Part II: Herbert W. Armstrong’s Sex Crimes: A Comprehensive Review

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Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), has been a controversial figure, with his life and teachings attracting both followers and critics. Among the most serious and hideous allegations against him are those related to sexual misconduct.

Allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Incest

Herbert W. Armstrong faced allegations of sexual impropriety, including claims of incest with his daughter and inappropriate relationships with female students from Ambassador College 1 2 3. In 1972, he temporarily suspended his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, from the church amid repeated allegations of sexual misconduct 1.

An investigation into Garner Ted Armstrong revealed a pattern of infidelity to his wife, Shirley Hammer, and many of his liaisons involved Ambassador coeds 4. In 1995, renewed accusations against Garner Ted Armstrong emerged, which culminated in 1997 with the airing of a videotape on the Geraldo Rivera Show, exposing his sexual assault of Suerae Robertson 5.

A particularly salacious profile in Hustler magazine detailed the sexual escapades and financial questions leading to Armstrong’s 1978 ouster from the WCG 6. Additionally, a videotape of Suerae Robertson massaging a naked Garner Ted Armstrong, led to a lawsuit alleging that Armstrong’s actions caused her severe emotional distress and mental anguish 7.

Legal and Public Reactions

A understanding the couple reached about Armstrong’s “prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years” Click the graphic for link.

 During divorce proceedings between Armstrong and his second wife, Ramona Martin, testimony was expected to explain an ‘understanding’ the couple reached about Armstrong’s ‘prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years’ 9. Allegations of this sexual misconduct were documented in John Trechak’s Ambassador Report newsletter and in David Robinson’s book “Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web” 8.

Defense and Denial of Accusations

Despite these allegations, there are staunch defenders of Herbert W. Armstrong who claim that the accusations of incest and sexual misconduct are false and without merit 10. They argue that there is no evidence of wrongdoing and that Armstrong would be found not guilty in any court of law 11. Some supporters suggest that the accusations are the work of Satan and that those who spread such lies are his pawns 12. They also question the credibility of sources, including those from the Internet and former WCG minister David Robinson’s book 13. Supporters like Aaron Dean, Armstrong’s personal assistant, and Norbert Link, an attorney in the WCG legal department, have publicly defended Armstrong’s character 14.

Controversial Teachings and Practices

Armstrong’s teachings and the church he created have been the subject of criticism and controversy, not only for alleged sexual misconduct but also for his theological views 15. His theology is defended by his followers but faces criticism from ex-followers and the greater Christian community 16. Controversial teachings include his views on salvation, British Israelism, eternal judgment, faith healing, rejection of Trinitarianism, and a three-tiered annual tithing process 17.


The life of Herbert W. Armstrong is marked by significant controversy, with serious allegations of sexual crimes juxtaposed against a backdrop of staunch defense by his followers. The truth of these allegations remains a subject of debate, with some sources providing detailed accounts of misconduct and others vehemently denying any wrongdoing. As with many historical figures, Armstrong’s legacy left a despairing but lasting impact on those who followed him and on the broader religious community. He will not be missed as one newspaper printed at the time.

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