Herbert Armstrong, Science Fiction Writer
Herbert Armstrong, Science Fiction Writer

Herbert Armstrong was a science fiction writer: His genre was a special kind of science fiction known as alternative history science fiction. This manifested itself in a number of ways. The first was his science fiction history of the world where there were lost tribes of Israel which migrated and became the United States and British Commonwealth. This never happened, but it makes for interesting science fiction to explore the possibilities should such an unlikely event ever happened. The second was his science fiction history where Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler won World War II. This never happened, of course, but if a few minor events in history had happened differently, the alternative history could have been a reality. For Herbert Armstrong it was a reality, for he lived in an alternative universe where the Nazis had won World War II. He wanted this delusion so badly that he never gave up on it even though his prophecies based on his distorted perceptions, mainly derived from the writings of G. G. Rupert, were proven wrong time and again. He would have been delighted if Hitler actually had won because it would have ‘validated’ him as being a viable prophet.

For those not familiar with alternative history science fiction, here is a video which explains it using the book written by a well know science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle:

This frightening and dystopian science fiction has been ‘fleshed out’ in an original Amazon Prime series, The Man in the High Castle:

It portrays the United States divided up into three parts: The West Coast, occupied by the Japanese, the East Coast, occupied by the German Nazis and the middle of the country as the Neutral Zone.

Berlin, capital of the world in an alternative history timeline
Berlin, capital of the world in an alternative history timeline

It’s difficult to say how Herbert Armstrong would have fared if this science fiction alternative history actually came to pass. It would be a world to his liking, if only he could have positive attention from the Nazis and had his own ‘8 Japanese Sons’ of the occupied west coast. Remember that Herbert Armstrong predicted during World War II that Germany would win, which gave him some difficulties for a time as The World Tomorrow was suspended by the United States Government (it was subversive for war time), but if the Germans had actually taken over, he might have been given credit (and a free pass) for predicting the downfall of the United States. Herbert Armstrong wanted it to happen really, really bad! Elements of the Third Reich would have agreed with him: Homophobia, enforcement of laws, racism, sexism — all perfect for a man like him. It’s clear from the Amazon Prime series, alcohol would have been readily available, which would be perfect for the alcoholic Herbert Armstrong. As unlikely as it might seem, Herbert Armstrong might actually have ended up a multimillionaire, friend of the Nazis and maybe a personal friend of Adolph Hitler, particularly if he used his skills to promote the Third Reich and betray the freedom of the people. He might actually have been good at it. Heaven knows that he was successful in his advertising campaigns to promote his alternative science fiction to the few who found resonance with his delusions.

Who knows what could have been with just a tweak or two in history?

It might be noted that Herbert Armstrong was in much the same path as another science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote his own alternative science fiction history and turned it into a religion.

Roderick Meredith Biographical Sketch
Roderick Meredith Biographical Sketch

This science fiction alternative history would not be complete without mentioning the Third Reich of Roderick Meredith: The First Reich was the Radio / Worldwide Church of God, the Second Reich was the Global Church of God, and, of course, the Third Reich is the Living Church of God. Those who know his history would find him a credible candidate for Nazi occupation — he’d fit right in.

The truth is, Herbert Armstrong and Roderick Meredith have lived in an alternative universe unconnected to our own. Let’s be grateful for that.

We’ve had quite enough with men lusting to be in the high castle.

Here is a particularly pointed comment about The Man in the High Castle relevant to Armstrongism:

But the series’ greatest masterstroke is that the vast majority of its characters, including our heroes, don’t really seem to care about the evils being done right under their noses until they’re forcibly confronted with said evils. High Castle forces viewers to see what’s human in Nazis, right down to Adolf Hitler himself.

In so doing, it suggests that all of us live in societies where we find at least something, no matter how small, completely unacceptable. And yet we do nothing, because it is more comfortable to stay put. This is the series’ deepest, richest theme, and when the material supports it, it pushes the show into another realm entirely.


4 Replies to “Reich”

  1. I recently viewed the entire series and must say that it did make me think of armstrongism. What if….?

    ‘…all of us live in societies where we find at least something, no matter how small, completely unacceptable. And yet we do nothing, because it is more comfortable to stay put.’

    Well not everyone can find the strength to do this. You and I and others have put forth at least a harsh rebuttal to those who embrace a one man rule within the confines of their church. As to the leaders in the ACOG’s, well I believe they are all atheists and could not possibly have a belief system in place that would reflect the love and character of Jesus Christ.

    The question needs to be asked. What is the penalty for willfully following a false prophet?

  2. What is the penalty for willfully following a false prophet?

    It is an important question to be asked. Perhaps we can expand upon this in a future posting.

    For the moment, the preponderance of evidence is that the penalty is slavery.

    Armstrongism seems determined to explore that in all its infinite variations.

    1. Besides slavery, what about revenge for those who did NOT follow him?
      Maybe weave a tale from the pied-piper angle?
      HWA as the pied-piper who wasn’t paid. Actually, his narcissistic supply was not being met. His people failed HIM(HWA). So, Jim Jones(a fellow criminal-in-law of some sort) was kind enough to have made some kool-aid to assist and help HWA to aid their suffering. Hitler was also content to drag all of Germany down with HIM when he failed. I have not seen High Castle yet, but the topic of that story kinda reminds me of tales about Pasadena and that place being the apple in the eye of the invading Assyrians and that they would use the campus as their Headquarters.
      Maybe something along those lines?

      By the way, you’ve reminded me to catch up on High Castle.

  3. Speakng of finding and speaking out about something totally unacceptable, when I was an AC student, I always said pretty much whatever was on my mind. One evening, in our dorm, I had voiced an opinion about the basic AC diet, and all the resulting flatulence in the men’s dorm during study hour, a time in which all residing in the dormitory were required to be at their desk. Immediately, my dormitory monitor responded with “Bob, do you realize that Mr. Herbert Armstrong had to eat beans just to keep the college going during its early years?”

    Now, as any AC student reading this probably realizes, the correct response to this question would have been “Mr. Armstrong had to eat beans? (as a tear begins to form in the corner of the student’s eye). Why I feel so ashamed! May I be excused from my studies for a visit to the prayer closet?”

    My own response fell quite a bit short of that lofty ideal. Without missing a beat, I responded, “Oh, that’s just great! How the work has grown! Now we all have to eat beans!” I am sure that that quote appeared in our dorm monitor’s weekly report, and most likely, ultimately, the Manpower Committee got to “enjoy” it as well.


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