Saturday 16 April 2016

Gold, guilt and lifestyles of the rich and shameless

They will hurl their silver into the street,
    and their gold will seem unclean.
    Their silver and their gold won’t deliver them
        on the day of the Lord’s anger.
They won’t satisfy their appetites or fill their bellies.
    Their guilt will bring them down.

Ezekiel 7:19

Gary has a powerful post on his Banned blog about Herbert Armstrong's taste for the finer things in life.
Much of  the fine art and metalwork were purchased during the time HWA was mailing out letters to the membership demanding that they cut back and send in more money.  The "Work" was always in a state of distress. Many members did indeed sacrifice and mailed in more money.  The result - HWA was on treasure hunting trips to Harrod's in London and other UK locations buying treasures for his three homes and college campuses (St Alban's, England, Big Sandy, TX and Pasadena, CA). 
While Mrs. Armstrong was alive and in the early years of the church they lived in a modest house on Hill Ave (now owned by Cal Tech).  When Loma Armstrong died Herb began shedding his 'simple' life style for the extravagant one.  This was also the time Gerald Waterhouse and Dean Blackwell started blabbering that HWA was an Apostle.  And as you all know from the Bible, Apostles were meant to travel around the world speaking to world leaders, give them gifts of Steuben crustal, and play host to them at extravagant dinner parties at the various campus homes.  Apostles were ordained by God to live lives with the finest the earth and humankind has to offer.  This easy justification lead to multiple millions of dollars in extravagance by HWA,  evangelists, faculty, certain department heads and many ministers.
Sadly for Herb, the alcoholic apostle was unable to "take it with him", and the baubles were sold off after his death. Some legacy.


Anonymous said...

When I first arrived on the AC Big Sandy campus many decades ago, there was a common viewpoint among the people there that was frequently expressed in a special phrase. The phrase was "Ambassador College quality." You would hear someone say that something is of "Ambassador College quality" or that something is not of "Ambassador College quality." It was a kind of indoctrination by repetition that God expected high quality for his special servants. This self-serving meme was just a cover for the personal greed that afflicted the leadership of the WCG and was being actively learned by AC Students. (For some reason, this "quality" life was not so relevant to the lay membership. Their impoverishment and low production value life was wholly acceptable.)

But for all the important people or those who wanted to be important, "first class" was always the rule. To further support this oppressive economic oligarchy, the Armstrongite ministry frequently emphasized that affluence was the outcome of godliness. This silenced the lay members who began to be a little disgruntled. It made it clear that their betters had more because they were more righteous and God simply blessed them more. Argument over.

Anonymous said...

"Prepare to lower your standard of living!"

Byker Bob said...

As an AC student, I never participated in one of those dinners to be much remembered at the home of "Elijah" So in the early '70s, as I labored in my improvised den out in the garage to complete my drafting correspondence course, listening to Jimmy Rabbitt (KMET) playing Charlie Daniels' "Long Haired Redneck" while sipping on some Colt-45, it would have been difficult to imagine that Herbie was amassing gold and expensive wines, partially financed by the tithes and offerings I could ill afford, but faithfully paid.

The irony is that I enjoyed my malt liquor and rock n roll probably more than his Herbal Essence ever enjoyed Mendelsohn and Dom Perignon. In retrospect, it seems quite pretentious of Herb to have been into such hoity toity things. Jesus spoke to and related to the common man.