Sources: Richard Nichols History of COG7 and other Richard Nichols works on HWA. Sources also include John Kiesz, Hernan Hoeh, multiple personal contacts in the 70’s with old timers in Eugene and in the Pasadena ministry including up to the present and the divorce affidavits. The information is correct, accurate and well known by older ministry from the Pasadena area.
This article is very easy on HWA and does not mention many of his horrendous personal sins, because my focus is not him, but on his exalting himself as having the authority of God. I well remember his recorded sermon in Ottawa. played in all congregations in 1977 when he taught that Peter or James was the chief apostle with the authority to bind and loose God’s Word and that he was the latter day James with the same authority.
Considerably more WCG history can be found in our article dealing specifically with the internal power struggles resulting in the rise of Joseph Tkach.
When a skillful persuader a highly respected person believed to be godly makes claims; those who hold him in high respect tend to believe him. When that man is a glib highly persuasive and very impressive person, he is believed all the more; and when other impressive men join in promoting those claims: Is it any wonder that the claims were believed by so many who virtually worship Herbert W Armstrong to this very day? Herbert said that “I am God’s one and only apostle” and all those impressive men around him [who owed their positions to flattering him] joined in support of that claim.
This series gives the plain truth about this man and his ministry. HWA was a man who did not live up to his billing or to his own teachings.
The most effective way of deceiving people is to take a small point out of its context, and spin it to mean something far different than what it properly means in its complete context.
The Autobiography of HWA uses the truth to tell lies by leaving out so much of the context of each situation that it gives a very distorted impression, painting HWA in a very positive light when his conduct was anything but godly.
He often takes a small point completely out of its context and spins it to make himself look good; which totally changes the larger truth. For example he wrote of chopping wood when in desperate need. In reality he had been seen lavishly spending around town and when he became aware that he was being criticized for that, he waited until others were around and chopped some wood to deceive them that he was being industrious and so blunt their criticism. Most of the Autobiography consists of such deceptions and he continued deceiving and lying right up to the end.
On another occasion many years later, he claimed that he had died and been resurrected to put the church back on the track. In fact he had NEVER been dead at all, his heart had just skipped a few beats [a mild heart attack] during the exertion of husbandly duties, and he used the “Back on the Track” slogan to promote personal loyalty to himself rather than to God.
Hebert W Armstrong was a man highly skilled in the art of persuasion, a high pressure salesman who was challenged by his wife into a study of the teachings of the COG7. After concluding his studies Herbert decided that he had found a product he could sell.
Personally he believed that the laws and commandments of the Bible were not necessary for salvation under the New Covenant and were only physical, completely missing the point that all things physical are spiritual as well, since they are a test of obedience to God. He was not personally religious and had found a unique product that he could sell. From that time forward he devoted his life to selling the COG product.
Eventually he was forced to teach that the laws were indeed salvational in order to get credentials from the COG7 and because of the insistence of his wife Loma, and to maintain the uniqueness of his Radio COG product. It was not until after the death of Loma that he began to change doctrine at his personal whim.
The pork issue was extremely important in the first years of Herbert Armstrong’s ministry. He did not believe that eating pork was a sin, only saying that abstinence from unclean meats was a good physical health law. That is where the: “its only physical” false teaching came from.
Many of the COG7 ministry of the time largely believed it was a BIG issue, and would not baptize converts unless they first abstained from eating pork and kept the Sabbath. HWA was refused baptism because he was a novice, was very proud and arrogant, continued to eat pork, was an alcoholic and did work on the Sabbath. After convincing a Baptist minister to baptize him, he was refused ordination by the COG 7 for the same reasons.
Because of HWA’s liberal [permissive] and independent stance, Elder Unzicker of the COG7 refused to baptize Armstrong. HWA states that he had a Baptist minister in Portland baptize him, about 1927. However he NEVER had hands laid on him with a request for the gift of God’s Spirit.
The COG 7 refused to ordain him in spite of his pleas and HWA finally arranged for a few members of a small Eugene congregation to gather about him, lay hands on him, and declare him their pastor. His Eugene church then continued as an independent COG 7 congregation with him as pastor although unordained by COG7. Then in 1933 the COG7 decided to establish a form of organization with 12 apostles and seventy elders.
Herbert threw his name in the hat and was drawn as one of the seventy elders. His ordination was opposed by John Kiesz for the same reasons of unrepentance, arrogance, eating pork, working on Sabbath, alcoholism and drunkenness etc etc. However Herbert was accepted on the basis that he agreed to teach the COG 7 position on pork and the Sabbath. Kiesz later became a big supporter of HWA once HWA agreed to teach the truth.
Armstrong paints the picture that his ties with the COG7 ended in 1934 with the start of his radio broadcast. This is far from the truth, he remained a COG7 elder until his ministerial credentials were revoked by the Salem, West Virginia COG7 in 1937. While Herbert falsely told brethren that he was rejected over the Festivals, the main reason for the withdrawal of his credential was his refusal to send a portion of the tithes to headquarter according to their agreement and instead he retained them for his own purposes which was stealing.
Armstrong was considered just another independent COG7 minister until 1937. He frequently asked COG7 ministers to speak at the Eugene church, and/or the Feast of Tabernacles. These included Frank Walker, Andrew N. Dugger, Ed Severson and John Kiesz
After Herbert got his COG7 credentials he insisted that centralized church government was evil and demanded to be independent to do his own thing; rejecting all authority; however he was forced by Loma and the beliefs of the brethren to teach the doctrines of Sabbath, unclean meats etc. Here is his 1939 church government position.
After his credentials were withdraw in 1937; HWA, using the members list he had appropriated from COG7, set up his own religious corporation in Eugene; as The Radio Church of God, named after his radio program of that time. From that time on there was a constant series of split offs from the RCG as it grew.
Through the 1930’s and 1940’s Herbert styled himself a prophet making numerous prophecies up to and during the course of WW 2 and afterwards; many of them declared presumptuously “in the Name of the Lord.” ALL of them, every one; failed miserably.
After the Everett, Eugene, and Cottage Grove local ministers carried this local autonomy teaching so far as to break with him because of his reputation as a false prophet, Armstrong in 1951 reinvented himself by promoting himself to “apostle” and did an about face and instituted a strong centralized church government. From then on all ministers were paid from his Radio COG headquarters and were under his absolute personal control. This is what he himself had refused to submit too with regard to the Salem and Stanberry COG7 organizations.
While those today who wish to worship him claim that his many failed prophecies were mere speculations, they were declared to be absolutely sure and loudly declared in the “Name of the Lord.” These prophecies were not simple speculations, they were powerfully declared as absolute truth in “the name of the Lord.” A partial list of these predictions, in HWA’s own words; will be posted as an addendum at the bottom of this post.
Finally after a long list of continual failed prophecies and the end of WW 2; Herbert sought to save himself from the false prophet label he had gained in Eugene by moving his headquarters from Eugene to Pasadena in early 1946; and on March 3, 1946, the Radio Church of God was officially incorporated within the state of California; then in 1951 he promoted himself to apostle.
That year he had Herman Hoeh introduce him as: “Here is a man who is not only a prophet, he is an apostle;” and from that time on he claimed to be the prophet Elijah that was to come and an apostle as well.
Even though every prediction he had made had failed miserably he continued to present himself as Elijah and to claim to be “The Lone Voice in the Wilderness” an oblique claim to be the Elijah. Meanwhile in sermons to congregations he claimed to be Elijah and Zerubbabel etc. until he drifted away from that as he aged and realized that it was not true, although he continued to make failed prophecies until his latter years. Finally one of his prophecies: the reunification of Germany did come to pass; however that prophecy was by no means exclusive to him and was the opinion of almost every historical scholar.
The move to Pasadena was prompted by:
1) The desire to make a break with the past and the many failed prophecies made “in the name of the Lord” during the 30’s and 40′s; because many in Oregon now considered him a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:21,
2) A desire to establish organizational “UNITY” and personal loyalty by establishing a college where he could personally train people in his teachings,
3) The desire to establish a substantial Headquarters to impress people that he was legitimate and not a fly by night preacher. This meant building an impressive site in a well known location.
The attitudes towards medicine and sex and the extreme strictness of the early Armstrong Church came mainly from Herbert’s wife Loma Armstrong, who was strongly influenced by her Quaker background, and when she died in 1967 the flatterers moved in big time and HWA was soon completely under the spell of his buddy Stan Rader and his “true” friend Herman Hoeh.
They flattered him calling him the one and only Apostle and then saying that he must be the latter day Peter to whom God has entrusted the church. These men, students of Roman Catholicism; enticed him through flattery’s to accept the Catholic abomination of the “Primacy of Peter” teaching [which became official WCG teaching in 1976-77] and which is akin to the Masonic teaching that God has gone away for awhile and left men in charge to do as they think right.
While Herbert had always been a dominating personality and had run HIS church as a business with himself as totally in control, and although he did not believe his own teachings; he had taught that God was to be first in the hearts of the brethren until after 1967; then as he grew larger in his own mind and his pride ballooned, he was played by Rader and Robert Kuhn, who were Mason Illuminati agent infiltrators.
Kuhn an Illuminati agent was behind the Systemic Theology Project which sought to completely but very subtly change WCG doctrines. Herbert quashed the STP for that publicly claimed reason, although the real reason for his shutting down of the STP project was political and due to his ousting of the Rader-Kuhn team.
Robert Lawrence Kuhn is today the Illuminati globalist advisor to China. The link gives some of Kuhn’s WCG exploits in trying to change the doctrines of the WCG.
Although he quashed the STP, HWA did make very many similar doctrinal changes himself; the chief of which is that he exalted himself and WCG to be above God; claiming that he was God’s Apostle and anything he said had the authority of God.
Of course that is the exact opposite of the truth, because the proof of godliness including apostleship; is being consistent with the whole Word of God
Today’s COG groups base their doctrine on the mid 70’s WCG changes, which are Illuminati [Satan] based twisting of the sound doctrines of Holy Scripture; including the Satanic Nicolaitane abomination of placing a layer of men supposedly in authority and to be blindly obeyed, as “God’s leaders” between the brethren and God.
In reality this revolting teaching, amounts to exalting men above God, leading the brethren to follow themselves, as they destroyed any zeal to learn and to keep the sound doctrines of the whole Word of God.
While Rader worked to rob the “Work” of everything that he could get; Kuhn and Hoeh worked to water down doctrine and apostatize the WCG from what truth that they had.
The first major step in the apostasy was the flattering of HWA into thinking that he could do whatever he wanted and was worthy of carnal renown; then Rader and Raymond F. McNair convinced Herbert to quash the publication on Masonry and “entered” Herbert into the Masonic Lodge, after which he got financing from the Bank of America through Masonic connections for the construction of the Ambassador Auditorium and the establishment of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation.
For this admittance to the Masonic Lodge and the BOA loan, Herbert had to agree to stop criticizing the Catholic Church, and to stop preaching the truth and instead go to a business model outreach.
Today’s COG Groups with their false gospel of a business model outreach and their weak lukewarm lack of zeal for keeping God’s Word; are the direct result of the idolatry of exalting a man above the whole Word of God; and that wicked doctrine was placed in the Armstrong WCG by the agents of Satan in a process climaxing about 1975.
Do go to the Kuhn link to see how this was done by a direct satanic Illuminati agent.
A company was accepted to construct the Auditorium and Rader then paid them off to back out, so that the building could be done through Rader companies. Then when Herbert thought the pace was too slow he offered big bonuses to all those workers who were willing to work on the Sabbath. It was John and Stephen Elliot’s father who supervised this. So much for HWA being a “man of God.”
Brethren were told the falsehood that this was a “House for God,” but which god? The god of Masonry and the Illuminati! As if God did not dwell in his people and not in some man made structure in Pasadena.
The brethren were urged to make special offerings and to even borrow money, so as to give it to the building fund. This fraud amounted to “Robbery for Burnt offerings” through the false claim that this was “for God” when it was used to take massive funds AWAY from the work of preaching the Gospel and divert them into worldly pursuits.
These edifices were set up because HWA had been convinced by Rader that he could not present himself as a religious leader to world leaders [this was absolutely false]; and that he must instead present himself as a philanthropist.
Later he did go to visit some world leaders, gaining access through Stan Rader’s Masonic contacts and by making big gifts; usually to the leader’s favorite charities like Opera Companies and then giving an expensive gift in exchange for a few minutes photo op. These visits did NOT preach the Gospel, although they did stroke the Armstrong ego and net Rader large profits.
For example after giving $30,000 to Maggie Thatcher’s favorite opera, he was allowed a five minute photo op with her. When asked by the press what they had talked about, she replied the opera. That did not deter HWA from ostentatiously and falsely proclaiming to the brethren that he had preached the gospel to Thatcher [without mentioning everything he had given, the time constraint and the actual words he spoke] and begging for more contributions; while not informing the brethren of the donation.
In Sri Lanka Herbert gave over a hundred thousand dollars of God’s money to help build a Buddhist monastery to please his Mason friends. That was what HWA called preaching the gospel
The Auditorium building contract was given to a company who agreed not to work on Sabbath and everything was in place when Stan Rader fired them and bought off the contract with a handsome amount of WCG funds; so that his choice could do the job and run contracts through a Rader company. The Rader firm was NOT the low bidder. The construction went slowly until HWA offered big bonuses if they would work on Sabbath to be ready by concert season. Talk about dishonoring God!
In 1972, Garner Ted had been put out of the ministry and excommunicated from the church for marital infidelity, but was soon reinstated. In 1973, his father had turned over much of the reigns of church leadership to his son Garner Ted, yet still remained in top control.
Conflict between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stan Rader raged over the financial control of the church’s vast assets and the many millions of dollars of annual income.
Conflicts between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader, the church’s legal counsel who was robbing the WCG wholesale, and others; led to Garner Ted’s final ouster in 1978. He formed his own church organization, the Church of God International, headquartered in Tyler, Texas
The 74 Split and Key Doctrinal Changes
I need to point out that HWA got most of his doctrine originally from the Quaker religion in which he was raised, updated by the teachings of the COG 7th Day and the addition of the annual High Days, until he completely apostatized in the late sixties and early seventies. The post Loma changes are the foundation of the present day daughters of the WCG
EARNEST L MARTIN broke away from the WCG in 1974; teaching against tithing, the Holy Days, Sabbath etc and was followed by dozens of fellow elders.
In early 1974, the roof caved in on the Worldwide Church of God. Dr. Ernest L. Martin, Al Portune, Ken Westby, George Kemnitz and a host of other leading ministers left the church, ostensibly over its failure to change its teachings on Divorce & Remarriage (D&R) and over Pentecost, and domineering church government.
In an apparent effort to stem the tide, the Church’s leader, Herbert W. Armstrong, then drastically liberalized the church’s teachings on D&R, allowing divorce and remarriage for just about any reason, even when both were married in the church.
Also, the date for the annual Pentecost observance was changed from Monday to Sunday [which was correct]. Many other doctrines were changed and/or liberalized. In 1977, Joseph Hopkins in “Christianity Today” listed 29 doctrinal changes or liberalizations, including a more relaxed approach to Sabbath observance.
In the WCG prior to the death of Loma it had been unthinkable to travel, or to buy food and drink on the Sabbath; except in the most extreme emergency.
When Herbert began to travel more, he found it convenient to water down and overlook the Sabbath commandment; although he regarded this as a personal necessity to “do the work” and did not allow such laxity among the brethren until years later.
The Laodicean attitude set in very early in the HWA ministry, with the “I am an apostle and I can do what I want” attitude that began after 1967. HWA called himself a Prophet in the early days, and was first publicly introduced as an Apostle by Herman Hoeh in 1951; when Hoeh said: “Let me introduce to you a man who is not merely a prophet, but an apostle of God.”
While thousands had left because the church had refused to change doctrines, hundreds more left for the opposite reason. All these departures produced numerous splinter groups.
D&R For example HWA had taught that divorce and remarriage was absolutely forbidden and he refused to believe that baptism was a death of the old man with his sins and the rising of a NEW person in Christ with the past forgiven and forgotten. Therefore he cruelly demanded [a policy enforced by Rod Meredith who also taught men to spank their wives] the separation of any couple who had been married after a previous to baptism, divorce of one of the persons. Later he swung to the opposite extreme and allowed D&R at will. BOTH of these extremes are scripturally WRONG.
Herbert taught that Pentecost should be observed on a Monday, until he learned that the majority of the ministry disagreed with him. Only then did he investigate the matter and make the change to Sunday.
This resulted in a significant split as Raymond Cole had gone to him with proof that Pentecost was on Sunday and HWA had told him that he was an apostle and that he was correct and must be obeyed. Cole then agreed to shelve the matter based on the absurd concept that God had inspired this understanding to HWA, but warned Herbert that if he should ever make a change to Sunday, he would be revealing that his argument was in error and that he was not an apostle and should not be believed.
Later HWA did change BOTH the Pentecost date and D&R, prompting the break away by the Raymond Cole group in 1974.
Raymond C. Cole (1926-2001): Ambassador Class of 1952; Ordained by Herbert W. Armstrong on December 20, 1952; Founded the Church of God, the Eternal, 1974-1975; He one of the original six students at Ambassador.
Unlike many Ambassador students, he grew up in the Church of God (Seventh Day), the parent organization of the Worldwide Church of God. His break from the WCG in 1974 was largely due to doctrinal changes regarding Pentecost and divorce and remarriage.
He seemed not to realize that God’s word is correct; however our understanding is often incomplete or incorrect and that we must learn and progress, overcoming more and more over time.
THE RADER-TED POWER STRUGGLE
Stanley Rader, who still considered himself to be a Reform Jew, claimed to have been baptized into the Worldwide Church of God by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1975 using a hotel bathtub in the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. This claim of so called baptism [Rader remained a Reformed Jew, Mason and Illuminati] is highly unlikely to have really happened.
This move allowed Stanley Rader to reposition himself as a high-ranking church evangelist in 1978, the claimed baptism was an attempt to quell misgivings by many in the ministerial hierarchy who felt that Rader’s undue influence was troubling.
Ted’s downfall began when he fired Rader and changed advertising agencies from one owned by Rader to an independent agency.
HWA had agreed to Ted’s proposal in early 1978 to hire a new advertising agency (other than Rader’s) and to separate the church HQ from the College by separating the college (AC) in Big Sandy, and the WCG HQ in Pasadena in order to be accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) as that was a problem (according to Ted-”Origin” pg 51) related to the desire of HWA to call Ambassador a coeducational institution while being under strict control of a hierarchy. WASC would not okay that. If the hierarchy was to be maintained, there had to be a separation of church and college. Student freedom of choice is imperative in a coeducational environment.
These moves by Ted in their power struggle prompted a Rader counter attack by informing most senior leaders and many brethren of Ted’s sexual sins, feeding such information to the ministry and brethren, forcing HWA to take action against Ted.
In 1978 Stan Rader won the power struggle with Ted Armstrong; and Ted was ousted from the WCG.
In his September 20, 78 co-worker letter, Herbert Armstrong hinted that his life might soon be coming to an end (Due to a minor heart attack during sex with his wife in 1978; NO HWA did not die and he was NOT resurrected; his heart skipped a few beats and it was decided to use that to deceive the brethren.). Within days, it was announced that Rader had been ordained an evangelist along with Joseph Tkach and Ellis LaRavia. Leroy Neff another proven Rader loyalist, was also elevated to evangelist rank a little later.
A staunch Rader supporter. Kevin Dean was ordained a local elder. The Rader ordination shocked many WCG ministers. A few, including Fred Coulter, resigned over it.
To replace Ted, Rader then recommended and had HWA place his lieutenants, Joseph Tkach and Ellis LaRavia in high positions to control the ministry.
Refusing to give up the fight, Ted Armstrong backed a few other members and ex-members of the WCG in filing a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office regarding the financial manipulations of Stan Rader in the WCG.
Joseph Tkach had strong connections to the complainants, Shirley and Earl Timmons.
C Wayne Cole, HWA’s representative in Pasadena rushed to Tucson for instructions when a receiver was appointed and took over the WCG in 79. Herbert told Cole that they had nothing to hide and instructed him to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Upon hearing this Stan Rader knowing that his theft of millions was the focus of the investigation, rushed to Tucson and convinced HWA that he was being personally attacked and should fight back.
Then, armed with HWA’s new instructions; Rader returned to Pasadena and Cole was fired for being faithful to his instructions in cooperating with the State as per the scriptures and HWA’s instructions.
Rarely has any loyal man been so unjustly dealt with.
Stan Rader, empowered to lead the fight by HWA then removed those loyal WCG leaders and placed his own trusted lieutenants in charge of the ministry to fight the receivership. It was this political intrigue that Rod Meredith fell victim to, when he was forced out by Rader through HWA to a six months leave of absence.
First Roderick C. Meredith was removed as director of the WCG’s ministry. Then all WCG evangelists [including Meredith] were stripped of their rank by HWA . This was part of the Rader take over and these credentials were later restored by HWA.
The hierarchical structure of the ministry was reorganized with Rader loyualists Joseph Tkach and Aaron Dean being elevated to top positions under HWA. Both Tkach and Dean were proven Rader loyalists; who later double crossed Rader.
The board of trustees was purged of anti-Rader trustees (Meredith and Luker). Raymond McNair remained as he was in the Rader camp.
Rader then fought with all his might to prevent the receiver from exposing his own financial activities since he was bilking the WCG out of millions yearly. To the shame of the brethren in the WCG, they allowed themselves to be led contrary to the scripture into fighting the state authority which was working to protect them against such evil.
The brethren, without knowing it; were misled into rebelling against Jesus Christ and refusing to submit to the State in non doctrinal matters, supporting and defending the very person who was destroying the WCG and its “work;” Stan Rader.
The shameful thing is that they were doing this contrary to the scriptures which teach submission to the law of the land insofar as it does not conflict with the law of God; they were defending a person who was stealing from them!
I confess that I myself was deceived into supporting the church against the state; not understanding the situation at the time. If I had only been faithful to God’s biblical instructions; no deception would have moved me. I learned a powerful lesson during those years which is why I am writing this history now as a lesson and help in the present situation.
Do not listen to men when they go against God’s Word!
Eventually the state was convinced by Rader to back off through alliances with the Roman Catholic’s and many other religious groups that the WCG considered pagan.
This is a pivotal event not just because it proved how gullible and how quickly the people could be turned against their cherished doctrine, it was also the launch point for the take over by Joe Tkach.
When the law suite was launched by friends of Joseph Tkach; Joe then fought the hardest against it and earned the gratitude of Stan Rader who placed key blackmail evidence he had against HWA in Tkach’s hands. Then Tkach double crossed Rader and made HWA aware that he now had this evidence and supported HWA in purging Rader from the WCG. Tkach then got his reward from HWA
When the dust settled after the receivership and the HWA/Ramona divorce in 82; Both Ted and Rader were history and Joe Tkach was IN.
Tkach then began consolidating his position by flattering the aging HWA who was getting slower and slower at understanding the situation, which he had never really understood anyway [having had his head turned by flatteries].
Tkach also began to set his supporters in key jobs, or winning support from those in such positions, in preparation for the changes to come.
From 1982 on Aaron Dean and Herman Hoeh worked to advance Joseph Tkach.
To seize full control of the church Stan Rader recruited his secretary Ramona Martin to court and marry the elderly HWA. Ramona 40 years his junior and coached by her boss, knew the way to Herbert’s heart.
After a two year pre-marital sexual relationship [during their divorce proceedings HWA admitted forcing her by demanding that she “obey the apostle”], HWA, then in his 80′s, married Ramona Martin, then 38, a long-time member, divorcee and Rader’s secretary who had a 15-year old son from a previous marriage in 1977. At first she played coy and refused to marry him unless he allowed the use of make up, and she required him to move to Tucson, Arizona.
Herbert then reversed his makeup prohibition doctrine and agreed on the move; not understanding that this was a carefully laid plot by his “friend” Stan Rader.
Arizona has the most liberal laws in the United States regarding the declaration of persons as senile or incompetent; later the Dean brothers gave HWA taped conversations between Ramona and Rader conspiring to have him committed.
When HWA learned that Ramona was planning to have him declared incompetent and placed in a nursing home in collusion with Stan; he immediately fled back to Pasadena and declared make up a sin again, suing her for divorce in 1982.
That ended the Honey Moon with Stan Rader; who’s “heir apparent” role from 1978, ended abruptly in 1982.
[Please take note of the dates involved as the Receivership  take place during the marital years.] The divorce was later granted in 1984, only after revealing a multitude of horrific personal sins by HWA in divorce depositions: Such as telling Ramona [after he could no longer do it because of doctors orders after his heart attack], to feel free to have sex with any man she fancied as long as she was discreet. So much for being an apostle.
Aaron Dean was rewarded for his help against Rader and replaced Bob Fahey as HWA’s personal assistant and from that position Aaron Dean worked to advance Joseph Tkach.
Considerably more WCG history can be found in our article dealing specifically with the internal power struggles resulting in the rise of Joseph Tkach.
The Many Failed Prophecies of Herbert W Armstrong
PT February 1934, page 3. “… we may be absolutely certain that we are in, and for about three years have been passing through, this great world-wide tribulation…. We have seen that the “day of His wrath” is the “Day of the Lord,” which is a day of DESTRUCTION. WHO will be able to stand it? Will YOU, brother, sister? You can’t escape it. It is just as CERTAIN as are all these other events which have happened right on schedule.”
PT June/July 1934. HWA published a hand-drawn chart of the “End Times,” correlating certain dates and events with the “Seven Seals” of Revelation 6. Included were the first four seals (“false prophets,” wars, famines, and pestilences), which he showed culminating in the period between 1914 and 1928. The “Tribulation” referred to in Mat. 24:21, Rev. 6:9-11, and Dan. 12:1 he pinpoints as the time period between 1928 and 1936.
Note: He clearly marks 1936 as the “END OF THE AGE,” to be immediately followed by the heavenly signs and then the “Day of the Lord.”
When “the Day of the Lord” didn’t come in 1936, he began a long career of predicting, often dogmatically, ever-changing scenarios and time frames for the events of the Last Days.
PT March 1938, p.8: “Mussolini and the Pope will hatch up an idea between [them] of setting up a world headquarters at Jerusalem—and so Mussolini’s armies will enter Palestine (Dan. 11:41), and eventually will capture just half of the city of Jerusalem! (Zech 14:2)”
PT January 1939, p. 4: “Mussolini will fight Christ!”
PT August 1939, p.6 “Once war is resumed, it must continue on thru the great Tribulation, the heavenly signs, the plagues of the Day of the Lord, and to the second coming of Christ, at the last battle, at Armageddon!… But this you may know! This war will be ended by Christ’s return! And war may start within six weeks! We are just that near Christ’s coming!”
Co-Worker Letter Feb. 14, 1941 “TIME IS SHORT! We are near the END! Soon the Gospel will be BARRED from the air.”
Co-Worker Letter May 14, 1941 “Satan now speeds up his activity to horrible fury, working through Hitler and others. He KNOWS that he has but a short time! …OUR time is equally short! OUR work must be finished before Christ comes! We must throw ourselves to the task with even GREATER inspiration than the Nazi army!…No sacrifice is too great. Soon our money, our property will be worth NOTHING to us. We cannot keep it much longer, anyway…
PT May/June 1941 “Since the last issue … many things have occurred, everyone in accordance with prophecy! … War events thunder on, rapidly approaching the prophesied climax! Hitler now emerges as the “BEAST” of Revelation!”
PT September/October 1941 page 7: “What does Hitler’s invasion of Russia mean? What does BIBLE PROPHECY say about it? As usual, there are many ideas. So FEW, it seems, have a right understanding of the Bible and its prophecies. Plain Truth readers know world events, before they occur. … Hitler MUST BE THE VICTOR in his present Russian invasion!
Our God is now about to punish… if our stiff-necked and rebellious people go on defying… trusting only in material and military defense… We shall be invaded, CONQUERED, uprooted from our homes and transplanted to other lands across the seas—ruled over as slaves. “
CO-WORKERS BULLETIN, December 24th, 1941: “W A R ! What it Means in P R O P H E C Y… Well, it has come. American soil has been invaded, the U.S. Navy seriously crippled. Enemy submarines are torpedoing ships 20 miles off our Pacific Coast. Enemy planes have been
flying over San Francisco. We know what black-outs are. Prophesied events SWEEP ON! Bible prophecy is CERTAIN! Far more horrible events now loom immediately ahead. This, now, is only “the BEGINNING of sorrows.” Do we believe it? Are we at last AWAKE?”
…Bible prophecy shows Hitler is far from through… He will take Gibalter… He will take SUEZ. He wil enter and take PALESTINE – eventually set up his headquarters there!”
…Remember this war is PROPHESIED! It is the LAST war! It is for a PURPOSE! God’s JUDGMENTS are about to fall!
Co-Worker Letter August 24th 1942: This war, for us, is a judgment sent from God. God has blessed us with vast material wealth—more than two-thirds of all earth’s economic resources! And we have forgotten Him, forsaken Him and His ways, made gods of the very material things with which He has blessed us, and our land is steeped in sin, and now plunging hell-bent into fast-INCREASING sin! THE DAY OF RECKONING IS HERE.
Friends, and Co-workers, WE KNOW THESE SOLEMN TRUTHS! If we fail to WARN this nation, God says He will require the blood of the people at our hands. (Ezek. 33:1-6) Our job is to WARN the people before it is too late—to admonish them with POWER, over more and more radio stations until the whole nation hears the warning—to turn back to the God we have forsaken. Because HE ALONE CAN SAVE THIS NATION NOW. This is not idle talk. It is not more alarmist language. IT IS THE STARK, BARE, SOLEMN TRUTH! And in this RACE AGAINST TIME, we, dear co-workers, have OUR race against time! It is, now, “five minutes till midnight”. Then it will be too late.
That’s why I am speeding now back to Des Moines. There is NO TIME TO LOSE!
Co-Worker letter November 1942: “I have been telling you we are in a RACE AGAINST TIME. Our days on the air are NUMBERED! And this whole nation and people MUST BE WARNED BEFORE WE ARE SHUT OFF. God Almighty says in His prophecies we cannot win in this war UNLESS OUR PEOPLE REPENT AND TURN TO HIM. He says Armies do not determine the outcome of wars—but the ETERNAL rescues them that put their trust in HIM. (Psalms 33)
Co-workers, OUR contribution to the war-effort—OUR patriotic DUTY, if we would back up the boys in uniform and have their lives spared—is to SACRIFICE EVERYTHING and GET BEHIND THIS VITAL MESSAGE that it may go out with rapidly-multiplied POWER until this nation is AWAKENED, and TURNS TO GOD, and is SPARED! This war is a JUDGMENT SENT FROM GOD! Help me to warn this nation, that defeat need not come to our shores!
December 23,1942: Beside proclaiming the true GOSPEL—the Good News of the KINGDOM OF GOD—the Eternal has commissioned us who are Co-Workers together in this work to WARN THIS NATION—including Canada, and other English-speaking nations if that becomes possible—that GOD HIMSELF is sending this war upon us as a JUDGMENT—that we are HIS PEOPLE ISRAEL—that to win in this war this nation MUST REPENT AND TURN TO GOD AND PUT ITS TRUST IN HIM!
Feb. 16, 1943 – In the Bible—God’s revelation and special message to man—are whole chapters and books of prophecy whose meaning has been sealed until this present time of the END. Whole Books of the Bible had no meaning to those of a generation or two ago. Like Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 12:8-10) these vital prophecies were sealed —closed to human understanding until NOW. They pertain to world events, NOW. A very large portion of all the prophecies of the Bible pertain to THIS very generation in which we live.
…We came to see God’s great WARNING to America and to Britain that we shall LOSE this war UNLESS OUR PEOPLE REPENT OF THEIR SINS AND PUT THEIR TRUST IN GOD!
God helping us, we know of no one else proclaiming this solemn warning to our nation! And yet, unless it is proclaimed, WHOLE BOOKS of the Bible, such as Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Joel, are left almost wholly without meaning. They are a warning for our people in OUR TIME! Yes, even much of Jeremiah and Isaiah—much of Revelation, Daniel, and other important prophecies. To proclaim this life-and-death warning for our nation IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS IN THIS WORLD TODAY.
It is more than just preaching the Gospel. THIS NATION MUST BE WARNED! The sure Word of prophecy says definitely the only way we can win this war is to REPENT as a nation, turn to
God, seek Him and FIND Him, and put our trust in HIM! God has SENT this war upon us, as a JUDGMENT! The day of reckoning, for this nation, is HERE. This is of GOD! HE SAYS SO!
January 23, 1945 co-worker letter “Where are we, now, in the prophetic unfolding of God’s PLAN? We are already IN the very crisis at the close of this age, spoken of by Daniel the prophet. We are in that period portrayed by the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—of the Book of Revelation. Jesus explained these in His Olivet prophecy (Mat. 24). The false prophets representing a false, counterfeit Christ, have appeared. We are now in the midst of the final age-end WORLD-WAR—nation against nation; kingdom against kingdom! We are in the beginning of the famine and pestilence to follow in the wake of world-war! “
Coworker Letter December 1947 “YOU, dear Co-Worker, are not going to be permitted to enjoy your home, your freedom, your present privileges and pursuits, many more years. Just a few more years—perhaps six or seven—perhaps twelve or fifteen—and a re-united Fascist-Nazi Europe will STRIKE—America’s great cities will be blown out of existence in one night without warning…
I tell you, ON THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST, IT IS COMING! Many of you NOW, are in financial condition to DO A LOT MORE than you are doing for GOD’S CAUSE—to help me get out this Message over the air, and in print—to help me train and prepare talented, able, consecrated young men and women for THEIR part in soon carrying this vital message to THE ENTIRE WORLD—into EVERY NATION! “
PT, May, 1950, page 5, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Most certainly it is easily possible the thing (U.S. of Europe) will be fully developed and ready to strike in seven years! Yes, time is running out on us … One third of our people will die from starvation … and in the next FEW YEARS!”
PT August 1952 p. 14 (Herman Hoeh]) “The next Pope will be a miracle worker, a supposed proof that God is using him to order and pacify the world!” [The next pope was Pope John XXIII. He never claimed to be a miracle worker and never tried to organize or pacify the world.]
PT August, 1952, p.1 [Headline to article by HWA]:
“Hitler Did Not Die! Adolph Hitler’s fake suicide in his Berlin bunker now is exposed as history’s greatest hoax! Positive evidence comes to light Hitler did not die–Here’s new evidence that Hitler is alive, directing Nazi Underground today!”
PT, Aug., 1952, page 10, HWA: “Thus it has been proved conclusively and beyond doubt, that Hitler did not die — his body was not there — HE HAD ESCAPED! … The next Pope will be a professed miracle worker, as supposed proof that God is using him to order and pacify the world!”
PT January 1955 p. 1, 15 (Hoeh) “The assistant Chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau, I.R. Tannehill painted a gloomy future for America in one of the nation’s leading magazines. The last few years of drought and floods are just a foretaste of famines soon to occur! “Real trouble,” he states, “is just around the corner.” By the 1970s, he continues, “our water demands may make the supply critical even in good rain years. WHAT WILL WE DO WHEN THE GREAT DROUGHT OF 1975 settles down upon us? That’s your question.” Yes, that is the question!—and prophecy proves it will happen—before 1975!”
[NOTE: That is the beginning of the article… the end is a pitch for tithing! As follows…]
Only remember that if you do not square yourself with the Almighty Ruler of the universe, that He will collect from you all your past obligations by casting you out of your very own home. These are strong words, but they are true. God Almighty has spoken through His servants the prophets that He will punish our people for their sins. He will let our own lust cause such droughts, floods, pestilences and famines that we will be totally consumed and carried away captive to other nations as slaves within 20 years… Tithing is God’s challenge! Are YOU going to practice what He commands you? It is your only protection from the coming disaster that faces our nation.”
PT, April, 1956, pages 3, 23, 24, H.L. Hoeh: “PLAGUES are coming — and, according to this prophetic warning, in about two years from now. … For seven long and frightful years we are going to suffer as never before — until we are left ‘few in number‘! We have about reached our population peak, despite the guesses of our political and industrial planners … In another ten years for fear of Communist terrorism it won’t be safe to live in Asia or in Africa! … This most important Work will in all probability be completed in 1972! … The coming Fascist-religious revival of Europe will conquer us within a prophetically indicated 17 years!”
“1975 in Prophecy”, 1956 edition, pages 10, 12, 20, HWA: “Indications of prophecy are that this drought … will strike sooner than 1975 — probably between 1965 and 1972! … At the outset of this article I stated that the KEYS that had kept prophetic doors locked and closed from human understanding have now been found — or, more properly, been given to us by God …
Yes, millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer MARTYRDOM — and that before the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!”
November, 1956, p. 3 (Hoeh): “… millions of Christians in the United States and Britain will be MARTYRED—and that within the next 16 years!”
PT, August, 1957, page 5, R.C.Meredith: “We will soon find that hoof-and-mouth disease will spread COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL! These things are not far off. They are here and NOW! DISEASE EPIDEMICS are prophesied to begin soon! America, WAKE UP! After 1965, we are destined to run into increased trouble with the Gentile nations. America and Britain will begin to suffer from trade embargoes … We will begin to experience the pangs of starvation and of scarcity of goods!”
Coworker Letter 2/13/59 : “Today we are in the SEVENTH YEAR of our SECOND 19-year TIME-CYCLE which God has allotted for this MASS-PROCLAIMING of THIS MESSAGE FROM GOD! If God does not cut the time short, we may have another 12 years to complete this GREAT COMMISSION.
BUT—speaking of this terrible world-chaos now INTENSIFYING rapidly, Jesus said man would develop to the place where he would WIPE ALL LIFE FROM THE EARTH, U N L E S S God Almighty intervenes with supernatural power to CUT SHORT these days. And, said Jesus (Matt 24:22), “For the ELECT’S SAKE, those days SHALL BE CUT SHORT!”
Does that mean we have far LESS than the remaining 12 years of our allotted two 19-year time cycles? lT MAY! LET ME TELL YOU, IT IS LATER THAN WE THINK!”
“A True History of the True Church”, 1959, page 27, Hoeh: “God has given His Church — THIS CHURCH — just two nineteen year cycles … The first cycle passed. Then God suddenly opened the door for the second cycle in January, 1953.”
PT, December, 1962, page 42, HLH: “Russia and China Will NOT Split … Russia and China are to remain allies!”
PT, Jan., 1963, page 21, HWA: “Somewhere along about seven to ten years from now the REVOLUTION IN THE WEATHER will become a national and international calamity. Drought, epidemics of disease, will reap a mounting harvest of death across North America — and in Britain. Economic depression will strike … And the time will be right for the new United Europe to strike!”
PT, June, 1963, page 46, RCM: “This coming, revived Holy Roman Empire which is prophesied to arise in Europe and CONQUER America and Britain within the next ten to twelve years …”
Nov 30, 1963, coworkers letter: “we have only eight years to finish the Work”;
1964 Coworkers letter: “only 7 years before H-bomb warfare breaks out”
PT, Mar. 1964, page 48, HLH: “We face a national catastrophe before 1975!”
PT, May 1965, Page 21, R.F. McNair: “The greatest proof that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ have not yet ended is the simple fact that the Gentile Arabs are still in possession of the old city of Jerusalem. They will remain in control of this city until the second coming of Christ.”
Dec 1965, HWA in co-workers letter: “We are in the grand smash climax – only 6 years left.”
1966 sermon by Meredith: “within three years by 1969 society will have collapsed in America; millions will flee into cities”
PT, Mar. 1966, page 22, Charles Dorothy: “Hitler escaped, probably to Argentina!”
PT: January 1967: Hogberg – “There WILL be an end to strife and struggle among men and nations. And in less than 10 years!”
PT, Feb. 1967, page 47, Herbert W. Armstrong: “The ‘Day of the Eternal’ … is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now!”
“The U.S. and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy,” 1967, pages XI-XII, HWA: “The events prophesied to strike the American and British peoples in the next four to seven years are SURE! That is why the events of the next four to seven years may prove this to be the most significant book of this century. These colossal world events, shrinking the first two world wars into insignificance, WILL COME, on schedule.”
PT, Feb.,1970, page 27, R.F. McNair: “Will Britain ever be admitted to the Common Market? Probably not!”
Coworker Letter 6/22/78 “We are in the very LAST DAYS of this present evil world of Satan’s. Satan knows he now has but a SHORT TIME.
It is desperately important that we know that too! Christ, through me—with you BACK OF ME 100% (as so many of you have written me)—is now proclaiming IN POWER and IN ALL THE WORLD the fact that Christ and the KINGDOM OF GOD—and the abolishment of Satan—is SOON to happen—IN OUR PRESENT LIVING GENERATION!”
- HWA (and WCG) failed to accept responsibility for making repeated, reckless claims that negatively impacted many of their followers.
Feb., 1972, Tomorrow’s World, pages 30-31, HWA claimed: “It has never been our intention to SET DATES! Yet, in our human zeal and enthusiasm we have a few times come close to it or appeared to. Yet, in our zeal, we have used ‘possible’s’ and ‘probably’s’ and even appeared to set dates we really didn’t intend to set.”
“… Emphatically, if we — in our dedicated enthusiastic ZEAL to get God’s WARNING of the end of mankind’s world before this sick, sick world — DO, even though we intend not to, appear to set a date, I FEEL I DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE! No one but the enemies of ALL GOOD will accuse!”
His denials impacted his credibility. Just because someone criticized him for setting dates, it does not make that individual an enemy of “ALL GOOD.”
Similar denials by Mr. Armstrong of his past statements were mentioned in Mr. Gerringer’s 1975 letter:
“Soon after Rohan’s attempted Mosque burning Mr. HWA began saying that neither he nor anyone else in the WCG had ever proclaimed that a literal temple had to be built in Jerusalem. When I heard him say it, I believed it — unquestioningly. After all, it would be virtually a sin to question Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
Could Mr. HWA’s denials represent a possible credibility problem? Situation ethics? Expedience? Deception? The following quotes helped me decide:
PT, Oct., 1958, page 4, column 31 paragraph 4, HLH: “A temple or sanctuary is yet to be built by the Jews in Jerusalem! … it shall happen in less than 14 years from now!”
PT, June, 1967, page 2, column 2, paragraph 6, HWA: “There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered … They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the Temple.” Page 4, column 2, paragraph 3, HWA: “So there will have to be a temple there!” Page 5, column 1, paragraph 4, Herbert W. Armstrong: “So there will be a temple built on the spot of the old temple in Jerusalem.” Page 5, column 2, paragraph 4, HWA: “Then Revelation 11 shows there will be a temple in Jerusalem.”
PT, Mar., 1968, page 8, column 2, paragraph 3, RCM: “…. a religious center and Temple will be built there (Jerusalem) within the very next few years!” Page 41, column 1, paragraph 2, RCM: “The building of a literal Temple” and “a great religious leader making his Headquarters right in that Temple in Jerusalem” are to be signs that “the END OF this age” is near.
PT, Aug., 1968, page 41, column 2, paragraph 4 GTA: “Bible prophecy specifically states that there WILL BE A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.” Column 3, paragraph 3, GTA: “This reveals clearly. that the TEMPLE of which these prophecies speak must be a Temple IN JERUSALEM — on the same site as the one in which Christ spoke; the same site on which Solomon’s Temple had stood. This cannot be some other “temple” in some other area — it must be a temple IN JERUSALEM — or the prophecies of your Bible fail! … He will SIT IN A TEMPLE OF GOD” — ON THE TEMPLE SITE — IN JERUSALEM!”
Did HWA learn from such mistakes, admit them, and avoid similar ones afterward? Or did he ignore them and continue to take pride in his ability to forecast the future?
In 1982, He bragged about forecasting the United States of Europe almost 50 years in advance (in 1934 Plain Truth). However, he conveniently ignored a huge error in the same 1932 PT magazine in which he had stated the world was already passing through the tribulation and that Jesus would return in 1936.
Herbert W Armstrong was not a prophet of God, and he was not an apostle of God. He was a highly ambitious very impressive high pressure salesman, who chose to sell a religion to appease his wife. After Loma died he being swollen with pride was deceived by flatterers who perverted the truth existing in the COG at that time into a satanic mix of truth and gross error; which exists throughout the COG Groups to this day.
This mainly through the exalting of men, which then led to the Hellenized reasoning of men; making the Word of God of no effect.
For example: 1 claiming that the seventh day is truly God’s Sabbath, and then making God’s Sabbath of no effect by disobeying God’s commands on how to keep God’s Sabbath holy. Example 2, by saying that we should keep the Holy Days while teaching that we should keep them on the wrong dates and contrary to how God commands that they be kept.
Brethren, much has been sealed to the very end time, and Satan has been continually attacking the sound doctrine of the whole Word of God; not by direct attack, but by working to mix error with truth, and so pervert us away from God, into following the Hellenized reasoning’s of idols of men.