Saturday, 31 January 2009

Living In Denial

It gets tedious when the defenders of Herbert W. Armstrong demand proof for his incest. What kind of proof would they like? It was a family affair long hushed up. Among those who knew were HWA (deceased), Dorothy (deceased), son Ted (deceased), and a variety of insiders with good reason not to rock the boat. When David Robinson brought the allegations out into the open there were no denials. Not from HWA, Dorothy, or Ted... all of whom could have given the lie to it. Then there's the Ramona Martin legal settlement, which mentioned the incest and was widely published. The allegations are long past the point where they could be pursued in a court of law, and so, with cult-like logic, the naysayers maintain there is no proof, and therefore, abracadabra, it didn't happen.

The weight of evidence however is overwhelming. The following material appeared in the April 1984 issue of Ambassador Report.

HWA Confesses to Incest!

Many readers will recall that when David Robinson's book appeared in 1980 it contained numerous allegations shocking to even some of HWA's longtime critics. No accusation was more startling than that found in the book's last chapter. There Robinson charged that HWA had maintained an intimate sexual relationship with the younger of his two daughters for a period of approximately one decade beginning in the early 1930s.

The Armstrong organization, through surrogates, attempted to use the courts to block distribution of the Robinson book, but failed miserably (Ambassador Report, Sept. 1980). It is most remarkable, however, that in attempting to block distribution of the Robinson book, never once was it asserted that the incest allegation was untrue. Nor did Dorothy Mattson, HWA's younger daughter, ever come forth to deny the incest story (and she has repeatedly refused to respond to queries from the Report regarding the matter). In spite of all this, it seems there are still some who prefer to believe that the incest story was fabricated. Let us briefly review the facts.

In 1971 Garner Ted Armstrong paid a visit to his younger sister Dorothy. He had long been suspicious of the kind of relationship his father and sister maintained during his youth. They chatted over a few drinks and then Ted told her bluntly of his suspicions. She did more than admit the allegations. With candor she related detail after shocking detail.

For a number of years GTA kept the information to himself. But Dorothy did not. She divulged the same information to many others including David Antion (GTA's brother-in-law) and Lois Chapman (who had been married to the late Richard Armstrong, Ted's older brother).

Dorothy's story as related to Ted and others was that Herbert had begun fondling and heavy petting her in 1933 when she was thirteen years old - around the same time that HWA now claims God was using him to found the modern era of the only true church. But he did not begin to go "all the way" with her until three years later. One day Dorothy returned home from a date with a young bank teller to inform her father that she had just been "half-raped." To her surprise, Herbert was actually "elated" over the news. Herbert decided it was time to show her how it was really done. From then on Herbert went "all the way." The year was 1936; Dorothy was 16 years old. Strangely, Dorothy has claimed that Herbert later went on to become a good friend of the bank teller.

The incestuous relationship went on for years, but it was apparently not mutually enjoyable. Dorothy has related to friends how on one occasion in a hotel room she so strongly protested Herbert's abuse that the manager knocked on the door and asked what the reason was for all the noise. Herbert was quick to inform him that his "young bride" was a bit uncooperative due to inexperience. Satisfied with the alibi the manager left. Dorothy has claimed that Herbert then overpowered her, and after tying her to the bed and gagging her, proceeded to rape her. It's a pity Herbert neglected to include this incident in his book God Speaks Out on the New Morality.

During those years, besides taking her on supposedly church or ministry-related business trips, it was not uncommon for Herbert to take Dorothy out dancing on Friday nights. On one such occasion she asked him if he ever worried that one of his church members would see them. He told her no, because, in effect, they were too stupid to be out dancing on Friday night and that he had them well-trained (in keeping the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset Sabbath).

These incidents were but a part of the awful truth Dorothy related to Garner Ted and others. In spite of church upheavals, arguments with his father, personal emotional problems and considerable notoriety about his own sins, Ted said nothing about his father's shameful past. Not until 1978.

That year, during a heated argument between GTA and his father, HWA threatened to "destroy" Ted through making public certain information about his personal life. But Ted responded in kind saying he could destroy HWA with the information he had. Ted charged his father in no uncertain terms, yelling: "You fucked my sister!" Herbert, shocked at Ted's knowledge of the incestuous relationship, could only reply, "Well there have been times in my life when I have gotten far away from God." The conversation - overheard by GTA associate Benny Sharp - was the last face to face meeting between the two men. And Ted has since related how the hateful look he saw in his father's eye made him suspect they would never see each other again.

As was covered in great detail in our 1977 issue, during the early '70s Garner Ted Armstrong became highly infatuated with an Ambassador College coed. The resulting affair caused great confusion in the higher echelons of the WCG. Former WCG evangelist David Antion recalls how, at the time, he discussed the problem with HWA. Antion was for years perplexed by the almost Freudian analysis offered. HWA told Antion that Ted was simply fantasizing the younger woman as being his own daughter. The statement made no sense to Antion until years later. (As an aside, it is interesting how Ramona [HWA's second wife] has claimed that HWA has been, over the years, very jealous of GTA's supposed sexual prowess.)

The last meeting between GTA and his father in 1978 was not the only time HWA confessed to the incest allegation. In 1980 Henry Cornwall, then an aide to HWA, read the Robinson book soon after it appeared and asked HWA directly if the chapter on incest was accurate. HWA told him it was. He then instructed Cornwall that his wife Ramona was not to see the book or learn of the incest story. Unfortunately for Herbert, Ramona already had a copy of the book and was in the next room listening to the Cornwall-HWA discussion. Shortly thereafter, she too confronted HWA about the incest allegation. And once again, Herbert admitted it was true, but begged and pleaded with Ramona not to let this fact get in the way of their marriage. The cause of the problem, he said, had been Loma, his first wife. Considering the perversity of Herbert's past, is it any wonder Ramona's love would begin to wane?

One can only speculate on how much Herbert's first wife Loma knew of what had transpired for ten years between her husband and her younger daughter. but some individuals who were then close to the Armstrong family did notice that toward the end of her life Loma was not on good speaking terms with Dorothy and that during the last year or so of her life she appeared to have lost almost all will to live. She died in 1967 after an illness that many say could have been cured by medical science, had she availed herself of that help. It is interesting to note also that HWA's great preoccupation with world touring began right around that time.

Ramona has reported to friends how the Robinson allegations preoccupied HWA's mind for a considerable period. She has also reported seeing a typed statement intended for Dorothy's signature. It stated that she (Dorothy) had never had a sexual relationship with her father. The document was, and we'd be willing to bet still is, unsigned. Dorothy undoubtedly knows that to sign such a statement would prove financially costly, removing any leverage she still possesses over her father. (On a recent trip to Big Sandy, Texas, HWA was quoted as saying his daughters show him very little affection and care only for his money.)

Dorothy has stated that her sexual relationship with her father continued into the early forties. In 1943 Herbert officiated at the ceremony in which Dorothy was married to Vern Mattson, who soon afterward was to serve overseas in the U.S. Marines. We have no information that the incestuous relationship continued beyond that point. However, Dorothy has related to friends how, around the time of her engagement, Herbert told her that her marriage need not put an end to their own special relationship.

Shortly after Vern's discharge from the military, Herbert was able to provide him with employment within his growing organization. Although Dorothy drifted away from her father's church by around 1951, Vern continued his association. He was the organization's business manager before the Albert Portune era.

Even William Dankenbring is convinced!

A friend of mine, when he learned of these allegations years ago, went directly to Mr. Vern Mattson [photo], who had married Herbert Armstrong's younger daughter. He was a golfing buddy and friend of Mattson, so he asked him point-blank if the accusations and rumors were true. Mr. Mattson sadly informed him that they indeed were factual. In fact, when Mr. Mattson himself learned of the truth of Herbert having had sex with the woman who later became Mattson's wife, he was furious, and in a rage took a pistol, and burst into Herbert Armstrong's private office, waving the pistol around. Herbert, shaking like a leaf, apologized profusely and promised to never do such a thing again.

Sadly though, none of this will convince the idolatrous faithful, for whom Herb is the unassailable Apostle and vehicle of truth.

Finally, here's a brief excerpt from Robinson's 1980 book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.

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...

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 occured over a long span of years, a decade after his ordination to the ministry, according to his own family members...

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...

... 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"...


Anonymous said...

These people who are told to live by the law reject the law in that it says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses a matter is established.

More of the same ol' hypocrisy. Go figure.

Wm. Hohmann

lnrd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

lnrd, did you have a serendipitous attack of the QWERTYs, or deliberately insert those esoteric puns?

Corky said...

People who are so obsessed with sex as to write books for their followers like "The Missing Dimension in Sex" and talk about the "two natural positions" etc. should be suspected of having some dimensions missing themselves.

When a preacher goes to hollering and screeching about gays, like Haggard did, folks should suspect that he was gay himself.

HWA was/is not the only incestuous father in the Armstrong cult. With all the physical and psychological child abuse going on, which we all have witnessed, incest could not possibly have been far behind or left out.

No, HWA did it and I betcha a whole bunch of his followers did too.

Anonymous said...

I just re-read HWA's member and co-worker letter of June 1978. Interesting fitting the pieces together with Robinson's material.

The first time I saw the letter was at the home of a member; as I headed to the bathroom, he thought I may need something to read... I recall feeling stunned as I emerged some time later.

Now I feel I accepted too much without question. Even when a minister opened a sermon to questions, and there was a faint "other side of the story" I only felt there was Herb's side.

I think I should have pondered, "destroy you"? How? What were GTA's accusations and threats? Perhaps now we have some idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Tulsa, where Robinson lived when he was disfellowshipped. He was/is a bitter man and a known liar. The piece on HWA is a joke. Claims that the story MUST be true because no one denied it..what a farce! I once had a law teacher that upon entering the class went up to a known timid, quiet guy and yelled, "If I ever catch you fooling around with my wife again, you'll be sorry!" The guy was embarrassed and didn't speak. The professor went on to apologize and explain that this is why we don't convict people when they don't personally refute someone's CLAIMS.Think about that.

Byker Bob said...

It would have been very difficult for any of the AC students in 1966-67 to have known that there was anything amiss in the Armstrong family. I recall seeing Herb and Loma taking occasional walks on the campus, hand in hand, appearing to be the loving couple that all of us assumed them to be.

We all knew GTA had a past. We just assumed it had been repented of sometime during the early '50s, and that he was now a loving Christian family man. We even had no problems accepting the fact that his executive secretary, Mrs. Swaney, had been fired and disfellowshipped for malicious gossip. That raised no suspicions whatsoever.

When Loma became ill, the student body fasted and prayed on her behalf. So did the headquarters area brethren. We were shocked by her death, admired her for having trusted God rather than doctors for her healing, and assumed that we would see her soon, in the Kingdom.

But, we did what we had been programmed to do. When I left WCG following the 1972/1975 debacle, I knew nothing of the incest. I knew John Robinson, but had never met his father, and never saw David Robinson's book or learned of the incest allegations until 2002! I'd left basically because I came to the knowledge that HWA prophesied falsely, and I had disproved certain of the key doctrines. I was so disillusioned by religion at that point that I allowed myself to sink sequentially into atheism, and then into agnosticism for several decades.

As I've stated before, I wish these allegations had never surfaced, because they give HWA's fervent disciples a lightning rod on which to focus, and it distracts them from the doctrinal issues which we often raise in order to attempt to help them. But, I do not doubt the allegations. David Robinson did something which most of us here have not. He adhered to the classic WCG doctrines for the rest of his live, in spite of having exposed HWA for his hypocrisy. Having been an executive in WCG, he paid dearly for exposing the truth. He ended up not being able to find any work other than that of a janitor in his final years. This is unfortunately the fate of most whistle blowers.

Back in the '70s, Elvis' body guards, who were concerned for their boyhood friend, wrote a book titled "Elvis, What Happened?" Their goal was to spur Elvis to wake up, realize what he was doing, and to return to form before it was too late. Unfortunately, he died from his excesses right about the same time. I believe that this was David Robinson's goal, as well. He believed that HWA had taught the truth, and wanted him to repent and get back to living what he taught. That Robinson did keep all of the classic WCG doctrines until the day of his death should speak volumes to all of HWA's stalwarts, but it does not appear to have any influence on them whatsoever.

I don't know what more a person could do. Robinson made an incredible sacrifice. Anything that could have been done has been done, yet some people choose to still revere HWA as "God's Apostle", and to dote on the words of a verifiable charlatan, moreso than they do on the words of Jesus Christ. Truly, as the title to Gavin's post suggests, they are living in denial. It's just so sad. But, there is hope. We've escaped, and if we can, others can as well. I'm convinced that we should remember all of the people still in the cult in our prayers.


Anonymous said...

"I'm from Tulsa, where Robinson lived when he was disfellowshipped. He was/is a bitter man and a known liar."

What b.s. You have no proof Robinson lied about Armstrong's incest or any other matter.

Suppose Robinson was indeed a bitter man. Even if he was a former disgruntled WCG employee, there is just too much to the contrary to believe the Armstrong incest was a complete fabrication on his part and never really happened. And is Vern Mattson going to lie about his own wife like that?

"The professor went on to apologize and explain that this is why we don't convict people when they don't personally refute someone's CLAIMS.Think about that."

Your story is way off. People are convicted every day who take the fifth and remain silent. In a real trial, Armstrong would have been convicted of molesting, forcefully sexually assaulting, raping his own daughter based on the credible testimony of these reliable witnesses.

Anonymous said...

So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??

Anonymous said...

"So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??"

What it means is that HWA was a salesman. That's it. He sold his religion and he controlled his surroundings enough to keep us from knowing the truth. He was a master at marketing, but that's it.
HWA was a salesman. He wasn't a prophet and he wasn't God's "end-time Elijah." He built an empire on the backs of well-intentioned, but easily snookered individuals. Contrary to what he would preach, we didn't know the truth, and we weren't free.

Anonymous said...

some say he did... some say he didn't

if you only knew the full story it would amaze you. The Philidelphia era mentioned in Rev 3 says there was NO sexual immorality. thus, the era HWA was over definately was NOT the Phili era. Adultry, homosexuality, wife swapping, etc was an everyday affair. ALL known by HWA.

get a life, people...

Mary Lane said...

Good comments Bob. I definitely agree. I think it is interesting that we were so willing to believe that Ted was a philanderer, but not that HWA was.
I can remember feeling sorry for people who made negative comments about HWA. Now I just feel sorry for those who cannot seem to come out of the darkness of that system.
I once had a conversation with Dave Robinson's daughter, and she was bitter about the way her Dad was treated. I could not blame her.
Robinson was the only WCG minister with the fortitudinal guts to stand up and tell it like it was.
The rest of the ministry(many of whom I have heard acknowledge the facts)just hid in the corners of the merchandizers, and kept quiet.
I do not find any who took Robinson's side(not even his son-John)
I wrote John a few years back, and ask him what he did with the papers that David had requested him to make available to the church, as a follow up on the book("Tangled Web") He did acknowledge that he had them, but said he did not want the church to see them.
The Devil has been kind to HWA and his corrupt ministry.

Neotherm said...

Ambassador Report is hardly a credible source of objective reporting. Kind of like listening to Rush Limbaugh to get a fair and balanced view on some Democrat. The account from AR consists entirely of unsupported allegation. How did the writer know that Dorothy said such and such? There is no attribution to sources and we must conclude that much of this is hearsay or fabrication in the spirit of Julius Streicher.

There is incontrovertible evidence that HWA was a heretic and many other malignant things by I am unconvinced of this.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

I just read Dr. Bob's take on this whole incest thing, and although I do not agree with his LCG cheerleading, I think he pretty well blows the incest charges out of the water.

This may not be popular with some folks at this blog, but hey, truth is truth.

Mary Ann said...

RE:{So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??}

No, but God isn't going to use someone who is that deep into sin.
Ministers are required to be of good reputation.

Charlie said...

Anon said: "So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??"

No, nobody is saying that. The issue with hwa is that there is a pattern of bad behavior that leaves his status as a decent human being clouded in serious doubt. There is nothing but one failed prophecy after another which leaves his status as the end time elijah in serious doubt, there is bad doctrine after bad doctrine which leaves his status as an apostle in serious doubt.

Getting the picture here or can you not find your own ass with both hands and the added assistance of a flashlight?

Anonymous said...

I think that there is a small possibilty that the allegations of HWA,s insest with his daughter are untrue, but there are atleast a half dozen people that reportedly know about it and have never refuted it. Because of the evidence I think it is very likely
that he did have this sick and criminal afair with his daughter.

Anonymous said...

This was a very difficult and painful thing for me to come to terms with, after so many loyal years in WCG. I had refused to open the lid of this dark box no matter what. I think I was too afraid of what I might find. Then, one day I happened upon this website. I didn't like what I was reading, but I couldn't stop peeking in a couple times a week. As time went on I began to ask questions and do some research on doctrine. Then, someone offered me 'The Tangled Web' to download. As I read it I became very disillusioned and quite depressed.
The incest portion was the most difficult to endure. The hard truth of what I had invested over twenty years in, along with family members, was sicking in. It was by far the worst thing I had ever experienced in life thus far. HWA and his church and teachings (aside from a few) had been a mirage. Now, I have mixed feelings; I feel free, yet like a small fish in a very large sea, with no direction home.

Anonymous said...

I left the Armstrong movement almost 15 years ago, but not because of Armstrong's alleged incest. (I never heard these accusations until I read Robinson's book in 1999.) I left because the movement was a cult, and was founded by a thief and a liar.

For those of you who are still demanding proof of this incest, you are missing the boat. Armstrong was an evil man who deceived people en mass, lived like a king while we went without, and seems to have alienated his entire immediate family before he died. Incest would just be the icing on the cake.

Somebody stated here, "So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??"

That approach is also bassackwards. It's like saying Hitler really was a good guy because he loved animals. We shouldn't blame him for having all those Jews gassed because, he did after all, build the Autobahn.

You Armstrong fanatics can defend him all you want, with or without the incest. But you are still defending a truly evil person who got next to nothing right when it comes to the Bible and morality. Like his daughter, he screwed us all repeatedly, until most of us decided to blow the whistle on him and move away.

- Stingerski

brown cloud said...

Baffling things can happen even in normal husband-wife relationships, as Dennis pointed out. Women are very sensitive, and they can tell whether there is love behind the lovemaking. They know that men have a constant itch that needs to be scratched. This urge sometimes separates itself from the love. If the man does not express the love, sometimes a woman can feel as if she is being used like a blow-up doll, or a receptacle similar to a toilet, only for the excretion of a man's body fluids. She'll lock him out unless and until the love and tenderness returns.

Anonymous said...

AP article on Schuller

Others said they felt betrayed that the Schullers couldn't put God before their family spat.

"They have not been forthcoming at all," said John Dewart, an insurance agent from New Jersey who's watched for 30 years. "Why can't a father and son work together for the glory of God? That's my big question."

The Armstrongs couldn't but the Tkachs did

Gavin said...

Yeah, I see Bob has emerged from his bunker to join the ranks of the outraged. He just illustrates the mindless idolatry referred to in the posting IMHO.

Baashabob said...

Anon 1:50 asks:
"So because someone does something wrong ... even incredibly bad ... NOTHING they ever do is right??"

No, it doesn't mean they never did anything right. But it should be a red flag to warn you to not be quite so accepting. In other words, verify and confirm. Of course when you do that with people like Armstrong, the whole charade starts to crumble. Psychopaths succeed because people are overwhelmed by their forceful personalities and confidence. It is a common theme in religious organisations, just as it is in business, Bernie Madoff being a recent example.

Byker Bob said...

It's just very difficult to take any investigations or reporting from Dr. Bob Thiel seriously. He actually believes the fabricated history of "the true church" concocted by Dugger, Dodd, Hoeh and others. He also accepts British Israelism as fact. I don't know that he has ever commented on Hislop, but he certainly has retained many of the fabricated and intellectually dishonest ideas from Hislop which were incorporated into the beliefs of the Armstrong movement.

As for our anonymous poster from Tulsa, how would a WCG member even have known the mental state of a disfellowshipped minister several decades ago? When people were disfellowshipped, they were personna non grata to all church members, and were to be shunned. There is no way an observant church member would have been permitted to remain close enough to a disfellowshipped member to have had in depth and prolonged conversations with such a person.

Perhaps the full implications of the incest history are lost on current ACOG members. When God started working with the Apostle Paul, he knocked him down and cleaned him up, first. He did not reveal His truth and purpose for Paul while Paul was still orchestrating the torture and murder of Christians. Herbert Armstrong has claimed that God was revealing the truths that He wanted restored in His church to Herbert during the exact same time period when the incest was actively taking place. That is not the way in which God works!


The Anti Thiel said...

Gavin, you have upset the Double Doctor Minister Wannabe Bobby Thiel!

Man is he mad at you. How dare you.

Give it to him Gavin!!!

Purple Hymnal said...

""Why can't a father and son work together for the glory of God? That's my big question."

The Armstrongs couldn't but the Tkachs did."

So you're saying the proceeds of the sale of both campuses went to "the glory of god"?

Did "god" issue a tax receipt for that?

Anonymous said...

Thiel's supposed rebuttal does anything but rebutt. You would think that anyone bringing these types of accusations about a family member would have been given a stern rebuking by other family members. It didn't happen. Thiel's own account is testimony to that.

It's the Armstrong's horrible family secret and, if it ever really came to light, especially early on, would soil the reputations of everyone involved. Dorothy put up and shut up. It's sad that nobody is defending her, just her abusive father that they worship.

Mary Lane said...

Interesting quote from Bob Thiel's site,"I personally called Garner Ted Armstrong’s office on Dec. 12, 2002 to inquire about this particular accusation. I was not able to speak with GTA directly, but a key employee of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association discussed it with him and got back with me.
"Through his spokesperson, GTA declined to comment except to pass on the message that:

'everything you really need to know about my father is contained within the Autobiography (of Herbert W. Armstrong).'

"Thus GTA would not stand by a statement attributed to him on this matter–so how can any believe this?"

Now I personally have heard Ted say that his father's autobiography was "two thirds fiction."
And really folks, are we going to depend on Ted for the truth here? when he even wrote about the incest problem stating(in a letter to his Dad), "I wanted to leave that family problem behind in your study" quoted in his booklet "The Origin and History of the Church of God International."
Wonder why Bob did not ask Benny Sharp? since he was there with Ted in his father's study while the accusations were flying back and forth.

One time it did matter ... said...

Once I thought HWA dying before the coming of "the kingdom" paralleled Moses being barred from the promised land; there was probably some "reason". Personally, that analogy doesn't matter to me anymore.

Can "bad" people do good things? I remember Judgment at Nurenberg when Spencer Tracy asked his hosts what good Hitler did. Autobahn, VW, etc. As Dr Peter said, Consummate politician... incompetent as a generalissimo. The fact that he liked Wagner, who was said to be antisemitic, didn't stop a Jewish friend (whose parents suffered in Auschwitz) from buying me a complete copy of Rings of the Nebelung. Learning that Aaron Copland was gay didn't change my feeling for his music.

I think that in his day HWA gave a good sermon and radio program. Whether he did certain things doesn't change that for me. But, my belief system doesn't depend on having him as part of a line of succession, as an apostle, an Elijah, a salesman, or a con man.

Questeruk said...

Everyone is very keen to leap on the bandwagon on this incest thing. But the story as told in this blog has many details that just do not weigh up.

For example, the hotel incident.

“Dorothy has claimed that Herbert then overpowered her, and after tying her to the bed and gagging her, proceeded to rape her”.

Taking this at face value, perhaps we should realise that if true, then at that time HWA was liable to the death penalty!

The law stemmed from the Lindbergh kidnapping, and if a victim was physically harmed in any manner, the crime qualified for the death penalty.

The death penalty was applied in the famous Carol Chessman case. In 1948 Chessman was condemned to death on two counts of kidnapping, which was interpreted as him compelling his victim to get into his car, where attempted rape occurred, which qualified as physical harm. The death penalty was finally carried out on him in 1960.

If you compare the Chessman case with the alleged hotel offence, then I would suggest that the HWA action was probably more serious.

So let’s understand what is being discussed here. This is a crime where the state was passing the death sentence for similar and less serious crimes.

Having said that, next we find his daughter, the rape victim, enjoying Friday evening nights out dancing with her rapist father, and accompanying him on business trips. And this is not now a young teenager, but a grown up independent woman.

Just how realistic is the behaviour of Vern Mattson?

When he finds out what is supposed to have happened, he is off with his gun to see HWA. Well, yes, that sounds believable under those circumstances.

But what happens next. Suddenly here is Vern, becoming business manager of the Church, in a position which meant he was working day to day closely alongside his father in law. And Vern supposedly knows the history, and even HWA’s suggestion that Vern’s wife’s ‘special relationship’ could maybe continue.

What sort of ‘low life’ was Vern, to cosy up with HWA, and to continue to expose his new wife to the potential advances of her father?

Is it really creditable that this would happen. How many reading this board would have acted as Vern did, knowing the relationship that HWA had imposed on his daughter – the girl that Vern was to marry. And remember that he was not a member of the church, so HWA would have no hold over him in that way.

There are a number of other details that just do not stack up, things that even in a dysfunctional family are just not going to happen.

I found it interesting that John Robinson did not appear to endorse his father’s book.

I don’t very often go along with Dr. Bob, but on this occasion his article reads a lot more believable that the article on this blog, which is basically innuendo, and falls below Gavin’s usual high standards.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mary Lane in that in such cases little attention is shown for the (alleged) victim. FWIW, the last word I heard on Dorothy was in a sermon by GTA; apparently she and her husband joined the ICG.

Everything you really need to know about my father is contained within the Autobiography.

Doesn't matter; no comment, the press statement is enough. In his WCG days, GTA dismissed an interview with an author by saying "All you need to know is in the (Plain Truth) magazine."

"two thirds fiction"

To the true believer, it doesn't matter...

Paco said...

Neotherm said...
"Ambassador Report is hardly a credible source of objective reporting."

Neo,I strongly disagree. For over 20+ years, the late John Trechak and his friends at Ambassador Report established a track record of accuracy and objective reporting that HWA or any of his followers ever came close to matching in their various publications, sermons, newspapers or letters. I was impressed that John retained that objectivity to the degree that he did over that long time period.

At this point can it be proven that HWA committed incest? In my opinion - no, at least no to the degree that would be required in a criminal trial. HWA and Dorothy are dead.

The level of proof is less outside a criminal trial. OJ Simpson walked on the double murder charge but was found guily in a subsequent civil trial for essential the same charge dressed up in a different suit (not the recently concluded trial in Las Vegas.)

Did he do it? Yes, in my humble opinion.

redfox712 said...

GTA's answer to Bob Thiel reminds me of the time he was asked 'What does porneia mean?' before the 1974 changes, and he responded with 'look it up.' 'When [GTA] came to the question "What is the meaning of porneia?", he responded, not with the truth as he knew it, but with the cryptic remark "Look it up."'Home Breaking, Ambassador Report 2, heading, 'The "New, Improved" Doctrine'.

Libro 66 said...

Hi Questeruk,

-- There are a number of other details that just do not stack up, things that even in a dysfunctional family are just not going to happen.--

In other words, you have never experienced this level of dysfunction in a family. Good.

As someone who know what it's like to have a family member accused of incest, to listen to all sides of the story and still not know who's telling the truth, I can say this:

You don't know how you would act if you found yourself thrust into such a situation. If, say, tomorrow someone you love/respect/trust were to accuse someone else that you also love/respect/trust, you would have a very hard time processing that accusation with anything even approaching rationality.

The very framework of everything you believed about people who have been within arm's reach for years turns out to be radically different from what you thought was true. Trying to figure out just what is true, trying to figure out just how to link the false past with the horribly real present so that you can pick up the pieces and start building a completely different future, is, well...

It strains a person's sense of reality. People don't act rationally.

You question Vern Mattson's gun-waving reaction. You wonder about Dorothy's hush-hush reaction to being so completely dominated. I find both extremely believable.


Purple Hymnal said...

"....HWA dying before the coming of "the kingdom" paralleled Moses being barred from the promised land; there was probably some "reason"".

Yaaaaaaaarrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh bad Waterhouse flashback yuckblechptooeyurgyeeeeecccchhhh!

That was a horrible Waterhouse special.....I think even gold-plated-iron-and-clay-tongued Gerry sensed an ill wind blowing out of Senior's and Junior's butts by that point.........

"What sort of ‘low life’ was Vern, to cosy up with HWA, and to continue to expose his new wife to the potential advances of her father?"

One who got a sizable enough chunk of "special offering" money to sway him to the idea that discretion would keep him and his living in the manner to which they had become accustomed.

Anonymous said...

As someone who practices law, and has authored law review articles on the rules of evidence, and burdens of proof, I'd have to say that the so-called "proof" for this allegation is...well...nonexistent. Jerry Springeresque accusations based on negative inferences drawn from the fact that someone didn't do this or that, are just nonsense. I've seen the so called "damning" proof which the proponents of this theory have claimed to have, but in the end no one can point to one shred of credible evidence aside from a rumored shouting match which was reported by someone who clearly had it in for HWA.

If this were a serious matter, I'd take HWA's case. Easy money.

Anonymous said...

"Your story is way off. People are convicted every day who take the fifth and remain silent. In a real trial, Armstrong would have been convicted of molesting, forcefully sexually assaulting, raping his own daughter based on the credible testimony of these reliable witnesses."

Sorry but you don't understand neither my point or the basic tenants of US law. This case is weak and the article is based on total hearsay. However, you can continue to keep your head in the sand and your bitterness in your heart for whatever good that is doing you.

Anonymous said...

"This case is weak and the article is based on total hearsay."

No, it't not. Armstrong made a personal confession, an admission against interest, a declaration against his own interest, therefore having the ring of truth, of his incest with Dorothy, directly in person to John Robinson.

Robinson made a written recollection of the uncoerced incest confession he heard, directly from Armstrong's own mouth-not from a second or third or forth hand party to the conversation.

Armstrong confessed to having sexual relations-"all the way"-with sixteen year old Dorothy.

If Armstrong wanted to, he could have had Robinson cross-examined about it when he was alive.

If he hadn't had incestual relations with Dorothy, he could have easily shredded Robinson in court. But since he did, so he argued it should be kept religously private, and not published. That didn't work constitutionally.

But I guess you don't comprehend the basics of unprecedented 1st amendment pre-publication censorship, and want your innocent idol Armstrong to hide behind the 4th and 5th.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Tulsa WCG church until 1984 when that beloved "minister of God," Phil Rice, decided that my parents (and consequently us children) were unworthy to attend at the Lewis & Clarke middle school every sabbath and excommunicated them; the one and the same that let his daughter die during the FOT years before because he would prove that God would save her. Needless to say that God did not save her and she died; perhaps he should have been a bit less self-righteous and self-absorbed.

All of my family attended as did my mother's mother and father and his family. I do believe, however, it was a blessing that they were kicked to the curb so that the wretchedness didn't spread to us all. Subsequently, all of the family was excommunicated.

Honestly, I'm so tired of it all this crap I just can't stand it any more. All of you, whether stuck on the HWA incest or trying to defend the wretched man, should just drop it. Face it, they all lied to us and they all abused us and nothing we do now will ever change it; no amount of talking about it will change it.

What amazes me more than anything is that all of you, and I mean all of you who were a part of that cultish mess (including my parents) helped destroy this country we live in. Yes, you read correctly - destroyed it!

Do you want to know how? Because instead of focusing on teaching your children how to live in this world and teaching others that it made sense to "run for office" and be politically active so that your influence would abound and you could help defend this Republic and hence spread God's word and stop tyranny in the process, you - all of you - decided to get bogged down in mindless and endless diatribes and rants on this doctrine and that doctrine and if we should observe a moon on this day and not that one and who should be looking and from where and when the wheat was picked and what day should the passover be observed and can you eat this fish or that bird and a myriad of other distractions that lead you astray from the real problems - that being that our country, and consequently our livelihood and our children's future and birthright was taken away by a whole host and plethora of evil, despotic thugs out to destroy us all. But no, you have to worry about HWA and GTA and the like and they're DEAD! More dead than a bottle of motor oil!

I'm just sick of it because the world has crumbled around us and our country is in the death throws right now and rather than studying the bible and realizing that the laws of God were intended to free us from the tyranny around us (just as the founding fathers discovered) you turned them into a nightmarish burden from which there was no escape. God said "You shall not steal," but we steal from each other every day because we use a monetary system of unjust weights and balances (which, by the way, God also told us not to use) that requires us to rob and steal from our neighbors for our daily bread. All of you allowed HWA to steal from you and it was your own hand that gave it to him; you just let him do it so how could it be any different if a government official tells you to do the same?

God told us not to practice lending with interest and yet here we are and that's all we do. We are such hypocrites; all of us, for we have really done it now by practicing all the sins we weren't supposed to but we sure did have to make absolutely sure we observed Passover on the correct night or it was the lake of fire!

God said you shall have no others before him and yet you went to the government with your hat in your hand asking for the goverment's blessing on your church so that you could get special exemption for taxation! Sounds like idolatry to me. You just wanted something in return for your fat donations.

Instead of worrying about things that absolutely cannot change (such as the incest of HWA's daughter), why not change the things that you can and really start putting a muffler on the tyranny that is so plaguing our nation?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:25, it was not Phil Rice's daughter that died but rather Don Mason's and it occured at the FOT in Lake of the Ozarks. I too attended in Tulsa. However, by focusing on raising our children right, what standard are we to use? It seems to me that by teaching our children the ten commandments, the very laws our society today is rejecting, we were and are teaching our children the proper way to function in the world.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:16 said "No, it't not. Armstrong made a personal confession, an admission against interest, a declaration against his own interest, therefore having the ring of truth, of his incest with Dorothy, directly in person to John Robinson."

Dude, what you've written above is almost an exact description of hearsay. Someone telling us that he heard someone say something. Unless HWA confessed in court, or to me personally, I would not believe it. Robinson had a HUGE ax to grind and I knew the man..he was a wacko and a liar! There were good reasons he was booted.

Anonymous said...

..."what you've written above is almost an exact description of hearsay"

Almost isn't good enough.

If you knew the proper legal definition of hearsay the judge would apply in this Robinson case, you would have already cited the definition.

There are many valid exceptions to the hearsay rule, enough to fly a 747 through. Just because something is hearsay doesn't mean it doesn't get in and the jury doesn't hear it.

If you want to impeach Robinson, you're going to have to be more specific than that.

Anonymous said...

"If this were a serious matter, I'd take HWA's case. Easy money."

Would you?

If this Armstrong incest book were such an easy case (as you assert) for Armstrong to win, for an entire "Armstrong army" of high-priced attorneys with an unlimited budget, able to call any and all witnesses to set the record straight, including Dorothy and Vern Mattson - just why did they embarrassngly lose this entire case?

Please explain what rules of evidence, hearsay and burdens of proof, or tort theories of the case were these high-priced WCG attorneys unaware of or unable to exploit against Robinson. Cite you own evidence articles, cases or anything else if you want. Please inform us all.

Furthermore, when that first lawsuit didn’t work, why didn’t they try another, and have HWA and Dorothy and Vern Mattson individually sue the heck out of Robinson under libel, if that's what it really was, and not the truth?

Explain what would be the primary nature of Robinson’s defense in a libel suit by Armstrong involving incest, drunkenness and other related charges, and how Armstrong could win such a case.

Easy money would NOT have filed this pre-publication lawsuit. I think you would agree with that.

Easy money would have charged libel for sure; and HWA could have had Vern and Dorothy herself blow the Robinson incest and other intoxication allegations sky-high, clear out of the water on the witness stand, to the amusement of the WCG attorneys, all flush with WCG cash in their wallets. Dorothy would have an entertaining all-expenses paid trip to Tulsa and back, personal motivation to clear her good reputation, and easily kept her personal reputation intact. Dorothy would testify how utterly ludicrous such nonsensical, Jerry Springeresque incest accusations John Robinson had scurrilously made against her good name, her husband and the good name of her father and Armstrong family and the good name of the WCG.

So since the hair-trigger litigation-happy coward Armstrong used straw men to sue Robinson to stand in for himself on privacy grounds, why didn’t he finance Dorothy and Vern to also sue the heck out of Robinson themselves for libel, for some easy money and legal revenge? Because the Plain Truth was standing in the way.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:27, you're such a clown! Because someone chooses not to answer allegations, doesn't mean they are guilty! Why can't you get that? That is non-sequitar thinking!
Anon 6:27, I believe you are a pedophile. I have heard SEVERAL others state that you are. Therefore,it MUST be true! Now you have as much evidence against you as HWA!! See how that works?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:27, you would have been AWESOME in the Salem Witch trial days! You would be like, "I heard someone say that they knew of someone who talked to Goody Goode and Goody Goode personally told them she was a witch. When confronted, Goody Goode said nothing! Therefore, let's hang Goody Goode for being a witch!"

Good luck with your "thinking"! I doubt you'll ever get over the bitterness you have for a guy that has been dead for over 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Because someone chooses not to answer allegations, doesn't mean they are guilty! Why can't you get that? That is non-sequitar thinking!"

It is not non sequitur. Premise A precedes conclusion B.

The premises of the logic are that:
1. Armstrong personally admitted out of his own mouth to the incest (an admission strongly against his own personal interest) to Robinson and to a number of others.

2. Since Armstrong personally admitted to having incest with Dorothy, (an admission strongly against his own personal interest) it logically follows Armstrong is in fact guilty of incest.

Not a stretch.

Armstrong DID answer the incest allegations through his lawsuit. He had personally admitted to the incest. He argued his confession of incest with Dorothy was a WCG confidential secret amongst his ministry, and that Robinson did not have the legal right to disclose his incest with Dorothy in Tangled Web.

Just David Antion about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:38, have you ever had a logic class? Again, people can say all day what they want but just because someone does not answer the allegations, does not make them true! You seem to have a real problem getting over that hump.

Show me where HWA admitted in court to incest. YOU ARE LYING!! The suppossed admissions to individuals is hearsay and all from people with an axe to grind.The witnessed nothing! If there were proof of incest, HWA would have been in prison.