Monday, 4 January 2010

From the original AW: "Hic"bert W Armstrong

A short item from oAW... includes some interesting quotes about Herb and his booze addiction.

The Worldwide Church of God during the Armstrong years had an extremely permissive attitude toward alcohol quite out of place among other Adventist sects. There was no precedent for this in the Church of God (Seventh Day), the group from which Herbert Armstrong split in the 1930's. Yet conspicuous consumption of alcohol was a definite feature of the WCG's Feast of Tabernacles celebration. Those who preferred not to imbibe were regarded as "weak in faith". The sad reality was, however, that many of the WCG's leading ministers had alcohol problems. Herbert W. Armstrong was no exception.
Holly Ruiz, wife of Enrique Ruiz, the church's office manager in Mexico, made this statement about HWA when asked by Mary Jones of Ambassador Report whether she'd ever seen him drunk:
I've never seen Herbert Armstrong sober after 8:00 at night. I used to notice this when I stayed in his home during conferences and on trips. He would fall asleep in his chair, and (Stanley) Rader would have to take him to bed. His daughter (Beverly) once told me never to call Herbert after 8:00 because he was always in a stupor by then.
John Tuit, writing in 1981, quoted Herbert Armstrong's grandson Mark:
"His liver is pretty bad, you know. He's got whatever it is you get from drinking too much wine and cognac. Boy, that's a real problem with him. He tells the Church people to drink in moderation, and for years he's been getting himself smashed just about every night... I've even helped carry him to his bed when he was just plain wiped out from too much booze."
Al Carrozzo, a minister who left in 1974, quoted Garner Ted Armstrong: "They have to pour my dad into bed every night." He stated: "I have seen him drunk on many occasions" (William Hinson. Broadway to Armageddon, p. 96). David Robinson, writing in 1980, told of Armstrong's slurred speech over a bottle of fortified wine (Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, p. 76). Armstrong himself admitted to excessive drinking as a young man, but "not at all even the fraction of the volume of an alcoholic" (Autobiography, p. 240, 1967 edition).
In Tangled Web, Robinson relates how HWA pressured him to name "liberal ministers" so he could fire them. By this stage of the conversation the "Apostle" had begun to slur his speech slightly because of the Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry. "To name names in this context over a bottle of wine", wrote Robinson with a droll sense of humor, "seemed at the time to be injudicious" (pp. 75-76). He remained tight lipped.
Robinson commented on HWA later in his book: "Solace and sleep, such as it was, had to be induced by drinking much wine."

38 comments:

Corky said...

I never liked the taste of Sherry wine. The name sounds *good* but the taste doesn't reflect the name. Nasty tasting stuff to me.

An alcoholic is the last to realize that he is an alcoholic. There were a lot of them in the WCG and most are still alcoholics today.

It's too bad that so many people picked up the alcohol habit while in the cult but there was a good reason why the FoT was called the "feast of booze".

It wasn't limited to the FoT either and that's the sad part.

Don't get me wrong, I have some social beers myself but not everyone can quit after a couple and if they can't, they should leave it completely alone.

Anonymous said...

The alcoholism in the Church did have one good affect over my life. I don't touch the demonic stuff today, and never have, thanks to the satanic excesses as I witnessed the adults be influenced by. The other adventists had it right. Alcohol should be banned as much as other narcotic substance.

Dennishhhh Schteeeel said...

I grew up with Jim Beam under the counter where it usually stayed until it dried up. I never drank anything before I went to AC.

I got the flu and was told to drink some wine...sooooo I did. Bought a bottle and sipped on it while I studied feeling lousy. The phone rang and I raised my head only to fall out of my chair. It was then I realized I had over medicated. :)

When transferred to Chicago and the Regional HQ, I had to learn to drink along with the Higher Ups who liked the rather perfume taste to me of Beefeater. I would have never thought something called Beefeater would taste like Este Lauder. :)

Alcohol is subtle stuff in its grip. No one seemed to know anything about alcoholism in WCG in the day. I expect if you like to drink, you will see it in the Bible. I expect if you don't like to drink you will not see it in the Bible.

It's all choices. It hides pain and causes it. It lifts depression and fuels it. Out X number of humans, no matter the organization's rules or beliefs, you are going to have Y number of those who should not drink. The church understood the Biblical view of drunkeness and it was just bad character having no connection to the addiction process.

That's why it covered it up as a moral flaw rather than seek out treatment as a physical problem perhaps caused by BOTH personal genetic tendencies and issues that could not be resolved without great risk of rejection or paying a price too high to risk everything over.

I'm sure HWA drank to quell that still small voice and observer in our head that is always asking "what are you doing?"

Ex-Android said...

I recall back in the 80s attending one of the Refresher Programs. At one of the lectures Herman Hoeh told us there were serious problems of excessive drinking among the members. He said that because of the relaxed attitudes towards imbibing some who had formerly never touched the stuff had become alcoholics. No doubt the pressures of coping with the stress of life in the cult aided that.

When I came under the cult's influence in the 60s I remember how
pleased I was about the relaxed attitude towards alcohol. The WCG was not like those wicked old Babtists with their prudishness, false doctrines and alcohol prohibition.

It's funny--in my 25 years in the cult I had gathered quite a collection of books on theology. One of the interesting items was a Baptist commentary on the Bible. Every scripture that had to deal with alcohol was interpreted to make it come out acceptable to the sensitivities of the Baptist reader. Yes, you can make the book teach almost anything with
proper interpretation.

I've got to admit that I really enjoyed Uncle Ted's slap on the Baptists with his observation that Jesus wasn't called a grape juice bibber.

Fessup said...

Just why did Herbvert have to get drunk to fall asleep? Hmmmmm...

Problems with his guilty conscience?

A problem with that is the Herbvert didn't have a conscience!

Leonardo said...

The very first Feast of Tabernacles I ever attended was at Squaw Valley back in 1976.

Had I been more intelligent back in those days I should have known there was a problem when a rather sleazy-looking local BAR (called "The Bear Pen") had displayed on an outdoor sign, in large, bold, prominent letters:

"WELCOME WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD!"

That was a huge, waiving red flag if there ever was one!

It was some time afterwards that I finally began to see the alcohol addictions that so many members (as well as ministers) suffered with.

Coco Joe said...

I never had an alcohol problem before joining the church, but I developed a bit of one during my time there.

And now that I'm no longer in any of the COG cults, I have no problem. An occasional beer is about it for me.

Go figure.

And I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say that during the FOT especially, alcohol consumption was actually encouraged.

I got this feeling that the church was actually proud of it's position on alcohol. That it wasn't so fuddy-duddy about it as the "protestant churches" were.

At least it sure seemed that way to me.

Church Trek said...

Like Corky, I have seen my share of overindulgence at FoTs and have even participated in some. I think the problem is probably not as bad in the independent CoG movement (that's where I have been since I've been of drinking age) and I'm sure the severity of the problem must have been worse in the oppressive environment of WCG.

However, as to Anon who wants to ban alcohol:

1) Would you have banned the serving of alcoholic wine at Cana? Or would you argue, with some Adventists, that the guests were merely remarking about two different grades of grape juice?

2) Since many people, particularly Americans, overindulge in food, are you willing to ban eating as well?

Anonymous said...

Quite soon after HWA died and Tkach Senior took over, he wrote something approximately as follows:

If you are hosting a party, you are to provide non-alcoholic drinks, because not everybody wants to, or can, drink alcohol.

Does anybody else remember that? I was very pleased and thought he was a good guy. Well, until he appointed Junior to succeed him.

Anonymous said...

I worked in Pasadena for three decades and have to say I have seen more alcoholics in Worldwide than I ever have in public life. When your entire belief system is filled with lies and false teachings, when it says "NO" to everything pleasurable in life (except for alcohol) is it any wonder the cult produced so many alcoholics? When you are bombarded with phantasmagorical lie about end time events – with Germans hanging you and your children on meat hooks – is it any wonder people were alcoholics? When you were being prepped to flee to Petra in 1971, when you ere told you would never graduate from high school, never get married, never have kids, etc., alcohol was an easy escape from reality.
During the Feast the Ministerial dining area was filled with scores of drunken ministers, evangelists and department heads.
Herbvert's basement had a large liquor supply of numerous kinds of liquors with some costing as much as 750.00 a bottle. This does not include the wine that he constantly drank and which was served at all his dinners.
When all the changes were coming down it was fascinating to see those sitting the 360 and 380 apartments planning UCG as they were getting drunk. Many of UCG and PCG's big wigs are big time alcoholics.
WCG knew it had a problem with alcoholism in its ranks and membership. One minister even tried to start a version of AA in WCG and Herb stopped it quicker than white on rice. The ministers mistake was that he had combined with several local 'pagan' churches to start a counseling ministry.
One evangelists wife was so drunk at a concert one night that she took her shoes off and was standing in the lobby of the auditorium screaming at the top of her lungs at her husband.
Alcohol flowed freely at all concert receptions. It flowed freely at big dinners that AICF put on. WCG went though thousands of cases of Dom Perigon while I worked in Pasadena. I know, I saw it all!

Purple Hymnal said...

"Had I been more intelligent back in those days I should have known there was a problem when a rather sleazy-looking local BAR (called "The Bear Pen") had displayed on an outdoor sign, in large, bold, prominent letters:

"WELCOME WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD!"


The bars, the restaurants, the shopping malls, the tourist traps, the hotels we were staying in, the convention centre where we attended services. I always wondered if it was because we spent so much 2T money or if the church "called ahead" and asked the businesses to put up those signs?

You certainly don't see signs like that around anymore...even in large cities that host multiple-splinter Feasts.

Maybe that was all a sham, too.

Anonymous said...

"However, as to Anon who wants to ban alcohol:"

"1) Would you have banned the serving of alcoholic wine at Cana? Or would you argue, with some Adventists, that the guests were merely remarking about two different grades of grape juice?"

In the Ancient World fermented (alcoholic) beverages were necessary because to lack of sanitation the alcohol killed the nastier germs in drinking water. Alcohol three thousand years ago was not any thing like the processed chemical narcotic that people defile the temples of their bodies with in these end times.

The Wine at Cana probably WAS a form of grape juice, or only just very slightly more alcoholic than that. Not saying it was not alcohol just saying it was not the narcotic chemical used as alcohol today.

"2) Since many people, particularly Americans, overindulge in food, are you willing to ban eating as well?"

I heard they are trying to get Children and Family Services agencies to take away children from the homes where they are morbidly obese. This is because to parental neglect. If God's health laws were law of the land as well we would not be so persecuted as true Christians either.

Mr. Scribe said...

Anon,
It takes more internal power to limit your intake of alcohol than to forsake the stuff. Why totally deny yourself a simple pleasure of life?

Weakness in ones self is why.

http://tinyurl.com/yalb32a

"YouTube - RevKscribe's Channel
The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or ..."

Dr Zoidberg said...

When asked what he thought of the alcohol in the church, he replied: "I think I shall have another!"

Anonymous said...

I was a "flaming" alcoholic in WCG, but hid the fact as it was considered a "sin" and weakness(1968)..Always looked forward to the Feast as there was tons of alcohol around..In fact Harvey's Bristol creame was my favorite....As time went on, finally was found out when local minister paid a visit and I was "smashed"(1978)Went to Big Sandy feast site in 1984, and there were members (Houston) who had discovered A.A.(some ministers saw sending an alcoholic to A.A.was more successful than just putting one out of the church)...Long story short, I was 3years sober, but needed outside help to truly live life without alcohol..One man had said, "If you don't get help, you will drink again"...I came home and started going to meetings...Still do with 28 years sobriety...A.A.saved my life, and my relationship with my children(grown now)Also my relationships with fellow human beings,get over the self-righteous,judgmental attitude I had; that was the real sickness..I quit going to WCG in 1995, and am a member of Metrpolitan Community Church(B.R.)I view church in a different way today...Do not let it take over my life....I am not surprised about HWA or GTA or other ministers getting drunk....A wonderful example for me to remember is David John Hill who died awhile back...I believe on AW was an article or link about how David Hill sobered up(A.A.)Gave up everything at WCG...He and wife were successful in helping other alcoholics, addicts,etc.to change their lives....He died with not much material possessions, but he was rich in how to really live life and help others....David Hill and his wife touched peoples lives positively,had a personal relationship with God(of his understanding)that HWA or GTA probably never had or felt....Very sad indeed....At that time the WCG was very wrong about getting help for depression or addictions or anything else, for that matter....I am so grateful my eyes were opened(mind and heart also) to see what needed to be changed...and to leave the cult after about 30 years(counting the time before baptism)....

Anonymous said...

"If God's health laws were law of the land as well we would not be so persecuted as true Christians either."

What health laws? Scripture, please.


The Apostate Paul

GL said...

Anon:

Glad to see AA worked for you and that Metropolitan Community Church works too! I have friends that were part of it's ministry for many years.

Anonymous said...

"What health laws? Scripture, please."

You should know Scripture better than I you quote it all the time.

Start at the beginning of Leviticus.

Melody said...

Alcohol, unlike psychedelics, seriously inhibits one's consciousness to the point that they become unable to have the proper self-awareness necessary to manifest any productive or complex thought-forms. It is quite apparent, when one looks at the beliefs of the WCG cult and it's splinters, that they reflect this lower level of consciousness.

Anonymous said...

"Start at the beginning of Leviticus."

Leviticus is one big health law? Why don't you quit being evasive and provide us with some specific scriptures.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you quit being evasive and provide us with some specific scriptures."

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+11+&version=NKJV&src=embed

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals ----which you may eat---- among all the animals that are on the earth:

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote: "Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals ----which you may eat---- among all the animals that are on the earth:"


I'll re-post the scripture I posted on another thread: Go read Genesis 9:3

How about that from a God who "Changes not"

Anonymous said...

"Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals ----which you may eat---- among all the animals that are on the earth:"

Great! We are making progress.

So, the children of Israel (not the surrounding Gentiles) were told not to eat certain animals. Does the Bible give us any indication as to why?

What evidence do you have to support your idea that this is a health law? I'm not interested in your opinion, but biblical evidence, ie scripture.

Thanks,
The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Here are some examples of Bible principles:

Sanitation: Deuteronomy 23:12-13
Infection control: Leviticus 13:47–58
Cross infection, wound care: Leviticus 15
Quarantine: Leviticus 13:1–14:57, Numbers 5:2–4
Face masks: Leviticus 13:45–46
Mortuary hygiene: Numbers 19:11, 19, 22 and Leviticus 11:24–28, 40
Food hygiene: Leviticus 11:34ff
Monogamous unions limit sexual diseases: Genesis 1:27, 2:23–25
Justice: Micah 4:2-3

Anonymous said...

"I'll re-post the scripture I posted on another thread: Go read Genesis 9:3"

Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. The scripture you cite took place before the Flood.

Anonymous said...

"What evidence do you have to support your idea that this is a health law? I'm not interested in your opinion, but biblical evidence, ie scripture."

Proof that WWCG was the true church:
Ezekiel 44:23

God's health laws are for our own good. In this life and in the Kingdom when all nations will obey:
1 Timothy 4:8

You think the Scriptures no longer applies because of Gen. 9:3? Think again:
Matthew 4:4;
Luke 4:4;
Deuteronomy 8:3

Why were unclean animals taken in two by two and not by sevens, as the clean animals were?
Genesis 6:19
Genesis 7:2

Who is the authority to trust on clean and unclean foods?
Isaiah 55:8-9
Jeremiah 10:23

We must obey the will of God in all things. Not some things. Not only on some days. In all things and all days until the end of this age:
John 17:2-3
Matthew 7:21
John 14:15
Revelation 14:12
1 John 5:1-3

I gave you the scriptures in Leviticus. Also mentioned in Revelations:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+18%3A2&version=NKJV&src=embed

We are told in the Bible this a lasting law unto succeeding generations.
Deut 14:1-21

Have you been called out of this world to holiness?
1 Peter 2:9
Romans 12:2
Luke 8:13

For those who say "the Old Covenant is done away with":
Matthew 5:17-19

There is only one covenant, between the Lord and His people.

You wanted scriptures I gave you scriptures.

Anonymous said...

Herbie had good taste,at least in the matter of liquor.

The tipple Gavin depicts is a drink fit for a king. Wonderful stuff.I recommend it thoroughly.

Hic!!

Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

"I'll re-post the scripture I posted on another thread: Go read Genesis 9:3"

Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. The scripture you cite took place before the Flood.

Anon, please tell me what magic took place. If Gen 9:3 was valid before the 'flood' it was obviously still valid after the 'flood' for hundreds and hundreds of years until one day magically, 'everything that moveth' was radically reduced and separated into clean and unclean.

Now, you won't get any argument out of me that some things are good to eat, others not, and some things are just plain disgusting...but that isn't the point. The point is that here the Bible contradicts itself in two ways:

1) The Mosaic laws of clean and unclean meats is in clear contradiction with Gen 9:3

2) The Bible also says the God 'Changeth not', when, if scripture is to be believed, he doth.

I do remember the past and I defintely do not intend to repeat it by becoming and armstrongite ever again. You bible thumpers are the ones that keep repeating your past mistakes, every year as you rehash old sermons and every so many years by moving out your timelines when world events fail to live up to your interpretation of them.

pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"Sanitation: Deuteronomy 23:12-13"

Wow. Humans never would have figured that one out on their own...but they did. Ancient cultures predating the Israelites practiced human waste sanitation, no thanks to Jehovah.

"Infection control: Leviticus 13:47–58"

What is a mark of leprosy? Or is it mold? Either way, it seems that the god of the Bible didn't understand the germ theory of disease that he supposedly created, otherwise he wouldn't have had the people and the priest poking around with "contaminated" articles, washing them and inspecting them- they should have just burned them to get rid of the mold, er, um, leprosy. Why didn't god understand that even though the mark of mold, uh, leprosy, was gone, there were most likely spores, er, I mean, bacteria, still present. Or did the ancient Israelites have bleach? Healthy!

"Cross infection, wound care: Leviticus 15"

This is ridiculous. Let us, for a moment, ignore that all of this is clearly ceremonial in nature and pretend that there are health implications here. If you come in contact with a man's "discharge" (whatever that is) or his semen, or a woman's menstrual blood, you are to wash yourself and your clothing. Wow! We should rush this out ASAP! Now we know how to prevent Ebola contamination! Just wash with water! It's that easy! Healthy! But again, many culture predating the Israelites practiced washing with water, no thanks to Jehovah.


"Quarantine: Leviticus 13:1–14:57, Numbers 5:2–4"

What incredible diagnostic tools! Lesions turning white! Lesions with white hairs! Oh, wait, sorry, that's leprosy. Wrong translation. If you keep on reading it looks a bit contradictory. At the first, a white lesion is bad, but later, if the lesions, er, I mean leprosy, covers the entire body and has turned white, the man is clean! Yay! Healthy! Let's get this out to the medical profession. If they only knew how to diagnose and treat infectious skin diseases- the Godly Way!

"Face masks: Leviticus 13:45–46"

??? Could you help me out here?

"Mortuary hygiene: Numbers 19:11, 19, 22 and Leviticus 11:24–28, 40"

Don't touch dead bodies or you will be unclean for seven days? Why just seven days? What if you have become infected with something? Do diseases just clear up after seven days? Healthy!

And these "unclean" people that touch discharge, or mold, or dead carcasses, can they interact with other people while they are unclean??

Don't handle or eat dead animals? That would have some weight if god hadn't allowed Gentiles to eat dead animals, which he did. (Deut 14:21) If it is unhealthy to eat a dead animal, then why did he let the Gentiles do it? Did he hate Gentiles?


"Food hygiene: Leviticus 11:34ff"

If a lizard falls into your beer mug, it's unhealthy to drink now? What about a moth?


"Monogamous unions limit sexual diseases: Genesis 1:27, 2:23–25"

Didn't the patriarchs practice polygamy?


"Justice: Micah 4:2-3"

Can you point out how this pertains to health?


Pathetic. I would expect better health laws from the creator of the universe. It seems that his "health" laws were no better than what previous cultures had been practicing on their own.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"You wanted scriptures I gave you scriptures."

I wanted scriptures that supported the assertion that the "unclean meat" laws were health laws. Not one of the scriptures you list addresses this. Try again, please.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Just to save time for our kosher friends, there is not one single scripture in the entire Bible that even implies that "unclean meat" is unhealthy to eat. Reality doesn't bear this out, either (unless someone has scientific evidence).

There are scripture(s), however, where the god of the Bible clearly explains why he did not want the Israelites to eat, or touch, "unclean meat." No- put down your hands, those who know the answer. Let the the Armstrongites find it for themselves. It's a good opportunity to get their rusty brain cogs moving a bit.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"There are scripture(s), however, where the god of the Bible clearly explains why he did not want the Israelites to eat, or touch, "unclean meat." No- put down your hands, those who know the answer. Let the the Armstrongites find it for themselves. It's a good opportunity to get their rusty brain cogs moving a bit."

He did not want our forefathers to eat or touch unclean meat because they were His chosen people, sanctified before the Lord.

Anonymous said...

'There are scripture(s), however, where the god of the Bible clearly explains why he did not want the Israelites to eat, or touch, "unclean meat." '
===

According to Scripture the 'converted' have dwelling in them the Spirit of God - in their body. For this reason they are to 'be holy'. That is they are to avoid all that could defile the body. I Corinthians 3:16-17).

This echoes the instruction given through Moses in Leviticus 11:41-47: don't 'make youselves abominable'. That's what Paul also says - 'be holy'.

By the way, God had given up on the Gentiles - their choice (Romans 1) - and was then dealing with Israel as a model nation. Let the Gentiles eat whatever they want - they knew better.

Anonymous said...

Re Biblical health laws:
'States Dr. D. T. Atkinson, "In the Bible greater stress was placed upon prevention of disease than was given to the treatment of bodily ailments, and in this no race of people, before or since, has left us such a wealth of LAWS RELATIVE TO HYGIENE AND SANITATION as the Hebrews. These important laws, coming down through the ages, are still used to a marked degree in every country in the world sufficiently enlightened to observe them. One has but to read the book of Leviticus carefully and thoughtfully to conclude that the admonitions of Moses contained therein are, in fact, the groundwork of most of today's sanitary laws. As one closes the book, he must, regardless of his spiritual leanings, feel that the wisdom therein expressed regarding the rules to protect health are superior to any which then existed in the world and that to this day they have been little improved upon" (Magic, Myth and Medicine, Atkinson, p. 20).

Anonymous said...

"By the way, God had given up on the Gentiles... Let the Gentiles eat whatever they want - they knew better."


How did they "know better?" If the Gentiles knew better (knew what exactly?) then why didn't the Israelites, having dwelt among the Gentiles in captivity, know better, too?

When exactly did the Gentiles receive this "know better" knowledge?

So are the food laws spiritual defilement, or is it a health issue?


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

So eating unclean meat makes you un-holy and defiles you? I didn't know that food could defile you. Of course, unless you mean this from a physical perspective, and then we are back to square one- where in the Bible did God command the Israelites not to eat unclean meat because it was unhealthy? Where does the Bible say that unclean meat is unhealthy to eat?

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"Re Biblical health laws:
'States Dr. D. T. Atkinson,"

Why not provide biblical evidence instead of Dr. Atkinson's take on the subject?

So far the biblical "health laws" that have been posted on this thread are pretty pathetic, coming from the dude who created bacteria and viruses himself. The ones that are actually useful were used by Gentile cultures predating the Israelites. So much for that.

Tip: If someone in your home contract leprosy, you'd be better off going to a medical doctor for diagnosis and treatment than looking for "marks of mildew" on clothing and for skin lesions with white hairs poking out of them.

Oh, or you could ignore both and just pray. God has a wonderful track record for healings. Unless you lost a limb, that is. If you did, you'll have to wait till Jesus comes back because god doesn't do lost limbs.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

'How did they "know better?" If the Gentiles knew better (knew what exactly?) then why didn't the Israelites, having dwelt among the Gentiles in captivity, know better, too?'
===
It's unlikely that our race 'evolved' from more than one couple (a miracle in itself - two sexually evolving suitably at the same time).

From a believer's point of view, however, God explained to them how their bodies 'worked' (commands, if you like. So all the 'races' received the same guidance - not just (later) Israel.

And as today, even when we know better we don't do the right thing. Nor did Adam, Abraham, David, Paul - all of us.

The 'principles of living' were passed down from mouth to mouth and so the Gentiles at one time knew them - but tossed them aside.