Friday, 13 April 2007

The Wright Stuff

It's the ultimate question, the holy grail of Armstrongism, a mystery more profound than the meaning of life...

What does the 'W' in Herbert W. Armstrong stand for?
There have been false trails. One officially sanctioned story had it that the 'W' was added sometime in the 1940s after mail-delivery confusion with another Herbert Armstrong in Pasadena (wouldn't want those donations going astray!) But a quick check of the Autobiography shows Armstrong was using the initial from the beginning of his journalistic career.

In the 1970s I came across an article called "The Spiritual Wilderness of Herbert William Armstrong" in the Australian Lutheran. Credible? I doubt it.

Now there's a new contender: Herbert Wright Armstrong. Just type the whole name into Google inside quote marks. Who'd dare argue with or Wikipedia? Yet as far as I know there's no documentation to prove it one way or another. So how did Herb pick up the new moniker? We can probably credit Tammy Roberts.

Herbert W. Armstrong was named after his mother's brother, Herschel Herbert WRIGHT. I speculate that the "W" in his name stands for WRIGHT...Herbert Wright Armstrong, a common practice to use the mother's maiden name as a middle name for her sons. (Tammy Roberts, Genealogy and HWA)

Speculation or not it now seems Herb is to be declared "Wright" regardless, courtesy of the Internet. Considering the energy he put into muddying the waters, one can only imagine that the "discovery", if correct, will have him rolling over in the Pasadena Lawn Cemetery.

And if Tammy has it wrong? Just look at that knowing smile!


Anonymous said...


The royal lineage of HWA has been established.He is of David's royal line. BIG DEAL.

Thousands of COG members,dead, living,former,active,passive,can lay claim to the royal line of David.

So can millions of non-COG members,Catholic,Anglican,
Presbyterian,Ecopalian(reads better that E-pis-co-palian),Methodist,Lutheran etc etc.

So, Herb was/is just one of the common herd,like the rest of us peasants who can claim royal descent.

Long live the King!!


Anonymous said...

The letter "W" has mystery,symbolism,status etc.

Herbert Dub Armstrong
Herbert Dubble Ya Armstrong
Herbert Wobble U Armstrong

That "W" was an important symbol.

It stood for winkle and wrest.


Anonymous said...

I remember having the mormons help me years ago , and they came up with "NMN" No Middle name, from the census records.
Just thought i would pass that along.
rod 2

Anonymous said...

"Wolf" is much more approprate, I think. It even fits with the scriptures. The wolf is a member of the dog family. In Hebrew the word "dog" is a euphemism for a male prostitute. Now that you know that little tid-bit of information, look up all the scriptures that reference dogs and then compare what they say to Hebert Wolf Armstrong and all his modern imitators. The similarities are astounding.

Bob E.

ConnedNo More said...

I had always understood that the "W"
stood for Wanker. Have I been wrong
all this time?

Anonymous said...

Herbert Dubbyas lienage/lineage is indeed illustrious,prestigious,royal.

This common Antipodean has such a humble lineage by comparison.

One of our forbears was "Charlie,the Grocer", a most humble man when he had the Sachs on.I daresay he lacked not for ashes,also in his humility.

So, in respect,humility and unworthiness,we remember this great man,
Herbert W(orshipful) Armstrong.

"Charlie,the Grocer" is an English translation.Karl der Grosse to history.

A Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I always thought the "W" stood for "Weligious".

Herbal Admirer

kscribe said...

Well, it seems "Wanker" WAS his middle name! Here is a pic of something I picked up at a garage sale this last week in Pasadena. It does make for some interesting reading when bored....

charlie kieran said...

My understanding is that he made up the middle initial to lend a certain extra air of credibility to his name. I do not know if that is true or not and I suppose I don't really care....With that said for some time now I have thought it stood for Herbert Wrong Armstrong.

Anybody ever wonder if Ramona reads these things? She is one of the few people ever to enter into herbie's cult to come out of it with more than you had going in. God bless her!

Richard said...

Along Charlie's lines: if W(right) was the actual middle name, wouldn't old WCG ministers who played "name games" over the years have exploited that?

You know, people like Gerald Waterhouse -- who would say God didn't call "Willie Weak-Arm." The ones who researched the Tkach name, and found it was the Russian word for "weaver."

Not that anyone believes that last one anymore....

Anonymous said...

I checked the Social Security Death Index at

There were 91 Herbert Armstrong's with varying middle initials, and four Herbert W. Armstrong's -- but none of which appeared to be him.

Hmmm ... maybe I should have checked under Elijah.

Mario said...

Slightly off topic. I came into the church after HWA died. So for you folks that were around before then, did anyone working for him or the AC students ever call him Herb or Herbert? Was that permitted for some? My guess is he would not have accepted anyone addressing him by his first name. Just curious.

I remember calling one of the younger ministers by his first name after he was introduced to me as such by a senior elder; after a couple of weeks he pulled me aside and asked he to address him as "Mister ..." That was difficult beings we were nearly the same age.

AW fab said...

The "W" was a signature connector or conjunction. The first strokeof the "W" served as the crossbar in the letter "t" at the end of "Herbert" and the final stroke connected smoothly with the top of the "A" in "Armstrong." The middle stroke of the "W" at the midpoint of the whole also provided the natural highpoint of the signature.

To an advertising man such as HWA, the visual impact of a design, or a signature, was very important.

Corky said...

It was supposed to be Wright but it didn't have a good sound to it so his parents just used the W. instead.

Well, at least that's what GTA told me back in 1972. But then, maybe he didn't really know either.

lussenheide said...

The "Middle Initial Madness" as I call it, permeates the COG world.

There are times I think I forget even my own middle initial, but you wont find this to be true of any of the commoningly known following...

Roderick "C" Merideth
Ronald "L" Dart
David "A" Hulme
Joseph "W" Tkach
David "C" Pack
Gerald "R" Flurry

et al.

You aint nobody in the COG unless you are known by a middle initial!


Neotherm said...

Apparently HWA can be traced to Edward I, but from there back to David using a semi-mythological geneaology is a stretch. Geoff seems to be a myth builder. HWA's mother looked Jewish so she must have been Jewish and a descendant of David, Geoff says.

I have heard this facetious line of reasoning before. Have any of these myth builders considered that the amount of Jewish blood that HWA had (if the connection to David could ever really be proved), afer all those generations of Celts, Danes and Anglo-Saxons, was probably essentially zero. Certainly not enough to make anybody in his family look Jewish.

Why was it so important for HWA to be of the House of David? I don't recall now. Was there some Biblical issue here? Something in prophecy?

Comment moderation is a drag.

-- Neo

ConnedNoMore said...

Mario asked how HWA was referred to
by those around him in Pasadena. I
don't know about later, but in 1997
when I cut my losses after 20
years employment in WCG --it was
always Mr. when addressing him.
In polite common conversation amongst the worker bees he was called HWA.
To Some of the more cheeky students
and faculty members he was
See, the "W" came in handy after all.

Anonymous said...

I remember calling one of the younger ministers by his first name after he was introduced to me as such by a senior elder; after a couple of weeks he pulled me aside and asked he to address him as "Mister ..." That was difficult beings we were nearly the same age.

That happened to me also, except I was old enough to be the man's parent and knew his family member's very well and here the little squirt wanted me to call him "Mister...."

I just never bothered to speak to him again as I was not tagging Mister before a guy's name who I had driven to church when he was a snot nosed kid.

Being a minister in WWCG sure went to a lot of guy's 'head' but little love, lived in their heart.

( He's no longer a minister last I heard )


Anonymous said...

The Armstrong name is reputed to come from the French "Fortinbras"

Let me expand on that.....

Four Tin Bras.

That's a lot of cleavage.

Which is exactly what happened when Herb's forbears wielded the sword.

A Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I would have thought the "middle finger madness" would have been appropiate with all those name you mentioned.
Also to Mario,
I know of no one in the organization of WCG who would have been brave enough to say that.
The closest was John Kiesz from COG 7 who called him "Brother Herbert".
rod 2

kscribe said...

I found it at WebRoot, and guess what his legal middle was?

Anonymous said...

Wright - English = Craftsman
Wright - Anglo-Saxon = Tradesman

His 'strong arm ' came in handy as a crafty tradesman.

Tom said...

These persistent attacks on HWA is just down right silly. HWA, like all of us, were guilty of either grave mistakes or deliberate sins. Let God be his judge, as he is ours!

On the other hand, it would be much more helpful to former WCG memebers if we cold offer them something much better than the wreckage to which they are current clinging, in the form of all the COGs.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, it would be much more helpful to former WCG memebers if we cold offer them something much better than the wreckage to which they are current clinging, in the form of all the COGs.

Wreckage it is!

Anonymous said...

Neotherm: wasn't the connection to the line of David one of his proofs of entitlement to, and authority to collect tithes & offerings?

kscribe: thanks for refining the search at WebRoot. I did a national search rather than California.

Byker Bob said...

If indeed he chose the "W" himself, it speaks volumes for his sense of self importance. In the English language, "W" is the only multisyllabic letter of the alphabet.

This could also be true if he actually had a single syllable middle name, such as Wright, yet chose to force people to stretch out his name by using the initial instead.

Whatever the case may be, some of the people whom he abused during his lifetime now take it out on his grave. On some occasions, it has been described as reeking of urine, and there have also been reports of strange littering incidents involving pork hot dogs, sausages, etc. I'm surprised that Flurry hasn't made an effort through the court systems to remove the remains to Edmond, Oklahoma for a special shrine where such exercises in free speech could no longer be made.


Corky said...

kscribe said...
"I found it at WebRoot, and guess what his legal middle was?"

His middle name was "W"

kscribe said...

Tom Said...
the wreckage to which they are current clinging, in the form of all the COGs.<<<<

Well it is the real world (ocean) they can swim in, or hang on to the remains of the Titanic (armstrongism) and hope for a miracle!

At least one could swim away from the Titanic and at least have a chance at rescue! Many of us did just that and live happy productive lives. Something the shackles of herbism never offered. Happiness or a truly productive and meaningful life.

Anonymous said...

We're sure it's not Herbert Walker?

Anonymous said...

Silly discussion.

HWA's mother's maiden name was Eva Wright. It is but natural that he should be named Herbert W. Armstrong.

Anonymous said...

Not a silly discussion. If it was known to have been Wright, surely as has been posted here in this thread, a big deal would have been made of that name. Gerald Waterhouse would have been speaking an extra half hour as he traveled the globe on this subject alone.
rod 2

Anonymous said...

Silly discussion.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't any exchange about the church of gods and its leadership past and present a silly discussion?

Unless, of course, we are exposing how silly they were to prevent people from engaging in their silliness.

Anonymous said...

seems herbert was wright all along, with a strong wright arm.