Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!

Herbert W. Armstrong


A reader sent me a pdf file today that consisted of an article put together by Brian Davis and published by PCG in the July-August 2020 edition of Royal Vision.

Here is a link to the article: Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!

The file format is such that I cannot copy text in the normal way, which is one reason why the link above is provided. Let’s start with an image of how the article begins:

Yes, for decades, various false accusations have been made against the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong.

One of the most blatant and outrageous is the accusation against incest.

The Bible admonishes us to:

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV)

So, related to the accusations I had heard about Herbert W. Armstrong, I also did so.

Back in the February 28, 2003 edition of The Journal: News of the Churches of God, I had an article published titled: Consider candid responses to 15 accustations about Herbert W. Armstrong. The Journal’s editor, Dixon Cartwright, found the incest charge so offensive that he edited the word incest out of my original submission.

Later, I posted an article titled 17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong where a summary of my investigation into this was included.

Here is what that article currently has on this:

Gross impropriety

Accusation No. 4: Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of gross sexual impropriety (incest) when younger.

After reviewing the details of one particular allegation regarding sex and what I uncovered, Dixon Cartwright, The Journal’s publisher, asked me to remove them from this article because of the lack of proof and because certain parties are not alive to defend themselves and because The Journal is a family publication.

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 Lochner audiotapes (which have never been made public, and I requested them and even spoke to one who had claimed to hear them–Art Mokarow–he finally admitted to me that he actually had not heard them) surface (and I made diligent inquiry to attempt to find them, including dozens of phone calls, plus E-mails through late February 2003, and even later after this article was originally published), the accusations are not provable and aspects of the accusations are indeed disprovable.

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 another relative. 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?

In December 2006, I 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.

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 had nothing to gain by denying this. 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. Others have different opinions, but if HWA is guilty of this, no strong facts have emerged (another article related to this that someone else wrote would be Herbert W. Armstrong Did NOT Commit 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.

Let me add that since I wrote this, various ones on and off the internet have indicated that they have ‘proof’ on the incest matter, yet none have produced the Lochner tapes or any actual proof that I have heard. Speaking of late additions, here is something from an email I received about this on November 26, 2014.

HWA & “incest.”

I tend to disbelieve this one. Here’s why: I worked full time at AC after graduation. Was put in charge of the Shipping & Receiving Dept. Because of that I had to deal directly with Vern Mattson. He had to sign checks I needed for shipping items through LA airport and customs. One day, sitting alone with him at his desk he said this to me while writing checks for credit card invoices. “Charles Hunting spends God’s money like there are no limits to it.” I don’t think he would say “God’s money” and use,”God’s work” like he did in private, and off the cuff, if his wife was abused like the critics claim. If any one would have known what happened by then, he would have. Don’t know if you need info like this on the subject, but just info in passing.

Robert Petry

Vern Mattson was Beverly’s (HWA’s daughter) husband at the time of the above. Again, I am not saying there is no possibility of guilt, but too much goes against it.

Furthermore, as far as Robertson’s book goes, consider the following from HWA’s longtime aide Aaron Dean who commented on it in 2018:

Yes I read Dave Robinsons book.  I worked for HWA 12 years and he never told me anything that HWA was supposed to tell him in a half hour walk one morning at the feast as we flew from site to site.  I was listening in circumstances where this should have come up, but didn’t.  It seems he created a lot from other sources.

He had a bit of an axe to grind, and did Marion McNair.  There was a lot of fighting for positons in the earlier years of the church. Bad information and lies created many bad decisions.  Many people said things, and HWA knew that trying to answer or refute really solved nothing except to keep the issue alive. (Aaron Dean. Post 02/11/18 12:30 PM #7895)

The Robertson book was not based on first-hand or probably second-hand information. But many seem to want to believe it anyway.

For more testimony and comments against the incest charge, check out the following link: Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!

The Royal Vision article cites my research, Mel Olinger, Aaron Dean, Steve Szabo, Loretta Olinger, and Norbert Link. Here are some more images from the article Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!:

The evidence for the allegation is simply not there.

Notice also the following related to Herbert Armstrong’s daughter Dorothy:

Notice also:

Of course, despite research into the truth about this, some people do not care about the truth.

Many have not truly wanted to “prove all things” or “hold fast” to what is good.

In the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, the Apostle John was inspired to write:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)

Sadly, there are many corrupt and bitter people who prefer to believe, love, and push lies about this, as well as others in the COGs.

Please, do not be one of them.

Note: Posting the images that I did does NOT mean I agree with everything PCG and that article teach about Herbert W. Armstrong. The images put up were to show that this incest allegation had many flaws and should not be accepted as a fact.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 was and how he should be viewed today.
What is Armstrongism? Did Herbert W. Armstrong raise a new faith or promote the original Christian faith? Here is a link to a related video: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?
17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong He, even after his death, keeps being improperly maligned–here is the truth on these matters.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.

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