This letter is in our prayers that it may be read by anyone who is ever been in the Worldwide Church of God, under the leadership of Herbert Armstrong. A greater concern goes out to those who are still in any of the offshoots that have sprung from the WCG, especially those who were raised in the WCG, where their whole life, the foundation of their beliefs, pretty much all they’ve known, comes from the teachings of Herbert Armstrong.
I was raised in the Worldwide Church of God under two wonderful parents. I, in turn, along with my wife, raised our children in one of the splinter groups that came from the WCG, the Philadelphia Church of God, under Gerald Flurry. This is a man, in my opinion, who has always looked up to Herbert Armstrong, and has tried hard all his adult life to follow his teachings, and then, with his wife, teaching their children.1
I lived this way of life for over 40 years, and just like anything else, there’s good mixed in with the bad. The good being a lot of strong, hardworking, giving2 people. The bad, the evil, we were deceived! It’s that simple.
It’s just like any business, or company you may work for: if you don’t like the rules, or if you’re not a team player, there’s the door!
So, what’s wrong with this?
You don’t get to call yourself the only true church of God! Here’s the proof, very simple. For starters, the Bible, God Himself laid out specific qualifications that He says His ministers must have. (I Timothy 3:1-5)
God says NO, it’s not open for discussion!
Our dad taught us very early about the Bible. What it says, it says!! We don’t get to deviate from it. If we do, then it’s us, it’s our work. I don’t care what you build on top of it, if you don’t stick to Him, His foundation, you better tear it down!
Now, my dad told me that the leaders/ministers of these churches have seen and read a lot of critical stuff about Herbert Armstrong. Maybe not lately, but everyone just assumes, it’s all lies!!
I’m not talking about the obviously stupid junk out there on the Internet, that any person with a thinking mind can see. I’m saying there are dated and documented facts, proving that God never would have, or could have, started up a church under Herbert Armstrong.
Check Things Out Personally
For starters, read the Ambassador Report, written by some of the top HQ ministers, and some of the Ambassador College students, that just got fed up with it all!
Here’s the wrong. When you’re the top teachers, they believe what you say!! Like I already stated, I was in over 40 years. Please believe this. There’s a lot more believing/following going on in the organization, than proving. (I Thessalonians 5:21) Prove all things!! How come the ministry gets to say, “You already proved all this, why are you still trying to prove it?” The Bible says all, all, is ongoing, whatever keeps coming! Not just until you’re in, then better stop asking those kinds of questions!!
Gerald Flurry, over the years, have you ever read or have your ministers brought information to you about Herbert Armstrong that they felt could cause a real problem for the PCG? If this has taken place, did you ever go and check it out personally for yourself?
My folks did.
As soon as my mom got wind of something that she overheard two of our leading men talking about, at one of our services, she took it right to my dad, who took it right to the ministry, who did move it on up the line, but all that came back down was, basically, that this subject has already been addressed over the years, and its validity was never proven. It’s only powerful tactics of Satan to try and destroy God’s Church!
Something just didn’t set right with my dad. My parents were greatly loved and admired by their children and grandchildren. They both died a few years back, but not before they did one of the hardest things ever, at least for them it was. They did go and personally check this out.
They read nothing, they talked to no one. They just simply did it the right way; they went right to the source! They sought out the two people, if still alive, who might possibly tell them the truth! The only time our dad ever got on a computer was to try and find Mr. and Mrs. Vern Mattson. Mrs. Vern Mattson being the youngest daughter, Dorothy, of Herbert W. Armstrong.
They found that at this time, Vern Mattson resided in Sun City, AZ., the year being 2010. Upon finding their number, my dad simply called them. Vern Mattson picked up. Dad just told him that he was a member of the Philadelphia Church of God and had been for a few years, raising his children in the Worldwide and in the PCG. Then, he just told him what my mom had heard and could these things be true? And, if they were, our dad’s big question was, to Vern Mattson, why didn’t someone, somebody in their family come out years ago, and tell the WCG, the truth?
First thing out of Vern Mattson’s mouth was that he couldn’t believe that there was now an actual college named after Herbert Armstrong in Oklahoma3, and why would they do that? My dad’s answer was, starting with Gerald Flurry, right on down, they firmly believed that he (Herbert W. Armstrong) was God’s man. Whatever, over the years, that the leaders or members have heard or seen, no way would it or could it be believed! He told him, it’s who they are, it’s their lives, just like it was ours.
It’s what our fathers have taught us and on down the line it goes!!
My dad said it was pretty quiet on the other end there, for a bit. Then he heard the words, “Well, it’s true. You can believe it.”
Made Him Angry and Sickened
He said he really had no problem talking about it now, because his wife Dottie [Dorothy], had just recently passed.4 He said it made him angry, sickened them for a long time, because of the thousands of people out there, in the WCG, that really had no idea! He told my dad things that evening, on the phone, that my dad felt responsible to tell me.
Vern Mattson said, over the years, with all that’s out there now, on these computers, David Robinson’s book [Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web], and plenty others written by his top ministers; he said, you got the Ambassador Report, full of documented facts and dates, exposing all the lies, mishandling of money, the incest with his own daughter.5 When I found out what he had done to my wife when she was just a young girl, you see we raised a daughter too, this was his own daughter, scaring and hurting her like that, over and over again, I was going to kill him!
I won’t forget her words, years ago, when she asked me, how could a great and loving God go against Himself like that, by calling a man to raise up His “one and only true Church,” a man that would hurt his own daughter like that?
To all the fathers out there who have a daughter, your little girl, how would you answer that?
I can tell you how Herbert Armstrong answered that, because of the last thing Vern Mattson told my dad on the phone that day, something he said, he has never forgotten.
His wife, Dottie [Dorothy], told him of an incident that had happened back in the late `30s or so, that he could never ever repeat, but what he could say, was that she was pleading with her father one night, she wanted it to stop. (Herbert Armstrong had her in a hotel room, and her voice was overheard by others, and a person who worked there came knocking on their door, wondering if anything was wrong?) His reply, his answer–the man we so strongly believed in–his answer when my wife, his daughter, his little girl, cried out to him, was:
“God gave you to me and it is my job to teach you. This will help you to be a better wife someday.”
So there you are.
You know, I still really doubt if this will make any difference. It wouldn’t have with our family, without a lot of prayer and digging into the scriptures starting with once again, I Timothy 3:1-5.
This is longer than I wanted it to be. But, I told my wife, I needed to honor my parents with this, my mom for her caring heart and my dad for his fortitude.
We have to be there, men, for the young girls many years ago who cried out, for our wives, and for our daughters, and then maybe their little girls some day, and the way things are going nowadays, for all the little children out there!
By a father (former WCG / PCG member)
Herbert Armstrong’s Awful Treatment of His Daughter, Dorothy (more confirmation; February 2, 2016 detailed letter to ESN)
Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web by David Robinson (available as PDF download)
Herbert W. Armstrong and the Incest (Chapter 22 “Incest” of David Robinson’s book; includes several links at the end to substantiate the story)
Letter About Herbert Armstrong and the Incest (confirmation of the allegations; snail-mailed to many others)
Herbert Armstrong’s Daughters (April 9, 2007 letter to ESN; reply includes info on their deaths)
Footnotes by ESN:
1 While Gerald Flurry may have looked up to Herbert Armstrong in the beginning, others feel something changed with him over the years and he became more and more focused on money, power, and his own ego. In the process he has damaged and destroyed many people’s lives. (Read more about Gerald Flurry here.)
3 For more about the college, read Imperial College Renamed “Herbert W. Armstrong College.” (February 8, 2006 letter to ESN) and 7-26-18 article: Life at Herbert W. Armstrong College.
5 The incest story was exposed in Ambassador Report #14, December 1, 1980 (“HWA incest allegations not denied”); AR#27, April 1984 (“HWA confesses to incest”); AR#40, March 1988 (“strong evidence of HWA’s incestuous relationship with his daughter Dorothy during the early `40s”) and AR#68, April 1998 (“HWA incest again confirmed”). Herbert Armstrong never sued David Robinson for publishing his book, and neither did any of the members of his family. However, Robinson was burdened with a noisome suit (approved by HWA) that was brought about by Henry Cornwall and Sherwin McMichael (two HWA employees, later disfellowshipped). After the suit was settled, WCG had to pay $25,000. (More sources for the story can be found at the end of: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Incest.)
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