Sunday 1 February 2009

More Denial

Unsurprisingly, as if tapped on the knee with a mallet, Bob Thiel has leapt manfully to the defense of his dead idol following yesterday's posting.

I agree with Mary Lane that the most interesting part of Bob's response is this.

Perhaps I should mention that since one aspect of these accusations is commonly attributed to a comment supposedly made by Herbert W. Armstrong’s son Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) concerning his dad and his sister Dorothy. 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?

Put yourself in Ted's shoes. Along comes a request from a pesky devotee of Rod Meredith for information on the incest allegations. What could Ted do?

(a) deny them. That would settle the matter, and you'd think he'd be eager to do just that - clear the family name - if it had all been a horrible case of smear and innuendo. Let's give Ted some credit, he had enough integrity to not do that.

(b) confirm them. After twenty-three years revisit a painful part of his past and see it blow up in his face all over again.

(c) tell Bob, diplomatically, to sod off.

Wisely he chose option three. It says a good deal about Bob that he failed to realize he was being given the bum's rush.


Russell Miller said...

Even Ted told him to "Sod off".

Seems to be a pattern here.

Anonymous said...

Theil seems to have a thinking problem. He is willing to accept British Israelism as fact based on much flimsier evidence than what is being offered to support these incest allegations.

In his lame attempts to get at the truth, he approached a number of people who have a vested interest in concealing any wrong acts on the part of HWA. Their current income depends on HWA's reputation as a modern day apostle to whom God revealed the truths on which these franchise ACOGs are based.

GTA would have been the most likely candidate to tell the truth, but possibly not to a competitor ACOG franchisee. There is also protocol here, based on parity. Meredith's subservient calls, wishing to speak directly to GTA. Had it been Rod himself, GTA may or may not have spoken with him. But, who is this assistant to demand anything of GTA? Parity would have demanded that GTA refer the inquiry to Chris Cumming, or another member of his staff, to relay GTA's response.

What kind of an anal orifice is going to call GTA to confront him about such a sensitive family matter in the first place? GTA never took the story to the newspapers as he could have. He told his father he could destroy him, but probably realized what turmoil this would cause in the lives of so many loyal church members, that he could not follow through on his threat. He took the high road. We can say what we wish about GTA, but his wife and sons did love him, and were right there with him when he died. Family was obviously one of the things that was very important to him.


Anonymous said...

C. Sod off

Bob Thiel was not important enough or close enough to the family for it to be any of his damn business and thus he was basically told, as some say on other topics around here, "how the money is spent or who did what is none of your business."

Bob...look at was none of your business to Ted and that's why you got the non answer you got which you could take anyway you wished and did.

Neotherm said...

There is a fourth option, an option that I think is likely given the lack of any real evidence.

That option is that GTA doesn't know if any of this happened. So what could he say? He could neither deny or confirm. No doubt someone told GTA about this alleged incest, probably as a political manipulation, but it just may be that GTA, on more careful consideration, concluded that what he was told needed support by evidence rather than hearsay.

I don't want to be the poster child for naivete, but we must consider how dirty and nasty the politcs became in the WCG. I still continues to be that way - bizzaro-land.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Well put Byker; whether from naivety or exaggerated self-importance, that wasn't the smartest thing young Bob could have done. Cold-call confrontation may work for Mike Wallace, but only if you know the answer before you ask the question.

I remember a WCG member who had the opportunity to speak to a German official. Rather than ask questions, he threw the HWA Assyrian scenario at him. When the official ended the conversation, that was taken to be an admission of guilt.

Pam said...

I would suggest that by 2002 GTA was identifying himself on occasion as the son of HWA in PR materials, and calling upon his long history on the World Tomorrow and such as part of his resume ... since he had so little credibility of his own left. And thus it would have been stupid for him to say ANYTHING that would tarnish the image of the one whose credentials he was calling upon to shore up his own. If the alleged incident with his dad wasn't true, it would have been to his GREAT advantage to deny it categorically.

Anonymous said...

How do we know David really set Uriah up for a fall, took Bathsheba, that child one died, but then who gave birth to Solomon, who was the wisest man that ever lived and wrote Ecclesiastes?

Oh, and that the rumor is 3000 years old...

We just heard and read he did.

But I imagine Bob Thiel just knows that's all true, true, true.

Anonymous said...

Why did Bobby boy not mention this piece of evidence?
Please comment Bob.

Anonymous said...

Neo, I guess Ramona Martin was part of the politics conspiring agaist Herb. It is written:

"Louis Deckler, Mrs. Armstrong's lawyer said the testimony would explain the understanding the couple reached about Armstrong's prior incestuous conduct with his daughter [Dorothy] for many years."

Gee, you would think that the Apostle would ask the Tulsa World for a retraction, hmmm.....?

Anonymous said...

Has any one stopped to think:
“What would I do if my family had a dirty secret?”

Pam commented:
“If the alleged incident with his dad wasn't true, it would have been to his GREAT advantage to deny it categorically.

If one denies an accusation….it never satisfies the inquirer .

Ted lived a double life himself and got caught on tape….who would have believed a denial from him anyway?

Ted answered the same way many of us would have if it were our family.

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).”

When Theil devotes a full article to:
“Herbert W. Armstrong & Incest: Not Guilty!

He forgets he is perpetuating the accusation by giving the allegations so much publicity.

Hence no matter whether it is true or not…..the allegations stay in the public eye even if one denies them.

Theil unwittingly just helped keep the allegations alive by all the paragraphs of denial.

So denying something others believe….doesn’t do diddly squat for this type of situation.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone here live in Tucson AZ? You can visit the court @ Legal Records Department at 110 W Congress

Type in the Herbal name or case #C230151

Anonymous said...

so who is it that has trouble with reality?

it's abundantly clear that there is no credible evidence of the so called incest, yet who keeps banging that drum?

Anonymous said...

I might also add to the above link that there was some filings made just days before Herb traveled to hell in order to meet his maker!

Anonymous said...

Request your copy TODAY!

        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.....

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

......But whoso shall offend [abuse] one of these little ones [SPEAKING WITH A CHILD ON HIS LAP] which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.


One can make what one will about evidence, the real question do want people with that kind of problem near your kids or responsible for dealing with your kids.

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

I doubt the case in the courthouse file being discussed here is the divorce. Herbie and Romona are both listed as defendants.

Wonder if Herbie ducked out on some bills when he moved back to Pasadena.

This appears to be the case # for the divorce: D40771.

XCGMouse said...

So, GTA always worked from a basis of self-interest?

Anonymous said...

The sexual sins at the top of the RCG/WCG are real to the families involved. Others accept or reject the allegations as they see fit.

Is Saturday the Sabbath? Is Sabbath keeping required of anyone other than Jews? How about the annual Holydays? Is tithing a responsibility of church members? Is there a strong concentration of Israelite blood in Britain, the Commonwealth and America? Is there any significant prophetic significance to British-Israel theory? Is heaven the reward of the "saved"?

Whether or not the Armstrongs were sexually corrupt has no bearing on these questions. None at all.

Anonymous said...

Think about the hypocrisy around HWA's second wife. This is from the website

"He married a much younger woman called Ramona Martin in 1977, a marriage which many members of his WCG organisation deeply frowned upon even though they did not dare communicate their doubts to the fiery and sometimes explosive Armstrong who effectively held all power within the organisation. Armstrong was aged 85 at the time, while Ramona was about 40 and was divorced with a living husband. For decades his teaching had forbidden a church member to remarry after a divorce until the death of the former spouse. If a prospective member was married to someone who had a living previous spouse, no matter how long ago the previous divorce had been, and no matter if the current marriage had small children, baptism was denied unless the prospective member ended the current marriage. His austere policy had also highly frowned on any sort of inter-racial marriage but his new wife was part-Cherokee. It appeared to some that Armstrong was quite prepared to flout his own doctrines when he discovered a beautiful young woman who was prepared to marry him. So he wed Ramona Martin, a divorced church member less than half his age with a living ex-husband. That marriage ended in a bitter and acrimonious divorce in 1982."

Anonymous said...

It's really funny that Ted would refer an inquirer to his dad's autobiography when he, Ted, had called it "mainly fiction" shortly after it's release. I guess he hoped the inquirer had forgotten or perhaps Ted had forgotten he'd made the statement. Or maybe he was just being cute. He certainly was a clever con.

Hey! This is cool. We take a break on bashing Herb and start again on his son.

Who said the Armstrong bashers have no lives?

Anonymous said...

Php 4:8 Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise

Questeruk said...

Perhaps people should ask what they would do if they had this sort of accusation thrown at them, and they were utterly innocent.

I can think of a couple of long term situations that I have been in, which were entirely innocent and above board, but if people wanted, they could have suggested that ‘inappropriate’ things had been happening.

If anyone had suggested such a thing, what would I have done? Well, I think that I would be so disgusted by even the suggestion, why should I even think to give a reply? A punch on the nose maybe – but a reply – no way.

Now I don’t know what happened with HWA, but neither do you. Maybe he was guilty, but equally, maybe he was innocent.

How could he ‘prove’ that nothing had happened? We have a valuable principle in both UK and USA that a person is innocent until proved guilty. The onus isn’t on the accused to prove their innocence; rather the prosecution is required to prove guilt.

This is very practical as well. It is often difficult or impossible to ‘prove’ that you didn’t do something.

A public figure with some scandal levelled at them knows that if they contest it, there will be far more publicity generated about them, and even if proved false, the general public will remember the accusation. Ignoring it doesn’t give the press much of a story and so it tends to fade out much quicker.

Like every other citizen of our two countries, it would be up to the accusers to prove guilt, not HWA to prove innocence.

Russell Miller said...

Anonymous, living in denial changes nothing.

Anonymous said...

Reading the cited COGwriter posting, I once again see the annoying label given AW, "anti-COG". This site is titled, "Ambassador Watch/Reflections on the Worldwide Church of God experience". It does not qualify "reflections" so as to limit the blog to negative or "anti-" reflections. I sure positive and uplifting reflections are welcome.

What I would consider qualification appropriate to "reflections" is 'critical'. Not critical in the sense of levelling unwarrented criticism, but analysis in the form of critique.

Back to Bob's posting, I'm pondering the assertion, "But the truth is that in any real court of law, Herbert W. Armstrong would have been found NOT GUILTY of these incest allegations." "would have been"? Not now, post mortem, in absentia, but when all the parties were alive? Our academic digression into this aspect of someone's alleged activities differs greatly from a real trial when the accused could testify and be cross-examined.

Anonymous said...

1. The incident reported by hearsay of Vern Mattsen threatening HWA with a gun apparently occurred at the end of, not prior to the beginning of, the time of Mattsen's employment with HWA. At some point Mattsen resigned his job with HWA (reasons and circumstances unknown), and by coincidence at that very time HWA began lifetime payments thereafter for daughter Dorothy's house. This timing of the start of HWA's house payments for Dorothy comes from testimony from HWA under oath.

2. According to Trechak of Ambassador Watch, at least two persons heard HWA confess to the incest: Henry Cornwall, and wife Ramona Martin. Although not directly stated by Trechak, it is practically certain that Ramona Martin was Trechak's source for this. Trechak demonstrated a track record of credibility over many years in what he reported (he was never sued for libel nor ever publicly refuted on an important matter of fact), such that it is unlikely Trechak was inventing the hearsay claims; of course neither Cornwall nor Ramona Martin (both of whom presumably are still living) have personally publicly testified to what they heard HWA say.

3. The lack of denial by HWA, or WCG on HWA's behalf, of the incest allegation in spite of sueing David Robinson to stop circulation of his book, is somewhat telling, when combined with the unexplained financial support given non-WCG member Dorothy throughout HWA's life, even after Dorothy appeared to be the source of the incest allegations.

4. I myself heard GTA at Big Sandy c. Jan. 1974 in a sabbath sermon say that his father, HWA, had been accused of "adultery" back in Oregon in the 1940s by church members there. GTA did not elaborate. What was that all about? In retrospect, it sounds like the incest allegation. No other "adultery" charge or allegation against HWA is known from that era.

5. Bruce Renehan, author of _Daughter of Babylon_, in a letter (full link below) gives details from a long conversation he had with David Robinson, who said that HWA had confessed to the incest.

[excerpt from Renehan]
"Robinson told me that Herbert Armstrong admitted he had committed the incest. I said to Robinson, 'Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that Armstrong didn't try to deny it? That's hard for me to believe.' David Robinson answered me, 'You don't understand the way Herbert Armstrong thought. He said, 'Alexander the Great and many Roman emperors committed incest. They were great men and I am a great man also'."
[end excerpt from Renehan]

        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

Anonymous said...

The sexual sins at the top of the RCG/WCG are real to the families involved. Others accept or reject the allegations as they see fit.

Is Saturday the Sabbath?
Of course it is!

Is Sabbath keeping required of anyone other than Jews?
Not if you are not of that culture and heritidge!

How about the annual Holydays?
Armstrong never kept the Holydays in the same manner as the Jews do.

Is tithing a responsibility of church members?
No, tithing was a temple tax for the Temple Priesthood. Jews do not tithe because there is no temple to tithe to.

Is there a strong concentration of Israelite blood in Britain, the Commonwealth and America? Is there any significant prophetic significance to British-Israel theory?

Its all a concocted anglo-phile fantasy!

Whether or not the Armstrongs were sexually corrupt has no bearing on these questions. None at all.

Unless the twisted minds of the leadership decides to hide its true character by producing books on sexuality for the membership to follow. But it was always about smoke and mirrors and diversion of attention. They diverted attention from present misdeeds in exchange for a future with God they didn't fund. Everything was either a test from God or a trial by the devil.

Why would you want to enable such people with your hard earned money?

Give it to the Salvation Army where it does some good.

Anonymous said...

I remember the afternoon when Vern Mattson came over to our apartment, and I, being starstruck at such a name from early Armstrong royalty sitting on our couch, proceeded to sing HWA's praises. This was around the mid to late 70s, long after Mr. Mattsen had resigned.

To this day I remember his silent stare, not a word in response -- until I abandoned the topic of Herbert Armstrong, at which time we got back to normal conversation.

I remember the day after he left his job as Business Manager, sometime in the late 50s or early 60s. We were informed that he had suddenly resigned, perhaps the word was "quit." It was a shock to the campus mentality. No explanation comes to mind. I think Al Portune took his place at that time, and the talk among students I knew was more about the new Business Manager than why Mr. Mattsen had left; that question was drawing a total blank.

None of the above can be taken for much more than surmisings. But against the background of stories that emerged years later -- tales being recounted here -- the puzzles seem to be fitting together. If there were other, more accurate, explanations, they never quite made it to the grapevine. And that in itself is puzzling if there is no merit to the surfeit of hearsay every one of us has heard, who knows why.

Anonymous said...

Of course we shouldn’t forget how the incest story was covered in the article “Honey I Shrunk the Church!”

According to former church officials, and the founder's own grandson, Richard David Armstrong II, Herbert's younger daughter, Dorothy, began to tell family and friends during the '70s that, years earlier, her father had molested her. John Tuit, an ex-church member living in North Carolina, recalls Garner Ted Armstrong telling him of his sister's startling revelation and that Herbert had not denied it when his son confronted him.

The allegation surfaced publicly in a book written by David Robinson, a former Worldwide minister in Oklahoma. The church tried unsuccessfully to suppress it. Robinson recounted a bizarre late-night conversation with the then-widowed Herbert during a church festival in the Poconos. Armstrong, who had been drinking, was alleged to have confessed to Robinson that he had molested his daughter between 1933 and 1943. Then, to the astonishment of the younger minister, Armstrong was said to have produced a small black book in which he had carefully documented the many times he had masturbated, a practice he had frequently railed against from the pulpit. "It was a shattering experience for my dad," says Mark Robinson, a Dallas-area businessman, whose father died in 1995. "Until then, he had no reason to doubt Mr. Armstrong's spirituality."

The issue arose again in 1984, during divorce proceedings between Armstrong and his second wife, Ramona Martin, a former switchboard operator 46 years his junior. The breakup, after seven years of marriage, was nasty. Armstrong, playing hardball, had accused her of stealing church property and was pressing criminal charges while refusing to bend to Ramona's demands for a large settlement, including a large amount of cash and the couple's sprawling ranch-style home in Tucson, Arizona. Until, that is, shortly before a court hearing at which her lawyers had threatened to introduce a purported "understanding" between Herbert and his wife regarding the alleged incest. The divorce was quickly settled to Ramona's satisfaction, and the criminal charges were dropped.

Anonymous said...

Where is the "proof" of incest? I see conjecture and supposition but no sworn affidavits from anyone. It seems that most of these "witnesses" fold when confronted. Someone claims to have heard someone else say they were present when HWA said he committed incest..this is weak. What else do you have besides rumor?