Herbert W. Armstrong the Racist
Some revealing quotations from
Garner Ted Armstrong's book:
The Origin and History of the
Church of God International
In less than an hour after my mother's death, my father was talking to about six or eight of us in his family room. He began saying , "I don't suppose I should think about marrying again right away..." I felt a feeling of disgust grow to outrage, and boil up inside of me into a white hot anger at his words. for him to sit there, discussing marrying again even before my mother's body had been removed from that upstairs bedroom was a shattering blow to the pedestal I had placed him on in my mind.
So far as I recall, this was the first time my father ever set eyes on Ms. Ramona Martin. He was immediately attracted to her, and began to ask her to accompany him as his hostess on many trips to come. She became to him like a traveling secretary, confidant, aide and hostess, and as the months passed, much more.
As he began to pave the way for the membership to accept his impending marriage, he began relating how God allowed my mother to die, because she could not have kept up such a grueling pace, could not have remained a companion and wife to him in this new phase of his idea of the great commission.
Personally , I did not think then , and do not think now , that a part of the commission of Christ is to bring speeches about the seven laws of success to the local Kiwanis or Rotarian club in New Delhi. Nor do I believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, to be preached in Jesus' name, is about the eventual intervention of a strong hand from someplace. I realize some people thought this sentiment to be disloyal. However, I voiced my objections up front to my father on numerous occasions.
In another rather ridiculous side issue, but most important point in my ouster, I had asked Dr. Ward to serve as president of the college in Big Sandy until Mr. Ronald Dart obtained his doctrinal degree. The preceding commencement, my father had sat in the front row with his wife Ramona, listening to my commencement address, and then watching Dr. Ward announce each graduate's name, shake his or her hand, and give them their diplomas.
Following the commencement exercises, he chatted with Dr. Ward briefly. How shocked I was to read in his letter demanding I disappear, that he was furious at me for appointing a man he didn't even know to the presidency of the college.
On one occasion, a young handsome black man, named Mike Lord, was giving special music in Pasadena. My father was backstage, waiting to give a sermon. When he heard the name of the singer announced, he raged to those there that his son had appointed a black man to become president of the college. They had to quiet him down, explain to him that the man's name was not Ward but Lord.
A Messy Divorce and a Doctrinal Change on Make Up!
I shall not relate all the details leading to my father's divorce. However, it is important to realize that we are talking about a man who regarded divorce right alongside the unpardonable sin; a man who had written powerful booklets, articles, preached powerful sermons, against divorce for more than fifty years! Thousands of prospective members were turned away from Worldwide Church of God membership because they had been divorced and had remarried, but were unwilling to put away the second marriage, as church doctrine, enforced solely by my father, then demanded.
A little background is necessary in order to understand the impending divorce in its proper context.
Back in 1956, my father had excommunicated my sister Beverly from the church for refusing to take off her makeup, a newly established taboo. From the early '30's until 1955 or 1956, there was no proscription against makeup. However, because most in the church tended to be hyper-conservative, only comparatively few women used it.
From 1956 until about 1974 or 1975, the use of makeup by women in the church was forbidden.
One Monday morning , after I had just returned from a large scale campaign in Seattle, Washington, a personal aide came into my office to inform me that my father had changed the makeup doctrine while I was away.
I was not privy to his plans. I found he had been discussing his problems with others. It seems Ramona had come to him, explaining how, when she was at his side at banquets overseas, together with my sister Beverly, who was now traveling with my father (some twenty years after his excommunicating her) and others of his company, she would wear makeup. All the women about my father, including the wife of his top financial advisor, wore makeup, as did the wives of foreign dignitaries, Japanese ambassadors and so on.
Ramona explained how strange it felt to her to have to take her makeup off only when sitting beside him in church, but to wear it all the rest of the time.
My father decided to review the booklet he had written back in the mid '50's. He called a group of ministers together for lunch, talked it over, went back to his office and wrote an official letter changing the doctrine all within about two to three hours! How strange it was to have my father write a lengthy story in the WWN after my ouster, about how I changed the makeup doctrine while he wasn't looking, how I had become a liberal and was watering down doctrine!
Page 67 (Divorce)
Now to the point: my father became increasingly disenchanted with his marriage.
Shortly after his return to Pasadena, my sister Dottie was again a guest in his home. In a discussion with him about his disgust with Ramona, his belief there had been a plot to put him in a mental institution, my sister said, "Well dad, why don't you just divorce her?"
He retorted, "I am working it out where she will divorce me!"
He gave my sister to believe that if he changed the makeup ruling back again, she would balk and refuse to take it off. He knew the marriage was already in a shambles. He believed he had been used, betrayed, was in fear of a plot against him. Yet he wanted it to appear she was committing spiritual offenses, refusing to submit to church government, so he could invoke the scripture which says: "If the unbeliever depart, let him (her) depart...."
Almost immediately, his article appeared labeling makeup as a great sin and alleging I had been the one to change it.
As a result of his blast against me in his publications, I sent him the following letter on April 25, 1979.
"You continually say I threatened you. But you never say what it was I threatened you with. For my part, Dad, I intended leaving that personal, family problem behind in your study! I never imagined you would play the dangerous game of brinkmanship, really carrying out your threat to destroy me by telling the brethren and the world that I had threatened to destroy you.
Actions speak louder than words. From the time of my ouster, it is very clear just who has been trying to destroy whom."
See Below excerpts from David Robinson's book relating just what the "Personal family problem" was that GTA was talking about.
Herbert W. Armstrong's Tangled Web
by David Robinson)
"Incest is a terrible and unnatural crime, an extreme perversity. That is why I was shocked beyond measure to hear that Herbert W. Armstrong was, himself, guilty of this vile sin. I learned of this in the summer of 1979 from members of his own family. The story, sordid beyond imagination, was told in awful detail.
One family source was Garner Ted Armstrong. Last summer as Herbert W. Armstrong attacked his own son in such savage fury, his son was in the depths of despair. His emotional mix included anger and deep hurt. In such a state, he told family secrets that otherwise would have been locked within him forever. He said he had learned in 1971 of his father's incredible conduct during the '30s and '40s. The story came directly to him in lurid detail, but he kept it sealed in his own consciousness for all those years. But, in the spring of 1978 while in his father's house for the last time, his father had threatened to destroy him. Ted in response replied, "Dad, I know I will destroy you, I know about you and __________." (He was speaking of the younger of his two sisters.)
His father had been on a high-handed autocratic binge. But at that comment he sat down quietly and responded, *Well Ted, there have been times when I have been very far away from God.* (Admittedly, this was a strange turn of events in the relationship of the two whom Herbert W. Armstrong had likened to God the Father and Jesus Christ!)
Ted has told many people that there was a look in his father's eyes he had never seen before. Ted knew his father was now determined to totally destroy any credibility he might have. It was either him or his son. Self-preservation now demanded such action. It was a matter of give or get, and Herbert W. Armstrong meant to get!
None who have objectively heard the incest story in its awful detail doubt it. This is a vital chapter left out of Herbert W. Armstrong's autobiography. This sin occurred over a long span of years, a decade after his ordination to the ministry, according to family members. No wonder he was not receptive to David Antion's Qualifications For The Ministry paper back in 1974.
Many of us have wondered why Herbert W. Armstrong was so forceful in covering up Ted's sins for so many years. Ted then seemed to be an extension of himself in his own mind and was not even a separate entity. It was like covering for himself. But when finally he knew he must cut his son off, he had to go all the way. It was either destroy or be destroyed. And there were some things he wanted to get out of life, even if he were nearly ninety.
Such matters should not normally be mentioned, but this is by no means a normal case. The welfare of thousands is a stake, and thousands who look to Herbert W. Armstrong, idolizing him as if he were God himself, must come to understand how dangerous such a view is. Thousands around the world have been hurt by blindly following this man. Now people must be given enough information to make an intelligent decision on whether this is the man who is going to lead them to safety during the crisis at the close, or whether he is just going to continue taking their money and calling them dumb sheep!
Some may feel I should just cover up this whole sordid affair and forget it. But I find that impossible to do, because the welfare of too many people hinges on the truth about his personality.
Paul wrote to Christians of his day: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of things that they do in secret. Eph. 5:3
But, some say, you shouldn't judge God's apostle. The Bible says otherwise! Jesus Christ himself commended the Ephesian church for trying and testing those who claimed to be apostles. Notice Jesus' words: Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and has found them liars. Rev. 2:2"
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