Booklets Nobody Wants to Talk About

the painful truth about the worldwide church of god

The Booklets Nobody Wants to Talk About

By Whistler

The following was excerpted from Ambassador Report Issue #2, from an article entitled "The Booklets Nobody Wants to Talk About," written in 1977.

It's interesting to note that these booklets covered church doctrines that were received by Herbert W. Armstrong "directly from God, and not by the teaching of any man," to quote his own words. So it appears that Herbert W. Armstrong had some nerve in changing those teachings that were revealed to him by God. How could God have revealed to HWA so much error in the first place? And if it wasn't error - how dare HWA be so presumptuous as to change truth given by direct inspiration of God!

I think you can see the quandary this places true Armstrongites in - Herbert Armstrong is shown, not once, but multiple times, to have been in error regarding his doctrines. This supposedly just can't happen to a modern-day "apostle," one sent as the modern day Elijah - the one given the mantle of "truth" withheld from the world for 100 19-year time-cycles!

Part 1
"1975 in Prophecy"

(All that appears below [unless otherwise noted], to "End of Part 1" was taken verbatim from Ambassador Report #2)

Since it's inception in 1947, Ambassador College (AC), in conjunction with the Worldwide Church of God (Worldwide Church of God), has published dozens of religiously oriented booklets on a vast number of intriguing subjects. These unique booklets, most of which claimed to bring some "new truth" to light, were primarily responsible for bringing thousands of sincere people into the doctrinal embrace of the Worldwide Church of God. Hundreds of teenagers, including many with previous college experience, decided to attend AC because they had been convinced by AC's booklets that AC disseminated knowledge no other college in the world taught or even knew of.

In the last few years many key booklets that built AC and the Worldwide Church of God have been discontinued more often than not due to flagrant error or rewritten and drastically watered down. AC personnel and Worldwide Church of God members were never told why these booklets were dropped or heavily revised. However, Ambassador Report feels the AC student and the Worldwide Church of God member are entitled to know the reasons, which are stated in the following obituaries:

1975 in Prophecy Of all Herbert W. Armstrong's booklets, this one is perhaps the most shocking and terrifying one he ever authored. It attempted to graphically portray the terrifying events prophesied in the Bible that he felt would befall mankind between the time he wrote (in the mid-fifties) and Christ's return which HWA and the Worldwide Church of God felt would occur in 1975, if not before.

{"Whistler"s comment: Some of this booklet's stark and terrifying drawings, done by artist Basil Wolverton, can be seen in all their colorful glory at: www.postfu n.com/pfp/features/98/feb/wolverton.html. Double-clicking on the drawings will enlarge them.}

Each passage in the booklet seemed designed to strike fear into the reader and cause him to "get right with God" quickly Herbert W. Armstrong's way, of course. Notice some of the things he declared:

"Most Europeans are becoming distrustful of the United States. . . They are thinking more and more about the coming United States of Europe! We Americans, with they British, gave them the idea . . . They are going to unite against us! . . . . The stage is all set! All that's lacking now is a strong leader the coming Fuhrer! . . . Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe" (p. 4).

"That Nazi organization went underground! Their plans for coming back have been proceeding, under cover, since 1945! Already Nazis are in many key positions in German industry in German education in the new German army! . . . But this time the Nazis . . . plan to head and dominate a United States of Europe . . . they plan to strike their first blow . . . on the centers of American industry! . . . You'll find this prophesied in Daniel 2 and 7, and more specifically in the 17th chapter of Revelation." (pp 5-7) (Herbert W. Armstrong's excessive emphasis removed throughout).

On pages 11, 12, and 13 are pictures of extreme flooding and drought in the U.S. accompanied by alarming statements like this:

"While modern science and industry strive to prepare for us a push-button leisure-luxury-world by 1975, United States Assistant Weather Chief I. R. Tannahill warns us unofficially to really fear 'the big drought of 1975.' But the indications of prophecy are that this drought will be even more devastating than he foresees, and that it will strike sooner than 1975 probably between 1965 and 1972!" (p. 10)

As the booklet progresses, Herbert W. Armstrong reiterates that "the German-dominated European combine will blast our (U.S.) cities and industrial centers with hydrogen bombs" (p. 14) He adds: "And so now God is about to punish! . . . It's later than you think!" (p. 18) Then Herbert W. Armstrong boasts that "these prophecies are as certain as tomorrow's sun" and proceeds to prophesy: "Millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer martyrdom and that before the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!" (p. 20)

To provoke even greater consternation in the reader's mind and to create a sense of urgency, he concludes: "You have been warned! . . . You can take this lightly, let it slip from your mind . . . If you do, you have read your fate and I say to you on the authority of God Almighty that it is absolutely sure!" (p. 31)

As history has shown, Herbert W. Armstrong's "inspired" warning supposedly based on divine authority were nothing but the apocalyptic ravings and vain imaginations of a misled, self-styled prophet claiming the authority of God Almighty. But one doesn't need to fear HWA or his predictions anymore when he claims to speak with God's authority, according to Deuteronomy 18:22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him" (RSV).

By 1969 AC officials decided it would be wise to remove the booklet from public scrutiny, realizing Herbert W. Armstrong's predictions didn't appear to be panning out. The booklet's obvious anti-German bias was proving to be an acute and continuing embarrassment to the Armstrongs as they began courting European and German leaders. Furthermore, the booklet set dates for specific events, and these dates appeared to be inaccurate even then.

Though the booklet suffered from a terminal case of typographical diarrhea HWA's excessive use of italicized and capitalized words used to stress the extreme "importance" of his "inspired" message the gruesome illustrations were considered by AC officials to be even more distasteful. In view of these liabilities, the booklet was quietly sentenced to death and killed.

If you haven't read this booklet, Ambassador Report urges you to. We can promise you it'll open your eyes! But whatever you do, you have been warned!

End of Part 1

 

The following was excerpted from Ambassador Report issue #2, from an article entitled "The Booklets Nobody Wants to Talk About," written in 1977. In Part 2 will cover the booklets "Divorce and Remarriage" and "A True History of the True Church."

Part 2
Divorce and Remarriage

(All that appears below, to "End of Part 2" was taken verbatim from Ambassador Report #2)

How often HWA crowed that only the Worldwide Church of God, of all the world's churches, was fulfilling the last verse of Malachi: turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. A few thinkers long had trouble squaring the boast with statements in this booklet that forced any couple to split apart and live separately if either member had a living former mate and wanted to become a Worldwide Church of God member and inherit eternal life.

In late 1973 AC published Herbert W. Armstrong's revised edition, incorporating the same adamant stand as the 1953 version but adding a few more erroneous proofs. Because of the controversy that had already been aroused, HWA sent the manuscript to the press, insisting no one be allowed to see it and completely bypassing the normal editorial channels. When the finished booklet appeared, the controversy intensified. During the time of the Worldwide Church of God's split in early 1974, the booklet was withdrawn by HWA at the urging of Al Portune, Robert Kuhn, and Stan Rader to avert an even bigger crisis.

At the Worldwide Church of God's ministerial conference in mid-1974, a complete reversal of the previous merciless D&R policy was announced by both Armstrongs. It was heralded as a revelation from God. (Actually, Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) later confessed in 1976 that he had known this "new truth" on D&R for over 6 years. Also Worldwide Church of God members had previously shown Worldwide Church of God ministers several books that contained essentially what the Armstrongs now claimed was new revelation.) A hastily thrown together study paper was handed to the assembled ministers a few day later. This paper faced for the first time the long-ignored "Pauline permission" of I Corinthians 7 which recognized the validity of divorces obtained by an unconverted person.

For months afterward Worldwide Church of God officials attempted to write a new booklet on the subject, but they were unable to come to a consensus on what the booklet should say and afraid to bring their efforts to Herbert W. Armstrong's attention. So today, the Worldwide Church of God has no booklet available to the general public explaining its beliefs on divorce and remarriage. More shocking still, in practice, almost anybody who desires is now able to divorce and remarry - with the Worldwide Church of God's blessing.

But sad to say, HWA has offered no real apologies for the thousands of lives that his false and carelessly written teachings on divorce have ruined - not a word of regret for cruelly ripping apart happily married couples that were legitimately married in God's sight. Rather HWA praised his followers for remaining loyal to him and obeying his teachings rather than the Bible's.

A True History of the True Church

This booklet by Herman Hoeh, produced by AC in 1959, audaciously proclaimed that the Worldwide Church of God was God's only true church on earth today and attempted without success to prove it by quoting historical material out of context and trying to fit it into Herbert W. Armstrong's erroneous understand of 19-year time cycles, history, and church eras - a colossal church error which even Garner Ted Armstrong admitted publicly. Most of the booklet's historical facts were actually lifted from "A History of the True Church," a totally unscholarly work by A. N. Dugger and C.O. Dodd, published in 1936.

A few years ago the Worldwide Church of God booklet quietly dropped out of sight, though long-time members everywhere are still under the assumption that the teachings of the booklet are sound and that the booklet proved its erroneous premise: that a single, true, organized, continuous church group, culminating in the Worldwide Church of God, has included all true Christians of all ages, pastored and unpastored since first established in the time of Christ.

Recently, when quizzed about his father's "one true church" doctrine, Garner Ted Armstrong confessed to Joseph Hopkins: "I don't believe that either . . .except for the invisible church, the Body of Christ. But it is definitely not necessary to belong to the Worldwide Church of God in order to be saved" (The Armstrong Empire, 1974, p. 246).

End of Part 2

 

Part 3
"The Truth About Makeup."

(All that appears below, to "End of Part 3" was taken verbatim from Ambassador Report #2)

The makeup issue threatened to split the Worldwide Church of God in the 1950's until Herbert W. Armstrong ruled in 1955 that it was a sin for a Christian woman to wear makeup. HWA's own daughter refused to submit to his decision and was promptly excommunicated from the Worldwide Church of God. In 1958 Garner Ted Armstrong wrote that "it was God the Father and Jesus Christ who make the decision on make-up! They revealed to their human servants the plain truth on the subject . . ." (The Good News, Jan. 1958, p. 7).

To HWA, it was of paramount importance for people everywhere to heed what he felt were God's feelings about makeup. Hence he authored a booklet on the subject, based on a Jan. 1957 Good News article and published by AC in 1964 and 1968. The booklet lashed out at anyone who would dare be caught wearing the slightest touch of makeup:

"In every single case where painting the face is mentioned in your Bible, God labels the woman a whore!. . How does God label you?" (p. 20).

"It may be difficult, at first, for many women to realize that makeup on the face is actually one of those things that is an abomination in the sight of God - that its use is a sin - a violation of God's Law . . . " (p 23).

"God's people must be cleaned up! . . . This thing of painting the face is now labeled by Jesus Christ as a sin! It is a transgression of God's Law . . ." (pp. 26-27).

". . . most women will say: 'I wear it to look nice' - or 'to avoid offense.' They say it in words that sound harmless. But God knows your hearts better than you do - and he knows that the heart of women . . .is 'deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.' . . . To whom does this woman wish to 'look nice'? - to God? No, for to God she looks like a painted artificial prostitute!" (pp.. 42-43).

"My own mother very emphatically declared that no lipstick ever touched her lips - a fact in which she took great satisfaction" (p. 18).

To stress the importance of avoiding makeup, Herbert W. Armstrong concludes in his booklet:

"God tells us what is sin, and He tells us that this vain use of facial makeup is sin! . . .the penalty for this sin is death for eternity in a Lake of fire!" (p. 44).

Herbert W. Armstrong's makeup ruling proved to be a major stumbling block to women wishing to enter the Worldwide Church of God. One college girl confessed: "I cried when I found out I had to give up makeup because I looked so ugly without it. Later two women in the church came up to me and said I ought to be anointed (for healing) because of the way the skin on my face looked. This made me feel even more ugly and inferior, but gradually I learned to accept my appearance, though from time to time people made belittling remarks about it."

AC coeds were often embarrassed when showing visiting women around campus because invariably they asked: "Why don't you AC girls wear makeup?" What was the AC girl to say to her painted guests: "We don't wear makeup because God says only whores wear it"?

In the years following the makeup decision, several tried to convince the Armstrongs that their doctrine was nonsensical and unbiblical. But they were brushed aside as heretics. After all, Garner Ted Armstrong had said the makeup ruling was made by "God the Father and Jesus Christ."

But in the early 1970s more and more people exerted pressure to have the booklet removed. They finally succeeded, and it was formally discontinued when the Oct. 23, 1974 ministerial bulletin declared that, without exception, the "proofs" in the booklet were arrived at by using scriptures out of context and reading meanings into the scriptures that weren't intended. Though HWA's explanation of one of the scriptures was influenced by an erroneous translation quoted and accepted by Adam Clarke's commentary, HWA quoted two other commentaries and proceeded to leave out parts of their explanations that contradicted his preconceived conclusions. Had his research been more carefully done and had he consulted modern reference sources, he would not have reached the absurd conclusion he did.

In spite of the fact that HWA finally killed the makeup booklet, he never apologized for blaspheming God's name by claiming God looked at women who wore makeup as whores, nor did he apologize for wresting the scriptures to make it appear that wearing makeup was a capital sin.

End of Part 3

 

(The excerpts below are taken from Ambassador Report, issue # 2, written in 1977. We have been reviewing Worldwide Church of God booklets that "bit the dust," mainly due to the fact that they just weren't factual. Our cognitive dissonance prevented many of us from taking note that the Worldwide Church of God made an awful lot of errors for being the "one true church" that had all knowledge - knowledge that had been withheld by God from all but us.)

Part 4
"The Mark of the Beast"
and "Who is the Beast?"

(All that appears below, to "End of Part 4" was taken verbatim from Ambassador Report #2)

These two booklets were copyrighted by AC in 1952 and 1960 respectively. Both were based on more specious reasoning than fact. In both booklets, Herbert W. Armstrong took basic Protestant and/or 19th-century Adventist interpretations and reshaped them to fit his own ideas by extracting isolated historical events out of their context and fitting them into highly symbolic prophecies. It is obvious to the student of history that the author has a bad and unscholarly habit of conveniently overlooking parts of history that contradict his prophetic theories.

In late 1969, AC's Chancellor Herbert Armstrong began meeting such European leaders as King Leopold of Belgium and Franz Josef Strauss of Germany, both Catholics. Since the booklets not only called the Catholic church the great whore of Revelation 17 and spoke very disparagingly of it, claiming it would again soon martyr those who opposed it those who refused to worship on Sunday, but also predicted that a United States of Europe composed of 10 nations would fight Christ, the booklet threatened to become an acute embarrassment to HWA and to the Worldwide Church of God's German office and churches; therefore, it had to be discontinued.

"Compendium of World History"

Believing "the modern reconstruction of ancient history without God is almost 100% erroneous" (vol I, p. 20) and that "that modern interpretation of world history stands in open conflict with Scripture" (vol I, p. 1), "evangelist" Herman L. Hoeh decided to write a world history from the Bible's perspective and thus show modern historians the proper way to approach and write history. Hoeh received his doctor's degree in theology from AC upon completing volume I of his compendium and his doctor of philosophy degree from AC after writing volume II - although there was no one at AC even remotely qualified to evaluate his dissertations.

Volume I carried copyright dates of 1963, 1963-65, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1970, while volume II had dates of 1963, 1966, and 1969. Each revision was invariably followed by a long list of errata.

For over a decade students at AC were compelled to study the haphazardly written "compendium" to pass AC's dreaded world history class. In late 1973, students heaved a giant sigh of relief upon learning they wouldn't have to wade through the undocumented assumptions, the convoluted reasoning, and the long king lists and genealogies which clutter the pages of the compendium. Soon, the compendium even disappeared from AC's bookstore. But many were bewildered. Why was "the world's greatest history book" by "the world's greatest historian" (according to HWA) suddenly unavailable?

Gradually those who checked around discovered that the compendium contained flagrant errors in chronology and in the reconstruction of history. The reason? Hoeh based his book on his own private interpretation which was colored by Herbert W. Armstrong's British-Israel theories. Though being unschooled in Semitic and other ancient languages, having had few if any history classed at an accredited college under a qualified history professor, and never having specialized in any specific area, he felt his biblical knowledge and understanding more than compensated for his deficiencies in other areas.

As he compiled historical data for his book, he ignored or discarded facts that didn't fit snugly into his biblical framework and the historical-philosophical interpretations of Herbert W. Armstrong. Sometimes he had to quote sources out of context or simply invent evidence to amass proof for a particular point, but he overcame any qualms he may have had about this as he researched. But students who checked the original sources were often aghast at his shoddy if not dishonest scholarship.

In any case Hoeh's two-volume compendium is now out of print and no longer used in AC history classes. Indeed it is difficult to find any scholar - even inside the Worldwide Church of God - who is willing to defend "the world's greatest history book."

End of Part 4 and the series

 

 

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