Keith Hunt - Armstrong's Empire Exposed - Page Nine   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

Armstrong Empire Exposed

On the Track or Off the Track?

                       THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE

                    Herbert Armstrong's Empire Exposed


                                 John Tuit
                            (Published in 1981)

On The Track Or Off The Track?

experiences in our church life, many other things had been
happening. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely in spite of
Herbert Armstrong's forceful directive to Stanley Rader to sell
or get rid of Quest, Rader was increasing his control over Quest
with no apparent intent to sell it.
     On July 12, Roger Lippross, Circulation and Publishing
Director of The Plain Truth magazine, announced to employees in
Pasadena that Stanley Rader had placed Quest under his personal
control in the AICF. At about the same time, Rader made swift
moves to remove all Church employees from their positions at the
Quest offices in New York. In addition to Jack Martin, several
other Church employees had earlier been transferred to the Quest
offices from California. The group included Gordon Muir, who was
slated to take over as circulation manager. The Church employees
were now given less than a week to phase out and leave the
offices. The reason given by Rader was that it would be easier to
sell Quest if it were a self-sustaining operation without Church
employees on the staff. The true reason behind Rader's actions,
however, seems to be somewhat different. With no one from the
Church on the scene, Rader could then mold Quest and the newly
established Everest House publishing operations to his liking and
use them to his purpose.

     The importance of a secular publishing business owned by the
Church could be better understood in light of a remark that
Robert Kuhn, executive assistant to Garner Ted Armstrong and a
Church vice-president, made at the 1978 ministerial conference.
He said, "Quest was very important to the Church, as through the
publishing contacts maintained by the Quest office, adverse
publicity in the press could be controlled." One must wonder that
even if it were possible to influence the press in such a way,
why would a Church want to do so? It would appear that the only
influence a church would desire over the press would be one
whereby its evangelistic message could be disseminated through
the news media.
     Perhaps the fall 1978 Everest House catalog with its list of
twenty-two books would offer some insight to Rader's true
motives. Quest and Everest House, while subsidized directly by
money from the Church, which had been collected from tithe paying
members for the preaching of the Gospel, was quite obviously
engaged in promoting a very unchristian message. Jack Martin and
the other Church employees were evidently placed in positions at
Quest for a short period of time to appease those who objected
the initial Quest issues. Now, in all of the turmoil of Garner
Ted's ouster, it was very easy to remove these people from Quest
and it wouldn't even be noticed. And to keep them quiet they were
kept on salary while they had no job to go to.
     Looking through the Everest House catalog we find
publications such as Dark Dimensions; A Celebration of the
Occult. The description reads, "In this startling new exploration
of the wonders of the occult world, the renowned author and one
of the world's greatest authorities on parapsychology, Colin
Wilson brings together the extraordinary feats of nine masters of
magic." The book contains accounts of homosexuality, mutilation,
and sex perversion. Another book entitled In Search Of . . .
glorifies the demonic talents of psychics such as Jeane Dixon and
explores the satanic practices of Kirlian photography. The LTR
Money Book is not as sedate a financial advisory as the title
would indicate. It contains advice for gay couples and
instructions for homosexuals who wish to get married or divorced.
And Zen Running is not a book on jogging, but rather a book that
advises how one can let his mind go through the use of Zen.
Certainly a strange list of books to be published by an
organization that claims to serve Jesus Christ under the
leadership of a man who claims to be God's apostle.

     Perhaps the true spiritual leadership of the Church could be
better understood when one considers Rader's statement regarding
his birthdate. When asked his date of birth by a reporter, Rader
stated, "August 14, 1930. I'm a Leo". While many Christians may
be aware of their so-called astrological birth sign as a result
of having followed such practices prior to their conversion, it
is something that a converted Christian will no longer retain in
his mind. Rader's interest in astrology seems to go far beyond
his simple recitation of his birth sign. Could it be that some of
the books offered by Everest House are the true handbooks of
Rader's spiritual life, and in fact other aspects of his life
also? The answers to these questions were to come into more clear
focus as time progressed.

     When the prophet Isaiah told of the judgment to come upon
Babylon for her evil ways and rejection of God, he said
mockingly, "Let now the astrologers, the star gazers, the monthly
prognosticators stand up, and save thee from these things that
shall come upon thee." (Isaiah 47:13) Rader's preoccupation with
the occult led him to state in a talk to Church employees, "If I
were teaching a course in metaphysics we could spend a whole
semester talking about what reality is." Strangely enough no one
picked it up. From Rader's comments and his future actions, it
would become more and more apparent which God he really serves.
     Through the rest of the year Herbert Armstrong, through a
massive propaganda effort, continued to strengthen his position
as God's apostle. At the same time, Stanley Rader set about to
liquidate Church properties in order to provide the money needed
to keep the organization afloat. From year to year the Church
operated at a deficit and the financial crisis was a virtual way
of life in the Church. Of course, all of the Church's problems
had been blamed on Garner Ted and his so-called attempts to
secularize the Church. Now that he was out, the Church's problems
could no longer be blamed on him. Now that the cause of the
problems was no longer in the Church, Armstrong must therefore
come through and eliminate all problems. To cover himself,
through sermons and Church publications, the members were
constantly reminded that they were in a lax spiritual condition
and were not behind him, the apostle. If they were not behind the
apostle, Armstrong said, then God would remove his blessings from
the Church. The members were under this constant pressure to dig
deeper into their pockets as a show of support or suffer the
terrible guilt feelings of being unfaithful to God or, even
worse, they were in a constant fear of perishing in the lake of
fire for failure to support God's Church and his apostle. A
despotic leader always has the tools of intimidation and fear at
his command, tools which enable him to maintain control under
virtually any circumstance. No matter what may go wrong, he can
blame the problem on someone else, further reinforcing his own
position as a great leader and the only one who can solve the
latest crisis. It almost seems that a despotic leader can only
maintain his control in a time of trouble and crisis; his
followers reason, "if things are this bad with our great leader
in control and being constantly attacked, what will happen if we
lose him?"
     A key point to Armstrong's reinforcing his position as
apostle depended upon the establishment of an authority for that
claim. In the past he had always criticized the claim of the Pope
to be a 'spiritual' descendant of Peter, the first Pope. Of
course, there is no historical proof whatsoever that Peter was
the first Pope,. and in fact it cannot even be proven that he was
ever in Rome. It is more likely that Peter never was in Rome, as
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and there is considerable
record of Paul having spent much time in Rome. Further, there is
absolutely no scriptural proof of Peter having been the head
apostle. Also supporting the position that Peter probably was
never in Rome is the fact that in Galatians 2:7, the apostle Paul
says, "When they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was
committed unto me as the gospel of the circumcision was unto
Peter"; meaning that he, Paul, was an apostle to the
uncircumcision, or Gentiles, and Peter, being an apostle to the
circumcision, was an apostle to the Jews.

     Now Armstrong, in a July 10, 1978 "Pastor's Report," was to
put himself in a position of going against his own previous
teaching and against Scripture as well when he claimed that Peter
had been the head apostle and that in this age, he, Armstrong was
not only the head apostle but the only apostle. Armstrong says,
referring to the power to impose decisions upon the Church, or as
it is called, "bind and loose," "To WHOM did Christ give power to
government is from the TOP DOWN - NOT DEMOCRACY!" Yet the
scriptural example is quite different. In Acts 15 is the account
of the apostles gathering in Jerusalem to discuss the matter of
whether or not Gentile converts to Christianity must be
circumcised. This was a major issue, as the accounts said that
there had been much disputing. Rather than a dictatorial edict
being issued by some apostolic leader,the matter was discussed at
length with Peter, Barnabas, Paul, James, Simeon. James is
recorded as having summarized their opinions. Most likely, others
also contributed to the argument, and it apparently was an
argument of a heated nature, considering the statement that there
had been much disputing. The apostles then agreed among
themselves that circumcision was not required for converts and to
require it would place a yoke upon the neck of others. James, who
was the apostle in Jerusalem and in a sense the host of this
meeting, after hearing the discussion, offered the decision that
the Gentiles who were converted not be required to be
circumcised. That was not the final dogmatic decision. After
James made his statement the apostles, in Verses 22 through 24,
are then reported as having agreed with the decision and deciding
to carry the news to the Gentile churches. But the "plain truth"
of the Bible is not the Plain Truth for Herbert Armstrong. For he
concluded his article in the "Pastor's Report," "God speaks with
a decisive and certain voice through the one HE has chosen, and
used these many years as His instrument. I do not ask your
permission - I TELL YOU as Christ leads me."

     And then the announcements started coming regarding another
about face at Ambassador College. It was now again to be a full
four-year college. The July 17th issue of Good News revealed that
Armstrong was now purging out the deadly leaven of higher
education. Of course this deadly leaven of higher education, as
he called it, was all a result of his son Garner Ted having led
the Church into secularism and into the world's ways. In all
modesty and humility as befits a true minister of Jesus Christ,
Armstrong reveals in this article how he originally established
Ambassador College as what he calls God's college. He said, "I
recognized clearly that I myself as the ONLY available faculty
member possessing SPIRITUAL knowledge must DOMINATE the teaching
staff and inculcate the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD into students." After
two pages of rambling on about his own greatness and character
attacks against his son, whom he accused of removing all of the
Herbert Armstrong trained instructors from important positions,
he said, "The 'coup' had become complete." Armstrong then
continued in explaining why he had to remove his son from the
church, "And THAT, brethren, is why God has roused me to TAKE
OVER - why the living CHRIST has stepped in to HEAD GOD'S CHURCH
Satan had all but WRECKED the Church, the college and the WORK of
SET IT! That is WHY I had been led by CHRIST to move swiftly to

     This man who accused his son of secularism is, incredibly
enough, the very same man who only a few years earlier had stated
that he was embarrassed to represent himself as a minister of a
Church to world leaders. He is the same man who goes to these
world leaders and tells them that whole cause of the world's
problems is the fact that the world follows a way of get and
God's way is a way of give. That is the beginning, the end, and
the sum total of his so-called message of Jesus Christ. The name
Jesus Christ is not mentioned at all. Yet the Church members'
minds are so conditioned to believe anything this man tells them
that they blindly follow. Whomever he accuses of wrong
leadership, disobedience, or disloyalty is automatically guilty
in the minds of the members. Now Herbert Armstrong must fight
vigorously to solidify his position as the apostle, as he fears
his son. He had hoped his son would take the bait of the $50,000
annual payoff, and it didn't work.

     Herbert Armstrong went on to state in the July 31st edition
of Good News, with blaring headlines: "THE GREAT MAJESTIC GOD
Again the constant repetition of the same theme, week after week,
month after month: "Yes, more than generally realized, Satan was
manipulating things to make God's Church and his Work more and
more secular - more like any other purely worldly and human
activity!" His statement, of course, was true. The Church was
becoming more and more secular. However, his son was not the
cause of it - he was.
     Herbert Armstrong would play the game by different rules in
different circumstances and, by constant distortion and
manipulation and by using fear, maintain his base of support. It
seems that egomania and extreme paranoia go hand in hand. While
Armstrong envisions himself as God's apostle, he also feels

     While he feels threatened by his son and the Church of God
International, he also feels threatened by Stanley Rader. He
knows that he is secure only as long as Rader can use him. For,
in fact, Rader controls the Church.
     On the subject of his proper handling of his duties,
Armstrong says, "And if he doesn't? If he needs correction or
removal? If so that is CHRIST'S responsibility - and HE WILL SEE
TO IT. It is not the responsibility of those UNDER the apostle to
correct him. But maybe Christ is NOT LOOKING or maybe Christ
neglects to correct him? Should not the people under him then
take it into their hands? To do so would be to DEFY CHRIST - TO

     Logic clearly says that if Christ is going to correct
Herbert Armstrong, He will do it either by removing him through
death or illness or through the use of other people who may take
certain actions. Yet Armstrong is telling the people that no
matter what they may see wrong, they are to sit idly by and do
nothing. Is this any different than the rationale that Hitler
used on his subjects to convince them that they should say
nothing while millions of Jews were being burned in the ovens?
For many Germans believed as Hitler claimed - that he was a
special leader of the German people ordained by God to fulfill a

     Going ahead to the November 8th issue of "The Pastor's
Report," Armstrong in an article entitled, "HOW CHRIST GIVES
CHURCH ITS DOCTRINES," he fully establishes his Peter Primacy
Theory, In it he states, "Peter did have primacy as chief
apostle." By this time, Armstrong had put into the Worldwide
Church of God the Catholic Doctrine of Peter Primacy, and he,
Armstrong, was the modern-day fulfillment of Peter's office. Now
Herbert Armstrong had fully established the office of Church
leader in a direct parallel to that of the Pope in Rome. This, in
spite of the fact that in earlier years Armstrong had criticized
the Papacy as being of pagan origin, having its roots in the
Babylonian mystery religions.
     To make sure Armstrong had no opposition, he redeveloped his
program to squelch all opposition, and reconstructed the college
in a way that he could produce automatons as graduates, who would
faithfully serve him. Even at his age, he is not one to think in
a short term, as he expects to be around a long time. He fully
expects to be alive when Christ returns. (Remember present tense
for Tuit is writting in 1981 before HWA died - Keith Hunt)

     In speaking to a group of incoming college students,
Armstrong outlined some of his proposed programs. He said that
they were going to have a course in journalism, but not just any
kind of journalism. Besides being God's apostle, Armstrong is
also the leading authority on journalism. He said regarding the
new courses, "One is journalism, but I tell you the journalism of
this world is absolutely wrong. It will have to be the kind of
journalism that God has shown me."
     To further mold minds into the state necessary for blind
obedience, it is necessary that the desire to excel be totally
destroyed. In academic subjects, of course, one must excel to
pass the course. However, Armstrong was to have no spirit of
competition where one would seek to excel in any way over
     In purging out this "evil" concept, this leavening of higher
education that had crept into God's college, Armstrong stated,
"We don't have physical education this year. We want to have it
again, but competition is one of those things that Satan
introduced, so we are not going to have intercollegiate
competition. I never was for that in the first place, and until
my son was taking over and he wanted it, we didn't have it.
That's out and it's going to stay out."

     And then of course, the use of fear. To be obedient, people
must be fearful. Armstrong told the students, "Ambassador College
will never go Satan's way again, I promise you that. And if I
find it tending to, I will close it down."
     And through all this Garner Ted was not getting off lightly
either. His father continued to attack him. Again Armstrong
constantly hammered away at the fact that his son was out to
displace him as God's apostle. He said in the September 21st
"Pastor's Report," "I began to sense an undercover conspiracy for
my son to take over - as two of King David's sons Adonijah and
Absalom tried by deceptive means to conspire to take over David's
throne." From this type of propaganda the Church members were
beginning to get the picture that Garner Ted, who had introduced
evil competitive sports was laying the ground work for training
people to be of an evil conspiratorial mind, as his father
claimed him to be.
     Herbert Armstrong continued: "Ted always wanted a more
liberal way of life than I had learned from GOD'S WORD." What
Herbert Armstrong does not discuss here is whether he himself has
wanted a more liberal way of life than he had learned from God's
word. Whatever liberal conduct Garner Ted had engaged in was
not without precedent in the Armstrong family, as we were to
learn later.

     Continuing to lash out against his very own son, Herbert
Armstrong actually makes what would be more fitting as a
statement of self-indictment. He said, "My son is out to GET not
GIVE. While he writes and by his clever words and 'fear speeches'
he deceives some sincere brethren to thinking he is 'proclaiming
the gospel to the world.' YOU KNOW that is a LIE."

     Having several homes to live in, several chauffeur-driven
limousines, including a Rolls Royce at his beck and call, a
lifestyle befitting that of a king, Armstrong could have written
that very statement about himself from his desk in his Gulfstream
II Jet. But it was becoming increasingly obvious that Herbert
Armstrong was feeling threatened by his son having started a
church. He fought and he fought hard. For a man who hates
competition, he himself could handle it quite well.

     In the December 4th issue of Good News, Armstrong wrote an
article entitled "IS CHRIST STARTING A SECOND CHURCH?" He goes on
at length to claim that there is only one true church, The
Worldwide Church of God headed by God's apostle, himself. He
claims that the acts of his son are quite different from his own
acts in the 1930s when he broke away from the Oregon Conference
of the Church of God. Through convoluted reasoning, Armstrong
claims that he was never a member of that Church, therefore he
did not break away to start a new Church. He claims that he was
uniquely called by God to raise up the end-time Church, the
Worldwide Church of God, which he calls "the Philadelphia era of
the Church."
     He goes on, in the December 18th issue, with two more
articles claiming that God's Church is not composed of many
separate groups and that Christ is the living head of only one
Church not two. Armstrong goes on and on, making the point that
there cannot even be other organizations believing the truth of
God, for if there were, they would be part of the Worldwide
Church of God. Insisting that God's true Church is the Worldwide
Church of God, he accuses his son of incorporating the Church of
God International with a name very close to the Worldwide Church
of God as a means of deceiving and misleading brethren into
thinking it's the same Church.
     Yet Armstrong felt no guilt about operating for years as the
Radio Church of God prior to the Worldwide Church of God, after
he himself withdrew from the Oregon Conference of the Church of
God. While he continues to deny having been part of the Church of
God Seventh Day at Salem, West Virginia, the Church has in its
file the following document containing Herbert Armstrong's
signature: "I am anxious to begin on the ministry which has
fallen to me by lot, in the one body, and am determined by the
help of the Lord to live and teach the commandments of God and
the faith of Jesus Christ as found in the Holy Scriptures, and as
outlined in the Constitution of the Church of God, with world
headquarters at Jerusalem, Palestine. Will you please record this
my acceptance, and have credentials issued to me, according to my
ministry in the body."

     It was interesting to note that not only did Herbert
Armstrong receive his credentials as a minister of that
organization, but he acknowledged that organization as being "the
Body," meaning the Body of Christ or the true Church. How, then,
could he later form another organization and claim that it was
the true Church? Does that mean the other predecessor
organization ceased to be so, even though they remained in
existence? As God's apostle, does he have authority over these
other organizations? One could run in circles trying to figure
out the logic of Herbert Armstrong. But in his own mind the whole
matter is very clear, for he states, "God does not have two
churches - only the ONE Church that Jesus Christ founded in A.D.
31 and raised up to carry on in OUR time through His own chosen
apostle." If that statement is true, then Herbert Armstrong must
have been ordained into the ministry by a false church, in which
case his ordination is fraudulent and not only is he not an
apostle, but he is not even a minister in the Church of God.
     The most incredible aspect of all this, however, was that
Herbert Armstrong's propaganda was very effective. The Church
members, for the most part, believed even more fervently that the
Worldwide Church of God was the only true Church, that Herbert
Armstrong was God's apostle, and that to go against the Church or
Herbert Armstrong was to go against God Himself.

     Among the ministry, even though for the most part there was
a belief in Armstrong's apostleship, many of them harbored severe
doubts about the character and motives of Stanley Rader. Although
they supported Rader's position before their congregations, he
became a subject of increasing concern within their own ranks.
Many were concerned about what they viewed to be Rader's heavy
influence over Herbert Armstrong. In dealing with this matter,
Herbert Armstrong, in an August 21st "Pastor's Report,"
characterized such concern as character assassination, evil
speaking, and destructive gossip, all of which had to be stamped
out of God's Church. He said that he agreed with Rader's position
that an attack against Rader was an attack against him. An attack
against Armstrong was also, according to him, an attack against
God. He was now putting forth a doctrine whereby this continuous
chain an attack against Rader would be in effect an attack
against God. Armstrong said, "But you who have accepted these
defaming innuendos against the character of Stan Rader, ANSWER ME
THIS: What PROOF of evil or wrongdoing on the part of Mr.Rader
have you ever seen? You have come to virtually HATE Mr.Rader, as
I have reason to believe that some of you do. YOU HAVE NO PROOF -
NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!" He then went on to brag about the
qualities of Rader and his exceptional talents and abilities,
keen and brilliant mind, and wealth of experience. Armstrong said
that Rader had been of inestimable value to God's Work. He said
"He has been of VALUE to me in my personal activities in the Work
beyond description."
     Armstrong continued; "I have known for years the GREAT VALUE
of Mr.Stanley Rader's services. The character assassinations
spread among some of the ministry against him was, in reality,
intended to harm the personal representative and apostle of Jesus
Christ - whom HE chose, and for fifty years has USED, in building
this entire great Worldwide WORK!" One must wonder why Herbert
Armstrong would fight so hard to defend Stanley Rader. After all,
if a top executive of an organization, no matter how qualified
for his position, acts in such a way as to create great
dissension among subordinates, then there is a problem which must
be dealt with. It just would not make sense to allow an
organization to tear itself apart at the seams because of such a
     What is interesting in this situation is the fact that while
virtually none of the ministry had gone over to the Church of God
International and Garner Ted Armstrong, there was still a great
concern about Stanley Rader. Armstrong, aware that the ministers
would not submit to political suicide by directly confronting him
with accusations against Rader said, "If any of you have EVIDENCE
or PROOF, of anything, more than hearsay, against Mr.Rader, come
forth with it, and I will deal accordingly. If not, and you still
want to go along condemning him, I will be happy to accept your

     The Rader matter kept seething and bubbling however, and in
the December 4th Good News Armstrong dealt with the matter
further, in an article entitled, "Answering Smear Stories,"
Armstrong reported that Rader said that his health was not up to
par and that all the stress and strain was wearing on him and
that he felt that he should probably resign. This was a standard
tactic of Rader's to reaffirm his position. Whenever Rader felt
that his position was being threatened he would then inform
Armstrong that maybe it would be better for him to resign. Of
course, each time Armstrong would convince him to stay. The
reason according to Armstrong in this article was, "If his health
permits I shall plead with him to stay with me, for I NEED HIM AS
MY ASSISTANT. He is of inestimable value to the Work. His fruits
have been good - actually superb."

     While it would appear that Rader's periodic requests for
permission to resign was for legitimate health reasons, what few
realized at the time that it was in effect a veiled threat to
Herbert Armstrong. What no one knew at the time that this article
appeared was the fact that, contrary to his public statements,
Herbert Armstrong was finally, this time after months of
wrestling with the problem, appearing to remove Rader from his
official position in the Church. This, in spite of the fact that
only two months earlier in October the Associated Press sent a
wire story to the papers throughout the country which called
Rader the new crown prince of the Armstrong empire. According to
that article, there could be no doubt that Garner Ted had been a
loser in a power struggle and that Rader was firmly entrenched.
The article stated, "Four months after the ouster of TV
evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, the troubled Worldwide Church of
God has a new crown prince, a formerly Jewish lawyer - accountant
who could inherit the rich religious empire of Armstrong's
father." Rader was quoted as saying, "Mr.Armstrong has said
publicly very often that I am a son in whom he is well pleased."
     This man, the very man who some in the ministry are
concerned about, the man who Armstrong is publicly exalting while
privately planning to remove, has so displaced Herbert
Armstrong's real son that he now apparently fills that position.
The question of whether or not Rader will succeed Herbert Arm-
strong is really at the root of the concern among the ministry.
Had it not been for Garner Ted's violent objection, Armstrong
would have ordained Rader a minister on the day that he baptized
him. Had that happened, Rader would have been seen at this point
as the obvious successor to Armstrong. Now it could be a matter
of speculation. But if Armstrong had intended at one time to
ordain Rader, might he still do so in spite of his secret desire
to remove him? These were problems that Herbert Armstrong would
have to deal with and in fact would find that he had little to
say about.

     On the matter of succession, Rader said, "I don't feel that
it is my calling. I don't want to be a minister. Of course,
several letters have come in recently telling me that Christ was
not a minister. He was a carpenter." A statement such as that on
the part of Stanley Rader requires little speculation as to his
true motives.
     While the Church was being barraged with the Armstrong-Rader
propaganda, the program of asset liquidation was well under way.
The inoperative Ambassador College campus at Bricket Wood,
England was finally sold in September 1978. The property,
containing nearly two hundred acres with several buildings,
swimming pool, track and other athletic facilites, was sold for
approximately $4 million to the General Electricity Generating
Board. The London Daily Mail, in reporting the sale of the
property, described its history: "Ambassador College, as it now
is, started life early this century as the country residence of
East Indian Merchant Sir David Huel, a former director of the
Midland Bank. In the sixties it was sold to an obscure religious
sect." "Obscure religious sect" - an interesting way for the
Church to be described by a British newspaper after millions had
been spent on Herbert Armstrong's world travels so that the
Church and its message would be known around the world. In a
nation where Armstrong claimed to be co-hosting a movie premiere
with the Queen, the Church is reported as being an "obscure
religious sect." One must wonder what Herbert Armstrong did in
Britain during his lengthy visits other than ride around in his
chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce and spend tens of thousands of
dollars at Harrod's.
     Perhaps Britain was important to Armstrong and Rader as an
operating base from which they could conduct activities in other
countries. The former wife of a leading church official recalls
that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Herbert Armstrong would
boastfully state to her that Rader was taking another trip to
France to meet the Princess. Rader was to go to Paris to
accompany a princess on shopping trips and then return her in the
Church-owned jet to her own country. Since this activity was not
publicized to the Church members, it is hard to conceive how
expenditures for such travel can be justified. While Herbert
Armstrong was not stingy with the Church's money when it came to
running a taxi service for royalty, his attitude toward the
average Church member was quite different.
     Again, the same woman recalls that while she lived in
England with her former husband, while he was a college official,
there was an occasion when Church members from the States were
visiting Ambassador College in Bricket Wood. These people were
planning to return home when Herbert Armstrong coincidentally
planned to return to the States with the Church jet. On that
particular trip, there were few if any others traveling with him,
leaving excess available space on board. It was suggested to him
that perhaps he could bring these visitors back to the States,
since he had extra room. Armstrong's comment was, "Who are they
anyway? They are just Church members. I don't have time for

     While he enjoyed the ego satisfaction of associating with
royalty and leading political figures around the world, he had no
time for the people who were paying the freight. He was certainly
correct when he would say that God's way was the way of outgoing
love and concern for others whereas the world's way was the way
of get. However, the example that he was setting was quite
contrary to the message that he preached. All this is not new, as
it has often been said that ministers don't practice what they
preach. It's such an old, worn-out cliche, yet it appears that
few have carried it to the extreme as Herbert Armstrong has.
     Along with the sale of the Bricket Wood campus, similar
plans were being made for the Big Sandy, Texas campus of
Ambassador College. On October 31st, Rader announced that the Big
Sandy campus would be sold to F.William Menge of Lynchburg,
Virginia, and that the property was to be used by the James
Robison Evangelistic Association. The entire sixteen-hundred-acre
parcel, which included full college facilities, several lavish
homes, an operating farm and an airfield capable of handling
small jet aircraft, was to be sold for $10.6 million dollars.
There were many who considered this price to be far below its
true value and, to top it off, this was the property for which
Herbert Armstrong many years ago had asked the people of the
Church to sacrifice financially, as he said that God had placed
His Name there. Such words coming from the apostle would
virtually make the Big Sandy campus hallowed ground. Yet it was
now being sold at a bargain price to one of the "world's
churches," that Armstrong often characterized as "Satan's

     During this same period of time the Church had announced
plans to dispose of at least two convention properties used for
the annual Feast of Tabernacles. This constant process of asset
liquidation to cover operating deficits would never be tolerated
in a business enterprise, and it certainly should not be
tolerated in a church. Here was an organization with tens of
millions of dollars in assets and since it was a charitable,
non-profit organization, the officers were actually trustees of
these properties. They, according to law, administered the assets
as a trust and had a fiduciary responsibility. Yet Armstrong and
Rader could capriciously do as they wished with these assets, as
though it was all their own personal property.
     Truly the title bestowed upon Rader by the news media,
"crown prince of the Armstrong empire," was fitting, as the
entire operation was and still is no more than a personal kingdom
with the tithe-paying members of the Church being no more than
mere serfs. And as loyal serfs, most of them had so long ago
stopped thinking, that they were very happy to continue being

     As one who was by this time a former member planning a
lawsuit against the Church leaders, one could say it was no
longer any concern of mine if the members didn't care. But it
went far beyond that. Perhaps the members didn't care, but they
were not the only ones supporting the activities of the
organization. Over 24 percent of the income to the Church in 1977
was received from nonmember contributors. These are people who
for one reason or another, having heard the broadcasts or
received The Plain Truth or other Church literature, decided to
contribute. These contributors consist of occasional contributors
known as "donors" and "co-workers" which was a classification
given to those contributors who contributed at least twice in a
twelve month period. Once one had fallen into the category of
"co-worker" he was then on the mailing list for the "co-worker"
letters, the propaganda sheets sent out by Armstrong boasting of
his fulfilling of the great commission, and soliciting additional
financial support. These non-member contributors certainly were
not of the same commitment to the organization as were the Church
members. In most cases, they merely thought, from the superficial
view that they had of the organization, that they were supporting
an evangelistic work that was bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
to the world, while in many cases not even being in agreement
with all of the Church's doctrines.

     One fact remains, however. Non-member contributors, as do
members, have a right to expect their contributions to be used
for the purpose for which they were given. While a
rationalization could be made that the members could handle any
dispute internally by discussing questions with their ministers,
that option is not open to the non-members. Therefore, there was
no doubt in my mind that even though I had withdrawn from the
Church, I still had a duty to pursue this matter. The Worldwide
Church of God was a tax-exempt organization receiving certain
benefits from the State and Federal Government, including reduced
postage rates and the ability to purchase broadcast time on the
federally licensed broadcast stations. As such, the general
public has a right to be protected from misrepresentation.
     If an organization wishes to misrepresent itself to members
and  defraud them, it may be considered an internal matter. Once
the general public becomes involved, it is quite another


To be continued with "Ted's Feast"

  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

Navigation List:

Word Search: