The narcissistic leaders of Armstrongism tap into and manipulate empaths for their own ends. Here’s how to clear your susceptibility to narcissists if you are an empath:
Herbert Armstrong is a very complex person. He has partaken deeply
of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Stan Rader said in 1978,
“Dave, I know my man.” And he does. He has carefully studied him for over
twenty years. For whatever motives, he has pursued the subject energetically
and at close range.
Dr. Floyd Lochner, who had been a close traveling companion
of HWA for years, attributes many of his personality failings, as
well as his driving ambition, to his short stature. Dr. Lochner’s
theory holds that Herbert was rejected frequently during his early
life due to appearance and lack of physical stature. This, in turn,
fired him with motivation to “get even” with society. Rejection
during his early years would also have caused his life-long
paranoia and emotional instability in certain sectors of his life. He
was rejected frequently by women during those early years. This
left its mark.
Frequently, short men, especially those who are very conscious
of their lack of normal height, compensate in whatever way seems
open to them. Herbert Armstrong discovered he could be a “big
man” behind the pulpit. For the first time in his life he felt power
in a very real sense. And he realized that power came from a
transfer of authority from God to himself in the minds of his
followers. He must always identify God and himself very closely
in the minds of his listeners. More on this later.
Rejection by women early in life and even by his own wife in the
marriage bed (his story) intensified his feelings of persecution and
inadequacy and stimulated his need to prove himself. He wanted
people to think he was a “tiger.” He must prove he was as good
as, and even superior to, other men, even in sex. He had proven
his superiority behind the pulpit, or had he? Was he better than
Ted, even behind the pulpit? Pride, self-doubt, frustration, envy,
love-hate seemed to intensify with age. The old saying, “once a
man twice a boy” was again proven valid.
For instance, he wanted the whole world to know he was able to
perform sexually even in old age, so he had an article to that effect
published in The Worldwide News immediately after his
marriage. He talked long and plainly to college seniors on the
subject of sex – without pulling any punches. He was the “authority”.
He had studied Masters and Johnson and hence had become very “advanced”
on this subject. While he had earlier written the book, God Speaks Out on
“The New Morality,” his newest teachings conflicted quite sharply with his
earlier book. He still presented himself as having God’s view of sex, but
he failed to explain how or why God had radically changed his mind!
His views on sex, taught forcefully, affected the marriage bed of thousands.
He always taught “in the name of Jesus.” All his letters are so signed.
His association with divinity never ceased.He claimed to have
“the mind of God, more than anyone on earth.”
Even people who know of his flagrant disregard for the Ten
Commandments are a little afraid of Herbert Armstrong’s divine
authority! Ears that have heard him state that authority for so
many years have a hard time ridding themselves of that loud ring.
He can present himself as the kindliest and most benevolent of
men before an audience – radiating a real grandfather image. He
can come across as having only love in his heart and put on the
most charming smile. He can laud and praise a man above all
others and then turn and destroy the very man whom he has so
lavishly praised. He can brag powerfully about a man before an
audience, then turn privately, almost immediately, and lacerate
the same man unimaginably. As Sherwin McMichael said once to
me, “Mr. Armstrong’s back trail is literally strewn with the
wreckage of men who have faithfully served him.”
While Herbert Armstrong’s body is short and his shoulders
slope in unmasculine fashion, his voice is powerful. He has said
on occasion that he inherited his voice from his father. It was one
of the very best speaking voices of this century in America. One
need but compare his tapes of twenty-five years ago with those of
Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, and the quality of his
voice is unmistakable. If anything, it is better. It carries remarkable
quality of command. The sad part is that there is not the godly character
to match the voice.
During the time when Herbert Armstrong was in his formative
years, the ideal planted in so many Americans was to become rich,
preferably as an industrialist, be respected, live very well in a very
fine home, support the arts, travel abroad in style, and associate
with royalty. If there were a daughter, she should marry a count,
a lord, or even possibly a duke. When such people of that period
followed these practices and then returned home, they tended to
look down on ordinary people as inferior.
After all, had not they stayed in the very grandest hotels
abroad, and had not they been presented at royal courts? No
matter that some of the “royalty” were pretenders, and some of
the titles were not valid. No matter if many of those people were
profligate. It was the image, the illusion. That was what was
important. Americans of that period were prepared to spend
fortunes on such projects. That was the ultimate in living. And
throughout his life, Herbert Armstrong was very conscious of
image. That was more important than substance.
It seems that in Herbert Armstrong’s old age, he must live out
that illusion, live the earlier dream of another age, and now do
what he had dreamed so vividly of doing in his youth in Chicago.
His mixing with “the great and the near-great” of those days
must have inspired fantasies he attempted to live out just as soon
as it was possible – on church funds, even as an octogenarian.
Now, he was able to visit with “kings, emperors, presidents,
governors, judges, and rulers,” thus making up for the
deprivations of the past. If there is anyone thing Herbert
Armstrong despises, it is being poor and all that goes with it. He
has long bragged that he never looks to see what a steak costs
when he goes into a restaurant. That is beneath his dignity. His
restaurant bills are astronomical, and especially so when one
considers the financial state of his church. He does live “deliciously.”
His son, Ted, used to tell the story of his dad’s suit-buying
habits. He said his dad would much prefer to, and did, pay twice
as much to buy a suit in a store frequented by the very rich than to
get the same suit at another store where he might not be seen by
the wealthy. Again, it was all image. That is the important thing
to remember. One cannot understand HWA without understanding the
importance to him of image. He likes enormously riding in a black or
dark blue Cadillac limousine driven by a chauffeur. He rides in the back
seat, usually, like a potentate. He dresses to the hilt, and bystanders
would be hard pressed to think he is a preacher. They might think him to be a
movie maker, a rich visiting foreigner, an industrialist, or such,
but never a preacher or person involved in religion.
One could not imagine him riding on a mule, walking many
miles in the dust of Judea, suffering hardship, going in and out
among the people, evading the famous, or giving himself for
others, for example.
Many of those who have known him long, including some of
his own family, report he has always talked of conspiracy
against himself. He saw everybody, including his own family,
as collaborators against him. His persecution complex was
When one examines the record objectively, it seems he himself
has been the greatest conspirator of all. Members of his alienated
family report his strange reading habits. According to these
accounts, he read, very carefully, even studied for a long period
of time, Adolph Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf. He was especially
impressed with Hitler’s methods of crowd control, his methods of
intimidation and domination of other men. He was impressed by
Hitler’s method of moving swiftly during the hours between
midnight and dawn when he wanted to pull off a coup. (Hitler
thought men’s resistance was weakest during those hours.) Events
of recent years abundantly demonstrate the effectiveness of such
methods. Of course, that was not the way Christ worked!
There can be no doubt at all that HWA uses intimidation
masterfully. Neither is there any doubt he will not have anyone
around him that he cannot dominate, or intimidate, except Stan
Rader. But that is a whole story by itself. He literally makes timid
those who work with him. It is as if he wanted to “possess” them!
When so much evil is done in the name of God, one must ask:
Could or would God really expect people to honor and obey
such a man? Is this man really “the only apostle of the twentieth
Herbert Armstrong explains that “in the name of” means “by
the authority of,” and when he speaks “in the name of Christ,”
he means by the authority of Christ. He means that Christ is
directing him. But there is a major problem. He makes too many
conflicting statements. Try this: Get out all of the letters, articles,
and proclamations he has written over the past twenty-five years
and attempt to reconcile them. That is a real exercise in frustration.
Confusion, which God is not the author of (I Cor. 14:33), is abundantly
evident. Yet all his letters were signed “In Jesus’ Name.”
All great confidence men are masters of rationalization. They
can give excellent reasons that sound completely plausible for
doing what they want you to do. Herbert Armstrong’s ability in
this field is unsurpassed.
None of his letters was more masterful than the one he wrote to
church members on November 22, 1978, to explain why Quest/78
should be kept by the church. (He had promised to dispose of that
questionable property a short time before.)
He was very proud of the letter he wrote to the membership in
1974 while on an emergency flight back from Manila to handle the
unrest in the church at that time because of stories about Ted. He
told me he stayed up all night writing that letter. Interestingly
enough, when I asked Stan about it, he said that was incorrect, as
he had written it himself!
Dr. Lochner, who should know, says that Stan actually “puts
words in Herbert Armstrong’s mouth.” He tells him what to say,
Al Carrozzo, writing in the 1977 Ambassador Report in an
article entitled “The Profligate Son,” has this to say about
HWA’s true character and motivations:
“On May 22, 1973, at 1:00 p.m., Ted left me with no
doubts as to his father’s real motivation, intentions, and
modus operandi. In a private, three-hour meeting in his
office, Ted told me he specifically disagreed with his father
on many issues, including doctrine. He explained his dad
desperately wanted to be accepted by the world, and that
was the reason he was traveling around the world
continuously, seeking the favor and audience of world
“Ted admitted he had seen his father ‘stone drunk’ on
dozens of occasions. He stated his father had told him that
he (Herbert) would do anything to keep the “Work” afloat
– including lying, stealing, and bribery. I was shocked, of
course, but later I personally saw Herbert ‘stoned’ on
several occasions and caught him in numerous lies. I began
to see those lies in his member and co- worker letters, and
these lies have continued to this day.
”The year of 1973 was one of revelation for me. I learned
of Ted’s profound and long-enduring sexual activities,
Herbert’s total cover-up, corruption at the highest level in
the WCG, Herbert’s pleasure blasts around the world under
the guise of preaching the true gospel, squandering of vast
sums of money on extravagant art treasurers, exploitation
of gullible and hard-pressed people, gross doctrinal error,
and suppression of human beings – mentally, emotionally,
physically, and spiritually. Yes 1973 proved to me that
dishonesty was a way of life with Ted and his father, and
that way of life hasn’t changed to this very day”
HWA lives on inspite of your stupidity
We sort of wonder that if we were smart, would Herbert Armstrong die?
This is the very reason we need to publish this very important news flash: Herbert Armstrong is dead. No, really — he’s dead. Actually, Herbert Armstrong has been dead a long time now, something on the order of 27 years now — well over two decades, going on three.
It’s sort of like, you know, Herbert Armstrong is on an extended vacation, maybe in Argentina, along with Hitler, and he’ll return any day now and revitalize the nanocults he managed to manufacture as they split off, divided and multiplied all at the same time. Nevertheless, people seem to think he’s still alive. The United Church of God, an International Association has a picture of him and Loma up in their Head Office. Maybe she’s still alive too. We wonder what she thinks of Ramona and the $5 million divorce we all paid for. It’s sort like that Frankenstein Movie thing where Igor says, “He’s Alive!”. What does that make him now? 120 years old? Didn’t Moses make it to 120?
Any day now, Herbert Armstrong will back — alive, vibrant, vital (revived) — in full color and full of vim, vigor and vinegar (make that Dom Perignon). We expect to see him stagger up to the lectern, plowed, 5 sheets to the wind, with a cup of coffee in his hand and a donut on the Day of Atonement, and boom out, “Follow me, I will lead you into the Kingdom!”. He will personally supervise the archeological dig to unearth David’s throne so Christ can return. He will take us all to the Place of Safety and teach us there for three and one half years during the Great Tribulation, just as Revelation tells us. You know the Scripture! “And Herbert Armstrong will take God’s People into the Place of Safety, where they will be taught by That Apostle for a time, times and half a time until the Seventh Trumpet Sounds and the Lamb returns!” Blow the dust off your Bible! It’s there. Somewhere. In the inspired margins. Next to some passages you’ve highlighted with colored pencils.
joecamel seems to be continuing the fine Armstrong tradition of just making stuff up. On the other hand, we don’t:
Herbert Armstrong is dead.
This is a real shocker!
It’s been kept a secret all these years through the Great Conspiracy, started by Joseph Tkach, Senior and perpetuated by his son. They even sold off the Ambassador College properties to keep the secret alive. The grave of Herbert Armstrong is full of dumbells from the weight room of the Pasadena YMCA.
But, nevertheless, and we know this will stretch your incredulity: Herbert Armstrong is dead. Really, really dead. Doornail. Kaput. Bones and dust. And his grave is with us unto this day. There’s a death certificate. People attended the funeral. Herbert Armstrong is like, dead, man.
This is not the only epiphany we have for you.
Howard Clark suffered a spinal injury in the Korean War which left him paralyzed. His legs withered and he had to use a wheelchair. He had married the nurse who had taken care of him after his injury in the War. He had come to Ambassador College and attended as a student apparently from 1959 to 1963.
It was a year before this time that Richard David Armstrong anointed Howard Clark. Now it was the case that his legs had atrophied to the extent that it was just not possible for him to walk, but after the anointing by Richard David Armstrong, he began to strengthen and began walking shortly thereafter. Thus, Richard David Armstrong had achieved a certain amount of credibility in 1958 as a minister and son of Herbert Armstrong.
Shortly after this anointing, Richard David Armstrong suffered an automobile accident, July 23rd, 1958. It was just a week later that he died on July 30, 1958. The account of the incident is recounted at The Exit and Support Network.
Here is the account from Herbert Armstrong about his son in Volume II of his Autobiography:
During the early part of summer, 1958, Mrs. Armstrong and I had driven once more back up to Oregon, for a period of fasting and rest on one of the Oregon beaches. Dick was left in command at headquarters. In more ways than one he showed excellent executive ability and good judgment. We returned to Pasadena after two or three weeks. It was along about this time that two significant events — occurrences that would seem incredible to many — directly involved Dick. One, the birth of a baby. It was a most serious breech birth. The situation was becoming desperate, and since Dick was the ranking minister then at headquarters, he was called in on the emergency. He drove immediately to the home where the baby was being delivered. The doctor and the nurse were near exhaustion — perhaps more of hope than physical — and the mother near physical exhaustion. Of course all Dick could do was pray but pray he did, and in faith. He kept reassuring the others but the situation was fast becoming hopeless. Finally the doctor gave up hope, said there was nothing he could do, unless to take the baby by cesarean section, which the family refused to allow.
The doctor went home. The husband and the wife were counseled by Dick not to become frantic or to lose hope but to rely on God. Dick refused to lose faith. He continued to pray. And finally his faith was rewarded. The fetus turned over in the womb. The doctor was called back, and the baby was born in a normal manner. The other incident, more amazing, involved a war veteran. He was paralyzed in his back, in his legs and both arms — helpless. He had to be moved in a wheelchair. The military hospitals had done everything for him that medical science could do. It was an incurable case. He was confined to helplessness for life, and put on a life pension for special financial support. This man called for Dick to pray for him and ask God to perform a miracle, that he might be restored to a life of usefulness. This was one of Dick’s last acts. He did go to this man, and following the New Testament instruction in James 5:14-15, anointed him with oil, and laid hands on him as he prayed, asking the Eternal Creator to do what man was unable to do, and had pronounced impossible to be done. This man, a former Yale football player, was healed, and quickly restored to the full use of arms and legs and his whole body. He entered Ambassador College, and soon was climbing up and down ladders painting buildings.
The Last Baptizing Tour It was shortly after this incident that Dick was off, with an assistant, on a baptizing tour up the Pacific coast. A number of people had sent in written requests for counsel with a minister, and for baptism. At the time I was using, for an office, a very small room in what we called “the penthouse” atop the library building. The room was so small that I was having to use a small woman’s boudoir table for a desk — an ordinary business desk was too large for the room. I shall never forget, of course, how Dick came briskly running up the stairs to say good-bye. “Well Dad,” he said with cheerful enthusiasm, “I’m off on this trip.” A few days later his companion, Mr. Alton Billingsley, called me on the telephone.
Tragedy Strikes “Mr. Armstrong,” he said in a voice that signaled even before his words that something was very wrong, “We’ve had a terrible accident, and Dick is in very critical condition.” Quickly I asked for all of the facts. The accident had occurred a short distance north of San Luis Obispo, which is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on the Coast Highway. It had been a head-on collision. Both our men had been thrown completely out of the car. The right third of our car had been virtually sliced clear off. Dick had been sitting in the right front seat — often called “the death seat” — and had he not quickly moved to the left he would have been killed instantly. As I learned later, they were driving north on the Coast Highway 101, after having baptized a man that morning. As Mr. Billingsley was driving, Dick had opened his briefcase and was checking his list of people to visit planning their next few stops. They had been on a dual highway — one way traffic only on each side of a divided highway, with a short space in between. The divided highway had ended but somehow neither of them had noticed it. A half block or so to their left was another paved road running parallel to theirs, which Mr. Billingsley noticed, supposing it to be the other two lanes of the divided highway. Assuming that they were still on the divided highway with only one-way traffic on their two lanes, they were driving on the left lane to pass another car. Suddenly, from over a slight hilltop, came another car in their lane heading directly toward them. At this precise second they were almost past the car on their right — but not far enough to turn right in front of it in order to miss the oncoming car in their lane. There was no time for that, anyway. Dick shouted, “Turn left! Turn left!” Mr. Billingsley had only a fraction of a second to turn partly to the left. There was not enough time to turn out of the way of the oncoming car. Two cars, for example, speeding toward one another at fifty miles an hour or more, seeing each other about 150 feet away, will crash into each other in less than one second! The oncoming car hit them head-on, its right side striking our men’s car slightly to the right of center, and Dick’s car crashed the oncoming car into the third car that our men were then passing. It was a three-car crash! But I didn’t wait for all these details then. I got the essential details, and I was off in a flash for San Luis Obispo. Dick had been unconscious, and taken in an ambulance to a hospital in San Luis Obispo. I had our switchboard telephone operator call our college physician, Dr. Ralph E. Merrill, asking him to be ready as I would be driving past his office in Glendale, on the way to San Luis Obispo. I asked Mr. Norman Smith, our radio studio manager, to go with me. Dr. Merrill was ready as we drove past. I drove as fast as I dared, consistent with safety. Right then I was terribly aware of the DANGER of highway driving, and although I wanted to make the fastest time possible, caution and care in driving came first. It was a strenuous drive of approximately 200 miles. Arriving at the hospital, we found that Dick had been transferred to another hospital — there were two hospitals in this little city. We found him now conscious, but in very critical condition. His right arm was broken at the elbow; his pelvis had been broken badly, and they had him in traction. His jaw had been broken in three or four places; X-rays showed that his heart had been knocked over to the right — to the middle or slightly right of the middle of his chest; his left lung had been collapsed. Mr. Billingsley had been examined, and released — not sufficiently injured to remain in the hospital. Dick wanted to rely on God for healing, without medical aid. The doctors asked for a conference with me and Dr. Merrill. They explained that Dick was already in their care and to protect their reputation and that of the hospital, they had to administer medical aid or else have him moved, in which case he probably would die before we could get him home. Dr. Merrill, who himself had been healed by direct prayer, and understood both sides of this problem, advised us against moving him in his very critical condition. The hospital doctors agreed to give him the very minimum of medical aid consistent with their own and the hospital’s protection. I learned later, however, that in practice that meant giving him everything “medicine” knew how to give. It was a very difficult decision to make — but with so many bones broken it certainly seemed that we would be directly causing his death to move him out of the traction and other trappings and contraptions that they had him in. Then followed one of the most tense, strenuous week’s vigil of my life. I telephoned my wife, and she with Lois, Dick’s wife, and their two and one half month old son came to San Luis Obispo on the train. Of course Mr. Smith and I had anointed and prayed for Dick immediately. It was a week of almost constant prayer. Registered nurses were required to be in constant attendance around the clock. We had one “R.N.” as they are called in hospitals, at the college and another had applied for entrance to Ambassador College that autumn. By telephone, I arranged for these two to come immediately to the hospital, and the hospital supplied the third nurse. We preferred to have our own nurses at his side so far as possible. It was too agonizing a week to go into in detail. Dr. Merrill had to return to Glendale, but the rest of us remained in the hotel in San Luis Obispo, to be in as constant attendance as possible. The accident occurred on July 23, 1958. By evening of July 29, a very serious decision had to be made. Dick’s kidneys were not functioning enough to keep him alive much longer. The doctors at San Luis Obispo had called specialists from UCLA Medical Center to come up for consultation. They told me that it would be necessary to attempt to remove Dick to the medical center in Westwood (Los Angeles) where they could use an artificial kidney to stimulate normal action by his own kidneys. By carrying him suspended in traction on the special kind of pallet “bed” that he was strapped on, driving slowly in an ambulance through the night, they felt that they could successfully move him to the Los Angeles medical center. Our two nurses and one or more of their doctors went along in the ambulance. Also, Mr. Norman Smith, who had remained the week with me, went along with them. We tried to get a little sleep through part of that night, rising and leaving about 5 a.m. for Los Angeles. We felt we should arrive not too much later than the ambulance, since it was to drive very slowly. During the week, Dick had had various ones of us read the Bible to him. In spite of the pain, and the terrible condition, he kept in good spirits. Once, in prayer, he began thanking God for the many, many blessings that had been lavished on him. The nurse in attendance said that this continued a long time — he had so very MANY things to be thankful for. I had typed out a number of biblical PROMISES that God had made for us, from various parts of the Bible, for our nurses to read to Dick in the ambulance when he was awake. As we approached the Los Angeles area on the morning of June 30, strange premonitions seemed to come into my mind. I didn’t tell the others. I didn’t want to cause them any concern, worry, or lack of faith. This I had to fight out within my own mind, by prayer and mental concentration. Finally, it seemed that I had won a victory over these premonitions and I had gotten my mind again into a state of FAITH. We drove into the UCLA Medical Center parking lot. We
left the others in the car while Lois and I went to see Dick or to get a report on his condition. As we approached the entrance, Mr. Smith and our two nurses approached us, with the news that just before they could get the artificial kidney connected, Dick had died. There were present some of the most famous surgeons and specialists in the nation. They cut Dick open near the heart and tried to massage his heart back into action — they tried frantically everything that such specialists know, but to no avail. Dick’s body was then sent to a mortuary in Pasadena. It hit Lois as if she had been shot. I grabbed her, steadied her. “Steady, Lois,” I said as calmly as I could. “Remember you have another very precious little life to nurse and keep alive, now. You must keep calm so that your milk will not be disturbed.” Lois responded bravely, like a “trouper.” Then we discussed how to break the news to Mrs. Armstrong. We tried to break it gently so it wouldn’t come as too much of a shock. We tried to keep normal composure. “They’ve taken Dick back to Pasadena,” I said, trying to be casual as if everything was OK. But no one ever could mislead my wife. She almost fainted — for she knew that we were only trying to ease the blow. But, she always was a real “trouper” too, and she quickly recovered without going to pieces — though naturally wounded to the very depths. . . .
IT was an agonizing week for Lois, his mother and me. No one, of course, but a mother, can describe or fully appreciate a mother’s love for her son. But fathers love their sons, too. And my affection for Richard David had been greatly deepened by the special circumstances under which he had been born.
My Time of Trial It is, of course, natural for every father to want a son. When our first child was a girl I was not disappointed. Few fathers would be. Nor was I disappointed when our second child was another daughter. But when the ranking most famous obstetrical specialist in the world, in a Chicago hospital pulling my wife through a near-fatal mid-pregnancy toxemia eclampsia, with 30 percent albumin in the urine, warned us gravely that she could never undergo another pregnancy without fatal results to her and the child, I was disappointed beyond words to describe. I had to resign myself to a sonless life. And this medical pronouncement was confirmed by two other doctors. We didn’t know, then. And I’m not sure these doctors knew, the real REASON. Apparently not too much was understood, at that time, by the medical profession about this negative-positive RH blood-factor condition. But my wife and I were opposites in that regard. I had been forced to resign myself to a future without possibility of ever having a son. Then, eight years later, in Portland, Oregon, Mrs. Armstrong had been — as recounted earlier — suddenly, completely healed of several serious complications by a positive miracle resulting from believing prayer. We knew then, by faith, that whatever had been the disturbing factor to render another pregnancy fatal, had been removed by this healing. I knew then that God would give me a son. And ever since I felt that the day Richard David was born was the happiest day of my life. I was perfectly satisfied, then. God had blessed me with a son. He had been conceived less than a year after my conversion. But the great God had plans I did not know. I was perfectly satisfied with the one son. We did not plan to have another. A year and four months later, Garner Ted was born — and I then felt doubly blessed — with TWO sons. But when God took from me — or allowed to be taken — my firstborn son, on July 30, 1958 — less than three months before his thirtieth birthday — well, it seemed that I could have some little understanding of how Abraham must have felt when he expected to have to give up his son Isaac — or even God the Father of all, in giving His Son Jesus Christ for ME as well as for the world.
The Ordeal Dick’s death occurred early Wednesday morning, July 30, 1958. The accident had occurred the preceding Wednesday morning. The funeral was set for Friday, August 1. The day in between, Thursday July 31, Mrs. Armstrong and I shared a very sorrowful 41st wedding anniversary. On Wednesday we conferred with Messrs. Roderick Meredith, Herman Hoeh and Norman Smith regarding funeral arrangements.
They felt unanimously that it was my duty to officiate at the funeral, which we planned for a simple graveside service only. Through the day I drove in my car to inspect cemeteries — which I had not had occasion to do before in Pasadena. I do not now remember whether Mrs. Armstrong and Lois went along. Necessary arrangements were completed. Lois accompanied us to the mortuary to select the casket — selecting one in the type of wood Lois said was Dick’s favorite. To say that my comparatively brief graveside sermon was an ordeal would be a gross understatement. I had learned, many years before, in conducting many funerals, to steel my nerves and remain calm, with controlled emotions. But speaking at Dick’s funeral was altogether different. I found myself speaking in a louder, more concentrated voice than usual in a supreme effort to prevent emotional loss of control. I remember quoting a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, regarding the duty of those of us remaining to carry on the great work to which God had called us. My first impulse was to remain away from the Saturday afternoon college church service. I didn’t want to see anybody.
Nor did Mrs. Armstrong. But then I realized it was my duty to attend. I thought of entering at the last moment, and sitting in the front row before any could speak to me or offer condolences. But then I realized that some of the students had erroneously assumed that ministers were under such divine protection that no such tragedy could occur to one of them. Dick’s accident and death might shatter this faith. I knew I had to bring a message that would bolster and strengthen, not destroy, faith. These experiences were perhaps the most severe test I had ever been called on to experience. But of course I knew where to go for strength, wisdom, and help.
We Travel to Springfield Lois’ parents had come for the funeral. She and they planned for them to stay on a while with her, in the home she and Dick had purchased new just over a year before. Lois felt that perhaps, with her parents in the house, she might adjust to remaining there without Dick. I had assisted Dick and Lois with the down payment for the purchase of the property, and it probably was still less than half paid off. But Dick had been thoughtful in providing insurance which paid off the property in full. He also had provided insurance for Lois. And there was an additional $15,000 due Lois from group insurance carried by the College. However, the few days of attempts at adjusting to living in the house without Dick had convinced Lois, by that weekend, that she could not live there alone. Mrs. Armstrong, Lois and I planned a trip to get away from the trauma-shock we had undergone. I had learned that nothing is so quieting and relaxing to distraught nerves as a long trip on a train. So we planned a trip to Springfield, Missouri, to meet Ted and be with him for the final service of his evangelistic campaign. The death of Dick had caught Ted in a campaign he could not leave at the time. We left almost immediately, taking either the Chief, or the Super-Chief of the Santa Fe Railroad as far as Kansas City, changing there for a train to Springfield. Little Dicky — Richard David II — was carried in a sort of crib basket. It did Ted and his wife a great deal of good to have us with them in Springfield. He, too, had undergone a most severe ordeal. After a few days there, we journeyed on down to the location in Texas that later became the third campus of Ambassador College. We were then building there, of comparatively inexpensive all-steel construction, what we believed to be the largest “church auditorium” in Texas, as a tabernacle for an annual 8-day festival or convention — seating 8,000. After a day or two there, we journeyed on back to Pasadena. Soon we were engrossed in the many responsibilities of carrying on the work to which the living Christ had called us. We had, shortly before this, acquired the mansion of Mediterranean architectural design located between Mayfair (girls’ student residence), and Ambassador Hall. We had done a certain amount of remodelling to convert this property into another girls’ residence on campus — renamed Terrace Villa. Since Lois felt she could not endure living alone in the home she had shared for a year with Dick, we converted one wing of the ground floor of Terrace Villa into an apartment for her and little Dicky. This proved to be the best solution possible for Lois. She was on campus, where there was much activity. Many other girls were under the same roof, though she had the privacy of her own apartment. Also, she was abundantly supplied with “baby-sitters” whenever needed. Frequently, from that time, during the next few years, we all dreamed occasionally about Dick. It often seemed, in my dreams, as if he had come back from the dead and was living again — as indeed he shall — and in the not too distant future.
If you are suspicious that Herbert Armstrong made this look and sound better than it was, with him as narcissistic hero at the center of it all, you are most wise.
My friend, who had been in Pasadena at the time, related to me last year what happened.
Alton Billingsly had been driving on the freeway with Richard David Armstrong as passenger. It was four lane divided highway, but work crews had diverted traffic so that it was two-way on a highway with only two lanes. Billingsly thought that he was still on the full freeway and drove in the left lane. When the car got to the top of the hill, it hit an automobile coming the opposite direction head-on. Richard David Armstrong was very seriously injured, but could have been saved if he had medical attention.
Now the way Herbert Armstrong tells the story is that Richard David Armstrong himself refused medical treatment because of the Radio Church of God beliefs. That is not the case. First, Alton Billingsly had told the paramedics that Richard could not have the treatment that would save his life because of church beliefs, and then Herbert Armstrong told the doctor the same thing. Herbert Armstrong made the ultimate decision. (This should be familiar to those who know the details behind the death of Loma Armstrong.)
There is also one other thing my friend told me that generally isn’t known.
Remember that my friend had been in Pasadena at the time. He was also in the home of Richard David Armstrong from time to time and knew him well.
Just prior to this accident leading to the death of an untreated Richard David Armstrong, he had warned his father, Herbert Armstrong concerning his corruption. Richard David Armstrong warned Herbert Armstrong to stop.
Now normally, this probably would not have fazed Herbert Armstrong in the slightest, but with the background of two perceived healings through Richard David Armstrong, such a warning would be problematic: Richard David Armstrong was well known, highly regarded, much loved and had credibility. He could have done real damage to his father.
Fate intervened, or rather, a careless driver did.
Now it is true that often we do not necessarily know our own motivations, particularly when self-interest is involved. No one could actually prove that Herbert Armstrong denied medical treatment to his own son to save his own worthless skin. It will remain a question. We do know that from that point, Herbert Armstrong “took off” and became much more corrupt, not just with lies and false prophecies but with his penchant for immorality and alcoholic behaviors: He was a very selfish man, totally narcissistic.
Sam Vaknin, self-acknowledged narcissist and perceived authority on narcissism, in his book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited told us all that the prognosis for recovery is “poor and alarming”. He points out that narcissists are so self-absorbed that the whole universe is about them and there isn’t much hope to change from that perspective. There is no empathy for others: They are mere ciphers to be manipulated in ways that are advantageous to the narcissist.
If you will note from the Autobiography, Herbert Armstrong is more concerned about how he feels and what he’s going to do, more than he cares for others.
If you still aren’t convinced, then read this posting at Silenced about how Herbert Armstrong reacted to a suicide on Ambassador College Campus:
That was the last I saw of Jeff. Later that afternoon, we all arrived at a mandatory assembly in the gym, where it was announced that Jeff S. had committed suicide earlier that day by jumping off the Arroyo bridge — evidently just minutes after I had last seen him. The announcement was made — but it is what followed that was most troubling and revealing. The person doing the announcing of the suicide, who was a college administrator, took great pains to make sure everyone in attendance understood that Jeff’s parents did not blame the college, and that no one at the college was at fault. Then, after this terrible announcement and explanation, which took maybe 5 minutes, HWA got up front. Without the slightest acknowledgement of this terrible event, and without breaking stride, he launched into a tirade against all of those ministers who would dare question his authority. To HWA it was like a bake sale had been announced for the coming weekend. I will never forget the appalling atmosphere in that gym that day — students were crying because of Jeff S., and then HWA launches into his usual fit of anger.
As Cynthia G. commented on the post, RIP Dennis Jeffery Stephenson.
You may want to review the components of narcissism as given in our article,
So here we are: Joecamel says, HWA lives on inspite of your stupidity. That is certainly the hope of those who want the return of Herbert Armstrong’s narcissism and all that it brings with it. Such people should have learned from his “descendants” of the various splinter nanocults of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong that it is not really desirable to have such people in charge. Robert Thiel is a good example of a bad example of what can happen when they have an entitlement thinking they are a prophet of God. People who encounter narcissists are totally drained mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially with absolutely no return on investment or positive results at all. Ronald Weinland is one of those who have drained his PKG members and is leaving them as he goes off to prison, without one shred of care about any of them. They were stupid dupes who gave him, his wife, his son and his daughter what he wanted and, in some cases, bankrupted them for his own selfish interests invested in a nice home, gold, jewelry, BMWs, travel, luxury accommodations, while spewing garbage being lapped up by his followers who are suffering personal loss as a result.
HWA lives on inspite of your stupidity.
Let’s hope not.
Herbert Armstrong is dead.
His legacy is not.
And Sam Vaknin, as a qualified expert on the subject, has a recommendation for those who encounter narcissists: