Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HWA Disfellowshipping his Son (June 28, 1978)

Let us take a look at HWA's co-worker letter disfellowshipping his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, published June 28, 1978.

Let us begin.
[Satan] used the secular and worldly faculty members -- the ONLY KIND then obtainable -- to turn Ambassador into a rubber stamp of the schools of higher education in Satan's world. There was every subtle effort to THROW CHRIST OUT OF THE COLLEGE. But Christ was on His Father's throne. I looked solely to HIM -- trusted solely in HIM. And Ambassador became truly God's college. AND IT GREW!
That highlighted statement is quite deceptive because as is well documented elsewhere HWA in fact relied on his co-workers by manipulating them with co-worker letters begging them for money.
Ambassador College was started October 8, 1947. It was started for the SOLE PURPOSE as GOD'S OWN COLLEGE of training ministers and other needed administrative personnel for the Work.
Aha! HWA finally admits what was apparent to so many observers, it was not a true liberal arts college. He many times claimed Ambassador College was not a Bible College but a liberal arts institution.

He then presents his fairly lengthy account of Garner Ted Armstrong's history in WCG.

First he mentions how Garner Ted Armstrong viewed his father's religion with more than a little weariness as a young person.
As a little boy growing up, Garner Ted was one of the most lovable boys -- with a most lovable spirit -- I ever knew. However, what Christ was preaching through his father, even then, (as he himself has said publicly many times) was merely "Dad's religion" held naturally in some degree of boyish contempt.
 Then HWA tells of how he left home to join the navy, without his parents' approval.
At age 18, as the college was getting started, he "ran off" -- so to speak -- and without our parental knowledge joined the navy. His four year "hitch" ended in, I believe, late spring or early summer of 1952. The first three years in the navy he had become assistant manager of the Naval Office at San Diego -- his last year, in the war in North Korea on the carrier "Antietan."
HWA then describes how he gave his son a job after he returned from the war.
On his return to civilian life, I made him manager of our general office. He entered Ambassador College that fall in order to hold his job -- for all such jobs had to be available for students working their way through.
HWA then describes how Garner Ted Armstrong become persuaded that HWA's group was worth following.
During his freshman year a series of articles was running in LOOK magazine on the religions of the world. Ted became enamored with the article on "What Is Christianity?" written by a famous New York minister. What grabbed his interest was the statement that first the writer would tell readers what Christianity IS NOT. It is NOT, the article said, "a way of life." Then it so happened that in freshman Bible studies Ted noticed on an open two pages in the book of Acts in his Bible that Christianity was some four or five times referred to as "THIS WAY." Ted has related publicly many times how shocked he was to see that -- IN HIS OWN BIBLE. He underscored these four or five references to "THIS WAY." That, he has said publicly, led to his conversion. And I certainly BELIEVED he had become a thoroughly converted young man.
And so Garner Ted Armstrong fell into HWA's clutches, only to be spewed out and demonized as filth twenty five years later.

HWA then relates how he worked with HWA in his brief foray into TV broadcasting, which was the start of his extremely successful career at preaching WCG's message.
As the years went by, Ted had become president of the Student Body of the College, and had begun preaching sermons in the Church. In June 1955, I went on television. I think Ted had participated in at least one radio broadcast by that time. His brother, Richard David, had spoken on a few radio programs -- once from Paris. During this TV series, I let my two sons participate with me on a television program. Ted seemed to take to television, as I often expressed it, "like a duck to water."
This TV series was consuming my entire time. It was leaving no time for my other duties of heading the day-to-day executive leadership in God's Work. In January 1956, I went off TV. Experience up to that time had shown me that it was daily radio broadcasting that was building the Work. ...
Ted had shown aptitude on the TV series -- in fact, I had let him do one program by himself. Naturally, I had encouraged him to begin doing occasional radio programs. At times his voice sounded so much like mine that people could hardly tell which of us was speaking.
HWA then relates how Meredith encouraged HWA to appoint Garner Ted Armstrong as vice-president.
Meanwhile, Rod Meredith had been making strides towards becoming one of our top ministers. Dr. Meredith began urging me to make Garner Ted vice-president. The Work was GROWING, the organization was expanding. So I did make Garner Ted vice-president and later Dr. Meredith second vice-president. As we were passing through the sixties, Ted began gradually doing more and more of the radio programs
Reading that statement I could not help but wonder if HWA was putting his son down by portraying Meredith as working within the ministry longer than him. Reading this letter it seems HWA's relations with Meredith were quite good at the time. That would not last. Later HWA turned against Meredith in 1980 and sent him to exile in Hawai'i, sent him a most scathing letter in which he said Meredith was not qualified to succeed him, and he never restored him to his previous prominence. Again it appears HWA removed Meredith to protect Rader.

HWA then relates how Garner Ted Armstrong was temporarily removed from preaching duties in 1971 but was later allowed back, but then HWA again removed him from preaching duties after his son did even worse things. He accuses his son of drinking beer and gambling in this letter, but it appears from other sources that the real reason for these acts of discipline was that Garner Ted Armstrong was having an affair with another woman.
This time I was unable to keep it private -- and the news media picked it up. But I still tried to protect Ted by refusing to reveal the real reason for his disfellowship. News media hounded me, but all they could get out of me was that he had been sent away because of "personal emotional problems."
That last statement is very misleading.

In an interview with Time magazine HWA hinted at Garner Ted Armstrong's transgression. He was quite oblique about it, he did not speak plainly, but he gave away more than he claimed in this 1978 letter. At least that was my impression when I read HWA's remarks in Time's article, Where are You, Garner Ted? HWA was more open about the scandal then he lets on here.

After Time magazine learned that HWA apparently sent a secret letter which stated that Garner Ted Armstrong was "in the bonds of Satan" a reporter from Time magazine naturally asked the question everyone wanted to know.
What sort of transgression? TIME Correspondent Sandra Burton posed the question to Herbert Armstrong in a rare interview last week. "Look up I Timothy, Chapter 3, first five or six verses," replied Armstrong, "and Titus, Chapter 1, verse 6" Both passages make two points in common: that a bishop or church elder must be faithful to his wife and rule strictly over believing children. Had handsome Garner Ted succumbed to an old and common temptation? His father was cryptic: "The fault was spiritual, not moral." In the heterodox, rigidly disciplined Christianity of the Worldwide Church of God, that could mean anything. ("Where are You, Garner Ted?", Time, May 15, 1972, p. 46.)
(Link is subscriber only, alas.)

For the sake of completeness here are the Scriptural passages HWA cited to Ms. Burton.
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (I Timothy 3: 1-6.)

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Titus 1:6.)
After being directed to these verses how could one not think that Garner Ted Armstrong must have committed adultery? Once again we see that HWA is not telling his followers what really happened. HWA gave a cryptic answer to the media that did absolutely nothing to stop rumors (which were later proven correct) that Garner Ted Armstrong was engaging in an adulterous relationship, but instead simply inflamed such speculation.

We now return to HWA's 1978 letter disfellowshipping his son.

HWA accuses his son of bearing an intense grudge against Meredith.
By this time, Ted had come to have a very special aversion against Dr. Roderick Meredith, who had urged me to put Ted in an executive vice-presidency in the first place -- years before. Ted had exceedingly hot and angry words against all ten or twelve of us in general and Dr. Meredith in particular.
HWA then clumsily compares himself to President Nixon and his cover up of the Watergate affair. 
Brethren, let me interject at this point to remind you of GOD'S TEACHING so contrary to this world's in regard to publicizing the wrongs or sins of another. God teaches us that "LOVE COVERS." In the worldwide notoriety about "Watergate" President Nixon was accused, condemned and forced to resign because of what Satan's world called the sin of "COVER-UP." In other words, the world regarded it a sin because Mr. Nixon did not come right out in public and before the whole world defaming the United States by reporting the whole affair. If Jesus Christ had been in office (of course He could not take such political office in this world), He would have properly CORRECTED those guilty -- in whatever punishment was in His sight fitting to CORRECT AND ABOLISH such evil and, IN LOVE for both the guilty and for this nation, He would have COVERED IT UP! I have only followed the WAY OF CHRIST, trying desperately through the years to COVER UP my son's sins and mistakes -- while at the same time NOT condoning his sins, but trying to give God's kind of punishment which CORRECTS AND RESTORES to the grace of God, rather than to act in hostility and revenge.
HWA seems to not have a very good understanding of the Watergate scandal. I would have thought perjury was indefeasible according to the laws of God and humanity.

After this HWA then gets to the point, he defends Stanley Rader. HWA claims Rader could not possibly have a grudge against Garner Ted Armstrong because he supported his reinstatement in 1972. Just because Rader did that in 1972 does not mean he would treat Garner Ted Armstrong so amicably in 1978.
I STOOD ALONE among the higher rank ministers of the Church in trying to bring my son to the real repentance and restore him IN THE WORK. The ONLY man who stood with me -- working for Ted's repentance and restoration -- was the man he now HATES apparently above all men and without cause -- Mr. Stanley R. Rader! It was Mr. Rader who was constantly helping me to restore Ted into God's grace and forgiveness and to his place in the Work! Because of the slanderous innuendos of character assassination my son has cast out of his mouth against Mr. Rader, there are some -- even ministers -- in the Church who would GO OUT of the Church rather than show any of the milk of Christian kindness towards Mr. Rader. And yet NONE of these has seen or had one iota of PROOF of any wrongdoing by Mr. Rader. He is my assistant and I regard him BY HIS FRUITS -- which are of VERY GREAT VALUE TO GOD'S WORK -- rather than unfounded emotional prejudices and hatred. After I had worked tirelessly with Ted by continuous letters trying to restore him to grace, right conduct and his position in the Work (always with Mr. Rader's invaluable help), by June 1972 I felt that PROBABLY my son -- my ONLY living son -- had made the necessary CHANGE OF MIND and attitude.
I love that last highlighted statement "(always with Mr. Rader's invaluable help)". It is so fawning to Rader. It is odd to see the leader being so docile with Rader. With servile statements such as these it is no wonder so many in WCG feared Rader would take over leadership WCG.

It appears the real reason Garner Ted Armstrong was cast out of WCG was to protect Rader's power within WCG. There was a power struggle brewing between Garner Ted Armstrong and Rader for HWA's favor. HWA eventually decided to side with Rader and cast out his own son for being in Rader's way.

It also appears that Stanley Rader might have been blackmailing HWA with help from a Dr. Floyd Lochner, who was a trusted companion of HWA's and apparently had access to embarrassing information concerning HWA. He was allied with Rader.

Rader was trying to set himself as HWA's right hand man and anointed successor so that in time he would gain control of WCG. After reading John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Make You Free (which has often been discussed here), I am persuaded that was indeed the case. It is a remarkable testament to the dysfunctional nature of WCG that Rader nearly succeeded.

HWA says he decided to restore his son to some of his former duties and unexpectedly restored his son to his duties sooner then he had planned. HWA then complains that his son was overstepping his boundaries and covertly making decisions HWA should have made.

Apparently Garner Ted Armstrong has the power to keep God the Father and Christ out of communication.
When Garner Ted maneuvered to shut off communication of what REALLY was going on, -- when he SHUT OFF ALL AUTHORITY ABOVE HIM -- he not only shut me off, but also HE SHUT OFF CHRIST AND GOD ALMIGHTY WHO STAND ABOVE ME!
HWA then vehemently denies that Rader is in charge.
whether you realized it or not -- Satan was craftily leading my son to say -- or imply -- that his father was now old and senile -- my mind was in a fog -- I did not know what was going on -- I was being manipulated by those in top administrative positions, and Mr. Rader. He has spread the POINT BLANK LIE that Mr. Rader is now actually heading the Church and Work. Brethren, I brand that as a Satan LIE! Mr. Rader does not even have any administrative position -- except in the AICF
He then states that he has ordered Rader to fold up Quest magazine to show WCG members he is in charge.
I HAVE GIVEN THE DIRECT ORDER TO MR. RADER TO SELL OR DISPOSE OF THE MAGAZINE QUEST 78 as soon as possible. I was never enthusiastic about this magazine, but I went along with it under the understanding that I was to write the LEADING ARTICLE in every issue. I said emphatically at the beginning that the magazine could not succeed otherwise. But men of SECULAR EXPERTISE hired to run it deceived Mr. Rader. The magazine now is showing a slight profit through advertising sales and subscription price, but I have given a firm order which Mr. Rader will at once follow: "SELL IT OR GET RID OF IT!"
HWA then explains how relations with his son gradually deteriorated until HWA ordered his own son to be shunned by all WCG members.

Intriguingly HWA notes what his son said during their last personal meeting.
we had one more private talk in which he rose and said to his father, "I could DESTROY you, Dad!"
It was later revealed that this was a reference to Herbert W. Armstrong's incestuous relationship with his daughter from around 1933-44. At the time the incest was not public knowledge so WCG members at the time had no idea this statement was about HWA's incest.

Relevant to this discussion is what Ambassador Report 27 (April 1984) has to say about this meeting.
In spite of church upheavals, arguments with his father, personal emotional problems and considerable notority about his own sins, Ted said nothing about his father's shameful past. Not until 1978.

That year, during a heated argument between GTA and his father, HWA threatened to "destroy" Ted through making public certain information about his personal life. But Ted responded in kind saying he could destroy HWA with the information he had. Ted charged his father in no uncertain terms, yelling: "You fucked my sister!" Herbert, shocked at Ted's knowledge of the incestuous relationship, could only reply, "Well there have been times in my life when I have gotten far away from God." The conversation - overheard by GTA associate Benny Sharp - was the last face to face meeting between the two men. And Ted has since related how the hateful look he saw in his father's eye made him suspect they would never see each other again. 
Alas, Garner Ted Armstrong proved correct with that suspicion.
Yesterday I sent to him the official letter, heartbreaking as it was to me, disfellowshipping him from the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD! That means, brethren, that on pain of being themselves disfellowshipped and PUT OUT of God's Church [WCG], you are all, according to CHRIST'S COMMAND, restrained from contact with, or conversation with, Garner Ted Armstrong -- no longer a member of this Church!
How terrible it is that HWA falsely assumes to himself the authority of Christ to inflict this vicious and hateful order upon WCG members. A group ordering people who they can or cannot talk to is a telltale sign that it is a destructive cult. This is a terrible abuse of power and it should never be given to any self appointed false prophet like HWA.

HWA ends the letter with these words.
The Work GREW AND GREW with God's blessing for the thirty-five years up to 1969 -- SINCE THEN GOD'S BLESSING HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN. We had been tending to forget GOD, letting Laodicean lukewarmness leaven us. CHRIST SAYS NOW, AWAKE! Rise up from this stupor that has drugged us! RALLY BEHIND CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLE! LET'S GET ON WITH GETTING THE JOB DONE.

Brethren, THANK YOU for your loyalty!

With deepest love in Jesus' name, 
Herbert W. Armstrong 
It is nonsense for HWA to portray WCG before 1969 as being some sort of golden age as he does here. This is nonsense. 

And so now we have seen how HWA announced the disfellowshipping of his own son to WCG members and co-workers. It is a sad reminder of the viciously authoritarian nature of HWA's rule over WCG members. It reveals once again what a terrible cult HWA had created around himself.

(Update: March 29, 2014. I have changed the link to

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