THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE
Armstrong's Empire Exposed
ONE MUST WONDER WHAT IT COULD BE THAT COULD CAUSE Armstrong
to so attach himself to Rader, even to the point of totally
destroying the Church that he worked so long to build. Could an
elderly man be fearful of what Rader would reveal regarding
financial dealings? Possibly, but not to the point of acting the
way Armstrong has acted in the most recent months.
As I wondered about these things, I knew that I would have
to investigate further rumors that I had chosen not to believe.
There was the recurring story mentioned earlier about Stanley
Rader's homosexual conduct. That alone, it would appear, would be
sufficient for Armstrong to take some drastic action. Yet Rader's
hold seemed to get tighter and tighter, to the point where he was
finally able to have himself ordained an evangelist.
But this was not the only story regarding Rader's sexual
conduct. In 1974, Mr.and Mrs.Jim Fox, members of the San Jose
congregation of the Church, were in a restaurant of the Hilton
Hotel in Madrid, Spain. Fox noticed Rader and Gotoh at another
table talking to a woman, and then observed them writing
something down on a piece of paper and handing it to her. Rader
and Gotoh did not know the Foxes and were unaware that they were
being watched by Church members. After handing the note to the
woman, Gotoh and Rader left the table and Fox heard one of the
men say that they would see her sometime later that evening. Fox
then became quite suspicious that the woman was a house
prostitute and had those suspicions confirmed by the bartender.
Still wanting to be absolutely certain, Fox discussed it with his
wife and they determined that he would approach the woman. Fox
went to the woman's table and began to engage her in
conversation. It did not take long for him to determine that she
was indeed a prostitute, found out her price, and made tentative
arrangements with her. He then left her table and went back to
his wife and told her what transpired. As the reality of this hit
them both, they became emotionally shattered. When they returned
to the States, Fox discussed the situation with his pastor and
was told that he should not mention it to anyone, and was assured
that the matter would be taken to proper Church authority.
Apparently, nothing further ever came of the situation. This
disillusioned the Foxes with the Worldwide Church so much that
they dropped out at that time. They continued to worship on their
own and had no further fellowship with an organized church group
until late in 1978 when they affiliated themselves with the
Church of God International.
As this throws quite an additional cloud over Rader, it
would seem that Armstrong would have even further justification
for his removal. Yet in spite of this type of conduct, Armstrong
continued to be fearful of what Rader would say to the world.
After the State of California made its allegations regarding
financial improprieties, it would seem that there would be little
more that Rader could say over and above that which had already
been revealed through the press. There had to be something else.
There were rumors that others knew what Rader had on Armstrong. I
decided to pursue each rumor until I could come up with something
The facts were that the Worldwide Church of God was under
the leadership of men who had sunk to the lowest depths of moral
Around mid-July 1979, rumors began to circulate that David
Robinson, a minister of the Worldwide Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
had been fired by Herbert Armstrong. Robinson had been a member
of the Church for over twenty-five years, and now he was out as a
result of a meeting that he had had with Herbert Armstrong in
Tucson on July 4th. It had long been rumored that Robinson knew
some of the facts regarding Rader's hold on Armstrong.
Robinson told me, "Finally, I just had to go see Mr.
Armstrong and confront him with his sins in hope that he would
repent." During Robinson's visit, Henry Cornwall was present.
Rader was out of the country at the time and during his absence,
Cornwall was a regular fixture in the Armstrong home. Was he
there to help Armstrong, protect him, or, as is more likely,
isolate him? During the visit, Robinson asked Armstrong if it was
necessary that Cornwall be present during their conversation, as
the matters to be discussed were matters between two ministers.
Armstrong just hung his head in shame and mumbled, indicating
that Cornwall would stay.
Robinson told Armstrong that his sins were grievous and that
he must repent and take the necessary steps to straighten out the
problems of the Church. He referred to a meeting that he had with
Armstrong at his hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Bartonsville,
Pennsylvania, during the Feast of Tabernacles in 1976. He was
staying there over night, during his appearance at the Mt. Pocono
Feast site before approximately eight thousand people.
In spite of the fact that eight thousand people saw him and
heard him speak, he denied having been there that year. Robinson
was the Festival Coordinator at Mt. Pocono and was responsible
for the overall administration for the week long gathering.
During the night of Armstrong's stay, Dr. Floyd Lochner, who was
traveling with Herbert Armstrong, contacted Robinson and told him
that Armstrong was having difficulty getting to sleep. As Lochner
would not be able to remain with Armstrong for that time, he
asked Robinson to visit with Armstrong for a while and keep him
company. What Armstrong told Robinson that evening, after
drinking excessively, shocked him. It was after bringing these
matters to Armstrong's attention on July 4th, that Robinson was
fired from the ministry.
Here is Robinson's account of that visit with Armstrong in
the fall of 1976:
"He got one of the crystal wine glasses and filled it with
Harvey's and downed it quickly, and then more. He said he needed
it to relax. He said he had decided to quit wine before the
Feast, but felt that he couldn't make the circuit without it now.
He said he had decided to lay off when he discovered that
drinking so much wine tended to render him impotent, he had
enough of that anyway. He intended to marry, he intended to marry
Ramona. He got his wallet out and showed me her picture and a
picture of her son. Mr.Armstrong said he needed someone to lavish
his love on, but now he was abundantly able to take good care of
a woman. He said 'Ted has finally given his consent, even if
grudgingly.' He got back on the Church just briefly, that was the
subject I preferred to talk on, except it took a dangerous
direction. He said that there were ministers who were extremely
liberal and he was going to deal with them. I agreed that there
were. He said if I would name them, he would fire them. He
requested that I give him some names. He said that he expected
the Church would soon be run by a committee, and that they had
seen to it that contracts had been signed which guaranteed that
their standard of living, or as he said, my lifestyle, would not
be diminished. He would continue to have the plane, etc., no one
could take that away from him. He said he had been particularly
proud of Ted, as he had sent Stan's contract back with a
reduction and a boost in his own. That was the sort of
ambivalence that made me cautious of Ted as well as other reasons
when Mr. Armstrong spoke against Ted. I felt sure he thought he
could do so, but woe to the other person who did. I am sure that
is not still the case. One must stop at this point, and consider
what had happened. This was the first time I had heard anything
about contracts in the Church, and especially among the ministry.
He said that he, Stan, and Ted had just signed contracts which
called for salaries for the three of them well into the six
figures. Here the very top minister in the whole of the Church,
the apostle of faith, if you will, one who had taught so many
years ago about George Mueller at Bristol, England, and he had
spoken and written of faith for so many years, now fearing a
committee in the Church. He was afraid his income-his disposable
income-might be diminished, his lifestyle curtailed, and had gone
to the courts and the law to provide for his sustenance. Where
did that leave the rest of us? Were we dumb sheep that didn't
matter at all? I think of all the things I have faced in the
Church, this was the heaviest blow of all. Contracts between the
three top men to protect themselves from the Church. It seemed
certain divine healing was now needed badly in spiritual matters
in the Church. But there was more to come."
And there certainly was more to come. Armstrong then began
to concentrate on the terrible stress he had been under without a
wife. He said that his great desire to give a woman so much love
was frustrated by not having a wife, and as a result he
frequently masturbated. He then showed Robinson a diary wherein
he had recorded each incident of masturbation. He had carefully
noted all the details of each occurrence.
It was only Robinson's strong faith in God that prevented
him from becoming totally disillusioned when faced with such a
As time went by, Robinson was to become aware of Armstrong's
alleged encounters with boys in Europe, and that Rader had
allegedly secretly obtained photographs. Said Robinson, "Maybe
HWA was drunk, I don't know. It's easily possible for those
things to be photographed."
That began to fill in another part of the puzzle and confirm
some of the rumors regarding Armstrong's immorality. But could
that be enough for Rader to hold over him? Or was there more? The
major rumor that had circulated for so long was the one regarding
Dr.Lochner. Lochner, a physical education instructor at
Ambassador College, was frequently Armstrong's traveling
companion. It was Lochner who would give Armstrong his daily
massage and accompany him on walks. Armstrong grew to trust
Lochner with his most intimate secrets. The rumor was Lochner had
recorded many of his conversations with Armstrong without
Armstrong's knowledge, and had also amassed a large collection of
incriminating photographs. For the past few years, Lochner had
been on the payroll of the Church at $25,000 per year, but had no
At this time in 1979, he was sixty-seven years old. The
question, of course, was whether or not Armstrong was maintaining
Lochner in a no-show job in order to keep him quiet. When Mike
Wallace confronted Rader with the Lochner rumor, Rader said that
Lochner always asks for work so that he could earn his pay. Rader
indicated, however, that for some puzzling reason, no one seemed
to have anything for Lochner to do. If that were the case, it
would seem that Lochner would have been discharged long ago in
order to save that $25,000, considering that many valuable
employees had been let go in recent years for "budgetary
Finally, I decided to phone Dr. Lochner and confront him
headon regarding the rumors. I was amazed that Lochner was
willing to speak as freely as he did. Perhaps it was because
during the gas crisis he had been cut off from his free gas
supply by Church headquarters. Or perhaps it may have been due to
his temporary removal from the payroll just a few weeks earlier.
He was quickly reinstated, however, when he reminded Armstrong
and Rader of his knowledge.
He said, "There's been a lot said about the information I
have. I don't know why I've got the information I've got, but
It's like I said to Mike Wallace, 'Mike, you can't use the
information I have because you wouldn't use it totally. You've
already established what you want to do. So you'd only take some
of the information and the rest of it you'd leave people guess
He then continued, "When you spend nights with a man and
days with a man and years with a man, and he reveals to you the
secrets of his life, the only way I would be entitled to reveal
it would be if Christ would demand it of me."
While he was not ready to reveal all that he had, he did
indicate a knowledge of sexual threesomes between a member of the
crew on Armstrong's plane and two female members of the Armstrong
family. He also knew and mentioned the names of the individuals
Apparently, Lochner had done his homework even better than
Lochner said, "About the only person who would have more
information than I do would probably be Stan Rader. And then he
might not have that much information, he might not have as much
information as I do. And I didn't go after the information, the
information was given to me. I'm in a position now, where I've
left it up to Christ. If he wants it revealed, there are ways He
can get it revealed. Even with all the information I have I don't
think I can take the prerogative of revelation of all I know."
Lochner seemed to be very carefully establishing the ground
work for his self-justification in collecting pay for a no-show
job. Continuing in my conversation with Lochner, I finally said
to him, "What would you take as an indication that you should do
something?" He replied, "Well, it's like one man called me not so
long ago and said, 'Now's the time to bust them. Why don't you
hit him for a million?' I said no. I've worked in this business
for twenty-five years. My wife and I had worked very hard and
worked full time but got a minimum of one salary, so I feel this
way right now, they have taken away my opportunities of the
people being able to profit from my experience with my knowledge
of physical fitness and child relations. They had promised that I
can be employed as long as I'm physically fit and can do the job.
Now, they don't use that experience and knowledge that I have. As
long as they pay me for it, that's all right, but if they don't
use it, I can't do anything about that. But I could do something
about it if they stopped my pay."
Realizing that he had finally come to the key of the
situation, I said, "That would be the sign that you would need,
wouldn't it?" He responded: "Well, that's what I felt. In other
words, Christ is not going to come down here some night and tell
me what I'm going to do. Now if He wants to put me in a position
where I'd reveal it, He knows about it. Stan Rader and Herbert
Armstrong are not the guiding factors in this. If He knows that
I'm no longer worthy of the job, even though I'm just sitting
here, it will mean that He wants the information revealed."
Lochner indicated that he had a knowledge of moral
misconduct for at least a ten-year period. This would, again,
seem to fit in with the statements made by Garner Ted that
everything seemed to change drastically in a wrong way after his
mother died. Lochner said that he felt that one of the reasons
Armstrong was hanging on so tenaciously, so fearful of what might
be revealed about him, was because he was not the type of man who
would have the courage to get before the people and say that he
had done wrong, had repented, and was sorry. And it appears as
though Rader is very aware of this characteristic of Armstrong
and has been able to use it to maximum advantage.
While there are a few such as David Robinson, who have a
personal knowledge of factors in Armstrong's life which would
disqualify him as a spiritual leader, the key seems to be Dr.
Lochner. With Lochner knowing as much or more than Rader knows,
it would be absolutely essential to keep him quiet. He seems to
have developed a rather interesting rationale to justify his
taking $25,000 per year for doing nothing: calling that continued
paycheck a sign from Christ that he should not reveal what he
knows. Obviously, had he gone for the big dollars, as was
suggested to him by a friend, his rationale would not work. By
not being greedy perhaps, he may continue to get away with it.
Whether or not this could be construed as blackmail would
certainly be an interesting thing for the courts to consider.
Obviously, if he were to reveal what he knows, then Rader would
no longer have a hammer over Armstrong's head. The key to
breaking the bond between Armstrong and Rader would appear to be
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses
are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our
iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6.
As the legal maneuverings continue, (Tuit is writing
remember in the present tense of 1979/80 - Keith Hunt) and
probably will do so for some time as more becomes known regarding
the unchristian conduct of Armstrong and Rader and the other
Church leaders, as the Rader hierarchy increases its total
control over the lives of the members, people seem to respond in
three different ways. As some become more and more aware of the
unscriptural conduct of their leaders they either slowly continue
to drop out of the Church in total disillusionment or to continue
in their belief on their own or in fellowship with other groups.
Others, just as aware that they have come under false leadership,
feel they have no choice but to stay with the Worldwide Church,
as they are fearful they will lose their eternal salvation by
leaving that physical organization. And, for the most part, there
are the members so totally deceived that they continue to follow
Armstrong, believing totally that he is God's apostle, and
finally turning away from the truth of Scripture that they should
know so well, believing instead that every pronouncement from
Herbert Armstrong is inspired new revelation direct from God.
To be continued with "Church Doctrine - True or False?"
The reader can see what AMBASSADOR REPORT had to say on all this
sickening stuff - every issue of AR is on the Internet, you just
have to Google "Ambassador Report" and read the issues of the
late 1970s and into the 1980s.