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Garner Ted Armstrong - Year Entered 1952

Garner Ted Armstrong

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03/29/15 03:36 PM #2    

Steve Frandsen (1975)

For whatever rumours, innuendos and/or truth I have heard about this man, he was without a doubt the most eloquent person I have ever heard speak. It was mostly through him and to a lesser extent his Dad, said respectfully, that I started to learn what little that I know of God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. Certainly I had human envy of the advantages his children had being local to Pasadena and the last name of Armstrong in the AC setting. See if that's any different in corporate America or anywhere else today. But then I had advantages that they didn't, although they weren't so obvious to me back then. I honour the work, effort, money, time and sacrifice that my wonderful parents gave to and did for me, given what they had to work with, especially when they disagreed with my convictions. 

I first saw GTA at the Feast in the Poconos in 1973. There were three mics on the podium and when he looked toward me, the side mic made it look like the bulb was on the end of his nose. I didn't know what to think of that. When he left the Pococnos that feast he wagged the wings of the Falcon. For me, at that time, it was pretty heady stuff.

I met him one on one at AC Pasadena in the underground parking structure as he headed to the raquetball courts and he caught me off guard. He said "Hi". As was stated in a previous post, he certainly had celebrity status on campus. I suppose I said "Hi" back. I used to clean those courts and locker room and truth be known, I nicked a few raisins and peanuts when I filled up the dishes. (I was on the 2-meal a day plan; there, my conscience is clean now.)   

So here I am in the last Qtr of my existence, and it's just time to say thank you and condolences to his children, grand children, friends and other remaining family.  


03/30/15 06:26 AM #3    

Charlotte Cordell (Whitting) (1968)

I never knew GTA personally and do not remember ever meeting him, but do well remember the pain and heartache he was the cause of for several of the female students in my era (68-72) as he recruited them to fly with him on the G-2 - he may have looked good and been an eloquent speaker (saying hi in a parking garage to a student does not qualify for his being a 'good' person).  He was a very conniving and evil person which was evidenced in the years after he left or was kicked out of WCG finally by his father who was convinced that GTA was not going to continue to bring in the revenue once his life style came to light.  I'm not going to 'wallow' in the past or the knowledge of what terrible and serious wrongs were committed by the Armstrongs and others during the early days of the church - suffice it to say that I no longer want to remember my years in WCG -  the foundation of this organization is based on lies, treachery and deceit as they bilked members out of millions of dollars - yes, you can say that HWA never 'forced' anyone to give - hogwash - he DID - many, many members were brainwashed and in the pay and pray mentality (read an old co-worker letter).  I was involved with this organization for over 50 yrs, from a young child, a youth, attended AC (agree - wonderful years, great memories), serving in ministry for over 40 yrs (thankful that we were able to serve Christ in this way), and grateful that I was finally awakened (thank you Holy Spirit) to what I was a part of and have left that behind (not my Christianity and belief in the gospel) but the denomination and all it stands for (how can an organization 'stand' on the kind of foundation laid by the Armstrongs??!)).  The AC experience and my beliefs are very separate from the church (WCG, GCI or whatever they call themselves or have called themselves), as I look back with really OPEN eyes I realize just what a corrupt and terrible organization I was involved with and have asked forgiveness for not acknowledging the fact sooner - the facts were there, but I didn't choose to believe - now I see this church for what is was and is.  The people I attended AC with are special, the place simply reminds me of the millions of dollars that were mis-managed (yes, I enjoyed living on the campus - it was/is beautiful) and taken from those that could not afford to give this kind of money and families that suffered greatly as I enjoyed the Pasadena campus.  I have not written previously and have enjoyed, agreed, disagreed with other comments posted but when I saw the accolades being given to GTA I could not resist adding my two cents for whatever it is worth.  Charlotte Whitting

03/30/15 09:19 AM #4    

Jim Roberts (1967)

There's them 48 buttons again.  Hope they help someboby.  I'm just  a simple retired pastor.  Just want to add a little about GTA.  I watched him closely in Pasadena from '67-78 during my employment there.  His was the voice I responded to in joining WCG.  There were positives and negatives about Ted's personna, and I could write a book.  Let me just pass along one of the best pieces of advice I have ever  heard.  It was given by my first field miistry boss.  I complained to him about the hard time a certain member was giving me in counseling. Dale Shurter amusedly and knowingly said, "Well, Je-om (not Jim,but Je-om), don't let him eat your lunch."  Are you still enablimg GTA, HWA, RCM or anybody in the old WCG to "eat your lunch?"  If so, it is your problem, not theirs.  It's great that there is such a forum as this web site to allow us to air our issues with the past.  But we need to let it all go.  We need the whole cult experience of old WCG to stop "eating our lunch."

Love In Him    JR      .  

03/31/15 03:52 PM #5    

Helen Hohertz (Nelson) (1961)

Healing takes time.  I've found that often what people need most is to be heard. For too many years a number of those in WCG did not have a voice, were squelched from voicing their personal convictions, often from fear of being ostracized.  Having a voice and being heard frees us to learn, to grow, to love wholeheartedly and ultimately to become whom God created each of us to be, regardless of whether others agree or disagree.


03/31/15 07:08 PM #6    

Mike Dunn (1974)

Amen to that Helen; Christ's example was to listen to the people & their problems.  He listened 1st & then acted upon their need.  How many times have we come to a conclusion or an answer to a problem after just talking to someone?  Because we actually verbalized the problem we were able to see a way through it.  Only because the other person listened to our trouble, complaint or whatever; were we able to think it through.

As you said, in the past we were unable to even bring up a perceived problem because of the cast system w/in the Church; the untouchables had no voice.  How many people w/out a voice foresaw the problems w/in the Church?  If they had had a voice we might have nipped the problems w/in the Church in the bud many yrs. ago & not had to go through the implosion we experienced.  Have we learned from that very painful experience?  Even the janitor in the engineering department comes up w/ a good idea because he is not constrained by the blinders the ‘experts’ have learned to look @ their work through.  A new set of eyes finds problems overlooked by others; & everyone benefits.

The problem you mentioned Helen about not having a voice is actually read every yr. @ Passover & most of us read right over it.  I did for the 1st 40 yrs I attended church.  Not until 2003 did I notice it.  I am not preaching here or trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking; in my walk of life I fell into this chuckhole along the way & am curious if others ever noticed that same chuckhole.  What is your take on it? Mt 20:25-28 (FV) But Jesus called them to Him and said, "You know that the rulers of the nations exercise lordship over them, and the great ones exercise authority over them. 26 However, it shall not be this way among you; but whoever would become great among you, let him be your servant; 27 And whoever would be first among you, let him be your slave; 28 Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:42-45 & Lu 22:25-27)?  What if in the WCG days someone said “Hey guys, it looks like we kinda got something a little wrong here because we aren’t complying w/ a direct command of Jesus Christ. What we gonna do about that?”  If that person had a voice to speak then maybe we would have all changed the way we treat each other.  And in like regard if we continue to look @ it the same way we did before, won’t we get the same result we got 20 yrs ago?  Just a thought.

04/01/15 04:58 AM #7    

Helen Hohertz (Nelson) (1961)

Well, this isn't a comment about GTA, but rather a response to Mike Dunn.  Thanks, Mike for validating the  wounded souls who struggle to have a voice. Tis a precious gift to be heard!

04/01/15 03:16 PM #8    

Bill Damm (1967)

This is a fairly recent photo of GTA's youngest son, Matt, that I thought you might like to see.

04/01/15 03:54 PM #9    

Helen Hohertz (Nelson) (1961)

As handsome as his dad!  Nice to see the Armstrong "boys" grown up.

06/16/15 11:53 AM #10    

Nancy/Anne Dark (B S 1974) (Scott)

Do any of us have the right to make the judgment that the man was"evil?"  I now believe that neither Garner Ted nor his father were converted, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they were "evil."  I never knew GTA personally, but I do remember him being a charasmatic speaker.  I always thought the broadcast was interesting- I accidentally tuned  into the "World Tomorrow" while listening to rock and roll music at the age of 15- that's how I found out about the WCG.

06/30/15 09:30 PM #11    

Richard Houghton (Scott) (1969)

My own experience with GTA was of a more personal nature.

Firstly, he was more than a little judgmental in his attitude toward certain of us AC students, WCG members, and later attendees of his CGI congregations.

I felt the icy sting of his barbed comments or hostile stare more than once, as a student and even at the first Ambassador Alumni reunion in Dallas, Texas (1987). These usually concerned style of dress, manners that didn't suit GTA, or other rather insignificant alleged "faults" in the spiritual scheme of things.

My wife Anne and I were at Ted's first meeting outside the WWCG in Tyler, along with his first "campaign" in Little Rock, Arkansas shortly after that. And I also called him when we were passing through Tyler on the way back to Pasadena, about a month after our marriage, to tell Ted about a new magazine I was then developing (The Apostle, Prophet and Teacher Manual, or APT for short), which he sounded interested in seeing once it was finished.

Early the next year (1979) however, when I brought copies to his Arcadia group and handed them out to every one, giving one to (if memory serves) Ron Dart to take back for GTA (this was the day after our twin girls were stillborn), I learned the next week that Ted's group had an impromptu meeting right after their service (without asking me to attend to answer any questions they might have had), in which they decided to trash that first issue, unread.

This fearful reaction was because it was not from Ted's new "headquarters," or him personally, much like most WWCG members were then reacting to GTA's new group and publications.

And that fear was inculcated from the top down, as I learned when GTA came to Arcadia shortly afterward and obviously avoided speaking with me, practically rushing away from one small crowd of sycophants to another, every time it looked like he would have to speak to me next.

This is when I began to see our daughter's stillbirth as a sign of what was spiritually happening to both WWCG and CGI. Our girls (one we named Elizabeth the other Barbara), in my mind, stood for the mainly "Old Testament" and "New Testament" oriented groups of WWCG and CGI and their respective leaders (just as their names were derived from the "Hebrew" and Greek languages).

Our twins were lost because of one twins they were perfectly normal but for the lack of a placental divider to keep them separate. As a result, they had tumbled around in the womb until their umbilical cords were literally tied into a huge Gordian-type knot (they also each had a separate knot in their individual cord, a fact that spared Anne from toxemia when she carried them for a month after they perished).

In other words, they had cut off each other's blood supply at the same time, which resulted in their deaths.

I could see this was exactly what both WWCG and CGI were doing to one another spiritually. For instance, when GTA came to Arcadia, there was a white van with darkened windows parked on the street outside where Ted's group met, in which there were secreted some WWCG members who, during the CGI meeting, went around the parking lot photographing and recording license plate numbers, so the owners could then be disfellowshipped if still attending WWCG also.

In a moment of prescient inspiration, I had prepared beforehand a sign saying something to the effect of "Your Friendly WWCG Spies," bringing it along with me to that meeting. When the van appeared, myself and a few other fellows took the sign out and held it up to the darkened window, blocking the view of its secretive occupants, and through the open driver's door window, with a curtain behind the driver's seat, offered to bring them a glass or two of cold water, since they must have been roasting in the back of that hot van.

You could faintly hear the stirrings and muffled expressions of exasperation from the perturbed men concealed inside.

Granted, this sort of "spy on your neighbor" attitude was more WWCG than CGI, but a few years later I ran into a very similar situation with Ted's Independence, Missouri group, whose gossips were spearheaded by none other than their minister, who took a beligerent and hostile dislike to me (based on the rumors spread by some/most) of his group, particularly relating to the birth of our first son in the camper on our pickup truck, during a visit to my family, and Anne's inevitable post-partum depression), when I attending a meeting while Anne remained in the camper with our infant son shortly after giving birth.

Some of CGI's women went out to see her, found her crying, and immediately began accusing me of all sorts of heinous fictional "crimes" against my family. I won't go into all the gory details, but this minister literally became apoplectic, physically attacked me, and then had the police called to bar me from a meeting I had no intention of attending. Not long after that this not very converted fellow dropped dead of a heart attack.

Taking my complaint from the minister and group who refused to listen directly to GTA in Tyler soon afterward, I found him to be equally unwilling to listen or reign in this obvious loose cannon and his persecuting group. Not surprisingly, I saw and photographed a sign on an overflowing dumpster behind the place where they met, with the following words emblazoned on its side (no kidding): "Ted's Trash Service."

There is much more I could relate here, including details of Ted's many false prophecies and flubbed facts (which were quite obvious when some of his taped talks were factually vetted), which I finally exposed in a 58 page 8 1/2 X 11 report I first published in 1987, titled: "And NOW -- The PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT Garner Ted Armstrong."

No sense rehearsing any of that here. Suffice it to say that GTA failed or refused to mend his ways, and so he suffered much the same results from his first group (CGI) as he did from his father's WWCG, less than two decades later.

On a rather sad note, I recall -- possibly from one of his first talks after leaving WWCG -- Ted saying he would never die in a hospital, or from anything like pneumonia. However, in 2003, that is precisely where and how GTA met his final day on this earth!

Yet another failed "prophecy" of GTA's it seems, the last in a nearly unbroken chain going back to his earliest days as a preacher. (Who says our Creator doesn't have a sense of humor about such things?)

I agree with Anne, that we cannot judge GTA's heart to be guilty of "evil," any more than we should judge anyone else. On the other hand, we likewise cannot assume good or righteous character where the fulness of the fruits of this were so obviously lacking.

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