Friday, June 23, 2017

Bobby Fischer and Armstrongism

Banned by HWA has highlighted a fascinating website ( by Sharon Mooney discussing Bobby Fischer, the great chess player who back in the 1960s and 1970s was a member of HWA's WCG.

Mooney presents the possibility that Fischer's eccentricities in his later life were caused by his association with Armstrongism. I will state here that when I learned of some of his eccentric behavior in his later years I could not help but wonder if HWA's ideology had done that to him. I suspect everyone who had encountered Armstrongism and got out of it would have the same chilling thought. And as far as I know no one has looked into that issue concerning Fischer in so much detail as Mooney.

1 comment:

  1. Boston Sunday Globe, August 3, 1980:
    “Herbert Armstrong admired Adolf Hitler's method of control…”

    Bobby Fischer's own words clinch it:
    “I have to discuss some of the things Herbert has done to me-how he screwed up my mind-just to let people know that this is for real, because if anybody tried to live by the letter of the law… it was me. I truly tried to be obedient. The more I tried, the more crazy I became.
    The real proof for me was those [false] prophecies. Everybody has a different way of looking at it, but to me that shows he [Armstrong] is an outright huckster.
    Like the Bible says, when a prophet makes prophecies that don't come true, then that guy is not of God and you don't have to be afraid of him. Yet church members are afraid of him [HWA]. And he's failed umpteen times. This guy, Armstrong, in terms of religion, is the world's biggest loser.
    [Next Fischer spoke about Herbert Armstrong's prophetic failures during and after World War II.] Okay, he could have made those mistakes, and I'd let them go. But he made mistakes again in 1950, 1952-the same trap over and over again. And he was dead wrong-100% wrong. He blew it all, and he pulled it again and again and again and again. And here I was in the sixties reading this stuff sincerely and believing it.
    This kind of super high-pressure salesmanship leads people to make rash decisions, based on fear, often made against their better judgment. This is the very essence of Armstrongism (i.e., fear, panic, guilt).”
    — Bobby Fischer Interview, 1977

    “This idea of Herbertʼs that you canʼt trust your own thoughts – thatʼs the key doctrine that I think has to be blasted out. I would say that if thereʼs one thing that is the whole essence of Armstrongism, that is it. Thatʼs how he screws up your mind, thatʼs how he hangs on to people.”

    “…Church members shouldn't let themselves be confused. They begin not trusting in their own judgment, and then they're finished. That's a terrible, terrible thing. First, they get conducted in with a nice sweet program, no money, everything free, free, free. And then they get sucked in, and suddenly a few lies gets mixed in. They are told that their human nature is wicked and these nice people who gave them all these things wouldn't be lying to them, would they? And then I think once you start distrusting your own mind you're finished. From there you just get more and more confused. Once you think that your own mind is not your friend any more-your own conscience and your own mind is not your friend-then I think your are on your way to insanity. You have been stripped bare. All your defenses are gone.”
    -Bobby Fischer