bar rescue

Typical Assortment of Booze in Motel Room at Feast of Tabernacles
Typical Assortment of Booze in Motel Room at Feast of Tabernacles

Several years back, a member at the Feast of Tabernacles posted a picture of his collection of alcoholic beverages in his motel room at the time. Very quickly, someone not associated with Armstrongism posted and asked, “Where can I sign up??!!??”.

That’s an excellent question, particularly these days in the waning days of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia sects suffering from atrophy and entropy. It is also a missed opportunity for the leaders of the aging seniors within Armstrongism. If there’s one thing that surveys tell us, it’s that seniors, particularly religious seniors, love gambling and booze. It’s high time that the ACoGs cash in on the potential market of Alcoholics that represent 6% of the population. In fact, the Armstrongist Churches of God seem to have a much higher percentage of alcoholics: When Dale Hampton came through to visit the Seattle church in the 1970s to help people understand alcoholism, he estimated that 18% of the adults of that church were alcoholics. In Spokane, 240 miles away, the percentage was much much higher, if you can believe the incidences of hypoglycemia which are indicative of the third stage of alcoholism. It was the disease de rigueur for most of the adults in the WCG there. The minister there certainly was an alcoholic, which partly explains his murder of his wife and his suicide outside the office of Carl Maxie, the wife’s divorce attorney. Anyway, the path to success is to go about drawing in that population of people best suited to Armstrongism — the alcoholics will fit right in.

Moreover, the Feasts are always going to be a special treat, particularly the Feast of Booze in the Fall. Every potluck can be overflowing with spirits. In fact, the church can be especially appealing to Native Americans with their belief in the Great Spirit, as long as they are persuaded of the Great Spirit’s Spirits.

Giving new meaning to 'ACoG'
Giving new meaning to ‘ACoG’

Yes, friends, we can swell the membership with the potential pool of 18 million alcoholics in the United States to draw upon. Hey, some of the WCG congregations actually met in a bar on the Sabbath, so it should be natural for long time members — although we’ll want to go upscale on this one.

It's being done now!
It’s being done now!

There’s a good market for this: All that needs to be done is to determine the demographics and set up the Church Bar accordingly.

BarChurchThe beauty of this commercial enterprise is that it is self-sustaining, if done properly. Initially, tithes, offerings and special building fund will be needed to buy property, build the appropriate facilities and stock it with booze. Out of work members can go to work as bartenders, wait persons and maintenance. Once started up, the Church Bar will be able to sustain itself with patrons from the neighborhood during the week and Sundays, with the bar closed on the Sabbath for ‘members only’. It should actually make a profit. Happy high members can truly rejoice in the Sabbath, having at least a mild buzz. Sermons can be adapted for visitors to show from the Bible that Scripture supports use of alcohol and that it ‘cheers the heart of God and man’ as well as not a few women.

“But,” you ask, “what if something should go wrong??!!??”

That’s where Jon Taffer comes in.

JonTafferofBarRescueJon Taffer is the renowned expert driving Bar Rescue. He comes when bar owners are in trouble and ask for help. He has rescued hundreds of bars using science. He tells those in trouble, “I don’t embrace excuses; I embrace solutions”. He is just the man to set the Alcohol Churches of God on the right path when they run into trouble, if they will call for the help and follow his advice.

We can’t expect every Church of God to accept this new paradigm. In the 1970s, it was the Feast of Pentecost somewhere in Western Washington. David Jon Hill was slated to give the morning sermon. He stumbled up the steps and made a comment about how he “flew up the steps” to the lectern. That afternoon, Roderick Meredith gave one of his most fiery sermons ever about drunkards, so it’s unlikely that the Living Church of God will pursue this. Only if he dies and his successors see the light will there be the Living Bar Church of God.

Herbert Armstrong was a boozing alcoholic. That may be one reason he wanted to spring from the Church of God Seventh Day: He wanted to continue to wallow in his alcoholic solution to problems. Garner Ted Armstrong was an alcoholic. David Jon Hill was an alcoholic. Regional pastors in the hinterland were alcoholics. The whole WCG was top heavy with alcoholics and that defined the character of the church (or lack of it). Alcohol permeated the entire structure. So why fight it?

After all that is said and done, we have to admit that Dixon Cartwright, editor of The Journal was right. The Bible may not have any authority. Herbert Armstrong wasn’t a prophet. The ‘farmer theologians’ are at best misguided. What we should do though, is hold the social groups together.

After all, most of the people of the Armstrongist churches of God have one thing in common: They are boozing alcoholics. It bonds them. It makes them comfortable with each other.

And darn it all, after a drink or two, disagreements just don’t matter any more.

Bad Neighbor



Herbert Armstrong was certainly a bad neighbor. For the most part, he was a bad neighbor to the Church of God Seventh Day.

To picture this better, let’s compare this to the hit movie, Neighbors, where a young couple with a baby has a fraternity move next door. (The movie is so explicit that even some of the previews are rated ‘R’.) It’s what you might expect: The couple dotes on their new baby while the fraternity throws outrageous parties. The couple tries to “make nice” but the antagonist is not having any part of it. Delta Psi has a rich history of epic party moments. Teddy (played by Zach Efron) wants to have his picture on the fraternity wall of fame by throwing the most outrageous end-of-the-year party ever. What follows is a war between the couple and the fraternity.

Early on, Herbert Armstrong wanted his picture on the wall of fame as an apostle, seeking the most epic end-of-the-world party ever! To do this, he leaves the Church of God Seventh Day and begins his own fraternity replete with quite of lot of boozing and sex. The Church of God Seventh Day wants to live in peace with the Radio Church of God next door, but it’s pretty clear early on that there’s going to be war, even if it is a rather one-sided war with Herbert being the antagonist.

Here are a few quotes from Robert Garringer in the 1970s:

Here, perhaps are the real reasons why HWA left the Church of God as put forth by some of his fellow ministers:

John Kiesz: “The real reason seems to have been because of his uncooperative attitude…. Nobody can work with him.”

Brother Helms: “Herbert wouldn’t study…. Herbert was always the big man and everybody else was the little man.”

Elder Haber: “He [HWA] said that he didn’t have to pay any attention to anybody.”

Elder Straub: “Here was the point. We put him on the radio. It was the church…. But he wasn’t willing to study with the ministers, and what the Church of God was teaching…. There was no way of reasoning with the man…. He had his way, he ordered the people….

In 1935 the ministers offered him a study [of British Israelism], to sit together and study it out; they wanted to know. And he flatly denied and said, ‘There will be no study. I’m going to preach what I think should be preached.’ He’s definitely an independent man that takes nothing from nobody…. He won’t listen to any reasoning. What he says just goes. How can one man be so sure?”

It is obvious, then, from history and from the mouths of several different individuals that HWA did not receive his teachings from God by revelation and that he was both a member and minister of the Church of God-which he called the true church and which he left.

Furthermore, just being uncooperative was not enough: Herbert Armstrong decided that the Church of God Seventh Day was the Sardis Era of the church which had a name that it lived but was dead, while he, in his hubris, had concluded that he headed up the Philadelphian Era of the church known for its brotherly love. Herbert Armstrong made snide allusions to the Church of God Seventh Day as not living up to his expectations. He told of his encounter with the leaders and concluded that they did not “radiate power” — his expectation is that they were not ministers of Jesus but were Corporate Business CEOs, so by his evaluation, they weren’t important enough to be anything at all.

Herbert Armstrong was not the sort to love his neighbor as himself. For one thing, he committed incest with his youngest daughter starting at the beginning of his “ministry” continuing for 10 years until her marriage. Apparently, some of those in the Church of God Seventh Day knew of the incest. The incest has also been confirmed by his niece and grandson. This makes Herbert Armstrong the ‘X’ Rated Apostle — worse than the rating on the Neighbors movie.

If we consider the members of the Worldwide Church of God (represented as the fraternity, Psi Chi Gamma) as Herbert Armstrong’s neighbors, the picture gets even worse. Ambassador College may have looked impressive, but there are reasons that Herbert Armstrong himself called it “Satan’s College”, ironic since he was the high school dropout chancellor of the place. Many of the members did not know about the pot parties and beer busts the students of the 1970s era had, but it was not unlike the fraternities of the Greek System. To that add Garner Ted Armstrong who claimed he bedded 200 coeds in 20 years and you have a picture of campus life. Richard Roper of the Chicago Sun Times has to say about the antagonist of the Neighbors movie:

Zac Efron, shirtless through much of the film and sculpted to the point he looks like an entrant in Mr. Universe, Small But Mighty Division, plays Teddy Sanders, one of those guys who knows exactly how great-looking he is and exactly how to turn on the personality to seduce people, whether it’s for sex or “bromance” or to get out of trouble with authority figures. He’s one of those guys you want to despise, but then you meet him and you find yourself saying to the haters, “He’s actually not so bad.”

That pretty much sums up Garner Ted Armstrong: “He’s actually not so bad”. But he was. And not to put too fine a point on it, the same could be said of Herbert Armstrong — that he could be charming when he wanted to be but ruthless when he wanted to be, leaving people to say, “He’s actually not so bad”. But he was.

Now it may be that bad behavior of bad neighbors represented by reprehensible neighbors may be excused after they get through sowing their wild oats, but not so for Herbert Armstrong — his bad behavior persisted up until he died at 93 years old (in his 94th year). Richard Roper had this to say of the movie:

When Mac and Kelly are home, trying to catch sleep or cuddling in bed or spontaneously having sex (“This is happening!” cries Mac) only to be distracted by their newborn, “Neighbors” seems authentic. A couple of scenes between Teddy and Pete, where Pete tells Teddy it’s time to wake up and grow up and think about life beyond the frat house, also ring true.

Herbert Armstrong never did wake up, grow up and think about life beyond his frat house — the frat house was his life. He wasn’t above being vengeful to claim the glory of being right and proving other people who opposed him wrong. It was an ego thing.

Now new chapters of Psi Chi Gamma have popped up with their head frat guys wanting to have their picture on the wall of fame. Certainly, Ronald Weinland has left his mark partying on with his wife with her lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, paid for by the tithes of the PKG, having been convicted of five felonies for Income Tax Evasion. Then there’s bad neighbor, David Pack. He’s a real handful. It’s hard to imagine anyone but those on his payroll ever saying, “He’s actually not so bad!”. Gerald Flurry has his very own DUI online proving that he can party hardy, particularly on a Feast Day. The list goes on and on, but certainly Yisrael Hawkins over his little cult fraternity of the House of Yaweh takes honorable mention for having been featured on several episodes of Dr. Phil — a really bad neighbor, who has had boys 11 years old at labor with no pay for long hours a day (not to mention the polygamy, in some cases with minors). It’s just disgusting.

You’d think these people would grow up some day and abandon the sex, booze, noise, pranks and hubris of fraternity life. It should be inevitable. After all, the Scripture they claim their members should obey (and the hazing of initiation of the pledges is often excruciating) includes that part that false prophets shall be put to death. Each of them has a death sentence, yet they continue to party on other people’s money. They don’t seem to realize they are on probation. Don’t they fear God? Are they atheists?

In any event, they are bad neighbors. The fraternity has moved in next door. Don’t expect much peace. Don’t call the cops — they won’t help.

The best you can do is quietly leave and move away, because — unlike the frats in the movie — they are never going to grow up.