Sunday, September 10, 2017

HWA's Promotion of Dangerous "Faith Healing" (1958)

One of the very worst things HWA and his imitators did over the years was to tell their followers that visiting doctors and taking medicines was sinful and forbidden by (HWA's) God. Many people suffered and even died because of this doctrine of death. But despite saying such things in his later life HWA hypocritically employed a personal doctor to heal from illnesses and sicknesses.

The following is from the February 1958 issue of the Radio COG's recruitment magazine, The Plain Truth (p. 2).

The editors of this issue were Herbert Armstrong. Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith and Garner Ted Armstrong.

The leaders of this organization were but false prophets. Such false prophecies make it clear that God is not with them.


Letters to the Editor

Only God Can Heal 

“I had an awful pain in both my legs for a long time. After I received the cloth from you I put it on them and prayed. My legs are alright again and I thank God for healing them. Thank you for helping me to find out that there is no one that can heal except God. I am thanking God for His blessings and for healing me. I have now paid out more than $5,000.00 to different doctors, beside that for medicine. I became no better than I was at first. Now I know a Great Doctor that can heal all kinds of sickness. I don’t have to give Him money and I don’t have to take pills. This Doctor’s name is Jesus Christ.”

Woman from Mart, Texas

Editor’s note: Yes, only God heals!

Healed of Ulcers and Gallstones 

“Here is good news, I have been healed of ulcers since I was baptized. And a while back I was also healed of gallstones. The latter happened when I first started receiving the Plain Truth.”

Woman from Seiad Valley, California

Quick Answers 

“I wish to thank you for your prayers in my behalf and the anointed cloth I received just recently. It is a great joy to be able to report to you that the condition for which I requested prayer was corrected even before I had time to receive the cloth. I nevertheless followed your instructions sent with the cloth, and thanks be to God and you for what you both have done and continue to do.”

Man from Atmore, Alabama

“Dear Mr. Armstrong: 

“My little girl is very sick with flu and I want you to send an anointed cloth for her. The Lord God was so good to heal me of rheumatism last year when I sent to you for a prayer cloth. Somehow I’ve neglected to tell you of it. The healing wasn’t all at once but came gradually and was completed. I’m so thankful for it and I thank God for His faithful servants and make mention of you always in my prayers.”

Woman from Carthage, Mississippi

Anointed Cloth Received

“Here is something I have to tell you. Nearly five years ago I suffered with hemorrhoid-piles. I wrote to you to send me an anointed cloth and asked you to pray for me. You sent it and I prayed to God and was healed. I have been praising and thanking God ever since and I tell people that are sick about you and how I was healed. I put all my faith in this prayer.”

Woman from Chidester, Arkansas

A Miracle from God 

“I want to write and tell you how much I appreciate your last magazine containing your message on faith. I read it while I was in the hospital. I’m afraid I never would have known how to have the faith to get healed.

“On Monday night when we received your letter with the anointed handkerchief I was seriously ill. But thank God when I placed the handkerchief on my body, God immediately stopped all pain-I started moving my leg, then I came out of that hospital bed and began walking. The first I had been able to walk in five weeks. Thank God the doctors and nurses knew a miracle had happened. The following Friday I came home.

“I was left with a nervous condition, but thank God I have had Faith and prayed to God and He has healed that.

“I want to thank you again for your prayers. I know God worked through you, my faith and my husbands faith. That is the reason for my healing.”

Woman from West Blocton, Alabama

Healed in Two Days 

“I received your prayer cloth. I had hemorrhoid-piles and was in so much pain that my husband said that I had to go and be operated on. I told him I wouldn’t go. I took the prayer cloth and prayed with all my heart and believed God would help me. In two days all the pain left and it hasn’t returned. I was so thankful to God.

“Since then I sprained my back and surely am in pain so that I can hardly walk. I want to get better so that I can do my house work. Please send me another cloth.”

Woman from Indiana, Pennsylvania

Pain Eased When the Anointed Cloth was Mailed 

“I want to let you know that God answered your prayer of faith, and healed me. The terrible pain started to ease up, the first time in six months, the day that you mailed the anointed cloth to me. I received it four days later, and the next morning I could walk up and down stairs as well as I ever could, with just a slight amount of pain. Each day it grows less and less.

“Thank you Mr. Armstrong, for all you have done for me. Not only teaching me of God’s wonderful gift of healing, but His wishes regarding our physical sickness or sin. I believe that is the reason for my suffering. I have read the instructions many times in the Bible, but I guess they never sunk in. Twice when I first fell ill, I planned to have my husband take me to a doctor in our home town, but the car broke down each time, although there was nothing the matter with it all week. I have read and studied your booklet ‘Does God Heal Today’ many times, and shall continue to do so until I can remember every sentence in it.”

Woman from Portsmouth, N.H.


What a terrible, awful and shameful thing these false prophets, the 1% of this organization, did to their followers and people who were vulnerable to being mislead in this way. Their many false prophecies prove that God is not with them.


  1. I have not problem with the philosophical concept that ONLY God heals not man.

    Just like I have no problem with the philosophical concept that "divorcing" has no place in "Godplane" relationships.

    Having said that, to NOT employ "gathered knowledge" or to dissuade people from using said (medical) knowledge borders on "criminal" behavior. And at times just is criminal.

    Personally I only encountered HWA after the "horrible fifties and sixties" so I never had any problems in employing medical assistance if my conscience implored me to seek such advice or assistance.


  2. I might add that I often hail from the remotest and most distant and dangerous places on earth.

    It is always a relieve to me to find that even in such remote places the 7th adventists have set up medical facilities.

    But even in that Church I recall reliance on "witchery or mediaeval" medical practices for cancer treatment in the seventies.

    I never bought into that crap just as I don't buy into the "adhd and "anxiety" conspiracy.


  3. When I was based in California, I knew some of the people associated with the Loma Linda medical facility (Adventist). There were also some young guys from a local Adventist academy in our martial arts classes. You could also have mainstream conversations with them. Although they came to class on Friday nights, they sat in the stands and watched, in keeping with their belief in the sabbath. One of my life-long friends and his wife are SDA. None of these people seem weird or cultic. They have good values but do not go out of their way to make themselves off-putting and deliberately bizarre.

    Obviously by the 1980s, the Adventist movement had had about 140 years to evolve past William Miller, but these people, these exemplars whom I knew and interacted with fairly extensively, just functioned as good citizens, and quietly kept their sabbath and didn't eat ceremonially forbidden meats. It was almost what one might witness if Catholics or Protestants kept the sabbath. No elitism. The ability to relate to one another, and to carry on normal one on one conversations was preserved.

    Armstrongism, sometime in the late '70s or early '80s, began to get rid of a doctrine that obviously was not working. In ancient times, we can understand why God would not want His children to go to shamans who represented pagan religions (these were the only doctors around) for their healthcare needs. I guess a man who believed that Pauline Christians were "Christians falsely so-called" would have trouble with a healthcare system that had largely been underwritten by some of those same humanitarian Christians. The problem with his line of thinking is that the patients treated at St. Luke's, St. Joseph's, St. Jude's, Lutheran Hospital, or the many other religiously named institutions were not evangelized or expected to become members of some boogah boogah tribe, or the churches who had founded them as a condition for treatment.

    This is part and parcel of the damage that can happen as a result of rejecting all outsiders and claiming that they are Satan's people, not part of "the truth". The WCG was what the insurance companies classify as being a sickly organization. People with mental health issues, and diseases were attracted to that organization in abnormal numbers because they expected to receive healing. So many suffered because HWA had largely faked the gift of healing, while using doctors himself. Imagine what might happen to the remains of the Armstrong empire if they can also transition beyond faking the gift of prophecy.