Saturday, June 22, 2013

HWA's Heart was in Impressing World Leaders, Not Feeding the Flock

When Herbert W. Armstrong was meeting with many world leaders he was embarrassed by the fact that he represented a church, the Worldwide Church of God.
Armstrong said further, "One thing has been a serious handicap, and caused me and my touring team no little embarrassment. We have had to say that we represent either Ambassador College or Worldwide Church of God. I am regarded as an Ambassador for WORLD PEACE. But if I represent a CHURCH, immediately that shouts to them RELIGION."

Somehow in Herbert Armstrong's convoluted way of thinking, he was convincing Church leaders that he could deliver the Gospel, a religious message, by not sounding religious and hiding behind a secular organization [the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation]. Most ministers kept this to themselves. When it was mentioned to their congregations, it was put forth in such a way that the people swallowed the whole story without even realizing what was going on.

Armstrong's trips continued, with his world travels becoming The Great Commission such an important part of his activity that a pamphlet was produced by the Church, entitled "Herbert W. Armstrong, Ambassador for World Peace." [Published 1975.] On the front cover is a photo of Armstrong and Rader descending the steps from the Gulfstream 11 jet owned by the Church. The inside cover shows a picture of Herbert Armstrong and the legend "HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, A BUILDER OF BRIDGES BETWEEN ALL PEOPLES EVERYWHERE". (Source.)
No doubt Stanley Rader and Osamu Gotoh did a lot to make HWA's meetings with world leaders possible, but it is simply inexcusable that HWA was embarrassed of the triple tithe paying members of the Worldwide Church of God whose many sacrifices had made his meetings with world leaders possible. They gave him the money. It is astounding that he tried to hide them away like they were an embarrassment.

Did he really think so little of WCG members?

Read what HWA said again:
One thing has been a SERIOUS HANDICAP, and caused ME and MY touring team NO LITTLE EMBARRASSMENT. We have had to say that we represent either Ambassador College or Worldwide Church of God. 
For HWA the WCG members were not just a "little handicap", they were "a serious handicap".

For HWA the WCG members caused him not just a "little embarrassment" but "no little embarrassment". 

They are the reason you could meet world leaders in the first place, HWA. You should have been proud to represent people who adored you so much, HWA.

But despite this many WCG members did not quite grasp what a terrible slight they had been given by HWA.
The continual outpouring of propaganda from Pasadena served to keep the members ever mindful of their great calling, which, as interpreted by Herbert Armstrong, was to support him in what he called "the great commission." I did believe, as did so many others, that God was miraculously opening doors to these nations so that Armstrong could go in with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
 Now notice this:
In a September 1976 issue of The Plain Truth, one of the more notable projects of the AICF was featured. The AICF was a sponsor of Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem, where a replica of the Liberty Bell, a gift from the city of Philadelphia, was to be placed. Armstrong and Rader were to have taken part in the dedication of this Park... [See PDF pp. 3, 41-44.]

The October 1976 issue of The Plain Truth had a feature article about the city of Jerusalem with several photographs of Armstrong with various dignitaries, including Mayor Teddy Kollek. [See PDF pp. 5, 42-46.] One significant photograph showed Armstrong, Rader, Mrs.Rader and Kollek standing by a sign on which it said, "Under Construction Here Childrens' Playground, A gift of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, H.W.Armstrong, President." [The photo is on PDF p. 44.]

This playground was part of the Liberty Bell Garden. I wonder now how I could have been so impressed by that when as I think back, I should have seen that the name of the Worldwide Church of God was missing. It should have been apparent that Church money, while being used supposedly to preach the Gospel, was being used for other purposes. However noble these purposes might have been, hiding the Church behind the Foundation hardly seemed to be the way to preach the Gospel.
(As an intriguing side note PCG later stuck another sign on the Liberty Bell Garden claiming that the Philadelphia Foundation made the playground and that HWA was the founder of the Philadelphia Foundation, not Gerald Flurry, simply further confusing the issue.
Upon discovering in 1997 that the original plaque commemorating the park's donation was missing, Gerald Flurry offered the city a replacement plaque. The new plaque states that the playground was a gift from the Philadelphia Foundation, Herbert W. Armstrong founder and Gerald R. Flurry president, which is a two-fold lie: The playground was not donated by the Philadelphia Foundation which was not founded by Herbert W. Armstrong. This is just a lying "sign," written up in the July/Aug. 2001 Royal Vision, pg. 1.
What an unholy mess! Let us continue.)

In contrast to all of HWA's gallivanting around the world lay members of WCG such as John Tuit yearned to spread "the truth" but there was little money and support from Headquarters to support such grassroots endeavors as John Tuit shows in Chapter 5.
Finally, in the summer of 1977, it appeared that I would be able to serve in the Church as I had so desired to do. By this time a Sabbath school program had been established in our congregation and Paula had the responsibility of a substitute Sabbath school teacher....

The Sabbath school program was headed up by Harriet Barkei, wife of Elder Herman Barkei. It seems strange that Church headquarters had no Sabbath school materials at all for use in the program. All lesson materials had to be developed locally, and Harriet, with a group of assistants, did a fine job preparing a complete set of lessons. What seems so strange was that in discussing the financial needs of the program with the minister, Harriet was told that there was no money in the budget at headquarters to fund a Sabbath school program. All such funding had to be done on a local basis. 

We had no idea, at the time that we were told this, that Garner Ted Armstrong, at about the very same time, was being instructed by his father to sign checks for tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewels and furs for his wife Ramona.

There was plenty of Church money for pearls of adornment, but no money to bring the pearls of great price to our little children. Money for international trips and gifts for world leaders, but no money for Sabbath school lessons. In spite of this handicap, we managed. The Ladies' Club provided the money as best they could for the needs of the school and I reproduced all the lesson materials on my old Remington photocopier. 
As Jesus said "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21.) This shows where HWA's heart really was.


  1. All About Armstrongism has mentioned this post. I wish to state my thanks and appreciation to All About Armstrongism. I am glad you found it useful.

    Let me also state I have found All About Armstrongism is a good COG blog. Particularly memorable are the posts describing how HWA threatened WCG members with the Lake of Fire if they did not give him more money, and how HWA mocked a charity ad that wanted to feed the starving in Africa and said funding his church was better.

  2. We should all remember Herbert Armstrong threatening us to dump us all and start over with his "Eight Japanese Sons".

    This is typical of a psychopath, with abandonment as the final act of their little drama.

    If he were actually a minister of Jesus Christ, he would not deny his association with Jesus' followers because it is the same as denying Christ.

    As it is, he wasn't an apostle, he wasn't really a minister and when you get right down to it, he wasn't much of a man.

    No fruit of the Spirit seems to have been evident and he proved it over a lifetime of anger, ego and abusiveness as if he were some Oriental Potentate.

    Although he may have repeatedly attacked the evil of people and governments in his sermons, he never got down to the real evil of Corporations because he was so part and product of them with no socially redeeming qualities.

    Of course, if he had preached against Corporations, he would not have made billions and would not have lasted very long.