For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid,
that shall not be known.” ~Luke 12:2


Dear friends in the Worldwide Church of God,

In late November of 1992 I read an incredible account of Herbert Armstrong carrying on an incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter Dorothy from 1933 to 1943, the year she married Verne Mattson. Later, in January I read another account of it in a book by former WCG minister David Robinson. It was Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web published in 1980. At the time I discounted the story as fiction. But over the succeeding months leading up to last April 12 I’d learned of many other serious moral sins in the man’s life. They were widely reported on by many former ministers who knew him.

But I still doubted the incest allegations — that is until Mr. Gary Antion confirmed that they were entirely true when I talked with him after his sermon on the last day of Unleavened Bread, April 12. I’d asked him if he’d read David Robinson’s book. He said he had. I told him that I’d read in another publication that Dorothy Mattson told his brother David Antion (a former WCG evangelist) all about the incest. (They were and are in-laws.) He nodded. I asked him if David ever said anything to him about it. “Yes,” he said.

“What did he say?” I responded.

“He told me the story was true,” he calmly said. “But before you get all upset and say how could he have done such a horrible thing, we should remember that we don’t know what went on in his mind. We don’t know if he repented or not. Maybe he repented in 1980 after David Robinson’s book came out.”

He went on to say that God gave king David time to repent and that if Mr. Armstrong repented, that he’ll be in God’s kingdom and if not, he won’t be there. He also said he’d known about the whole thing in 1978. I asked if his brother David knew about this before he left the church in 1974 or after. He said David knew before. Antion was casual and relaxed with his words and never hesitated with any of the information.

He said that this should show us not to look to a man for our salvation which he said the church had done in the past. Finally, he asked me why I’m here; meaning the church. I said because I believe what the church believes, for the most part. He smiled, nodded and encouraged me not to let the matter bother me.

But as you can see, it does bother me a great deal. HWA claimed that God used him to raise up the Philadelphia era of His true Church beginning in 1933. I don’t think so. In addition to raping his young daughter for many years, the “apostle” was widely known to have habitual sexual sins throughout his life including fornication, adultery, and masturbation. He frequently lied, misused church money, and had a serious drinking problem. And despite his appearing public image, Joe Tkach is not much of an improvement.

So there you have it. I’ve sung my swan song, thus ending nine years as a loyal WCG member.

By Mark Thornton (Wisconsin)
April 19, 1993 (snail-mailed to 35-40 others, including ESN)

NOTE from ESN: Mark wrote a letter about this in Ambassador Report #59 in the “Letters” section. (Note: Read ESN’s disclaimer about the AR.)

NOTE: We have the book Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web available in PDF (read description on Booklist) and you can download it here. This is also available in Spanish (español) but without the Appendix. Esto también está disponible en español, pero no incluye el apéndice.

Related Material:

Herbert W. Armstrong and the Incest

“None of God’s Servants Were Perfect” (for those who like to use this reasoning)

Why Herbert Armstrong Couldn’t Have Been God’s True Apostle

Recommended Articles:

Where is the True Church?

How Do I Receive Eternal Life?


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