The following was directed to Herbert Armstrong expressing why GTA was not spiritually qualified to remain in high office. It was sent to HWA in November 1973 and is printed in chapter 17 of Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? by Marion J. McNair. In spite of the evidence, HWA rejected the plea and instead slandered and accused any who would speak out as being “instruments of Satan.” This is important to read, given the fact that the present WCG leaders have called such reports against HWA and GTA “allegations” and that they “lack the resources to verify or dismiss all such reports.”1
“The level of debauchery to which Ted had reportedly fallen was much more serious than indicated in the letter from the Council.2 Ted had been There was authoritative evidence that Ted had been involved with as many as 200 different consorts, both in and out of the church, married and unmarried and some of whom were the wives of his fellow ministers. It reportedly continued up to the time Ted was exiled in 1971. … This resulted in a general deterioration of relations between headquarters and the field ministry. Ministers from the Atlantic to the Pacific were threatening to resign. Some were vowing to tell all.” (Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? (An Exposé of the Armstrong Modus Operandi) by Marion J. McNair, chapter 17, p. 272)
Garner Ted Armstrong, son of Herbert W. Armstrong, founded the Intercontinental Church of God and The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, both located in Tyler, Texas. His son, Mark Armstrong, heads ICG today.
This council, members of the Worldwide Church of God, members in good standing, direct your attention to a matter of grave importance to the Church of the Living God.
It grieves this council unspeakably to find it necessary to direct your attention to the fact that one of our foremost Evangelists has disqualified himself for all time, as a minister of Jesus Christ and as an overseer of any rank in God’s Work.
It has come to the attention of many members of the Church and it is known by many without that this Evangelist in question did for seven years, while serving in the ministry of Christ, forsake the sanctity of his home to cohabit with numerous other females.
The seriousness of this conduct was heightened by the prowess and position of the one in question.
It is known among the EVANGELISTS and leading ministers that the aforesaid Evangelist has imposed his physical presence upon young college girls who came to Ambassador College to learn GODLY CHARACTER.
The Evangelist in reference was charged with the sober responsibility of setting our students a good example. He rather forsook the law of God and established a ploy for entrapment of some of our co-eds. He violated the sanctity of his wife and home to embrace the bosom of the aforesaid females in repeated adulterous-fornicating relationships.
This man was put out as a result of those actions and a nationwide scandal ensued. But he was reinstated, the Scriptures notwithstanding.
The aforesaid Evangelist does not now meet the qualifications to serve in Christ’s work.
This council directs your attention to these scriptural requirements and qualifications:
I Timothy 3:2
“A bishop (minister) then must be blameless…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary No. 483 An-til-ego–not subject to dispute, refutation, contradiction, denial or gainsaying).
“a bishop (minister) must be blameless…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary No. 410 An-eng-klay-tos–unaccused, by implication irreproachable).
I Timothy 3:2
“The husband of one wife…” (precludes known, habitual fornicators, adulterers and polygamists). “…of good behavior (modest)…” MODEST–Webster: 1) Placing a low estimate on one’s self. 2) Moderate. 3) Chaste.
This council brings to your attention the fact that the Evangelist in question is not “unaccused” as required by Titus 1:7 and remains “reproachable” before the world which has not tasted of the grace of God. He does not and can never again meet the requirements as a minister or overseer as found in the above scriptures because he has violated the confidence of those to whom he might preach.
This council requests you to be obedient to the Word of God and, in concert with the Board of Directors, withdraw the re-appointment of Garner Ted Armstrong as a minister of Jesus Christ and further, remove him from all office of rank and authority in the Worldwide Church of God and all branches of Ambassador College.
This council further calls upon you to honor your own words by complying with the aforesaid request of this council. It has been noted by this council that on two or more occasions when you “marked for disfellowship” other ministers who have, in like manner engaged in fornicating and adulterous relationships, you did specifically pronounce that “any minister who is of such demeanor can never again serve in the ministry of Jesus Christ.”
This council brings to your attention that God, through the Apostle Paul, set the requirements of a “SPIRIT LED MINISTRY.” That mighty apostle, under the inspiration of God and with full knowledge of King David’s example, said a minister of Christ must be “blameless,” unimpeachable before the world.
You stated, in a Bible study on April 21, 1972, Garner Ted was coming back and would be “reinstated in the church but he will not be in the ministry or have any post of authority.” This council calls upon you to be obedient and submit to the Word of God, to be equal in judgment of all men, and to honor your own words by causing Garner Ted Armstrong to serve as a lay member, forever barred, in this life from the ministry of Christ and any office of authority in God’s work.
The above action is prerequisite to complete restoration of confidence by the members and the world in this ministry and WORK. When that confidence is restored within and without God will work through these same vessels to return every blessing to His Church.
The instruction of scripture is clear. There is no place for “special revelation” in this situation. God has made it abundantly clear that He does not deal with His church at this time by “special revelation.”
Paul said, “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past…by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” (Heb. 1:1)
The books have been written and sealed by Jesus Christ through the hands of the Apostle John who received the last admonition from Christ “…If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book…” (Rev. 22:18).
It should be made clear to all church members that God did not give you instructions by “special revelation” to put Garner Ted at the head of this work, as you implied in a previous member letter.
This council recommends that the people of God provide Garner Ted and his immediate family with the material substance necessary to sustain them at a moderate to upper middle class living standard…
This council requests total compliance with all provisions of this request by December 1, 1973, and in the following steps…
- Prepare and release to the press a statement that Garner Ted has disqualified himself as a minister of Jesus Christ and representative of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God and is being relieved of all such duties.
- Prepare and distribute to all members of the Worldwide Church of God and employees of Ambassador College a statement that Garner Ted is being relieved of all duties as in Item 1. above–the letter being signed by you (Herbert W. Armstrong) and an accompanying letter of acknowledgement signed by Garner Ted.
Both of the above actions to be executed and the above stated items and materials be in the hands of the recipients by December 1, 1973 and Garner Ted’s departure from this organization (Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador Colleges) as a representative of any rank and as a minister of Jesus Christ be not later than December 31, 1973.
This council urgently requests you before God to be obedient to the instructions of Scripture which have been set forth in this correspondence and thus remove or cause Garner Ted to be removed from the ministry and all administrative posts of authority in God’s Work.
Then wait on the Lord Eternal and let Him bless His Work.
THE COUNCIL FOR PROPER LEADERSHIP
“Are the Armstrongs different–hand picked of God as they claim? … Such claim has no basis in the annals of God’s Word. It has no basis in Christianity. It has no basis in common decency. … It is altogether repugnant to every sense of honesty, ethics and common decency. It is in fact, the mark of a true despot.” (By Marion J. McNair, Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? p. 285.)
NOTE from ESN: More about this period of time can be found in various sources such as: Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? (An Exposé of the Armstrong Modus Operandi) by Marion J. McNair (especially see chapter 17 “Doctrine–Battleground for Division”); Worldwide Church of God History (Transcription of tape by Kenneth Westby; What Really Occurred With Worldwide Church of God? (“Turbulent 1970 Era Crucial to Understanding”); “My Story” by C. Wayne Cole; “Firing and Disfellowship” by David L. Antion; and “Resignation Letter” by Richard Plache (CDs/audio tapes with ESN); The ministers who sought good changes within the WCG organization were branded as “instruments of Satan,” and slandered and viciously accused by Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted and who attempted to confuse the members on the issues and justify and excuse the situation.
This letter has been said by some to have been written by Marion J. McNair (and several in Ambassador College and WCG whom McNair knew read the letter beforehand and agreed with its contents). However, it really doesn’t make any difference in the long run as it does not change or cancel out the numerous exposés regarding the evil deeds of GTA. This period of time led to more and more ministers resigning or being fired.
2 A reactionary group within the church. (See: Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? (An Exposé of the Armstrong Modus Operandi) by Marion J. McNair, chapter 17, p. 267.) (PDF)