Chapter 3 discusses the scandal that erupted once it was learned from 1971 onwards that Garner Ted Armstrong was committing adultery with numerous women. About 30 to "more than 40" women were later known by name by those who investigated this matter within WCG. (Chapter 3, p. 43.)
Some of these women, it seems, were later married to WCG ministers.
Sometimes these stories [of Garner Ted Armstrong's adulteries] came from the women themselves, especially when some of them began to suspect they were not the "only one" who had "led Ted astray by their irresistible personal charms," as they had been led to believe. When women, many of whom were married to men in the ministry, began to compare college notes, the sordid story circulated. (Chapter 3, p. 41-2.)Later, after Garner Ted Armstrong was reinstated into power.
Ted was named HWA's successor, formally. This was too much for ministers whose wives had shared a bad with Ted during their college days. The number of "disaffected" ministers grew. (Chapter 3, p. 42.)No wonder these ministers, fueled partly by this sexual humiliation, stood up and protested at HWA's quick reinstatement of Garner Ted Armstrong and proceeded to lead a mass defection from WCG.
Oddly enough, despite the adultery scandal, Garner Ted Armstrong was still greatly beloved by many WCG members. David Robinson states that in 1973 it was Garner Ted Armstrong who held the love of the people (pp. 59-60). HWA had become used to simply reusing the same sermon again and again, but his son spoke in a much more dynamic and lively manner. The crowds of WCG members came for his son, not HWA. Security had to be careful that he was not mobbed by devoted adherents who yearned to even so much as touch him.
When HWA deposed Garner Ted Armstrong in 1978 he alleged that this was because he was liberalizing WCG doctrine and leading WCG to fall under God's curse. HWA claimed this liberalizing was done covertly behind his back.
This is what WCG's leaders said to the lay members. But the picture was quite different for the WCG ministers who were closer to the action. Although HWA insisted that Garner Ted Armstrong was conniving to lead WCG into doctrinal error and to overthrow HWA in fact HWA had always been firmly in control of WCG during the entire "liberal" 1970s era. David Robinson succinctly shows us this was the case.
But let one thing be made clear -- nothing was ever done without Herbert Armstrong's knowing, if he wanted to know! And, if he chose to do something, nothing stopped him. The idea that major changes were made without his knowledge and approval is incompatible with reality. Also it should be noted that Stan Rader advised him in church matters years and years before he was ever "baptized." (Chapter 5, pp. 55-6. Italics in original.)During the Feast of Tabernacles of 1977 Garner Ted Armstrong met with his father and HWA, shortly after his heart attack, begged him not to seize control of WCG. Garner Ted Armstrong promised not to do so and he did nothing to overthrow HWA. But HWA would later show no mercy when he decided to cast out his own son. (Chapter 7, p.89.)
Robinson believed HWA had been plotting to oust his son since 1975 and he probably would have done it far earlier if he was not so obsessed with sex at the time. (Chapter 8, p. 95.)
HWA's letter disfellowshipping and shunning Garner Ted Armstrong is reproduced on Chapter 8, p. 101.
Alas, HWA seemed to have a strong and constant paranoid fear that others were conspiring against him.
Many of those who have known him long, including some of his own family, report he has always talked of conspiracy against himself. He saw everyone, including members of his own family, as collaborators against him. His persecution complex was always strong. (Chapter 10, p. 116.)Robinson mentions that Dr. Floyd Lochner (of Lochner tapes infamy) speculated that HWA grew a vastly over sized ego as a way of compensating for his short stature. (Chapter 10, p. 113.)
Later when David Robinson met HWA for the last time
He [HWA] then asked if I knew why he had put Ted out of the church. I just sat and looked interested. He repeated the question, demanding a response. I was quite sure I knew the reason why, that reason being that Ted tried to correct some of the almost unbelievable abuses of the church's resources. I still think Ted was coming to maturity and really hated the terrible practices of his father's party. So, not wanting to get into that, I replied, "Because of Ted's insubordination to you."What madness! How could HWA believe something so utterly divorced from reality? When Garner Ted Armstrong started up his own COG group he continued to teach much of what HWA taught.
"Oh, no," he replied. "Not that. And it wasn't because of the problems of 1974. It was because Ted believes nothing that his father does. That is the reason I disfellowshipped him." (Chapter 19, p. 256. Italics in original.)
When reading Robinson's conversation with HWA one is caught up in a sense that this man, HWA, is a state of near madness and that anything is possible. It is a most remarkable portrait of this dreadfully dysfunctional man.
David Robinson has revealed a remarkable account of the destructive relationship between father and son that led to so much turmoil within WCG.
You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it. As has been seen here it is well worth reading.