Neil Earle Whitewashes Herbert Armstrong
Neil Earle has attempted to not only psychoanalyze HWA (a false prophet), but whitewashes him as an orthodox Christian in his forthcoming book, Blow the Dust Off Your Bible: Herbert Armstrong and American Popular Religion.
Earle is the pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in Glendora, California, which is one of many congregations (or church plantings) connected to the Worldwide Church of God (name changed to Grace Communion International in 2009), founded by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Earle's church website tells us that he has "been in pastoral ministry for more than 33 years" but nothing is mentioned about how that time was spent as a "minister" in the Worldwide Church of God, an organization which for decades was known as an apocalyptic, destructive, Bible-based cult that exploited thousands of innocent people. It is only on GCI's website that it is mentioned that Neil Earle was "pastor and journalist for Grace Communion International in Canada and the U.S. for thirty-nine years." No mention of Worldwide Church of God or Herbert Armstrong.)
Has WCG whitewashed Herbert W Armstrong? (includes quotes)
Following will be quotes from Earle's forthcoming book, along with our comments.
NE = Neil Earle
ESN = Exit & Support Network™
From the chapter, "Honest to God"1:
Earle begins this section of the book by listing popular, controversial religious books and movies from the 1970s to the present. He then writes about an incident that occurred in The Plain Truth.
Hugh Schonfield2 had written a book in 1965 entitled, The Passover Plot, which claims that Jesus plotted to feign his death on the Cross. A reader, Howard A. from Gary, Indiana had a letter published in the Short Questions column in the January 1966 Plain Truth magazine asking them to comment on the book. In the April 1966 PT ("Personal From the Editor"), HWA writes that a "young man on the staff, recently graduated from college" had answered this in the PT, giving proof that "Jesus did fulfill the prophecies concerning Him in the scriptures" and also stated, "Who could believe such a preposterous book! Probably not even its own author!" Apparently, this incensed Schonfield, who wrote a letter to the PT voicing his displeasure. Below is an excerpt from NE's forthcoming book addressing this matter:
NE: That did it. Hugh Schonfield fired off a nasty letter to The Plain Truth. Herbert Armstrong felt it necessary to address the issue in the April 1966 Plain Truth. The careful and effective apology, however, revealed a side of HWA that few except close friends and very careful readers got to see—a confident, measured tone; a calm and reasonable demeanor, a refusal to be rattled. It was not a new role for HWA. He could positively "glow all over" when he wanted to turn on the charm. Yet, coming the same year as Time magazine's notorious "Is God Dead?" cover, it revealed just how Christ-focused and Christ-involved Herbert Armstrong was at rock bottom.
ESN: HWA was known for his fiery temper, so much so, that ministers joked about it from the pulpit. The above comment by Earle describing that "few except close friends and very careful readers" got to see HWA in a "confident, calm and reasonable demeanor" makes one wonder if this is the exception and not the rule. Others suffered the wrath of HWA when he didn't get his way. The testimonial by HWA's nurse shows that he could "turn on the charm" when he wanted, and he could also spew a temper when he wanted. It appears from her story, that he did this frequently. She found it difficult to deal with his tirades, and would eventually comply with his demands, even though it greatly strained her marriage. [Note: This testimony, originally posted on Founder's Bio / "We Remember HWA" has since been pulled. However, we saved a copy. We include excerpts below from the testimony.3] Scripture tells us that anyone who holds the office of a bishop should be, "blameless...of good behavior, not quarrelsome.." (I Timothy 3:2). HWA did not possess these basic characteristics, let alone any of the others listed in I Timothy 3.
Earle's remaking of HWA's character by telling readers that HWA was "Christ-focused and Christ-involved" at rock bottom, is simply not true. HWA kept his members focused on the Sabbath and Law keeping as their central means of salvation. Has Earle forgotten this? Hardly. Surely he can recall going to church every Sabbath, and keeping the Feast and Holy Days, and enforcing many more unscriptural rules from the pulpit. Readers were enticed, through the WCG's literature, that they are saved by Christ's sacrifice. But once inside the organization, they learned that it was a limited sacrifice. Members eventually discovered that if they didn't keep the Sabbath / Law / Government teachings, they jeopardized their salvation. Being ousted from the organization meant the loss of one's salvation since they are "cut off from the body." The WCG was a totalitarian cult that controlled the lives and minds of innocent people, using fear, to get them to comply to the restrictive rules of the organization. Earle knows all of this, as he was a long-time minister of the WCG, but does not reveal this to the readers. This is certainly NE's "sin of omission."
NE: HWA's apology revealed him as the unlikely defender of Christian orthodoxy in a challenging, anti-church and indeed anti-Christian decade.
ESN: It was HWA that told millions of people that they had been deceived by orthodox Christianity. (Refer to: Mystery of the Ages (a critical review) ) Saying that HWA was the "defender of Christian orthodoxy" is equivalent to saying that Hitler was the defender of the Jews. Who is Earle trying to kid? There were no orthodox teachings from HWA. If anything, he caused millions to doubt their salvation. At the heart of orthodox doctrine is the belief in the Holy Trinity (that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all fully God--but they are united in the fullness of one God). For decades, HWA taught his followers that the Trinity was false--a deception foisted upon Christianity by Satan. He taught that Sunday-keeping was the Mark of the Beast! [a doctrine he copied from the Seventh-day Adventists] Simple belief in Christ was not enough: O. T. Law keeping was mandatory for salvation. This is only the tip of the iceberg of false doctrines disseminated by HWA. How can Earle neglect this, let alone have the audacity to claim that HWA defended Christian orthodoxy? What a fabrication! This is contemptible. HWA knew that most people would be too lazy to look up historical facts. Is Earle hoping for the same?
NE: In case the point had not been made, HWA then added: "And, let me say that it is my understanding that Dr. Schonfield does have a reputation in the world as an honest, religious scholar."
ESN: Whoa! HWA calling someone that he would have considered a "worldly scholar" as "reputable and honest"? Members were taught that scholars and theologians were deceived and part of Satan's world, spreading false teaching throughout Christianity. Only he, and he alone, had the Truth. To think that Dr. Schonfield, author of The Passover Plot (which claimed that Jesus planned to fake his death on the cross) was exonerated by HWA makes one question if HWA feared a lawsuit? Earle tries to paint HWA as a humble man who could hand out gracious apologies when wrong, but this is a falsehood. This one-time event happened in 1966. But when the fiasco of false prophecies happened in 1972/1975, HWA did not apologize publicly or privately to his followers.
NE: (quoting HWA from the April 1966 PT) "Your potential is to enter into the very divine Family of God—to be born as a very son of God. But you have human nature, which is self-centered in vanity, selfishness and greed…You have rebelled against God and His Law. You have sinned and brought the penalty of eternal death. But Jesus of Nazareth gave His very life for you—paying the penalty for you in your stead. If you really repent—confess your sins, admit your mistakes and your sins, the living Jesus will forgive, and put within you his vital, dynamic, eternal life-imparting Holy Spirit, making you a [converted] child of God (emphasis added.)"
ESN: It is amusing how NE trimmed away all the unorthodox statements, making HWA look like he had a firm grasp on sin and salvation. (For instance, he leaves out how HWA said [caps removed]: "Your human nature is hostile to the laws and ways that lead to happiness and joy and abundance here and now, as well as eternal life in God's own divine Family. Your heart and nature is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). You have gone contrary to God and your own happiness." He also substitutes the word "converted" in brackets when HWA had used the word "begotten." (Refer to: April 1966 Plain Truth online)
WCG members were taught that they were to be born into the God family and be God as God is God, and help to recreate/restore the universe. HWA took this teaching from the Mormons. Refer to: chapter two of our critical review of Mystery of the Ages (search for the phrase "Latter Day Saints). Members were continually reminded of their "selfish human nature" and instructed to live the way of "give." A mandatory, three-tithe system helps these selfish members unload their hard-earned cash into the organization so the top leaders could live the way of "get." Again, Earle failed to mention that members were enslaved into a false system of Law-keeping in order to "qualify" for their salvation. The "eternal death" spoken of here means that man does not have an immortal soul--a teaching he pilfered from the Jehovah's Witnesses. (Refer to: chapter three, pt. 2 and chapter six of our critical review of Mystery of the Ages (search for the word "Watchtower"). These are definitely not "orthodox" teachings. HWA taught that the Holy Spirit is not God, but merely the power of God, another teaching he plucked from the Jehovah's Witnesses. Earle knows very well that HWA did not uphold one iota of orthodox doctrine. Pruning out false statements to make HWA seem orthodox is nothing short of deception--this is plainly unconscionable on NE's part, considering he has a Master's degree in Theology.4
NE: The "Passover Plot" controversy soon subsided. It revealed a side of Herbert Armstrong which the public rarely got to see. He was not only at his eloquent journalistic best but also reflecting the calmness of demeanor one expected from a veteran Christian CEO—dignified, measured, and reasonable. His critics often missed—did not want to see—this relentless and obvious Christ-centeredness.
ESN: Another myth spawned by Earle. It was HWA that attacked mainstream Christianity, calling their doctrines false, and telling his readers that they were being deceived by Christianity into believing "false doctrines." And now Earle wants to point the finger at "critics" for "missing" or "not wanting to see" HWA's "obvious Christ-centeredness"? The critics were telling the truth and exposing HWA for his false gospel and lack of "Christ-centeredness." Here again, we see Earle elevating HWA to something he wasn't and not telling the truth about who he really was--nothing more than a religious "cult" leader who abused his flock over and over.
NE: The wider significance for the soon-to-be one million circulation PT was that here was a religious publication in 1966—the same year that "Is God Dead?" appeared on Time magazine's cover—sticking up for the core essentials of the Christian faith.
ESN: HWA "sticking up for the core essentials of Christian faith"? Very funny! And insulting. Another false statement by Earle. Christians believe and understand that one is saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone. But HWA taught that keeping the Law was necessary--that faith in Jesus wasn't enough. (To see the core doctrines of Christianity compared to what HWA taught refer to this part on our Booklist.) Another core doctrine of the Christian faith is belief in the Holy Trinity (i. e., the Godhead). It is easy to see that Earle does not use these terms in his defense of HWA because he knows better.
NE: These the apostle Paul had explained, and Herbert Armstrong well knew, were the veracity attaching to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This was a message many of his readers, especially of an evangelical persuasion, could embrace. In effect, with The Passover Plot controversy, Herbert Armstrong showed his editorial team, showed all willing to listen, how to effectively turn adversity to advantage, how to compose as well as carry a "message to Garcia."
ESN: Seventy eight percent of people who join religious cults (e. g. a high demand, abusive group) come from mainstream churches. Why? Earle makes a telling statement: That those of evangelical persuasion could embrace what appears to be orthodox doctrines. That is called "deception" and HWA was a master at it. Like the Watchtower Society (WTS), HWA could appear to stand for high morals, and fight against immoral, popular culture. He could sound like an authority who could give black-and-white answers in a troubled world. But being able to "carry a message to Garcia" doesn't make him right. Even when speaking about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, Earle does not bring up the fact that HWA vehemently taught against a Sunday Resurrection. Sunday was the day of the sun god and Sunday-keeping was the equivalent to Baal worship. Members were taught that God would not have resurrected Jesus on the "pagan day of the sun." Instead, Jesus was resurrected Saturday evening, on the Sabbath. To make this formula work, HWA taught that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday. None of this is true. (See article written by Robert M. Kelley: "The Resurrection was Not on Sunday" (A look at Herbert W. Armstrong's Booklet) ) HWA also taught that Jesus was resurrected a "spirit being" and that his body disappeared. He pilfered this teaching from the WTS, too. (See this part in my critical review of Mystery of the Ages: Bodily Resurrection or a Disembodied Spirit) NE's unprincipled attempts to spread a "Christian veneer" over HWA's false doctrines should make one deeply question the motives of the writer. What is to be gained from this? Perpetuating the "myth" of HWA is on par with other cultic groups that deify their false leaders.
In conclusion to this section, one apology given back in 1966 does not prove anything about the true character of HWA. No matter how much Earle tries to eulogize or romanticize HWA, he is undoubtedly, fully aware of the false doctrines espoused by HWA, as he was a minister for the Worldwide Church of God for decades. He taught these doctrines from the pulpit, and cannot feign ignorance. How can someone, who claims to be an "evangelical" Christian--holding a Master's degree in Theology--attempt to whitewash HWA's abhorrent doctrines, even going as far to claim them "orthodox"? It's inexcusable.
From the chapter, "The Spirit of Ambassador: The Early Years":
In this chapter, Earle tries to legitimatize Ambassador College's existence, as well as capitalize on feelings of nostalgia. It is interesting to note that AC students, during the 50s and 60s had no long term goals because of relentless false prophecies uttered by HWA. In spite of his dire predictions that the end was near, he embarked on building projects well into the `70s, constructing a gym and the "crown jewel"--Ambassador Auditorium (also known as "God's House").
NE: This short-term focus colored much of the campus environment in the 1950s and 1960s....The 1964 Envoy reported on the new $12,000,000 envisioned campus expansion, plans which included a new physical education facility for Pasadena and the capstone, the crown jewel of the enterprise—a new seventy foot high Auditorium complete with reflecting pool to become "the outstanding showpiece of the Southland." Remarkably, all came to pass according to plan.
ESN: Yes, it all came to pass because HWA was telling his followers to take out second mortgages on their homes to help build "God's House." Members were asked to send in money above and beyond their regular tithes! They were assured that Christ was returning soon and they wouldn't need the money anyway; that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972, and they would be fleeing to the place of safety shortly. Many emptied out their savings accounts and took out loans and second mortgages and sent the money in. Members were told that "God's House" would be a standing testimony for the world to see. People would see the buildings on the Ambassador College campus and find the church's literature, and recall how HWA tried to warn the world of impending doom. They would finally realize that he was indeed, God's Apostle, and acknowledge that the WCG was the true Work of God on earth.
Gerald Flurry has also engaged in the very same practice with his members. He has continually warned them that the end is coming (Read: Philadelphia Church of God and the Place of Safety for Flurry's changing dates on the "last hour), and now has redirected his members' attention on his massive building programs. It worked for HWA, and he's certain it will work for him. (Read how David C. Pack also fleeces his flock with this tactic.)
Earle now describes some interesting details about HWA and his son Garner Ted Armstrong:
NE: "In the late 1960s the campus also had a nine-hole golf course and an airstrip, convenient for Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong to use when visiting."
ESN: In the late 1960s HWA and GTA were playing golf on a nine-hole golf course in Big Sandy (actually a 76 acre golf course ) paid by church members' tithes. If this was 1968-1969, wasn't the Great Tribulation supposed to start in 1972, and then Christ's return in 1975? Only 3-4 years left to do "the Work," but HWA and GTA could find plenty of time to play golf. Regular members were not allowed to play on this golf course, and the majority of them never knew of its existence. GTA was known to own his own plane, and would go on long hunting excursions all over the country. Members also paid for this personal airstrip (and the hunting trips). Since members never received any detailed financial statements, they were unaware of how their tithes were being spent. They were also taught "not to question" how their tithes were being spent, as it was disrespectful to challenge anyone in authority in the WCG. Members were told that the top leaders were held accountable by God, and that God would direct them in the best ways to spend their tithes. Questioning the leaders was the equivalent to questioning God Himself. (Read: Herbert W. Armstrong: The Rich Apostle (Is requiring accountability of finances wrong?) ) So HWA and GTA had free reign over church funds. This eventually led to an investigation and the California Receivership (1979). Funny how Earle doesn't mention this.
NE: As covered below, it was in these years that the alert outdoorsman Garner Ted Armstrong was leading "The World Tomorrow" program into an early environmental stance, decades ahead of most of the Christian community.
NE: The WCG's Our Polluted Planet booklet debuted in 1968, trenchantly addressing the scriptural blind-spot much of Christianity had adopted towards ecological themes.
ESN: How can Earle give GTA credit for starting the Environmental Movement? This is a completely bogus statement. Environmental issues were already in the forefront, thanks to popular music, TV personalities and environmental groups. GTA was not the initiator nor the instigator of this movement. To credit him to this level is nothing short of absurd. Notice how Earle still insults Christianity as having a "scriptural blind-spot" for decades, while elevating GTA. Earle cannot paint GTA as a champion of the gospel because he wasn't. The publishing of the booklet was undoubtedly distributed among the membership, but to imply that booklet had a major impact on society at large is a gross exaggeration.
When this book was printed, the printing press facility at AC was not in compliance with the air quality standards as set by the state at that time. They were polluting into the air the alcohol, etc that was used in the inks.5
NE: ...Herman Hoeh's green thumb and Garner Ted's Oregon upbringing nudged the church and college into a "green" direction.
ESN: While GTA kept church members busy with composting and recycling, he cruised around in large, gas-hog vans as his personal vehicles. One was a Dodge van, and after that, quite a number of other ministers were driving them also.6 I rather imagine a large van pollutes more than a small economy car. GTA's son David drove a Firebird with plenty of horsepower. Maybe before disseminating ecological advice to the masses, GTA should have practiced within his own family what he preached.
NE: Ever the idea-man, Garner Ted envisioned the Texas campus and its farm-based locale as a prototypical experimental community for addressing some of the ecological concerns emerging in this "first wave" of the environmental movement.
ESN: Wasn't Ted supposed to be a preacher of the gospel, not an Environmental Guru?
NE: Linda Welch summarizes some of the innovative ideas that were affecting the students:
Garner Ted Armstrong loved the Big Sandy campus. He had a home there on Lake Loma and some of his best friends were faculty members. He loved the outdoors and was interested in the environment. He was instrumental in having a new invention called a "digester" transported across several states to the campus farm. It was a large composting machine which was supposed to manufacture compost from garbage in just a few days. It became the brunt of a lot of jokes because it kept breaking down and never seemed to work as expected. But apparently it worked better than many thought.
ESN: Once again, church members' tithes paid for that composting machine--unbeknownst to them, for sure. Since when does a failed composter make Ted the authority on environmental issues? And where would Christianity be today without Environmental Ted spearheading this movement? Yes, GTA loved the great outdoors and spent a lot of time (and church funds) enjoying long hunting trips. GTA enjoyed a beautiful home on Lake Loma (all paid by church members' tithes). Earle forgets to mention that church members were never asked to vote whether this home should be constructed or not. None of them know the actual size of the home, nor how it was furnished. None of this is ever reported to them, and none of it is ever voted on. Members didn't even know GTA's salary, nor the salary of their own ministers!
GTA was not only caught in the act of gross immorality back in the `70s (Refer to: Those Needing Information on Garner Ted Armstrong and Letter Regarding the Immorality of Garner Ted Armstrong), he was also caught in the act of immorality with a masseuse in 1995. Did Earle miss the episode on Geraldo? GTA was immoral as a young man, and continued this conduct into this old age. According to Scripture, a man of this proclivity must be disqualified from any positions of authority. (Read: "None of God's Servants Were Perfect" (for those who like to use this reasoning) )
Earle tries to paint the "Ambassador Education" as one that was well-rounded, with broadening opportunities. He detracts from the issues by going into details about student schedules, and outside opportunities in foreign countries.
NE: "By the 1970s Ambassador College was on the brink of becoming one of the most distinguished liberal arts colleges on the West Coast," opines Dr. Michael Germano, a former Dean of Faculty.
ESN: This "most distinguished liberal arts college" remained unaccredited, even after several attempts to have it accredited. Why? In spite of the glowing report given by Earle, the truth remains that AC was nothing more than an institution that trained ministers for the field. It was a front for young people to be trained and used to expand the cult teachings through literature production and distribution (much like the WTS's Brooklyn Headquarters). The best and brightest of the WCG youth would be trained in cult doctrines and sent out to local congregations. Notice that Earle avoids calling it a "religious college" even though members are told this is what it was. Parents in WCG were told that they should not send their children to "worldly colleges" where they would be tainted by the world's false education and false values. Parents believed their children were being taught "The Truth" to the fullest extent. They believed the highest honor for their child was to become a minister, or wife of a minister, as it would make them a part of the "royal priesthood," and they would receive greater blessings in the World Tomorrow.
During the accreditation process, the faculty alone could not qualify since their degrees came from Ambassador College. So how could the faculty pursue their college degrees while members were discouraged from pursuing theirs? Easy. Just don't tell the members! Members were never made aware of the fact that the faculty and ministers were pursuing their college degrees in "worldly institutions" (all paid for by the membership, too). They were told that the faculty needed "additional schooling and training to qualify" for accreditation, but members were never told exactly what this entailed. Without their knowledge or approval, AC faculty (this includes Greg Albrecht and Mike Feazell) gained their "real degrees" through an outside religious college institution (Azusa Pacific) (See: Outsider's Inside Update Newsletter #6, Pt. 2 and this part in the article in the New Times Los Angeles, December 4, 1997) and other ministers later were attending Fuller Theological Seminary. Members would have rebelled had they known this (and they made sure they never knew!). They would have questioned why HQ's was sending its faculty to a religious college that taught diametrically opposite doctrines from HWA. (Note: The college was accredited in 1994. Read this part in OIU #1, Pt. 2 about how graduates were then deceptively instructed to say that Ambassador University was accredited, not when it was accredited. Also, this part in OIU #6, Pt. 5 for how former Ambassador College graduates were eligible to replace their "lost diplomas".)
From chapter, "The Middle East—Quagmire of Prophecy":
ESN: Earle is engaging in whitewashing Herbert Armstrong's past and true character. His attempts to equate HWA with Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, and other notable prophecy-buffs are ludicrous. NE's purposeful ignoring of HWA's plagiarizing of the Watchtower Society's teaching that the return of Christ would be in 1975 only proves that Earle is more than willing to cover up HWA's true identity--that he was a false prophet, who never apologized for any of his failed prophecies. Notice how Earle doesn't apologize for HWA's false prophecies either--only finds excuses and downplays or ignores them altogether:
NE: "It was speculation, of course, but it was informed speculation."
ESN: I would laugh heartily at this statement except that many innocent church members were greatly hurt by this "informed speculation"; hogwash at its best. Members were made to believe that God was giving HWA direct information, not "informed speculation." HWA boomed his predictions with great authority and confidence. How dare anyone doubt? Now we see Earle trying to excuse HWA's prophetic blunders and still uphold his image as spotless. Another interesting point that he neglects is that HWA never stopped giving false predictions, even after the 1972-75 fiasco! What was his excuse then? For Earle to hold a Master's degree in Theology, and use it to justify HWA's actions, is truly pathetic.
NE's attempts at trying to tell (sell) Christianity the lie, "Hey, he was one of you, but you never recognized him" is deeply disturbing. No, HWA needs to take his place at the right hand of Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Ellen G. White, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and all the other false prophets. Earle fails to mention that false prophecies were only the tip of the iceberg--HWA's plethora of false doctrines are never brought out in this so-called "biography."
Herbert Armstrong used end time prophecies to place fear in his followers--always keeping them on edge so they would give more and more money. In fact, they were so convinced by his false prophecies that many sold their homes, ready to flee. But when the prophecies didn't pan out, there was no apology, nor restitution for these members. When the prophecies did not come to pass, HWA did not apologize to the very people who supported him financially. There was no, "I'm sorry, I was wrong. I am going to send back the money to those who sold their homes and thought we were fleeing." How can Neil Earle ignore this, let alone excuse it? He was there. And Earle has the nerve to portray HWA as someone who would apologize for mistakes! This is simply untrue. He lets us know that HWA made one apology to a scholar back in 1966--and we're supposed to be awed by this? HWA uttered countless false prophecies over five decades and apologized for none of them (otherwise, Earle would be blowing his horn about this, too). Evangelicals should be greatly alarmed by the misinformation contained in this book. For those of them who pictured a "repentant WCG that admits the mistakes of the past, and who fully understood their role as a cult, and acknowledges HWA as false prophet and false teacher," think again! We hope others carefully discern between the lines of this bogus "history rewrite" as it attempts to elevate HWA as a legitimate Christian.
But isn't this typical of the WCG mentality? They want outsiders to believe they were "transformed by truth" while they continue to resort to the same old cult methods of whitewashing and deceit. Earle has attempted to cover up HWA's past, like the WTS and LDS attempts at covering up their leaders' past, through the use of "historical intellectualism." The plain truth is that Herbert W. Armstrong was nothing more than a religious con-artist who duped people into believing his convoluted and false gospel so he could live a life of luxury, and there's nothing Neil Earle, or anyone else, can say that will ever change this fact.
By Kelly Marshall
Exit & Support Network™
February 9, 2009
Updated October 7, 2014
Related Material: Worldwide Church of God and Herbert Armstrong (history and background info)
Note: Roderick C. Meredith wrote an article ("As 1966 Dawns--Watch These Seven Trends!") in the January 1966 Plain Truth issue that declared that "within 5-10 years" the end would come. This would put it between 1971-1976. That was same issue after Howard A. (mentioned above) sent his controversial question in. HWA apologized for the "oversight" that the "young man on staff" made in his answer to The Passover Plot, but he certainly didn't apologize for Meredith's false prophecy which was in that very same issue!
Note: Neil Earle was with the Masonic lodge in Glendora, CA back in 1997. This was during the time he was also pastor in Glendora.
1 Honest to God was the name of a 1963 book by John A. T. Robinson.
2 Hugh Schonfield died in 1988.
3 "I first met Herbert Armstrong during my senior year in Ambassador College when I went to his home on the campus in Pasadena for Thanksgiving 1971. After that I was invited back to help prepare and serve meals to graduating seniors, as well as the guests and dignitaries he entertained until his death in 1986. ... After the guests left, some times Mr. Armstrong came back to the kitchen where he would greet and thank all the volunteers and on occasion would sit at the breakfast table and talk for hours. During those times, I began to see his personal side. ... After his return to Pasadena from Tucson in 1981 after recovering from his heart attack, I was surprised by a telephone call on the morning of June 24, 1982. He was looking for a nurse to monitor his day-to-day health and to travel with him and had been reminded by his staff that I had, in the past, been a registered nurse. Thus began my experience as Herbert Armstrong’s personal nurse. ...I had witnessed his anger directed toward others, but never toward me personally until I had traveled with him for a year. When he exploded at me one evening in June 1983, it was about the amount of time I was devoting to him. I had always made a point of letting him know of the other facets of my life, my other job, my husband and my household responsibilities. He let me know that he felt everything else in my life was more important to me than he was. When I got home in tears that night, my husband Scott and I decided it was time for Mr. Armstrong to find someone else to serve as his nurse. ... Scott and I decided to approach Mr. Armstrong and ask him to find a nurse who was not married to care for him. That evening in June 1983 was not an easy one. Mr. Armstrong screamed at Scott, calling him a “boy” and said upcoming trips would have to be canceled if I was not willing to travel. We explained that I was more than willing to continue in the position until a replacement could be found. The search began and lasted until Elaine Brown was hired to replace me in September. ... I had heard of employees who had angered Mr. Armstrong and were never again allowed to speak to him. I hoped to end my tenure as his personal nurse on an amicable note, so offered to substitute for Elaine on occasion so she could take time off. I continued to do that until he became ill in the summer of 1985 and last spoke to him on the telephone in the fall of that year." (Excerpted from "We Remember," by Jan Weiner, R.N.)
4 In 1998, Neil Earle graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary (where most of the "church growth movement" can be traced back to, and which houses the extensive archive of David J. DuPlessis, "father of American Pentecostalism").
5 Relayed to ESN by a 1976 graduate of Ambassador College.