OF RELIGION Field Guide to the

Herbert W Armstrong In His Own Words


The Myth & The Man

Questions about the Myth–Answers from the Man

Why question The Myth?
If you are unfamiliar with the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong ("HWA"),
you may wish to click the above link to some  background material relevant to this page.

This material is part of a Field Guide profile of The Worldwide Church of God (WCG) Under Founder Herbert Armstrong. Click here to go to the main page of the WCG profile.


The following is from a list of questions regarding Armstrong's ministry. To see the other questions on the list, click on the link at the end of this page. Please Note: Red highlighting has been added to some sections to call attention to certain phraseology. CAPITALIZATION for emphasis was all in the originals as written by Herbert Armstrong. He was addicted to the use of capitalization in all his writing.


Q. 1     Didn’t Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) always say, "Don’t believe me, believe your Bible"?

Excerpt from the article "Should We Listen to Others?" by HWA, Good News magazine,  May, 1960


"But some will say, "But didn't you say, over the air, for us to LISTEN to you, and also LISTEN to all others, but not to believe you, and not to believe the others, but believe what we see in the Bible"

BRETHREN! When I speak on the air I am speaking to the outside WORLD-- to the unconverted. I am not speaking just to those who should already KNOW the truth.

These people all around the world, who listen to me on the radio, do not know if I am a false prophet, a minister of God, or WHAT. To them, YES, I say, DO NOT BELIEVE MEN-- BELIEVE YOUR OWN BIBLE! That is what you should have done-- before you knew the TRUTH. Probably it was because you did do that, that you saw TRUTH with your own eyes in your Bible. Perhaps that is what brought you into the truth, and led you to  God's one and only true Church!

To the people who do not KNOW that this is the ONLY true Church of God, I do say those very things.

But to you who have PROVED this is GOD'S CHURCH, it is different."


The bottom Line:

Herbert Armstrong taught that once someone became a member of "God's one and only true Church," that member must accept "church authority" in all matters, even if a member believed from personal Bible study that the church was in error.


Complete article:  "Should We Listen to Others?"



Q. 2     Wouldn't Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) have wanted church members to be good ambassadors to their neighbors and friends for "The Truth"?

Excerpt from "Should You Welcome Visitors at Church?" by HWA, Good News Magazine  September, 1962  (Red highlighting added below to call attention to main points.)


"First of all, it is better if you do nothing to advertise the fact that you keep God's Sabbath. I do not mean that you should ever deny it. But, for example, if you women make Sunday your wash day and hang out clothes for neighbors to see—or, if you men do work around the house on Sunday, mowing the lawn, or pounding nails or sawing or something that makes noise. Whether this really causes your neighbors any discomfort or not, some of them may claim you are annoying them --creating a NUISANCE on their Sunday. That only shouts loudly at them that you are a hated "Sabbath-keeper." "

"You who meet a visitor at church service, just be friendly, smile, but do not start a conversation about the sermon, about religion, or about the Bible."

"Never do this!!! To the one who does this, let me say candidly, this is one strong reason why YOU are not the minister! It is the minister's place to do any explaining. He has been trained to know how. God has called him, and therefore the Holy Spirit leads and guides him. DON'T TRY TO MAKE YOURSELF THE MINISTER, or the minister may rebuke you very strongly!"

"If the visitor asks about such things, call the minister or assistant or a deacon at once, with a smile, introduce him and mention the question—then let him take over, and excuse yourself to go meet and shake hands with others. And when introduced to—or introducing yourself to—a visitor, NEVER—and I mean NEVER take it on yourself to either say "Don't you ever come again!"—or, the opposite extreme, "I want to invite you to come again.""

"REMEMBER—it is not your place—but the minister's—to invite visitors either to come again, or to forbid them to come. Don't try to be a self-appointed minister when God has never called you! God may deal with you through the minister, if you do!"

"Try to prevent non-members from seeing, or knowing about, The Good News. But NEVER do as one member untactfully did. This woman had read in The Good News that this paper is for Church members ONLY. The paper was left out in plain sight in her living room. A neighbor picked it up, started reading it. She grabbed the copy out of her neighbor's hand, saying—"Oh, we've been told not to let outsiders read this. You're not converted. You're not allowed to read this." Naturally the friend was insulted, offended, and decided she didn't want any of OUR religion!

If a non-member accidentally does see a copy of this paper, DON'T offend by telling them non-members are not allowed to read it. It is then too late for that. Let them go on reading it, but if they want on the list, tell them they can write and ask, but it is just our own Church paper for members, and not generally sent to non-members. But NEVER cause offense. Better just keep it out of sight in the first place."


Complete article: Should You Welcome Visitors at Church?


Q. 3     Didn’t Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) just calmly inform his "coworkers" of financial needs of "The Work"?

Excerpts from letters to his supporters by HWA (these are only a sample of many with this same theme).



Every individual who HEEDS this warning, turns to God, is WATCHING and PRAYING ALWAYS, being filled with God’s Spirit, living by every Word of God, with a life consecrated to Him, will be given special divine protection—taken beforehand to a place of SAFETY—preserved thru the final horrifying tribulation, time of plagues and human anguish soon to visit this earth!

But if we to whom God has revealed this terrible future thru His divine prophecies fail to heed it—if we fail to each play his or her full part in WARNING this nation and the world, now, while we may—then God says we shall not escape, but He will require the blood of this entire people at our hands!…

I tell you, ON THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST, IT IS COMING! Many of you NOW, are in financial condition to DO A LOT MORE than you are doing for GOD’S CAUSE...



I have just had an urgent long-distance telephone call from Pasadena Headquarters.  The SPECIAL offerings for the Building Fund are dropping off alarmingly.

Frankly, dear Brethren, I feel discouraged, helpless, frustrated.  MANY of you—in fact, MOST—whom we have believed God had added to His Church, are not putting your hearts into the NEED of the Church as did the ancient Israelites, or the early Christians.

The NEED is imperative—desperate.  Yet, when a few months ago I sent a serious request for pledges for this Special Fund in two different letters, only about one out of ten or twelve of our membership has responded.  We are no longer a tiny Church of two or three hundred members, as we were back in 1933 when the broadcasting and publishing work was started.  We still are just the "Little Flock" compared to the world's larger churches and denominations—yet God has added to His Church until it numbers some 12,000 or more today.  And yet, only 1,077 members have responded to send in these direly needed pledges...

In the former letters, I gave you the Scriptural examples of how God had His ministers and leaders call on His people for such funds for needed BUILDING for Church use, in Bible days, and how joyfully and spontaneously and generously the people then responded.

Now, in these latter days, CHRIST the Head of this Church HAS NEED of another big, generous outpouring of special offerings for HIS Building Fund.  SURELY IT CANNOT BE, BRETHREN, THAT NINE OUT OF TEN OF US ARE STRAYING AWAY FROM OUR LORD!  If we do only our own part—what is expected of us—God's Word brands us as UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS.  And the unprofitable servants are to be cast into the lake of FIRE!




Brethren, do you realize this is the work of ALMIGHTY GOD? Do you realize HE is holding you accountable, according to your ability? It is not yet too late—but if you become a spiritual slacker, there is a Lake of Fire looming ahead, and I say to you in all sincerity and love, and by authority of Jesus Christ, you had better begin to fear and TREMBLE! This is EXPECTED of you, and if we donut do MORE than expected, we are UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS, and Jesus Christ says that the unprofitable servants are to be thrown into the Lake of Fire! I did not decree that—CHRIST DID!



MANY who DO have the ability [to give]… are GUILTY BEFORE GOD of shirking—of letting the SATANIC attitude of GET fill their minds… The only reward later, will be  DEATH in the LAKE OF FIRE!  



Now about the annual Holy Day offerings… Brethren I wonder if that [what you have done] is not doing almost exactly what Ananias and Sapphira did!… They professed that they put in the amount they sold their property for. Peter said they LIED to THE HOLY SPIRIT. They DROPPED DEAD! If YOU profess that what you put in the Holy offering is a SPECIAL HOLY DAY OFFERING, when it is only a regular offering, is not that about the same thing? Brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ I say I WOULD BE AFRAID to do such a thing!



But I have to tell you I am terribly DISTRESSED and sick at heart, to realize SO MANY of Christ's Co-Workers are FORGETTING HIM, or neglecting Him, at this critical time!  If YOU are one who is doing that, in love I have to WARN you, you may not be on the way into God's Kingdom, but into a lake of fire!

THINK of how ASHAMED the living Jesus Christ must be with some of His Co-Workers!  He has been BLESSING His Work!  Through it He has converted more precious lives this year than ever before -- literally THOUSANDS, now headed toward eternal life in His Kingdom! Twice as many are being reached now, as the year before! TREMENDOUS new doors are being opened for His Work!

He has made US -- you and me -- the LIGHT of the world!  If we let our light die out WHAT A DARK WORLD IT WOULD BE!  Right now the Work needs the LARGEST SUMS YOU ARE ABLE TO GIVE!   



… This Work… is geared to a pattern that demands constant INCREASE. IT CANNOT HOLD EVEN. It either goes on forward, or it goes backward! We MUST… GET THIS GREAT WORK BACK ON THE PATTERN OF A 30% annual INCREASE in power and scope… Brethren, we have to face a VERY SOBERING AND SERIOUS SITUATION.  Unless drastic CHANGES take place, we are going to have to reduce many vital phases of the Work, and eliminate others. That means seeing the Work… start going BACKWARD for the first time in 40 years! … Brethren… WE DARE NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! … Brethren, I KNOW the CAUSE of our present situation. WE AS A CHURCH HAVE BEEN LETTING DOWN… That means that NOT ONLY God’s WORK is in danger—MANY of YOU BRETHREN are in MORTAL DANGER! I say to you candidly, I know that some, if not MANY of you are in REAL DANGER of the LAKE OF FIRE! … Let’s not dodge the real issue—let’s not deny the REAL CAUSE—Let’s not PASS THE BUCK! Our own personal, individual SALVATION is at stake… Jesus Christ, has shown me THE REAL CAUSE—not merely of the present situation, BUT OF THE DIMINISHING INCREASE IN INCOME—and—consequently IN THE ENTIRE SCOPE AND POWER OF THE WORK these past three and four years!… I know that the ETERNAL LIVES of many—perhaps more than HALF… are at STAKE…


***AND… possibly the most repulsive example of the tactics of financial badgering of Herbert W. Armstrong: This letter was written while his wife Loma was suffering from the bowel blockage that was soon to take her life. (Armstrong taught against any medical intervention, including drugs, painkillers, and surgery. Thus Loma suffered and died without so much as an aspirin to relieve her excruciating pain toward the end.)


March 2, 1967

 ... Reports indicate that many have "come in" to God's Church in this manner: They have come to really SEE and KNOW that this is,  truly, GOD'S Church.  They know there is terrible WORLD TROUBLE just ahead.  They have heard how God's Church is to be taken to a PLACE OF SAFETY.  (And HOW God is working that out is a PART of the sensational ANNOUNCEMENT I hope very soon to announce!)  So these  people come in, selfishly, for a sort of spiritual and physical  SECURITY -- to assure PROTECTION when the Great Tribulation bursts  upon the world!  But they are NOT themselves "on fire for GOD!"  They are spiritual DRONES!  And God will not give them protection!

Many professing to be Church MEMBERS say, when a Co-Worker letter arrives, in a grumbling, complaining disgust: "Oh, that's  another of Mr. Armstrong's REQUESTS for MONEY," and many don't even  read the letter!

Are YOU one of those?  If so, LET ME BURN YOUR EARS before the Almighty GOD burns YOU in the Lake of FIRE!  If that has been YOUR attitude -- if YOU are only on the GETTING side, and SHUN helping, and giving to the cause of GOD, then I say to you ON  AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST, if you don't REPENT and QUICKLY, and  change that hostile, despicable, detestable attitude, you DO NOT  BELONG in GOD'S CHURCH!  You are some of the ROTTEN, PUTRID, spiritual WASTE that has been PLUGGED UP INSIDE OF THE SPIRITUAL  BODY OF CHRIST'S WIFE, just as physical waste is plugged up in my  dear wife's body!  And the living Jesus is just as able to EXPEL YOU from the spiritual Body of HIS WIFE as He is to expel this  physical waste from my wife's body!

And if THAT doesn't make your ears tingle, and AWAKEN you, then Jesus Christ says to YOU through me, YOU are in danger of the Lake of FIRE!

… You KNOW that we are on a SEVEN YEAR (or longer) building program, that began less than four years ago, and has three or more years yet to go. And yet, YOU BRETHREN, who call yourselves God’s PEOPLE have dwindled down to about HALF the amount of SPECIAL OFFERINGS for the BUILDING FUND you were sending in a year ago—though there are 30 percent more of us!

THINK OF IT! How ASHAMED God must be with His Church!…

LISTEN, Brethren—and listen HARD! Learn a LESSON that may save you from the Lake of Fire. Learn a basic TRUTH about how you are to develop character and GROW spiritually to INHERIT GOD’S KINGDOM! Learn a GREAT TRUTH! Learn what may mean your ETERNITY!

Read this two or three times! UNDERSTAND IT!

Some of you do not GO FORWARD spiritually with Christ, UNLESS I or YOUR LOCAL PASTOR, or SOMEONE PUSHES YOU! But our PUSHING will never get you into God’s Kingdom. Our PUSHING will never get you to the PLACE OF SAFETY for the Great Tribulation about five years from now…

Complete text of the 3/2/67 letter



Comments from the Webauthor:

I was there back in those days. (The very first Good News magazine my husband and I received was the one with Loma's obituary in it. She died April 15, 1967. )  The membership in general was not in any way lackadaisical or lukewarm. Most put in long hours on the road, sometimes several times a week, just to go to Sabbath services, mid-week Bible studies, Spokesman's clubs and the like in a city perhaps one, two, three hours or more from their home. Almost all were paying a full tithe on the gross of their income, saving a full second tithe yearly, faithfully giving their third tithe on the gross two years out of seven. If you didn't, you could find yourself disfellowshipped.

We personally had been tithing long before we became members, starting out in 1965 with a full tithe of George's gross income ... which was $1.35 an hour at the time! What Armstrong is talking about here is his constant badgering in monthly letters for decades demanding "special" offerings for special projects, and "emergency" offerings to make up for his lack of sensible financial planning,  above and beyond "regular tithes and offerings." His arrogance and lack of any sense of the lifestyle that most members were living ... and the level of sacrificial giving that many, many were involved in, is disgusting.

This is especially true when one realizes the sumptuous lifestyle that Armstrong himself and a chosen few were enjoying at the WCG HQ:

Excerpt from John Trechak, Ambassador Report 1977 magazine edition, p. 59

It was February 18, 1970. A small group of ministerial students were spending an evening with Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Those of us who had been invited were given a glimpse of a life-style which in today's world only a very few are able to afford. At his home, a small mansion on Pasadena's South Orange Grove Boulevard (once nick-named "millionaire row"), we were surrounded by rare antiques, expensive paintings, and Steuben crystal. The carpets were luxuriant; a Steinway grand [piano] stood in the corner of the drawing room.

The gourmet cuisine served at dinner was excellent as were the European wines—all  four of them. We had been shown a large number of expensive paintings and objets d’art and, as was his custom, Herbert would relate what he paid for each and what they were now worth. That theme carried over into the conversation at dinner. Then, as the servants began to clear the table, he turned to one of the guests and said, "What do you think all of these beautiful things on the table are worth?" Of course, none of us had even the slightest idea. And so, he was able to proudly proclaim, "Over $125,000!"

He was quick to point out, however, that art objects of this quality were so rare that they were in fact "priceless." The sculptured, foot-high, solid gold saltcellars were, for instance, the only known copies of those once owned by Louis XIV. (They had been specially made for Herbert by Harrod’s of London.) The crystal goblets were identical to those found on Queen Elizabeth’s table. The supremely crafted cutlery was of solid gold. The tablecloth was made of the finest Belgian lace. The gold-covered china was of the finest craftsmanship and formerly belonged to Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

"As we sat there sipping our four different wines and eating off the czar’s china, I couldn’t help but think of the incredible contrast all this presented to the meager existence of so many members of Herbert’s church, the very ones who were, through their tithes and offerings, making all this possible…


Yes, those faithful co-workers ... such as this naive person a few months before the events of that description above, who wrote to Herbert Armstrong in March 1969:

I have to write this letter with mixed emotions.  The feeling is that of great sadness; that I and my fellow Co-Workers would be so weak and lax as to let a letter come out from Mr. Armstrong stating the Work would have to go backward unless we as Co-Workers wake up and do our part.  For this I have wept and prayed that some way may be opened up that this great Work may not slack off, but GROW in power to warn this world.  I personally have only my tithes and offerings which I am sure mean so little alone.  I do, however, have a place I am trying to sell.  God willing, I will be able to at least put most of it in God's Work.  Please Brethren, you of Headquarters, pray that God will open our eyes that we may better see how we too, may serve and bear our share of the load.


NO ... it was not that person who needed to better "bear the load"! And YES, people like this needed their eyes open ... so that they could see just where their sacrificial offerings were being spent.


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is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.

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