[Below I’ve posted a copy of the hottest chapter in David Robinson’s book – the one the reader is actually looking forward to (or dreading) reaching when he begins reading the book! I do have a copy of the book, but I’m not about to sit down and type it all up for this website! I’ve posted this info about HWA’s extreme lack of character, not to dwell on a man’s sins, but to help the reader see that HWA was not the man he pretended to be; but was a fake who touted a fake form of Christianity. Whistler]
Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web
By David Robinson
How serious is the sin of incest, such as when a father uses his authority to force himself on his own daughter, his own flesh? All generations of the human family have viewed this conduct as an unnatural act. The apostle Paul referred to a somewhat similar relationship in the Corinthian church: ". . . such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife" (I Cor. 5:1). Incest was disgusting beyond measure to Paul, who was led to record his revulsion for posterity in the inspired Bible.
Even during this time of "sexual freedom" the American nation was recently shocked to witness a television program, "The Phil Donahue Show," on which victims of incest discussed their emotional suffering that resulted from such parental abuse. The psychological penalty for such sin continues for generations.
Sometimes perpetrators of such crimes
try to justify themselves by citing the case of
Not that there is ever any justification for such acts, but the sin of Lot, bad as it was, is not to be compared with that of a married man who, on a continuing basis, engages in sex with his own daughter!
Many American states legislated
the death penalty in such cases in the earlier years of this country. I knew
personally of such a case in
Incest is a terrible and unnatural crime, an extreme perversity. That is why I was shocked beyond measure to hear that Herbert 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 HWA 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 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 HWA 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 HWA 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 HWA's autobiography. This sin occurred over a long span of years, a decade after his ordination to the ministry, according to his own 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 HWA 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 still 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 at stake; and thousands who look to HWA, 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 the things that they do in secret" (Eph.S:II-12, RSV). Earlier in the same chapter, Paul had written: "But immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints" (Eph. 5:3, RSV)
"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).
Can someone preach truth for many years
and fail in his own spiritual life? Of
course! Lucifer did, Solomon did, and so have many others down through the
years. That is why Christ asked, "And why call ye
me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Christ
also said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke ). The way a man talks in private is the way he is. His
public utterances alone aren't enough to judge a man's character - his
trustworthiness. It is especially necessary
to know what kind of man you follow when he promises to lead you into the
In Matthew 7:21-23, we read this warning from Jesus himself:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in 'thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And
then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
In the 59th chapter of Isaiah, that prophet warns of those who conceive mischief, lie, and bring forth iniquity. Their feet run to do evil. The way of peace they know not. They make themselves crooked paths, and they weave spiders' webs. But Isaiah promises in the name of God that those webs shall not be a covering for their sins in the end!
Herbert Armstrong has become tangled in his own web of lies. And the time has come for him to be revealed for what he really is. May God help his followers to see.
Another bizarre 'tale' which Worldwiders find impossible, it seems, to come to terms with, is that their church's founder, Herbert W Armstrong, was a sex pervert who seduced his own daughter. This incestuous relationship persisted for up to ten years, according to reliable sources.
David Robinson, a former WCG minister (he left when he realised how sordid HWA's personal history was) revealed these facts in his book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web. Although the church tried to stop publication through the courts, they were not successful. The book revealed incontrovertible truth which Armstrong did not contest – because it was true.
He never repented of his
misdeeds. He merely covered up the facts, in order to save face in the eyes of
his church members. More about this is contained in The Corrupt Leaders of the Worldwide Church of God
(available for a small donation from Midnight Ministries,
The story of Herbert Armstrong's illicit sexual conduct in the 1930's, how he pleaded with son Garner Ted decades later not to 'spill the beans', and the names of authentic witnesses to the saga, were all published in Ambassador Report (PO Box 60068, Pasadena, CA 91116, USA.) The story is not gossip. It is not slander. It is true, and it is only repeated here to make readers aware that HWA was not a man of God but a deceiver. "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt -20). Jesus was talking about spiritual fruits, not the physical results of their work.
Some will immediately
reject the facts about HWA because they learned truth of God through this man's
work. That may be true, but many are used by God for this purpose who will not
be in the
As difficult as it is for anyone steeped in WCG psychology to come to accept the sordid facts, it is essential if you want complete spiritual release and to come to know Jesus Christ fully.
Evidence of Armstrong's sexual impropriety again emerged years later during court proceedings concerning the divorce settlement between HWA and his second wife Ramona (who was young enough to be his grand-daughter – which ought to tell you something about HWA!). Relevant newspaper excerpts are reproduced below. The sections in italics indicate that the incest allegations were not rumour, but fact – well-known to those closest to HWA. They were hush-hushed so the church members would not hear about them.
Attorneys reported Thursday that a tentative agreement had collapsed in the divorce case of Herbert W. Armstrong, pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God, and the Judge ordered that a trial begin.
Armstrong and his estranged wife, Ramona, signed the tentative agreement on a divorce settlement April 26 after a two-year legal wrangle.
"I was under the impression that a settlement had been reached until early this morning," Allan Browne, Armstrong's attorney, told Judge William Sherrill, of Puma County Superior Court.
Browne said he and
lawyers for Mrs. Armstrong had discussed their drafts of the agreement Tuesday.
He said he sent a final version, subject to a "few minor details" to
Lawrence Deckler, an attorney for Mrs. Armstrong, and
to Armstrong in
"We do not have the agreement signed by Mr. Deckler at this point," Browne said.
Deckler told Sherrill the tentative agreement reached two weeks ago provided that Mrs. Armstrong would have to be satisfied as to disposition of pending criminal charges accusing her of theft, trafficking in stolen property and perjury. [A counterclaim is often brought against the other party to shift blame from the guilty.]
Mrs. Armstrong was indicted by a Superior Court grand jury in the disappearance of church owned gold flatware. Trial in the criminal case is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Deckler said Judge Richard Hannah, presiding over the criminal case, has indicated "no plea agreement will be accepted by him at this time" on the charges against Mrs. Armstrong.
Browne told Sherrill the church had agreed to waive its complaint about the disappearance of the church-owned flatware [because a smoke-screen], but that Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Peasley would not agree to drop the charges.
Browne said the prosecutor had taken the position that the divorce action would "not in any way control the outcome of the criminal action."
Both Browne and Deckler told Sherrill that agreement had been reached on the particulars of the marriage dissolution, including division of property.
The judge who would have had to approve any settlement, rejected a request by Browne to postpone the immediate start of the trial.
"I think that the only way that this case is going to be settled is if we go to trial," Sherrill said.
Sherrill agreed to a request by Browne to exclude evidence concerning "alleged explicit sexual activity or conduct."
Terms of the tentative
settlement were not disclosed. Court documents showed that Mrs. Armstrong, who
now lives in
She contended that a premarital agreement stipulated she would become Armstrong's beneficiary regardless of his death or anything else, including divorce. His lawyers denied there was any such agreement.
Armstrong said the couple had no children, and said differences between them had led to their marriage's "irretrievable breakdown."
In the later news release below, further admissions in court reveal the truth behind the sexual allegations concerning HWA (underlined).
A judge, Friday, dissolved the 7 year old marriage of Herbert W. Armstrong, the 91 year old pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God, and his one-time secretary.
Judge William N. Sherrill approved the settlement in the 2 year divorce battle after a 5 minute hearing during which Armstrong testified that he had read the settlement agreement and did not feel it was unfair.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Armstrong's attorney, Allen Browne, said they "were not unfair to the parties involved."
The Tucson Citizen
reported Armstrong's estranged wife, Ramona, would receive $300,000, including
$150,000, for attorney's fees. She would also receive two cars, personal
belongings and the couple's
On Tuesday, another judge, Richard Hannah, is to hear a motion to drop criminal charges against Mrs. Armstrong. [Those charges were brought to try and blacken her, to detract from HWA's bad conduct.]
Browne had told Sherrill earlier, that Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Peasley agreed to dismiss the criminal action on condition that Browne provide an affidavit stating that "a trial would be stressful to Mr. Armstrong and might be injurious to his health." [HWA didn't want a trial because a lot of smut would have emerged about HIM, which would have seriously damaged his credibility and affected his organisation.]
The affidavit also would include that restitution has been made for gold flatware, the disappearance of which prompted perjury, theft and trafficking in stolen property charges against Mrs. Armstrong, 45, Browne said. [As HWA's partner she would be entitled to share his possessions.]
proceedings in the divorce case, Thursday, Sherrill agreed to limit
testimony on Armstrong's sexual conduct but to allow evidence on the
finances of the
In the divorce proceedings, Armstrong's lawyers had sought to limit evidence of a sexual nature but his wife's attorneys said it was crucial since the church leader alleged Mrs. Armstrong had breached an agreement of love and fidelity. [That is the reason Armstrong settled quickly. He didn't want this information about his sordid sexual history emerging before the ears of his church members!]
Louis Deckler, Mrs. Armstrong's lawyer, said the testimony would explain an "understanding" the couple reached about Armstrong's "prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years."
Citing Armstrong's worldwide travel in a $17 million private jet and other examples of a "luxurious lifestyle." Deckler contended the other side was trying to exclude evidence showing "the vast wealth that Mr. Armstrong personally controls to his own benefit."
What was this "agreement" Herbert reached with his second wife Ramona about his former sexual misconduct? It is blatantly stated that it was to do with his "prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years."
This is not fiction, but fact!
Did Armstrong have to bribe Ramona to keep quiet about that? Was that why he agreed to give her everything? She maintained that they had made an agreement that she would "become Armstrong's beneficiary regardless of his death or anything else, including divorce."
HWA was happy to settle quickly, and to keep the whole embarrassing incident as quiet as possible.
Why did they want divorce so soon after being married? Armstrong alleged it was because his wife refused to accompany him on his world trips, or didn't support him. If that was true, why did she no longer support him? Was his sexual misconduct damaging their marriage?
He alleged that Ramona had been sexually unfaithful to him. But could the truth have been the reverse? He didn't want the truth to emerge, so whatever the truth (and it is not to say that his wife was without her faults) Herbert Armstrong certainly had something serious to hide!
He must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was all over.
Dear Mr. Renehan,
Would you please send me The Two Ways Of Herbert W. Armstrong. Also is there anyway I can get proof on the incest?
Did he actually confess it during his divorce from Ramona I believe it but it would be easier to prove it with documented proof.
Such as a signed confession statement or something. If a person could prove it to others you might take away their god.
I'm not exactly sure what constitutes proof to everyone. Before I began to
author my book, my wife and I visited the
many people I interviewed in researching my book, I had the opportunity to talk
to David Robinson for about 2 hours on the phone. If you read Robinson's book,
Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, you'll see that Robinson confronted Herbert
about the incest before Stanley Rader and Henry Cornwall, another church
attorney, in his
I said to
Robinson, "Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that Armstrong didn't try to
deny it? That's hard for me to believe." David Robinson answered me,
"You don't understand the way Herbert Armstrong thought. He said,
'Alexander the Great and many Roman emperors committed incest. They were great
men and I am a great man also'." Then Robinson reminded me of a bizarre
story in Armstrong's autobiography where he had left his son Richard alone at a
railway station to find his own way from
Loma had suspected that Armstrong was innappropriate
with her daughter Dorothy. Armstrong was leaving on a long journey by train and
was only taking Dorothy with him. Loma insisted that Richard go too. Thus,
Armstrong abandoned his son at the train station and proceeded on with just
Dorothy. Robinson had talked to Dorothy and she confessed everything to him.
Robinson had been an old family friend since the early 50s and had even known
Herbert's mother who would occasionally come to church services at the old
Shakespeare Club. After the
these stories, my wife was still not satisfied and tried to find Dorothy's
phone number in
John Trechak, published court statements in his Ambassador Report during Armstrong's divorce from Ramona. Among those statements, still available from Trechak, Armstrong is cross-examined about the incest. When backed into a corner by attorneys, Armstrong stated, "There have been many times in my life when I have not been very close to God." excusing himself from raping his daughter for a 10 year period. I'm sure that the court documents would still be accessible.
If I wrote to
That one I don't get at all. If this is true I really think it should come out. If people like Rod Meredith know the truth about him and really want to be like him self glorified I think they need to go some where and get a catscan and get their head examined.
I can tell
you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joe Jr. knows all about Armstrong's
escapades. I can tell you also that if you wrote to Joe Tkach,
jr. he would most likely ignore your letter. It's
easier to go into the back door to get information. I used to know one of Joe Tkach's personal assistants but I think that he went into
As far as the
men in the
You asked about Loma Armstrong staying with her husband after discovering that her husband was incestuous. Good question. Robinson told me that Loma and Herbert were very distant from each other and that there was some rumor that she had cut off relations with him causing Herbert further sexual frustration. Of course, many women remained married to their husbands after finding out about incest. I know this because I have a degree in psychology and have studied this issue. Battered women also remain in their marriages for years and years and are often murdered by their abusers before they leave.
Meredith is more like Armstrong than
any other past member of the Worldwide Church of God. Some people are hard to
figure out in this world. Psychologists and psychiatrists classify people by
personality type. When I studied abnormal psychology at
If Herbert and Loma had a problem in bed I would guess the problem was with him not her. I know she came from the age where many women thought sex even in marriage was sinful. But had she had a very kind and loving husband who was patient with her she maybe she would have viewed sex differently.
Any man who would have sex with his own daughter has to have a problem. He may have behaved as if he was entitled to it and not viewed it as an act of love. (How else could he have justified taking his own daughter to bed?) Do you Remember in the book The Missing Dimension in Sex how it was stated that a wife should not refuse her husband and don't use the headache excuse? (He didn't say what to do if a person really had a headache.) I don't have the book anymore so I don't actually remember how the wording went.
If Herbert had really found God and really loved Loma as he said he did, wouldn't a choice have been that they both pray about the problem before God? I would have thought this would be one of the most important truths he would have looked for in his early conversion and prayed and fasted about since sex was so important to him.
My husband and I have two beautiful daughters I could totally cut him off from all sex between us and he would never ever do something like that to one of our daughters or any young girl. Loma may have had a minor problem but Herbert apparently had a major one.
I passed your e-mail on to Ed at the Painful Truth Site just for him to see what comments are made on my site. He asked if he could reprint the letters and I said it would be okay. Did he put your last name? Do you want to have your name removed? To many, the incest issue seems to be the most startling issue of all. For me it was the dishonesty in their research and their plagiarism that made me lose faith in the organization.
I agree with what you wrote. Armstrong had a strong sense of entitlement. This may come as a shock but Robinson claimed that Herbert took liberties with Ramona before their marriage and excused it by stating that he had special entitlements since he was an apostle.
That notion that some women are "frigid" is an old fashioned one. The sexual history of women is an interesting one. In the Victorian era, a woman could only do one of three things with her life. She could be an "old maid" and stay at home with her parents, she could marry and bear children for her husband, or she could be a prostitute. Many Victorian men felt entitled to visit brothels because it was felt that men had a greater need for sex. It was also widely believed that good girls did not enjoy sex.
Part of the early feminist movement had to deal with this inequity and false belief. One of the very leaders of the feminist movement actually funded the research for a birth control pill. The pill wasn't marketable to the public until the early 60s and many social changes seemed to have sprung from the fact that women could have sex without the worry of pregnancy. One of those consequences was the free love movement among hippies in the late 60s. Attitudes changed about sex from then on and the modern plague of AIDS is also a result of the invention of the pill and the relaxed feelings about sex among the younger generation.
Most of the pedophiles I have dealt with, have been young offenders in the juvenile probation system. They tend to lack a lot of insight into the harm they do their victims and oftentimes are the victims of sexual abuse at an early age themselves. They rarely admit their crimes and often are very cunning, charming, and charismatic.
Men who have sex with their daughters are not much different from men who have sex with children. Studies have shown that sexual deviance of this type has more to do with the man's need for power and domination than for sexual pleasure. Most pedophiles are arrested developmentally and were themselves the victims of sexual abuse in childhood. One pedophile told me once, "I have no understanding of what love is. Those people I trusted most for security; my mother, my father, and my grandparents started having sex with me before I got out of diapers." Many attempts have been made to help pedophiles but no effective treatment has been found to date (this includes frontal lobotomies).
Herbert did not have a corner on sexual deviance in the Worldwide Church of God. I know of a deacon and a pastor who both had sex with several children and the details were reported to headquarters. What do you think happened? Absolutely nothing! I found out later that religious leaders are very frequently sexual deviants. Jim Bakker and a fellow evangelist raped and sodomized a young church assistant, Jessica Hahn, and another televangelist (Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin) decided to persecute them until he was discovered to be visiting prostitutes also.
These guys have a pathological need to dominate and victimize. Those who work in the mental health system know that it is very common for children, the mentally retarded, the disabled, and the elderly to be sexually abused (often by family members) simply because they cannot defend themselves and are usually too afraid to report the abuse or feel that it is their fault.
If you hear of a child who is sexually abused you can contact Child Protective Services with no fear of prosecution. If you hear of a dependent adult or an elderly person being abused you can contact Elder Abuse Services. This is a hidden yet pervasive problem in our society. It is more common than many suspect. Statistics indicate that as many as 60% of females in our society will be the victims of sexual assault before age eighteen.