|William & Margie Hinson|
I know Robinson was by no means without fault. I know the book had to be extensively rewritten before publication to remove virulent antisemitic comments. Knowing that doesn't invalidate his whistleblowing. Robinson was a senior minister in the WCG, and we can be grateful he decided to blow its cover. Marion McNair was one of Herbert Armstrong's evangelists. Again, not a man without fault, but though he wrote several years earlier, it was the same basic story.
There was a third exposé; William Hinson's Broadway to Armageddon (also 1977). This was more difficult to acquire, and I eventually gave up. It wasn't as though more dirt was needed to demonstrate the rottenness at the heart of WCG. When David Barrett was writing The Fragmentation of a Sect he had trouble hunting down a copy and asked if I had one (as I'm sure he also asked others). The 14-page list of references to his study includes both Robinson and McNair, but not Hinson.
Fast forward thirty-five years, and I've had a chance to read Hinson at last. I didn't think I could be shocked all over again, but I am.
It's not a well-written book. Hinson was no wordsmith nor, despite acquiring ministerial credentials, a particularly well-educated man. I skimmed the first few chapters, though not without a growing sense of horror as to the way things were through to the mid-1970s. If the writing is a bit rough, it also conveys the rawness of life in a sect that was, without doubt, abusive in the extreme. D&R and healing in particular.
But it's the supplementary material that is a real eye-opener. The exit letters from ministers, the leaked papers, the adultery, the deception.
We have Bill Hohman to thank for making all three books - Robinson, McNair and Hinson - available for downloading in PDF format. I stumbled on Bill's Facebook page while updating the links on AW. If you have a FB account you can avail yourself of this trip back in time. Not a particularly pleasant journey, but one that might help with closure by putting those missing pieces from times past in place.