Monday, February 1, 2016

John Amos: A Biographical Sketch

John Amos (1929-93) was Gerald Flurry's assistant pastor and was fired with him out of WCG in December 1989. He, along with Gerald Flurry, was one of only two WCG ministers who proceeded to establish the Philadelphia Church of God in December 1989. He died in 1993. Ever since he has been favorably remembered by the leadership of PCG and their followers.

There is not much information available about him. Considering his importance in establishing one of the major COG splinter groups we deserve to know more about him.

Let us take a look at what may be known of the late John Amos.

The July 1965 Church of God News reports a theater show held on May 30, 1965 for Radio Church of God members. The show was hosted by John Amos.
The Phoenix Church was pleasantly surprised with a well-planned display of previously untapped ability in the talent show sponsored by the Phoenix Spokesman Club on Sunday night, May 30. Painstaking preparation and practice under the leadership, inspiration, and prodding of Mr. John Amos produced a fast-moving and humorous program. (p. 8.)
John Amos was one of the performers. Here was his routine.
After the interview the scene changed to the studios of Radio KOS (Chaos)--a typical rock and roll station--and disc jockey John Amos. He presented news flashes, weather, music (?), and sports results with the aid of his staff. The final news bulletin was that, in the interest of public welfare, the entire staff of Radio KOS had been chosen for the next manned orbital flight. The duration of the orbiting was not disclosed but a walk in space was hinted at. The curtain closed on this final act accompanied by the roar of the first stage booster rocket. (p. 8.) 
The December 1965 Church of God News mentioned that a second Spokesmen Club had been established in Phoenix. John Amos is listed as one of the secretaries for one of these clubs. (p. 2.)

In was in this Phoenix congregation that John Amos met and married the woman who became Mrs. Helen Amos. They were married on December 11, 1967 according to a 2015 PCG article by Grant Turgeon.

According to a 2013 PCG article by Gareth Fraser John Amos had experience working with radio broadcasts and also worked with media sales for WCG.
His career experience as a broadcast enthusiast, student of Hollywood High, World War II radio operator, radio show host and voice-over specialist in the dominant Southern California market, coupled with his service under Herbert W. Armstrong’s direction in media sales for The World Tomorrow, headquartered from Pasadena, and role as longtime minister of the Worldwide Church of God, well positioned him for any contribution he would make to the genesis of the Trumpet magazine’s sponsor. (Gareth Fraser, Why You Must Remember John Amos, April 4, 2013.)
Some of John Amos' work for media sales to advance The World Tomorrow broadcast may be seen in the pages of the Bulletin.

One name that appears in these mentions of John Amos is that of Henry Cornwall. He was associated with Stanley Rader, a man who at one time held great power within WCG until he was somehow ousted from his prominent position in 1981.

The May 1, 1973 Bulletin mentions John Amos as being present in a meeting in Los Angeles trying to get The World Tomorrow on more television stations.
Worldwide Advertising recently sponsored a luncheon meeting at Perino's in Los Angeles, for all the television representatives in this area. About twenty were in attendance. Their firms represent practically all the television stations in the United States and Canada. Henry Cornwall, Budde Marino, Dan Ricker, John Amos and I were all present. We showed them a short preview tape of the Personal Appearance summer specials and a complete half-hour daily TV program. We presented them with information regarding our fall programming, emphasizing the capabilities of our Research Team worldwide. We also emphasized the high level meetings of Mr. Herbert Armstrong as well as the worldwide educational efforts of Ambassador College. Several of the reps gave sincere comments of appreciation for this additional information about Garner Ted Armstrong's programs. (p. 11.)
The May 14, 1973 issue of Worldwide News mentions the same meeting trying to get The World Tomorrow on more TV stations as well as trying to release special prime time broadcasts.
Arrangements are shaping up for televising public appearance summer specials. People in 67 of the top 100 U.S. markets will see Gamer Ted Armstrong on TV this summer. Plans call for three one hour specials to be aired on three successive nights in prime time where 43-percent of the U.S. population lives. ....

Mr. Norman Smith, Media Divison head; Henry Cornwall, vice president of Worldwide Advertising; and Budde Marino, Dan Ricker and John Amos, members of the Worldwide Church of God who have had extensive experience in advertising, television and radio, were present to make the presentation and answer individual questions about the program and programing plans. (p. 15.)
The December 31, 1973 Bulletin contains the following short report made by John Amos discussing ratings in Bakersfield, California.
Here's some good news about our TV program ratings. KERO in Bakersfield reports that the ARB rating shows them having 14,000 homes listening to Garner Ted on Sunday evening at 5:30, and only 4,000 homes on each of the other two stations. We got a "6" rating. We are competing against a movie (long established in that market) and a local interview show on the other facility (submitted by John Amos). (p. 19.)
The July 17, 1974 Bulletin credits John Amos as the media buyer and also contains an anecdote by John Amos.
John Amos, Media Buyer ; (p. 1.)
The editor mentioned an anecdote Amos shared in this issue.
John Amos, our Media Buyer, has an inspiring experience to relate which can have immense bearing on getting the broadcast into most of our local areas. (p. 30.)
And here is the anecdote in question written by John Amos.
AN INSPIRING EXPERIENCE With the news in the last Bulletin that additional funds will be available for 43 new TV stations and 20 new radio stations, our work load here at the Worldwide Advertising Agency has happily increased. For that reason many church areas will have the TV or radio program for the first time.

Mr. Cornwall and I always get a thrill out of putting the program in a new area whether it be a great city or "Dirt," Nebraska (if you live there . .. no offense). We always look forward to the first reports of response calls or letters to see if "our" buy was a good one.

I had a recent experience over the 4th of July weekend I would like to relate to you that I believe would be helpful to the congregation in your area. It is typical of all of us who really want the gospel to go out and don 't have a radio or TV station in town broadcasting the program.

In this particular church area I visited, people would say to me, "When are you going to get us a station?" I have been asked that many times in different cities and I have always said, "We are trying" or "we just don't have the budget now." Well, this time I had the same old answers to the same old questions till a thought came to me after a dramatic display of God's hand at this 4th of July outing. Here's what happened:

Over 300 of us were attending Sabbath services in the out-of-doors in what I would consider a millennial-type setting. It was a mountain area of Ponderosa pine with clean sweet air at an altitude of 7300 feet. The sky was turquoise blue, the breeze was refreshing and the sermonette and sermon were inspiring in this "Church in the Wilderness" setting.

After the last song, one of the local elders led us in the closing prayer; and as a last thought asked God, if it was His will, to give us a summer rain. It wasn't a selfish prayer to just give us the rain so we can be cool and the dust would be settled, but primarily to break the record drought in this area so desperately in need of moisture ... you probably guessed what happened. A very short time after the sky opened up and gave us a beautiful shower to officially break the drought and fire hazard in those beautiful mountains.

It was then I realized that the minister "got me off the hook," and now I can say ... "Why don't you people have a radio or TV station in your area carrying the program?" If God can answer so quickly a sincere, heartfelt, unselfish, simple prayer for rain despite a record drought, surely He can bring His gospel as a witness to the people of your city despite the "no available time" answers I get many times due to the affluency of the market or the prejudice against "religious" programming. - John Amos (p. 33.)
The July 30, 1974 Bulletin contains an update by John Amos about promoting The World Tomorrow broadcast to advertisers.
John Amos gives an update on Radio and TV promotion; (p. 1.)

Station personnel and representatives of new target markets are presently being contacted for availabilities for once-a-week TV programming. We hope to obtain time slots on Saturday or Sunday adjacent to public affairs, news or sports programming. This week we will be showing key representatives of TV stations the video audition tape produced by our Promotion Department. Also, these tapes will be sent out to various station personnel for viewing and will be accompanied by new press kit information. A similar radio audio tape will go through the same process. - John Amos (p. 13.)
The December 31, 1974 Bulletin mentions one attempt to get people to come onto The World Tomorrow show and talk about public affairs.
Two weeks prior to this session, Budde Marino and John Amos had contacted leading individuals in the business and media industry in Portland inviting them to appear on television with Garner Ted Armstrong, discussing local, national and international problems of the day. The invitation was greeted with both enthusiasm and skepticism. Some of the men saw this as an opportunity for them to express their views concerning today's issues. Others hesitated to commit themselves on local and national television to any statements regarding the local, national or international problems. (p. 17.)
The September 21, 1975 Bulletin contains the following request for prayers that happens to mention John Amos.
We are making a step in the right direction. Join us and pray enthusiastically for encouraging success. Pray for Henry Cornwall, John Amos and the Radio and TV Station Reps, that they may be able to arrange good time periods on good stations even beyond their expectations. (p. 15.)
The June 6, 1977 issue of Worldwide News mentioned John Amos being ordained as a local elder.
In Pasadena Ronald Dart, director of pastoral administration for the United States, announced the names of 56 new preaching elders and local elders. ...
Local elders: John Amos, Phoenix. Ariz.;(p. 1.)
The September 12, 1977 issue of Worldwide News mentions a gathering held on July 13, 1977 to say goodbye to their pastor who was leaving for Ambassador College.
PHOENIX. Ariz. -More than 400 brethren here gathered at the American Legion Hall July 13 for a spaghetti dinner and social in honor of Fred and Beverly Davis and family. Mr. Davis, who has been pastor here for three years is going to Ambassador College for his sabbatical. The entertainment was, presented by local elder John Amos and deacon Al Jacobson, both from Prescott, Ariz. (p. 9.)
The February 13, 1978 issue of Worldwide News mentions John Amos.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz, - After many years of intermittent assemblings of members here, a Sabbath schedule has now been arranged by Dennis Luker. To begin the schedule, a Bible study was held Jan. 21, led by Hilmar Lange. Then John Amos reviewed the ministerial conference. Both men are local elders in Arizona. Thirty four attended. And the predicted 15 inches of snow didn't fall. (p. 12.)
The May 8, 1978 issue of Worldwide News mentions his wife, Helen Amos, as being an assistant director for the Women's Club.
PRESCOTT. Ariz. - "Women of the Bible" was the topic of discussion at the March 28 Women's Club meeting here. The club's main objective is to make available biblical training and understanding that is needed for spiritual growth. The format includes group discussions under the leadership of Mrs. Dennis Luker. Previous lessons have covered "Prayer and the Christian Woman" and "How Best to Study the Bible." Mrs. John Amos is assistant director, (p. 9.)
The January 1, 1979 issue of Worldwide News mentions a new congregation being established in Prescott, Arizona, and that John Amos would be its minister.
Services will be held twice a month at this mountain town high in the pines. John Amos, Prescott, Ariz., pastor, will minister to the new congregation. (p. 10.)
The June 2, 1980 issue of Worldwide News mentions John Amos.
PASADENA - The Office of Ministerial Services here released the names of 21 men ordained into God's ministry since January. Ordained to the rank of preaching elder were [a list of names follows ending with] John Amos, Prescott. Ariz. (p. 12.)
According to an article by PCG's Gareth Fraser later in 1980 John Amos was transferred to Columbus, Ohio.

The July 16, 1984 issue of Worldwide News mentions a funeral officiated by John Amos. (p. 11.)

The October 6, 1986 issue of Worldwide News mentions a funeral officiated by John Amos. (p. 6.)

The July 6, 1987 issue of Worldwide News announces that John Amos had been transferred to Oklahoma. There he would be under Gerald Flurry who had been transferred there in 1985.
Associate pastors and their new areas are: John Amos, Oklahoma City and Enid, Okla.; (p. 7.)
The August 22, 1988 issue of Worldwide News mentions John Amos leading a trip that was made on June 19-29, 1988.
John Amos, associate pastor of the Oklahoma City and Enid, Olda., churches, led 48 Church youths and adults on a 2,600-mile bus trip June 19 to 29. The group planned the five-state trip for several months. To keep expenses down to $50 a person, each person packed his or her own food and slept in sleeping bags. The trip itinerary included Albuquerque, .M.; Mesa Verde, Durango, Silverton and Ouray, Colo; the Grand Canyon; Lake Powell; and the Four Corners (where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet). (p. 7.)
In December 1989 Gerald Flurry and John Amos were kicked out of WCG. They established PCG.

But from quite early days it word started to get out that PCG was particularly authoritarian. One person wrote the following account to William Dankenbring, leader of another COG splinter group.
"I then came to Fellowship with the 'Philadelphia Church of God' headed by Gerald Flurry in Edmond, OK. He sounded pretty good at first but his ideas won't stand up to his instructions to 'TEST YOUR LEADERS.' He claims remnant Philadelphia Christians should back the PCG. 'Unfortunately' again, I have just been 'suspended' by John Amos for asking about PASSOVER and the '144,000' doctrine. Mr. Amos also claimed I was disrespectful to his office. He claimed that myself and others here in Canton, Ohio, have been 'hounding' them about these doctrines. (We haven't even gotten around to PENTECOST yet!)." ...

"Mr. Amos was supposed to visit me to counsel me about my 'hang up' about Passover but changed his mind and called me to cancel our 'golf date-counselling session' and to tell me I have been suspended For not being in 'agreement' and For being 'disrespectful' to a minister. All conveniently by telephone -- just For asking questions. The old AT & T 'Reach out and disfellowship someone' plan.

"I probably do sound disrspectful in this letter. But I'd prefer to characterize it as you would and say I and the others there were being bold to get to the TRUTH. ..."
In September 1992 he wrote an article ("Remember the Feast of Trumpets, and God Will Remember You!") encouraging his followers to celebrate the Armstrongite Holy Days. Armstrongism has a long history of banning mainstream festivals such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays and replacing them with Armstrongite Holy Days adapted from festivals celebrated in Judaism. This practice is made in ord

John Amos died in 1993. Because of the presence of HWA's anti-medicine superstition naturally some speculated that perhaps medical neglect might have played a role in this death.

To this day PCG remembers John Amos most favorably because of his role in establishing PCG.

Gerald Flurry occasionally mentions John Amos in his writings usually to encourage PCG members to remain loyal to PCG. PCG asserts that John Amos read Malachi's Message fourteen times.

He was one of only two WCG ministers who established PCG.

He even has a hall named after him on PCG Headquarters, the John Amos Field House.

PCG has since released two laudatory articles about John Amos.
  • Grant Turgeon, ‘Original 12’ PCG Member Recalls a Life Led by God, June 29, 2015.
Being one of only two WCG ministers who joined PCG as WCG disintegrated during the Tkach changes he serves the function of justifying PCG's assertion that PCG is today the only, true church on the face of the Earth. Since no other WCG ministers joined PCG it was only natural that PCG would be ever more affectionate towards the memory of the late John Amos to marginalize that unwanted fact.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much for the memory of my close friend John Amos