It was February 18, 1970. A small group of ministerial students were spending an evening with Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Those of us who had been invited were given a glimpse of a life-style which in today's world only a very few are able to afford. At his home, a small mansion on Pasadena's South Orange Grove Boulevard (once nicknamed "millionaire row"), we were surrounded by rare antiques, expensive paintings, and Steuben crystal. The carpets were luxuriant; a Steinway grand stood in the corner of the drawing room.
The gourmet cuisine served at dinner was excellent as were the European wines-all four of them. We had been shown a large number of expensive paintings and objets d'art and, as was his custom, Herbert would relate what he paid for each and what they were now worth. That theme carried over into the conversation at dinner. Then, as the servants began to clear the table, he turned to one of the guests and said, "What do you think all of these beautiful things on the table are worth?" Of course, none of us had even the slightest idea. And so, he was able to proudly proclaim, "Over $125,000!"
He was quick to point out, however, that art objects of this quality were so rare that they were in fact "priceless." The sculptured, foot-high, solid-gold saltcellars were, for instance, the only known copies of those once owned by Louis XIV. (They had been specially made for Herbert by Harrod's of London.) The crystal goblets were identical to those found on Queen Elizabeth's table. The supremely crafted cutlery was of solid gold. The tablecloth was made of the finest Belgian lace. The gold-covered china was of the finest craftsmanship and formerly belonged to Czar Nicholas II of Russia.
As we sat there sipping our four different wines and eating off the czar's china, I couldn't help but think of the incredible contrast all this presented to the meager existence of so many members of Herbert's church-the very ones who were, through their tithes and offerings, making all this possible. I had personally known many Worldwide Church of God laymembers who were barely able to keep their families fed, let alone properly clothed, because of the large amounts they felt compelled to contribute to the Armstrong organization.
Ironically, just five days after the above occasion, one such beleaguered church member, a dedicated employee of the organization, wrote his minister and outlined the tragic financial straits he had come to as a result of obeying the church's teachings. The following excerpt, though a bit lengthy, shows in detail the type of deprivation inflicted on many who have come under the influence of the Armstrong organization and its teachings:
1. Automobile: The automobile is unsafe to drive.
A. The brakes are in poor shape; sometimes they lock the right or left front wheel, and to unlock it one must back up. This happens while driving.
B. The engine is too heavy for the front suspension, and I am in fear of the front suspension collapsing.
C. The exhaust system is leaky and fills the auto with oil smoke and fumes while driving.
This automobile must be replaced. I risk my family's life every time we drive in it; I had Mr. Schreiber check it, and he said to replace it this year before the Feast.
A. My wife has no underwear, has had none for a year or more. She has only one brassiere and one slip and both are in very sad shape, ripped up, etc. She has no nylons and only one pair of socks.
B. She only has one good dress and with constant wear it is going fast. She has only one pair of shoes, and they are one size too big. When she stands in them, there is a one-half inch gap at the heel, she only has one coat, and it is all ripped up inside. My wife needs clothing badly.
A. My clothing is in sad shape also, but better than my wife's. I have only one suit I can wear. It is a summer suit I got from used clothing, and when the seams go, I will have none. I have no pants I can wear anywhere. If it were not for the uniforms at work, I would have none at all; to change clothes I have a choice-a uniform from work, my suit, or one pair of levis with holes in them. My shoes need repairing. My socks are all full of holes at the heels; I do have three or four sets of underwear that are good.
B. My children's clothes: If it were not for used clothing, they would have none. We do good to keep them in shoes as they need them. Their feet already have corns because of the wrong shoes in the past; we are finding that used clothing is not able to supply their present needs. They are growing to a size that is not available. There is no money available to go to a Thrift Shop.
4. Our Furniture
A. Most of what we have will be usable for some time, but some items need replacing.
B. The bed my wife and I sleep in is 23 years old, and we are continually being cut by springs coming through the mattress. I woke up one night with a spring stuck into my thigh and had to lift myself straight up off of it. We cut out an average of one or two springs a week; I feel it is also a cause of my constant back problems, but I have no money to replace the bed.
C. We have only two dressers for seven people and this is not enough; because of this we keep the children's clothes in cardboard boxes in the closets. The rest I feel we can get by with.
We rarely go any place through the year except to the Feast [of Tabernacles]. I have taken my wife out to dinner once in the past five years. I don't recall that I have ever taken my children any place except at the Feast of Tabernacles. We have gone to the zoo with the children once since being in the Church and that is 10 years or so.
My wife needs dental work badly. We owe Dr. Howell $35.00 now, but we don't have any money to pay him. My children have never had a dental or eye checkup and they need it. I need glasses. I went to the eye doctor two years ago and was told this but no money. I also need some dental work, but mine is small.
7. Imperial Schools
We owe Imperial [the Worldwide Church of God's now defunct private schools, offering grades 1 through 12] $577.20, and it will take $65.00 per month to pay them off by next school year. We are currently paying $40.00 when we have it. We will have another child in school next year, plus our three.
I am sorry to be a burden to this work, but I do have a large family to feed; my children eat like adults, and they do wear clothes. If we lived on a ranch in Arizona, we could probably live cheaper, but we live in Los Angeles and there are just more expenses here. I am not demanding. I am only showing you my condition as it is. I will get by as long as I can, but we are getting close to the end of our rope. Please advise me!!
This poor member's dedication and "good attitude" cannot be denied. But he shouldn't have been suprised by his poverty. Not when you consider that he was giving away nearly 40% of his net income in first tithe, second tithe, third tithe, regular offerings, holy-day offerings, special emergency offerings, church emergency loans, building fund contributions, and Spokesman Club dues! And this doesn't include the income he lost by passing up employment opportunities to keep the Old Testament sabbath and holy days, as the Worldwide Church of God teaches.
The Armstrong organization has always been quick to publish letters from individuals claiming all kinds of financial success ("blessings"), divine intervention, and good luck that supposedly resulted directly from obedience to the church's teachings concerning tithing. However, letters such as the one we have quoted above somehow never made it into print. In our Letters section in this issue we have included a number of letters that describe some of those cases the Armstrong neglected to mention.
This Is the Life! The $60,000,000 per year tax-free income that the Armstrongs are able to garner and that they exclusively control attests to the effectiveness of their methods. As Herbert has often stated, "Tithing pays off!" On of his editorials was once titled, "This Is the Life!-Real Abundant Living!" True, for the one receiving the tithes tithing does pay off. But life has been a lot less abundant for thousands of those who have diligently applied Herbert's tithing laws as found in his booklet Ending Your Financial Worries (often jokingly referred to by some WCG higher-ups as "Ending Our Financial Worries").
The Armstrong tithing doctrine with its related church practices and policies is a study in fallacious reasoning. (See the article "Twisted Teachings on Tithing" for further information.) But it is when we see how this contributed money is spent that we begin to realize we are dealing with something worse than just biblical misinterpretation.
For example, let's look at what Armstrong calls "third tithe." Most WCG ministers teach that this tithe is to be paid on one's income during every third year in a cycle of seven. (Some WCG ministers, including Garner Ted Armstrong, teach that it should simply be paid every third year.) For each of those third years the laymember is instructed to send 10% of his gross income (from each paycheck) to headquarters. Unlike the first and second tithes-which are calculated on all income each year (from each paycheck) and which are used respectively for the general operation of the church and the keeping of the feast days-third tithe is supposed to be used solely to help the destitute.
Notice these statements by Albert J. Portune, formerly the WCG vice-president for financial affairs:
"Why did God command a third tithe anyway? God instituted the third tithe for a very real and important use. Without it many in God's Church would go hungry and homeless ... In God's Church today, just as it has been in all ages, there are the widows, fatherless, strangers. -God anticipated the needs of the widows, fatherless and sojourners... Therefore God has commanded a third tithe for the support of the stranger, the fatherless and the widow who have no visible means of support." (The Good News, Nov. 1962, p. 7.)
In a February 1970 Good News article entitled "How You Can Receive an Extra Blessing!" Frank Brown, the assistant to the church's financial vice-president, wrote basically the same thing but mentioned in passing (p. 12) that third tithe funds were at times used "for the incidental needs of the Levite." (He was using the term "Levite" to refer to the church's ministry.) However, he went on to say:
"There are no spongers or malingerers taking advantage of a huge expensive bureaucracy! All those who benefit are genuinely in need.... Third tithe help does not go to the lazy, idle, shiftless or able-bodied who are perfectly capable of working."
The reader would logically infer from the above statements that third tithe funds would go exclusively to members really in need. He might deduce that third tithe funds would also occasionally go for a small payment to poor and unemployed ministers for food or rent. It all sounds very nice until one discovers how much of that money in the third tithe fund was siphoned off for other uses of which 99.9% of the members were totally unaware.
I have before me a large stack of approved and signed Ambassador College requisitions supplied to Ambassador Report by one of our sources. Space does not permit me to quote all of these. Here, summarized, are just a handful of those from the one year previous to Frank Brown's article:
1969 20904 D. Apartian Furniture, carpets, $22,000 1-29-69 18634 Ron Dart Appliances, Drapery $5,000 7-10-69 20123 Ron Dart All furnishings, interior and exterior, wall coverings, etc. $40,000 11-3-69 22124 R. Plache Furnishings, upholstery, drapes, carpets, and misc $25,000 1-21-70 23367 D. Antion All furnishings, interior and exterior, wall coverings, etc. $40,000
All of this money came from the church's third tithe account, and it is so stated on each requisition. It's anybody's guess as to what justification was used for taking money supposedly designated for "the widow and the fatherless" and using that to increase the equity of corporation-owned homes valued at between $100,000 and $300,000. The ministers living in those homes were already earning over $20,000 annually, had expense accounts, company cars, and paid only token rent.
On two occasions in 1974 a tape recorder caught Garner Ted Armstrong actually admitting to fellow ministers that third tithe funds were being used for purposes other than the sustenance of the widows and orphans of the church. Notice:
"...it is true that massive segments of third tithe as it built up in the balances of this work were used both for ministerial homes and for ministerial salaries." (Garner Ted Armstrong, ministerial conference, Jan. 3, 1974.)
"But you know it [third tithe] is still being used for your salaries. It's still being used for church homes." (Garner Ted Armstrong, ministerial conference, May 7, 1974.)
That was in 1974. Informed sources have indicated to us that there has been no change in these practices. For instance, third tithe funds were recently used in providing furnishings for Herbert Armstrong's Tucson home (his fifth home).
Feeding the Falcon. Ministerial salaries and homes are not the only items third tithe funds are used for. Though never revealed to Worldwide Church of God laymembers, the third tithe account (now called "the poor fund") has been used to defray the high cost of maintaining and operating several private aircraft-primarily Herbert Armstrong's $3.5 million Gruman Gulfstream II and Ted Armstrong's $2.5 million Fanjet Falcon.
Ambassador Report has in its possession a tape recording of Garner Ted Armstrong discussing the third tithe fund and admitting:
"In the neighborhood of 10 years ago the policy was placed into effect... payments for the original Falcon C model were aided or helped by that fund." (Garner Ted Armstrong, ministerial conference, May 1976.)
This was in stark contrast to what he had stated at the ministerial conference on January 3, 1974:
"How many of you think that the Falcon is being paid for out of third tithe? It's a lie. The Falcon's never been put on third tithe. It got out that third tithe was being used for the Falcon. It's an absolute lie."
Third tithe funds were used for the jets, but who authorized it? According to one Ted Armstrong statement, it was Albert J. Portune. According to Albert J. Portune, it was Herbert W. Armstrong. In February 1974 evangelist David Antion commented on this at a meeting in Richmond, Virginia:
"…about that time Al [Portune] had a conscience problem and he just went to Mr. [Herbert] Armstrong and said, 'Do we have to use third tithe? That doesn't look good. It's bad. It's not right to use the third tithe fund to fly jets and pay for all that fuel.'"
A Gift Is a Gift. While the "poor fund" monies are being used for decorating ministers' homes and paying their salaries, many long-time members who have contributed heavily to the church find that the church has little desire to help them when they are really in need. The Los Angeles Times carried a story in its Orange County section on May 14, 1977, that shows this quite clearly. The article titled "Church Gets Home, Public Her Bills" was written by Times staff writer Thomas Fortune. Notice these excerpts:
"Because Hazel Hall signed over the title to her home as a gift to her church, the public has ended up paying for the 83-year-old woman's care at a convalescent hospital here. The bill, picked up by Medi-Cal and Medi-care, is running about $700 more per month than her Social Security income. Mrs. Hall's house in Costa Mesa could be sold for $37,500 to $40,000. Money from the sale could pay for several years of convalescent care for Mrs. Hall, who is immobilized by a stroke and won't be returning home. But the home cannot be sold. It is a lifetime estate, to be inherited upon Mrs. Hall's death by the Worldwide Church of God. The church holds hundreds of such lifetime estates, signed over for the most part by elderly people....
"Not long before her stroke, Mrs. Hall received a letter that began: 'Greetings again from the legal office of God's work.' The letter said that her will, deeding the house to the church, was in safekeeping in her file. It asked her to fill out an inventory list and return it in an enclosed, stamped envelope so it could be placed with her will. Items listed were jewelry, bank accounts, stocks and bonds and other valuables....
"Audrey Etchison, Mrs. Hall's 54-year-old daughter, says she does not think it is right that the church should get the property, yet not accept responsibility for her mother's medical and convalescent bills. 'My mother is not a charity case. She has this home. She should not be the state's charity. She should be the church's charity,' she maintains. Mrs. Etchison said she has tried to bypass the church's legal department and make 'a moral plea' to Garner Ted Armstrong. But by the church's accounting 'a gift is a gift.' Randell Dick, personal aide to Armstrong, says, 'There can be no strings attached that would violate Mrs. Hall's trust. Otherwise, we would be setting up our own insurance company and go broke.'"
Mr. Randy Dick is wrong-very wrong. Mrs. Hall's "trust" is being violated. On page 14 of the earliest edition of Ending Your Financial Worries, for years the church's official booklet on tithing, Herbert Armstrong wrote:
"...a third tithe was commanded. It used to be set aside in every walled city, 'within thy gates' (Deut. 26:12), for the 'widow, the fatherless, and the stranger'-as a kind of insurance program."
Nowhere in this booklet does it say that third tithe funds were to be used for the ministry. Herbert said, "It is altogether different from the first tithe" (p. 14) and is "a kind of insurance program." That is also the way I have personally heard it described from the pulpit by dozens of WCG ministers. Mrs. Hall, an 83-year-old invalid widow who gave all she owned to the church, should have been eligible for monetary assistance from the WCG, but as she and thousands of others have discovered, it didn't work out the way the church promised it would.
Setting the Example. Earlier in this article, I referred to certain purchase orders from 1969-1970. It is interesting that during this same period of time when "poor fund" monies were being used to lavishly outfit certain ministers' homes, Herbert Armstrong was writing letters to the church members bemoaning "the work's" financial plight. I have compared the co-worker letters of 1969-70 with authorized requisitions, receipts, and other financial records from the same period. If "the work" was really experiencing a lowered income, you wouldn't have known it from the way Herbert was spending money. For instance, on page 2 of a letter to his fellow "co-workers" dated December 9, 1969, he wrote:
"If ever we needed large sums-into five figures and more… it is right now!"
On January 2, 1970, he purchased a pair of "Marbo Antique Rock Crystal Candelabra" for his Pasadena home. They cost $6,090.00. Then in his March 30, 1970, letter to church members (pp. 1-2) he wrote:
"I ask of all who can and are willing.... go to your local bank and borrow whatever you are able-$100 to $1,000.... And you should not obligate yourself to monthly payments except what you will be able to pay over and above tithes and offerings for the Work ... For this is serious-the most serious crisis since 1947 and 1948."
The very next day, March 31, 1970, he purchased a "pair of French porcelain vases" for $2,079.00.
In a letter to his "co-workers" dated January 29, 1969 Herbert Armstrong encouraged all those who had loaned money to the church to turn those loans into outright donations. To encourage all to do this he claimed to be setting an example:
"…I myself had several thousand dollars on the books as a loan.... I have just given the entire amount as a donation, and I shall not try to deduct it on my income tax, but keep on contributing up to 30% out of my income. I have paid income tax on all that money-and now I will sacrifice any tax advantage in donating it, because that way I can put more money into the Work.
"As it is today, I do not own any property-not even an automobile. What, then, if some unexpected emergency should come along, that would need this sum of several thousand dollars I am donating? I have thought of that, of course. The answer is, I have a God to trust, and I shall rely on Him!"
I have in my hands a photostat copy of an Ambassador College computer printout titled "Worldwide Church of God Listeners Loan Report, Dec. 1971." After Herbert W. Armstrong's name we find this information: Status Loan Number 49; Type of Loan-AD; Repayment Date-12/31/71; Repayment check number-Miscellaneous; Amount of Repayment-$50,334.54. Apparently, by 1971 Herbert no long felt it wise to "rely on Him." Maybe he can explain this in a future co-worker letter.
This money-making technique of supposedly "setting an example" has been used often by the Armstrongs. Ted Armstrong recently even used it on his own church executives. In his letter to the church dated April 27, 1977, Garner Ted announced that there would be a 10% across-the-board salary cut for church executives because of financial problems in "the work." He explained that he was taking the lead by cutting his own salary 15%. He neglected to mention, as we have learned from a reliable source, that just a few days previous he had nearly doubled his own television department salary (just one salary he receives).
Of course, when you consider that the Armstrongs have exclusive control of a $60,000,000 per year, tax-free income, any discussion by them of voluntary salary cuts or personal sacrifice for "the work" is completely ridiculous. As one proverb attributed to Stanley Rader says, "What really counts is not what you own but what you control." It makes little difference what the size of Herbert's salary is when you consider that he has an unlimited expense account. It makes no difference whatever that he owns no automobile. He has a chauffeur plus exclusive use of a Rolls Royce and numerous Cadillac limousines.
Herbert also has a very substantial art collection. It is so large, in fact, that for years he has been unable to find the space necessary to display it all. Some pieces are on loan to friends and subordinates. For instance, at one time evangelist Roderick Meredith had $70,000 worth of Herbert's painting hanging in his home. Much of his collection is simply warehoused. Obviously, Herbert would prefer that the public remain ignorant of his art-buying obsession.
A few years ago, unknown to Herbert, the church's business office assigned a photographer to photograph and catalog Herbert's collection for insurance purposes. Quite by accident, Herbert came upon the man as he was shooting the stored artwork. Herbert flew into a rage and summarily fired him. Having personally wandered through one of Herbert's art storage rooms and observed the still attached prices, I am convinced that estimates of his collection being worth $500,000 are much too low. The fact that all of this may not be legally in his name matters little. It has been purchased at his pleasure, and it is all under his control. What it adds up to is that Herbert is a very wealthy man-at church expense.
The same applies to Ted. He makes an obnoxious practice of mentioning how much pressure he is under and how much emotional stress he endures for "God's work." Those who have worked with the man, however, know that this is utter nonsense. He lives a life-style that would be the envy of any wealthy sportsman or millionaire superstar. He has, for instance, the exclusive use of any of ten cars. According to one source, he owned 15 until very recently, but, alas, austerity measures at Ambassador College prompted him to cut back He has reserved for his personal use at least five homes. The private jet he flies, a Fanjet Falcon (by the time you read this he will have taken possession of a newer jet that is now on order), is theoretically not his personal property, but that makes little difference. The jet is more of a personal toy than it is an evangelical tool.
During the summer of 1973, 1 worked as an instructor at the WCG summer camp in northern Minnesota. I can vividly recall how each week Garner Ted would pass through from California. He was not at all involved in teaching, counseling, or the administration of the camp, nor did he normally give sermons or lecture to the campers. The purpose of the trips was purely for pleasure. Each Thursday or Friday Ted and his guests would fly up from California in his jet. From Orr, Minnesota, they would fly a smaller plane north into Canada to Ted's private fishing camp. On Monday, they would come through Orr again on their way back to California. Now, who do you think paid for all of this?
If you'd really like to find out, you won't get much help from the church's business office. Once while still a tithe-paying WCG member, I called the church's accounting office to obtain some general information about the church's income and expenditures. I was repeatedly transferred and stalled. Finally, I was connected to the legal department. They informed me that the church did not make available the information I was requesting to the public or to individual laymembers.
The Accountants. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which is to accountants the equivalent of what the American Medical Association is to physicians, has a very clear rule regarding the absolute necessity of independence in its members. Article 1, section 1.01 of the AICPA's "Code of Professional Ethics" states:
"Neither a member or associate, nor a firm of which he is a partner, shall express an opinion on financial statements of any enterprise unless he and his firm are in fact independent with respect to such enterprise.
"Independence is not susceptible of precise definition, but is an expression of the professional integrity of the individual. A member or associate, before expressing his opinion on financial statements, has the responsibility of assessing his relationships with an enterprise to determine whether, in the circumstances, he might expect his opinion to be considered independent, objective and unbiased by one who had knowledge of all the facts.
"A member or associate will be considered not independent, for example, with respect to any enterprise if he, or one of his partners, (a) during the period of his professional engagement or at the time of expressing his opinion, had, or was committed to acquire, any direct financial interest or material indirect financial interest in the enterprise, or (b) during the period of his professional engagement, at the time of expressing his opinion or during the period covered by the financial statements, was connected with the enterprise as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, director, officer or key employee.... The word 'director' is not intended to apply to a connection in such a capacity with a charitable, religious, civic or other similar type of nonprofit organization when the duties performed in such a capacity are such as to make it clear that the member or associate can express an independent opinion on the financial statements."
The Armstrong organization's books are audited by the firm of Cornwall, Rader, and Kessler, Certified Public Accountants. It is my opinion that this firm lacks the required independence to be able to audit the Armstrong corporations' books in an unbiased manner, and therefore all statements made by them concerning these corporations should be highly suspect.
Henry Cornwall is the treasurer of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. Stanley Rader has for years been receiving fees and salaries for his work as an Ambassador College instructor, chief legal counsel to the Armstrongs, an executive for the World Tomorrow's advertising agency, and, of late, as AICF director and Plain Truth associate publisher. Numerous attorneys have commented to us that it is amazing Rader has not yet been challenged in the courts on grounds of "conflict of interest." In one year alone he received, along with his partner Cornwall, $76,000 in accounting fees plus $55,900 as the organizations' general counsel. What he was also receiving for his other responsibilities we don't know.
We do know, however, that Stan Rader has been receiving numerous "special benefits" from Ambassador College. For instance, besides an unlimited expense account, he has servants whose salaries are paid for by the church. In that stack of approved requisitions discussed earlier are thousands of dollars worth dealing with redecorating a residence at 840 Loma Vista, Beverly Hills, California. That is Stan Rader's Beverly Hills home. One requisition for "all vinyls and carpeting for the Rader Residence" and "cleaning of draperies in the breakfast room and the family room" alone totals $5,553.88. Stamped across this requisition in bold print is the word EMERGENCY. We hope the Raders were able to weather that crisis. We can imagine how difficult it would be for them not to have their draperies in perfect condition.
Another questionable area surrounding Rader involves ownership of the college's aircraft. We have on tape this comment by Stan Rader concering the church's jets:
"Actually I am a one-third owner of the aircraft which had been leased to the college, and the college is paying a very fair price for them." (Stan Rader, ministerial meeting, Pasadena, March 7, 1974.)
Why he should own approximately $2 million worth of what was believed to be the church's assets is a question we'd like him to answer.
Where Has All the Money Gone? Unfortunately, Stan Rader is just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. A far more important area of ethical impropriety revolves around the question of what has become of those assets accumulated through the many years of repeated Armstrong appeals for money. Those of us who have contributed to the Armstrong organization were led to believe that our contributions were to be used for one specific purpose-namely, the spreading of the gospel. Implied, inferred, and often stated in those appeals was the concept that in order to get that gospel out the WCG needed to purchase presses, broadcasting equipment, school buildings, college facilities, church buildings, convention sites, and a summer camp. What has become of all those assets purchased "to get the gospel out"? Over 80% have been sold or are up for sale. What's become of all the resulting money?
Ted, in recent appeals, indicated that there was to be a greatly expanded radio and television outreach. However, a glance at the church's radio and television log shows the Armstrong program is now on fewer, not more, stations. Some of the money, of course, has gone to purchase and furnish the new Tucson homes of Herbert Armstrong, Ted Armstrong, and Stan Rader. And, ironically, as The Plain Truth magazine is dwindling in circulation, frequency of publication, size, and quality, Herbert Armstrong, according to New York Magazine, has invested $6 million of church funds into a corporation publishing Quest/77 magazine.
A quick perusal of any issue of Quest/77 clearly reveals that its worldly tone, use of outright profanity, message of man's hope lying in himself, and humanistic philosophy are all diametrically opposite to everything Herbert Armstrong and his son ever preached or claimed to believe in. Quest/77 may be an informative and entertaining publication of high quality and wit, but the fact remains that it was founded with funds that were contributed by sincere and trusting Christians who were led to believe that those contributions were to be used for something very different. It's the same as contributing money to the Cancer Society and discovering later that the money was used to finance a cigarette factory.
Considering that during the last few years the WCG income has actually been dropping a bit, it's possible the Armstrongs are getting tired of the religion racket and are just moving on to greener fields. Whatever the case, they have raped the church and through the fear of hell fire, Armageddon, and "the end" are financially bleeding its members dry. I am reminded of the scriptural analogy: "the church is the body of Christ." If that is so, at the hands of the Armstrongs the church is experiencing a reenactment of the crucifixion.
It's time the leaders of the WCG be called into accountability. The WCG membership must demand that the WCG open its books to an audit by CPAs who have no connection with the organization. This is essential to regain the trust and loyalty of all the members. Surely if everything is in order, the church officials have nothing to fear or to hide. If this is not done, contributors should simply withhold their tithes and offerings in protest until this is done.
Maybe those who are still supporting the Armstrongs will wake up. But then again, maybe Herbert was right all along when he once pointed at his congregation and said, "You people are all dumb sheep!"
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