Even though Herbert W. Armstrong over died 23 years ago (see Herbert W. Armstrong Died 23 Years Ago), there are people that seem dedicated to attempting to destroy his legacy by promoting the unproven allegation that he was involved in incest.
The latest promotion of this comes today from the anti-COG Ambassador Watch website that now has a 1984 article by TPM’s William Dankenbring where he gives his opinions as to why he believes the allegations. AW’s Gavin Rumney, who supports and perpetuates the allegations, actually goes so far as to state:
The weight of evidence however is overwhelming.
What is overwhelming is that there is no proof, yet the accusers, who have no real direct information, continue perpetuating this charade.
Now, no matter what I write here, those who hate Herbert W. Armstrong and/or the true Church of God will not likely be interested in the truth.
But the truth is that in any real court of law, Herbert W. Armstrong would have been found NOT GUILTY of these incest allegations.
Various versions of this accusation are extant, most of which seem to be based on a chapter of David Robinson’s 1980 book Herbert W. Armstrong’s Tangled Web. (A version of the accusations appears in Tuit’s book as well.)
I investigated four allegations related to this specific accusation and concluded that unless certain alleged audiotapes (the “Lochner tapes”, where Herbert W. Armstrong allegedly confesses to this) actually surfaced, the accusations are not provable and aspects of the accusations are indeed disprovable.
Now the so-called Lochner tapes have never been made public, and I repeatedly requested them from sources that supposedly had them. Furthermore I should add that while investigating this, Norman Edwards told me that Art Mokarow claimed to have heard the tapes, so he advised me to speak with him. So, I did. After careful questioning, he admitted that he never actually heard the tapes himself.
Perhaps I should mention that since one aspect of these accusations is commonly attributed to a comment supposedly made by Herbert W. Armstrong’s son Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) concerning his dad and his sister Dorothy. I personally called Garner Ted Armstrong’s office on Dec. 12, 2002 to inquire about this particular accusation. I was not able to speak with GTA directly, but a key employee of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association discussed it with him and got back with me. Through his spokesperson, GTA declined to comment except to pass on the message that:
“everything you really need to know about my father is contained within the Autobiography (of Herbert W. Armstrong).”
Thus GTA would not stand by a statement attributed to him on this matter–so how can any believe this?
I also spoke with another Armstrong personally on this and will state that no one would verify this. And while all the parties are now dead, GTA, Dorothy, and certain others (like Dr. Lochner) were alive when I tried to verify this from them. Thus, no one who supposedly was involved or actually heard some admission/confession would stand by that.
In December 2006, I also saw a post at an anti-Church of God website that stated that Dibar Apartian supposedly confirmed that he felt that Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest. On January 3, 2007, I spoke with Dibar Apartian about this. He knew Herbert W. Armstrong for the past 30 plus years of Herbert W. Armstrong’s life. Dibar Apartian clearly and flatly denied the claim someone made that Dibar Apartian said he felt that Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest.
I also personally spoke with others who knew and worked with Herbert W. Armstrong for decades. None of them ever saw or heard any proof of this charge against him.
Every single time I have gone to the alleged sources of information on this incest matter, none of these “sources” have ever stood by the statements that the anti-Herbert W. Armstrong critics have claimed were made. I would like to add that at that time Dibar Apartian was 88 1/2 years old and he specifically told me that it should be clear to everyone that he has nothing to gain by denying this (he also told me this later, and he is now in his 90s). Dibar Apartian also told me that he has never once made a statement confirming any of Herbert W. Armstrong’s alleged personal faults, and specifically that he never stated that he thought Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest.
In his Tangled Web book, the late D. Robinson wrote that “like the Wizard of Oz, Herbert Armstrong is operating on image. When his hand is called, there is no substance there. Like the Wizard, he is just a lot of bluster.”
Based on my experience in trying to track down credible sources for this accusation, all I find–including a whole chapter in Robinson’s book–is “just a lot of bluster.” Actually, it appears to me that no one who has made or repeated most of the accusations against Herbert W. Armstrong actually has any real proof for most of them–no one seems to have checked with either the primary (those involved) or secondary sources (those with proof), but instead relied on accusation and rumor–simply stating a false charge does not make it true, no matter how many times it may be repeated.
Sadly, there appear to be a lot of people who have agendas against the true Church that seem to have nothing better to do than spread rumors and unsubstantiated gossip. Since I personally did diligently attempt to investigate this over several years, I thought that because of the current flurry of allegations resurfacing, that perhaps those interested in the truth instead of gossip, would be interested in learning what I had learned.
That you be not condemned
Those who wish to pass judgment against Herbert W. Armstrong on the aforementioned allegation would do well to mediate on this:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
If something illegal ever happened, the apparently proper biblical course of action (according to an incident involving the Apostle Paul) would have been to press charges, for if any “have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls” (Acts 19:38-39). The courts were open for Herbert W. Armstrong when he was alive, and if any crime occurred the charges should have been brought 23 to 80 years ago.
Actually, when the WCG was charged in court for alleged misuse of public funds (and it is my understanding that John Tuit was one of the parties that filed against Herbert W. Armstrong on this), the State of California eventually dismissed the charges. Though various accusations may have been made in court cases, Herbert W. Armstrong was never convicted of any crime I am aware of, including the accusation listed in this article.
If Herbert W. Armstrong were guilty of any crime, God will have to judge him.
God holds us accountable for what we know. In this article, I did my best to share what I learned about this accusation about Mr. Armstrong. I have little doubt that his critics will try to dismiss most of the truth shown in this article. But they simply do not have any real proof.
Herbert W. Armstrong has been dead for over 23 years. And of course, no court ever even attempted to prosecute this allegation while he was alive.
In any real court of law, Herbert W. Armstrong would be found not guilty. People should not be persuaded otherwise by those who have their own agendas against the true Church of God.
Two articles of possibly related interest include:
15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong He, even after his death, keeps being improperly maligned–here is the truth on these matters.
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains who he is and how he should be viewed today.