the Church and readers of The Plain Truth were TOLD to show our children.

In the Plain Truth of February, March, of 1955, Herbert Armstrong told parents to show their children the horrifying, graphic imagery of Armageddon that was drawn by Basil Wolverton. In 1955 - this was insanely graphic for the time. 

In a response to people who those who "griped" and "criticized" Herbert Armstrong about not wanting to see such realistic pictures, even that they would stop reading - and some, rightly, not wanting their children to see such pictures - what did Herbert do?

First, he admits that the pictures are TERRIFYING and REVOLTING.

Then, he doubles down and says he WANTS children to see those pictures!

He wants the children to "WAKE UP" and see what's happening. Herbert wants these children to "seek God and His Divine Protection." And that these horrible events NEED NOT strike them - that they MAY be taken on a flight to the place of safety."

This is the most disgusting, revolting piece of pure garbage I have ever come across from researching the bowels of historic Armstrongism. Because showing children, intentionally, these images, is absolutely horrible. Then, telling them that these images may really happen? Even worse. But then putting it into their heads that they are going to be taken to some place of safety? At any time? That's the WORST UNCERTAINTY a child could ever imagine. These tactics were abusive. They were destructive. They were nightmare-inducing and fear-enabling. Most of all, all of this were nothing but lies that severely harmed the lives of children in their most formative years of life.

What kind of man would ever WANT to show children these kinds of pictures? What kind of man would want children to focus on Armageddon, death, destruction, boils, pain and hurt? What kind of man would TELL parents to show kids this? What kind of man would tell parents to tell kids they might be whisked to some place of safety? What kind of man would make children believe that all of this was going to happen - and SOON?

You know what kind of man would do that. And yet, so many stand behind this kind of man as some sort of holy restorer of divine truth. The man many stand behind was an abusive liar. And the harm he caused by advising parents to show children this sort of CRAP - and teach them LIES that it would happen in their childhood and lifetime - cannot be understated. Because my parents were two that listened to that man. And I believed my parents. And I know others who believed the same thing. And our childhoods were stolen.

Children need to learn about Jesus Christ. Children need to learn about the love of God. How to help people. How to care for others. How to worship and praise God, and be thankful. Children need to have fun, live life, play, learn, laugh, and love. Children need to develop in an atmosphere of joy and peace - to the best that their surroundings allow. Though we all know that life in childhood for many is never a bed of roses - a mix of the best and worst of times - the LAST thing that a child needs is the horrifying images of Armageddon, death and destruction in their heads, their parents telling them it's all real, and at any moment they might be whisked to the place of safety. That's not Christianity. That's just abuse. And that's why I am angry I came across this absolutely disgusting piece of crap of an article in "The Plainest Bullcrap" of March, 1955. 


Byker Bob said...

The thing that scared me the most from the mid-1950s had nothing to do with Herbert W. Armstrong. Sometime in 1956, my mom or dad had brought home either Life or Look Magazine, and on the cover was a picture of the smoldering corpse of a black man who had been beaten, dragged through the streets behind a car, and then set on fire for dating a white woman somewhere in the Southeastern USA. It totally freaked me out that human beings could do that to one another.

Having said that, when my parents read HWA’s booklets to us about 1975 and the US and BC in Prophecy, with Basil Wolverton’s illustrations, and presented it as inevitable fact, I asked myself why I even had to be born. Life totally sucked every day thereafter until 1975, when it was all proven to be lies. Now, even if it did all come down during the remainder of my lifetime, I could care less. I and my friends and relatives all got to live the lives of which HWA wanted us to think we would be deprived, and in the best and most affluent era of the entire history of planet Earth. The people who went through the tribulation are the people who spent their entire lives in Armstrongism, being deprived and oppressed for the vanity of their leader, whose empire has come to nought.


Anonymous said...

"Having said that, when my parents read HWA’s booklets to us about 1975 and the US and BC in Prophecy, with Basil Wolverton’s illustrations, and presented it as inevitable fact, I asked myself why I even had to be born."

- A horrible thought for ANY child to have in their heads.

Herbert always seemed to want people to ask "Why were you born."

Herbert instead made children ask "WHY DID I HAVE to be born."

Anonymous said...

Terror religion, pure and simple.
Meanwhile, Herb lived in a mansion with his silver and gold dinnerware.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate a good ship design. The Bible says that Noah was to build the ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high (see Genesis 6:15). The ark was wider than it was high.

Why does the picture of the ark drawn by that “nationally-famous artist Basil Wolverton” make the ark appear to be higher than it is wide? Don't those so-called “artists” even bother to read a short Bible story before they make up stuff?

Anonymous said...

Basil Wolverton drew some ugly pictures. Other artists know how to draw much more beautiful pictures of Bible stories for little children. Some of them are really cute.

After HWA died in January 1986, and the Tkaches took over the WCG, Basil Wolverton's son Monte Wolverton wrote an article in one of the WCG's Youth magazines that claimed to list the Characteristics of Spiritual Weirdos, and all the characteristics appeared to be clearly characteristics of HWA.

Basil and Monte were both weirdos.

Anonymous said...


A big, wide barge-looking thing wouldn't of made for such a dramatic piece of "art".

It would look like you can just hop on it and surf it to safety.

Connie Schmidt said...

When are the Wolverton drawings/ characters coming out as a Video Game??

RSK said...

Among other things, he also drew Israelites wearing what appear to be modern kaffiyehs/shemaghs and what appear to be fully striped t-shirts. Neither are likely to have existed in that time period.
To be fair, the idealization of Biblical patriarchs wearing agals and kaffiyeh is not unique to Wolverton, all the crappy "Bible movies" of classic Hollywood used them.
And he faithfully drew the coins in the illustrations for the Joseph and Achan stories, when coins weren't actually in use yet, but thats nitpicky. :)

Dumbhead said...

I believe Basil Wolverton also drew for Mad magazine.

Hoss said...

Don't those so-called “artists” even bother to read a short Bible story before they make up stuff?

Since Basil Wolverton is credited with writing The Bible Story (AKA, when the Plain Truth was "secularized", The Story of Man) he should have read it!

"1-EX- sheeple" said...

As I understand it HWA recruited Basil FROM Mad mag. 2 of a kind, for sure. "Birds of a feather" all that.

What About The Truth said...

Basil Wolverton is my own "son in the Lord". He is now PREACHING THE GOSPEL with his skilled artistry - with pictures that are worth more than ten thousand words!

HWA knew full well that pictures of mass human carnage were not the gospel, but like an unshakable addiction the preaching of doom and gloom filled the radio and TV waves as the growth mover of the church.

When I first started attending in the early 80's, many people I came in contact knew of and had listened to HWA. All of them could recount from memory and would speak in confidence about HWA's message of Armageddon. Not one of them could recount in their memory any gospel message.

I was amazed when I heard HWA say in a sermon "enough of this doom and gloom, we are going to get back to speaking of the good news". With his firm belief of US/BRIT/ISRAEL and the taking on of the Ezekiel Watchman role - the Ezekiel warning predominated and constituted "the work". The ending of articles with a coming kingdom that will solve all of man's problems doesn't cut it for being the Gospel in the least.

The true driving force of the gospel is how it will be accomplished not that it will be accomplished. And for someone in the COGs to truly preach it, they will have to to talk a lot more about the ONE who is going to accomplish it.

Anonymous said...

I did not grow up in WCG. My ex husband did. I was still pretty new when we had our first baby. My father in law was prouder than proud to bestow upon me a set of the children's books written by HWA. I remember after he left I started flipping through one of the books and I said "What kind of a messed up children's book is this?". I never read them to my kids and they sat of the bookshelf until after my father in law died when I threw them out.

Anonymous said...

The literature was definitely messed up. But the sermons were right on par. Especially Meredith's sermons. Even though the kids are on the floor they still absorb what is being said. I remember once my 4 year old asked me after one of Meredith's sermon what rape was. I was uncomfortable with Meredith's sermons before that day but after that it was the beginning of the end for me. Particularly toward the end of Meredith's life his sermons were all the EXACT same. He would go on and on about the same things saying the same things over and over with absolutely no point whatsoever. After the question about rape anytime the sermon was Meredith we would spend a lot of time in the hallway or Mother's room or bathroom breaks. And then afterwords there would always be members saying things about about how inspiring and how good the sermons were and I would just shake my head.

Anonymous said...

" I remember once my 4 year old asked me after one of Meredith's sermon what rape was. "

IF this statement does not anger every reader of this blog.

But it wasn't just that subject.

It was demons, satan, evil, germany, the place of safety, the "evils that cause blindness" (LOL, like the person preaching never did), and every other adult topic under the sun.

This was what our children were raised with.

"God's Church". Yeah right. "Big, Expensive Scam" is the true definition.

Anonymous said...

These are fantastic drawings! Love it!