Snow Flurries

Flurry's imitation Ambassador Auditorium is taking final shape as snow descends on Edmond, OK.


UCG Headquarters Is For Sale

The UCG new HQ property purchased in 1998 under Clyde Kilough (UCG cost: $1,599,784, or $19,610 per acre with an appraised value of $1,710,000) has been listed for sale as follows:

Lot Size: 81.45 AC
918 Milam, FM 3163, Lantana, TX 76226
* Property Type:
* Property Sub-type:
Residential (land)
* Find Out More...
Last Verified 12/10/2009 Listing ID 16463886
1 Lot Available
Lot 1
* Lot Type:
Residential (land)
* South Side of Milam Road, East of I-35

1,060 Feet of Frontage on Milam Road; Zoned: Agricultural (Denton ETJ); includes house

One of the highest spots in N. Denton County, beautiful views
Map of 918 (Milam) FM 3163, Lantana, TX 76226 (Denton County)
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Contact Listing Broker to find out more details.

Source Link: LoopNet Commercial Real Estate
Related Post: HQ Property Photos
Related Post: UCG's 1.6 Million Dollar Deal


Tkach To Terminate Canadian Plan, $1.1 Million Short; Can Tkach Be Trusted?

Dateline Surrey - The WCG-CGI ministerial pension plan covering Canada, according to a reliable source, is today $1.1 million dollars short of getting a final termination by the church.

Under financial pressure, the rather costly Canadian church defined benefit plan is to be terminated as soon as is financially possible, once the million dollar plus shortfall is overcome. To come up with that amount of cash shortfall, WCG-GCI Canada now has few if any remaining “aces” up its sleeve to overcome the shortage. It did convert church camp real estate into hard cash, to bring the ministerial pension plan back up to short-term solvency. Instead, it must hope on future upside gains in the stock and bond markets, subsequent to the current worldwide economic meltdown. (And to fix this pension shortfall preferably, the remaining ministry must think, before WCG-GCI Canada itself turns bankrupt. The ministry may already see the handwriting on the wall.)

Should the Canadian sect survive in the long-term as an ongoing concern, new ministerial hires, if any, would be put into a new, much less costly defined contribution scheme. The present pension plan is under financial pressure due to a shrinking church, with fewer donating income, resulting in an underfunding of the plan; and significant recent decline in stock and bond market yields. In the meantime, more recent Ambassador grads and fossils in the tenured ministry want to get everything they possibly can out of the defined benefit plan before it absolutely has to be terminated.

Not to worry, though, everyone in the ministry will get a monthly old age check from the Canadian government with medical for sure, regardless of what apocalyptic Rod Meredith predicts will happen prophetically in the next three to five years. They would get those basic government pension benefits, even if WCG-CGI Canada goes completely bankrupt and has to pay out any remaining pension plan money on an apportioned basis to its remaining ministry. However, that's not necessarily so for the ministry unlucky enough to be serving since 1986 in other countries, such as the Philippines, who get not one dime from the Tkachs for all the millions in tithe money that flowed directly into Pasadena back in the day.

At the direction of the Tkachs, Mr. Frank Brown (himself since retired on pension, in B.C.) put the Canadian ministerial pension plan into place in the the early nineties. The first year Mr. Brown funded the defined benefit plan, (termed Pension Plan for Employees of WCG Canada, 86130-1) he placed $500,000 in church assets irrevocably in the plan; on that date, future long-term pension liabilities were actuarially estimated at $4 million. Back at that time, the high returns in the stock and bond markets made it relatively easy to fully fund most any defined benefit pension plan. Besides getting relatively high returns on church investments in the nineties, WCG-CA would benefit from the fact that on average, the ministry was twenty years younger then. It therefore had much more time – using the power of compound interest- for church assets invested to gradually accumulate in the plan and snowball over time to fully fund all plan payment liabilities to the ministry.

By the time 1995 rolled around, with the tremendous boom in investment returns on average, the plan was back on track with $4.3 million in assets and owed just $3.9 million in long-term future liability payments to the ministry.

Yet another helpful factor the defined benefit plan has remained solvent over time is Tkach began shrinking the Canadian church and ministry. As member contributions to the church plummeted, Tkach shrunk the church ministry not in his good standing. He terminated many in ministry, or they left WCG-CA under pressure for greener pastures. Thus, the millions required for funding future liability for ministerial pension payouts also shrank over time, because fewer in the ministry will be around to collect those payments. Of course, each one in the ministry gets a different defined benefit or monthly check amount based on start date, length of service, highest salary, and other compensation factors.

WCG-GCI Canada 2009 Pension Plan Balance Sheet

Total plan assets................. $6,600,000
Total pension liability........... $7,700,000

Total over (under)............... $(1,100,000)

As of 2009, the WCG-GCI pension plan is underfunded with a total of $6.6 million in cash assets. Liabilities of the defined payout plan total $7.7 million. So total pension liabilities (if the plan were closed down and terminated today from going forward) total more than the assets can produce. The pension plan is as of now insolvent, or short to the amount of $1.1 million dollars. If the Canadian church could raise the level of assets in the plan to $7.7 million, the pension plan would be immediately closed off to any new hires. Ministerial pensions would then be paid out to the old guard as promised.

In other words, that means the pension plan has been underfunded by the Canadian church by approximately -14 percent. By Canadian regulation, WCG-GCI Canada has five years to make up the $1.1 million dollar shortfall. It could be granted an extension by the Canadian government to stretch the 1.1 million shortfall over a longer period, if necessary, to come up with the necessary cash. Either plan investments have to grow by $1.1 million, or the Canadian members have to cough up the cash to retire their ministry as promised.

Currently, cash payments required to keep the Canadian defined benefit pension plan alive as a long-term, ongoing concern are costing the Canadian membership $78,000 annually. Todd Martin ('85) Abbotsford, and Eric Warren ('82) Regina, question if their account was properly funded for those ten years or so they had worked prior to the time the Canadian pension was initiated under Frank Brown. Given the history of the WCG in ripping off people, perhaps both could well benefit from getting individualized expert advice from a specialist in defined benefit pensions. WCG-Canada simply no longer has the donation income to afford this and the long-term liabilities of funding the plan as an ongoing operation.

Of course, the WCG/GCI USA pension plan is an entirely different story from the Canadian. United States oversight and funding requirements of pension plans are far more lax than those in Canada. Even company plans going through a bankruptcy are treated more leniently than those in Canada. Company CEOs with pension plans know how lenient government funding requirements are. They certainly know how to take advantage of lax pension funding requirements (and corporate bankruptcy law) to shift pension liabilities over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation to break their promises of a pension to current and retired employees.

Multimillionaire Tkach says he thinks his USA pension plan is “four million underfunded now.” But Tkach himself may not even be in the WCG-USA pension plan! He doesn't want to disclose his secret deal nor his appointed lifetime salary, nor his lifetime pension. But even if he is in the employee plan, there are compensation schemes to get around paying CEO Tkach far more than the pittance he would take under the defined contribution plan set up for his at-will employees.

The WCG-GCI USA plan may have several different classes of members, but the details of the plan have yet to be gracefully disclosed to the congregations that actually fund it. Some aged ministers or former employees may be on an entirely discretionary scheme, where Tkach ultimately decides which employee doesn't maintain their “good standing” to qualify for another monthly support check from the church. This helps to keep the mouth of former employees shut. It could bridle those who may want to express their opinions about WCG-GCI publicly, or write a candid book about the Armstrong-Tkach family dynasty.

While part of Tkach's pension plan is discretionary for those in good standing, part of Tkach's plan could also be discriminatory for another class of ministers. WCG trainee Joe Tkach Jr. goofed around in a government job he took with the state of Arizona doing casework on the retarded. Fellow Pasadena alumnus Dennis Diehl labored full-time in the ministry since graduation. Diehl wound up getting basically nothing from Tkach for his laudable WCG efforts over all the miles, moves, and years. So much for Tkach's obviously phony reconciliation (see Canadian Q and A with Tkach - judge for yourself) with all those situated like Dennis Diehl, who were run over by Tkach's changes.

Yet another aspect of Tkach's WCG-USA retirement plan could consist of matching contributions. Glendora could decide to match ministerial contributions at a given percentage. It's all money coming from the collection plates anyway. At its own annual discretion, the sect could match employee paycheck set asides (depending the amount of money siphoned away from local meetings (up to 20% weekly!) by Glendora) for those ministers and employees current in its employ in WCG-USA. It's a defined contribution carrot, to coerce those feigning loyalty to Tkach to stick around a while longer, while the show can still go on.

“Australia is dealing with it, the UK is dealing with it, and just think some of our employed pastors in some places don't have a retirement program. The Philippines has been trying to set one up in the last few years.”


Tkach's Denominational Redo Redoo

The WCG/GCI Canadian National Pastors’ Conference took place June 2 – 5 and Board Meeting June 6 at Providence Renewal Centre.

Thanks to Bob Millman, Edmonton (edmonton.wcgweb.org) there is audio and video of some of what took place at the 2009 conference:

Denominational Update - Joe Tkach
06_03_Denominational_Update.mp3 (audio only)
06_03_Denominational_Update.wmv (video)

Q & A - Joe Tkach

Canadian Update - Gary Moore

Joe Tkach -
For The Love Of God June 07, 2009

Better snag it before Tkach's "Iron Curtain" drops down. See the Edmonton website for further conference info. Developing....


Ron Dart Emergency Notice

Ron Dart, age 78, GTA's former favorite sidekick, blares the following warning at RonDart.com to the world:

"Emergency Notice. The Born to Win Website is broken and our Webmaster is sick. So until further notice, the Born to Win site will forward here so we can stay in touch. Our email is working fine, as are the phones, and we can provide every service, but we are having to shift how we provide audio services. I will be notifying our email list and issuing updates there. And we will post stuff here as well--but I will keep this at the top of the page. Don't know exactly what is wrong, but it may take a while to fix. Don't lose touch. If you are new to this site, have a look around. There is a lot here. If you don't have an email address, use the "Comment Here" link at the upper right. Hang in there. We'll be back."

In that case, we'll just have to content ourselves with taking a look at Ron's tax Form 990 accountability reporting:

PeriodTotal RevenueTotal Expenses
Nov. 1, 2005 - Oct. 31, 2006$1,622,422$1,543,110

Nov. 1, 2004 - Oct. 31, 2005$1,756,737$1,386,554

Nov. 1, 2003 - Oct. 31, 2004$1,341,652$1,270,075

Nov. 1, 2002 - Oct. 31, 2003 $1,217,370 $1,343,955

Nov. 1, 2001 - Oct. 31, 2002 $1,145,929 $1,212,733

Nov. 1, 2000 - Oct. 31, 2001 $1,141,898 $1,135,236

Nov. 1, 1999 - Oct. 31, 2000 $1,122,839 $1,056,658

Nov. 1, 1998 - Oct. 31, 1999
$971,457 $1,021,545

Nov. 1, 1997 - Oct. 31, 1998
$890,102 $863,561

Mr. Dart has been doing quiet well for himself and his CEM creation. According to these 990 tax reports, he has garnered in at least nine million dollars in the last decade...

But what about his latest 990 return, reporting accounts through Oct 31, 2007?

Ron reports total CEM income of $1,412,992. CEM net assets at the end of October 2007 totaled $475,021.

Total compensation of CEM current officers and key employees totaled $207,246. Ron pays himself and wife CEM Vice-President Allie a combined salary of $107,955. The Darts also together take employee benefits or deferred compensation in the amount of $17,350. Ron also gives an expense account to himself (but not Allie) amounting to a generous $30,772 for 2007.

Not included in the above compensation was $19,200 put towards the CEM pension plan. (We can only hope the future payments for retired CEM employees aren't discretionary as is the Tkach WCG pension plan.)

Other CEM employee benefits not itemized or included on above lines 25a-27 amounted to $74, 262.

Overall travel expense claimed for 2007 was $20,886.

CEM also reports 100% business use of a 2005 Cadillac (cost basis $37,116) and 2006 Honda ($27,610).

Any Worldwider interested in looking at these annual CEM 990 reports, with additional unreported information, may do so without charge through Guidestar at the following link: www.Guidestar.org


Can You Spot A Con?

Apparently, the SEC can't.

PBS's Frontline reports (emphasis mine):

In the mid-1960s, Bernard Madoff tapped money from Jewish businessmen at exclusive country clubs with the promise of steady guaranteed returns on their investments. He then set his sights on Europe and Latin America, brokering deals with powerful hedge fund managers and feeder funds from Buenos Aires to Geneva. Billions of dollars were channeled to Madoff’s investment firm, and his feeders became fabulously wealthy. The competition wondered how the man could produce such steady returns in good times and bad. There were allegations that Madoff was “front-running” or operating a Ponzi scheme, which the SEC investigated several times over the last two decades. But Madoff remained untouched until December 11, 2008, when he admitted it was all “one big lie.”

Bernard L. Madoff confessed that his vaunted investment business was all “one big lie,” a Ponzi scheme colossal in volume and scope that cost investors $65 billion. Madoff became the new poster child for Wall Street gall, greed and corruption. (By comparison, Herbert Armstrong and spinoffs have collected over $2 billion in a shakedown off three expected tithes, offerings, wills, and investments).

“The first flush of reports came out at a time when many people were still reluctant to talk,” says reporter Smith. Frontline gave us the time to burrow deeper, gaining access to some of the key players who gave us an understanding of how Madoff pulled it off.”

In a search for clues on how the fraud began, Frontline traces Madoff’s story back to the early 1960s, when he first opened a small investment advisory business and hired two accountants, Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes, to help him recruit clients. In an exclusive television interview, Bienes describes those fruitful early years. It was “easy, easy-peasy, like a money machine,” Bienes tells Frontline. When asked if he had ever questioned Madoff about his approach, Bienes says: “Never. Why would I ask him? I wouldn’t understand it if he explained it.”

By the early ’90s, Avellino & Bienes had amassed more than 3,000 clients. But the accountants were violating the law, selling unregistered securities. Acting on a tip, the SEC closed down Avellino & Bienes. Madoff was forced to return more than $400 million to investors. It was Madoff’s first brush with the SEC, and as would happen again and again during the course of 30 years, Madoff would remain untouched by regulators.

After the 1992 SEC investigation, Madoff insulated himself from his client base by finding several financiers eager to do business with him and willing to accommodate his unusual demands for secrecy. In an exclusive TV interview, Sandra Manzke, the founder of the hedge fund giant Tremont, admits she agreed not to use Madoff’s name in her fund’s prospectus, and she accepted that Madoff would only use a small, off-the-radar accounting firm to audit his work. “Of course it bothered you,” she tells Smith. “But that was one of the conditions of doing business, that you accepted that. That was his proprietary trading model, the black box that he used, and he wasn’t going to disclose what was in it”—not even to Manzke, who for more than 25 years placed upward of $3 billion of investors’ money with Madoff.

The incentive for fund managers like Manzke to ignore their reservations was enormous. Running a feeder for Madoff was a very lucrative business, and nobody got richer than Walter Noel and his partners at Fairfield Greenwich Group. “It’s fair to say that Fairfield, more than anyone else, took Madoff global,” says attorney Stuart Singer of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, who is now representing former Fairfield Greenwich investors in a class-action suit.

Through interviews with former employees of Madoff Securities and footage Frontline unearthed of Madoff’s operation, the film ultimately takes viewers inside the heart of the fraud. Rich Caputo, who maintained the computers and printers at Madoff Securities, saw the volume of paperwork that went into sustaining the fiction. “We were spitting out statements constantly,” Caputo tells Frontline. “The fact that all of these statements were just sort of made out of thin air is pretty shocking.”

Madoff was repeatedly investigated by the SEC, but it found nothing amiss. Madoff remained a pillar of the financial world until the markets came crashing down in late 2008. “The fact is, he easily could have gone through his life without this being found out,” says Madoff investor Burt Ross. “The only reason that this ended was because, at one given point in time, the economy did so badly that people wanted—needed—to get money out of Madoff’s investments.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS

Check your local listings for exact air times. Or view the entire program linked online and bonus material at: FRONTLINE


Godfather Changes Corporate Name

Feazell pays homage to Tkach Family for now

In contrived timing surrounding the Easter holiday, "Godfather" Tkach has announced the name change of the WCG Church Association and its affiliated California-based subordinate business corporation to Grace Communion International.

Readers of the AR blog may recall the focus on possible criminal legalities surrounding the fraudulent, perjured actions of board members, involving a purported official church member vote attested to on legal documents to effect such a change, filed with the California Secretary of State. An alleged church member vote of precisely 5,051* was concocted to legally satisfy Armstrong's bylaws to legally change the name of the church from Radio Church of God to Worldwide Church of God in 1968. (For more on the 1968 denominational voting, see The Plain Truth Please: Did Herbert Lie About Worldwide?*)

Herbert Armstrong and his Church Association Board of Elders/RCG business board of directors may well have committed a fraud on the church corporation, perjuring themselves when legally affirming a nonexistent vote of the RCG membership approving of the denominational name change to WCG, when such a rank and file member vote on the new denominational name to be, in fact, never took place.

When the Tkachs came to power, Tkach Sr. forced through major questionable changes to the WCG corporate bylaws, which at that time may have required a majority vote of the rank and file membership to be legally approved. You can bet your bottom dollar Tkach Sr. paid substantial money for at least some legal opinion in his favor (even highly frivolous opinion) that no vote of the WCG rank and file members to approve of his changes to the WCG constitution would be required.

The question at issue in the WCG name change is: What has changed since the Radio Church of God Association's bylaws legally required that purported 1968 member vote of 5,051* in favor of the name change to WCG; to the Church bylaws today (with supposedly no rank and file member vote or minimum quorum required) for yet another denominational name change, this time to Grace Communion International?

The California church corporation Armstrong founded in Febuary 1947 does business for the WCG in the United States under the parent legal umbrella of the WCG Association. Those changes Tkach Sr. made to the WCG corporate articles were never legally challenged on the basis that a vote of the rank and file members for amendment would be legally required. It is a frustrating legal guessing game because Armstrong and the Tkachs have always been so highly secretive with the original documents forming the RCG Church Association with its subordinate California corporation, and in particular about any changes made to strip away the rights of rank and file members from the original 1947 RCG constitution. Figuring out the secret workings of the inner sanctum of how Skull and Bones operates would be far easier.

While much has been made in WCG propaganda of Tkach Jr. allegedly wanting to reform the bylaws giving him total control of the Church Association and WCG corporation and all the money, he has refused during his entire time in appointed office to even publish the Church's bylaws of the WCG Association of which he is Pastor General, much less reform them.

Tkach Jr., with Biblical cartoons to back up his announcement, makes it sound as if God changed the name of the Church to GCI or that a popular groundswell of the remaining pastors and members demanded the name be changed to thus and such. But the reality of the church bylaws is that just as in 1968, no formal votes were officially, legally taken of the rank and file membership to approve of such an important change as the name itself of the denomination.

In reality, the denomination name change is Tkach's Jr.'s decision and his alone on all important matters, because he legally retains all the power of Herbert W. Armstrong in the church Association bylaws. Most in the splinters today could probably confirm, no one could stand up to Herbert Armstrong's power and control for long, without getting tossed overboard in a pair of cement shoes. Armstrong's dummy board rules for his appointed Elders and the appointed members of his corporate business Board are still in effect. The Godfather's fix is in. Tkach Jr. controls everything; he refuses to disclose the proceeds of the sale of the Auditorium and AC campus; if GCI is financially solvent; Tkach family compensations; when he will step down from his employment; how he will hand-pick his successor.

Tkach relates that, "The name search team presented their findings and recommendations to a combined meeting of the Board and the Advisory Council of Elders on Dec. 20, 2005. After all factors and criteria were considered, the Board and the Council settled on the name “Grace Communion International.”

I take the above to mean the Council of Elders of the Church Association and the Board of Directors of the California Corporation voted (no doubt unaminously, Tkach doesn't say) more than three years ago on that date back in 2005 to approve of the corporate name change to GCI. This probably means that Tkach will file the paperwork with California to change the church corporation business name from WCG to GCI, without forming a new, separate GCI corporation.

In any case, it has taken more than three years for Tkach to effect the denominational name change his dummy Board pliantly approved for him to make. Or should it be the other way around?

While he says his GCI decision was initially met with resistance, Joe Jr. claims a majority of current WCG membership - that an incredible high of 80 percent now favor- and support his decision to change from WCG to GCI. How convenient for Godfather Tkach to have such popular support for his GCI naming decision, support he didn't have in the 1980s when the Tkach family doctrinal changes began rolling out on schedule.

Tkach also warned, "You will see the name change take shape in a carefully orchestrated way over the next several months."

Given the fact that the Tkachs paid for highly detailed studies of the mailing list statistical demographics, geographics and psychographics of the WCG membership, in terms of what doctrines to change first would have what effect on WCG income, it's not surprising he thinks changing the name from WCG to GCI will also be carefully orchestrated.

UPDATE: Computer records at the California Secretary of State reveal WCG had made, from at least a week ago, prior to Tkach's Easter surprise announcement- the corporate name change to GCI.

Armstrong filed the original incorporation papers for the church business corporation Radio Church of God on 2/20/1947:

DISCLAIMER: The information displayed here is current as of APR 03, 2009 and is updated weekly. It is not a complete or certified record of the Corporation.

Number: C0214334 Date Filed: 2/20/1947 Status: active
Jurisdiction: California
PO BOX 5005
GLENDORA, CA 91740-0730
Agent for Service of Process
GLENDORA, CA 91741-4602


In Three Tithes They Trust

Let's start with a $100 dollar bill. As of now, it is the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen this denomination. Slightly fewer have owned them; some have dropped the denomination for holy day offerings.

Almost guaranteed to open doors and make friends, in whatever country the Pastor General should grace with a visit. (In the upcoming millennium, should Herbert's face get to be on the $100 bill, hmmm?)

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Petty cash. Fun money. Fits in Armstrong's pocket easily and is more than enough for day or two of shamefully decadent fun in Monaco, lounging around on the yacht, or shopping trips to Harrod's.


Some Of Herb's Petty Cash - $10,000

Believe it or not, this next little pile below is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). Herbert could stuff that into a Jurgenson's grocery bag; fly to Switzerland, stuff some into his Swiss bank account; and then off to a sex clinic romp in Romania. You don't think he told about all of his private trips on the WCG Gulfstream, courtesy of the WCG dollar, did you? Neither does WCG employee Tkach respect the few remaining members enough to make some basic financial disclosures.

$1,000,000 (one million dollars)

One Million WCG Dollars In $100 Dollar Bills

While a measly $1 million above looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. More than enough to buy a world-class auditorium. The approximate WCG income for one entire year (in $100 bills) or $100 million, fits neatly on a standard pallet below...

$100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars)

One Hundred Million WCG Dollars In $100 Dollar Bills

But the WCG income for only one year doesn't do justice to the big picture. $1 BILLION dollars pictured below... now we're really getting someplace! Real money!...That's how much Herbert and his WCG garnered from fifty years of mailing out hundreds of his monthly crisis collection letters, taking three tithes, widow's mites, wills, trusts, and sacrificial offerings. Actually, over his lifetime, Armstrong's WCG took members and co-workers for well over a BILLION tax-free US-denominated dollars!

$1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars)

Over One BILLION Dollars Taken By Armstrong-And Counting

Show us the money!


Herbert Armstrong's Entangling Web

Honey, look at what we've got them believing in this issue!

Mary Lane graciously comments, saying: "You can no longer purchase Robinson's book from John Hadden publishers, but there is a site on ESN for purchasing the book, and Painful Truth's editor once had a download of the book. Not sure if Mike still does this. "

So while TW is no longer available from John Hadden publishers, we understand it can be obtained through another source. A letter to ESN from a WCG minister discussing HWA's incest is linked here, along with a link to the form to order Tangled Web.

But there is yet another way to get Tangled Web, right where Herbert W. Armstrong got started, from your local community library.
Though interlibrary loan service, a computer search done today reveals (below) the following libraries have Armstrong's Tangled Web in their respective collections. It is not exhaustive. Some of the first edition initial printing of 6,000 copies of Tangled Web were sent to libraries. One might be nearby you. Most are also willing to mail their copy to distant local libraries for checkout on your card, though interlibrary loan service, completely free, or at a nominal shipping cost. Your local library can assist you with any details.

Herbert Armstrong's tangled web : an insider's view of the Worldwide Church of God / Author: Robinson, David Publication: Tulsa, Okla. : J. Hadden Publishers, 1980 Libraries Worldwide: 25 More Like This: Search for versions with same title and author Advanced options ... See more details for locating this item
Location - Library:

For benefit of UK readers, Newbold College appears to have a copy of Tangled Web in stock, (the following from the Newbold College library website): Herbert Armstrong's tangled web : an insider's view of the Worldwide Church of God / by David Robinson. Author: Robinson, David. Shelf Number: BR 1725 .A77 R62 1980 Location: LENDING COLLECTION (North Wing, 1st Floor) Available
Readers in the greater Pasadena, CA area may wish to consult the Pasadena Central library Centennial Room, call number R PAS LC 289.9:
PAS Central Library
Centennial Room
R PAS LC 289.9
In Library

If all else fails in getting the book, ask your COG pastor to lend you his edition of Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web, or for an honest opinion on its truthful accuracy.


Herbert W. Armstrong: Guilty of Incest!

While the multifacted evidence of HWA's incest with Dorothy is getting weighed and sifted again by those in the blogosphere, AR came across a Tangled Web appeal to the Tenth Circuit you may not have yet seen.

The lawsuit was filed against HWA confidant David Robinson by Rader associate Henry Cornwall and WCG minister Sherwin McMichael - not for libel, but to chance an incredible legal long shot: a pre-publication stop of Armstrong's Tangled WebThis action is a result of the WCG trying to bully Robinson trying to make him pay WCG attorney fees and court costs, coming out of litigation that Armstrong tried to suppress the truth about his incest and drunken alcoholism. The WCG was initiating and bankrolling the litigation against Robinson behind the scenes. Armstrong's straw men Cornwall and McMichael stood to lose nothing in attorney's fees for bringing the action against Robinson, to try to prevent the WCG and public from ever finding out about HWA's incest, and alcoholism as documented in Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web. This suit up on appeal was obviously an inital move to try to bankrupt Robinson, in an attempt to legally force him to pay WCG's attorney fees, but not about the truth of the matter.

Judge McKay delivers the panel's decision, reversing the trial court with a finding that losing WCG plaintiff-appellees Cornwall and McMichael are responsible for paying $6,000 in attorney fees - and not Tangled Web's author, former WCG minister and HWA confidant David Robinson!

Of course, Herbert's church corporation tithe-payers were really footing the expensive legal bills for this legal maneuver, to try to suppress and stop the truth from being published in Robinson's book. By far the easiest, and most common legal way to defeat publication of the Tangled Web would be for Armstrong to sue Robinson for damages to his reputation- for libel!

What was the legal basis for Armstrong to win a libel suit against minister Robinson? Ans: The plain truth about the incest! With all his money, Dorothy Armstrong could be paid off and quickly be flown in on the Church jet to testify the incest never happened. But Dorothy Armstrong never denied the incest, nor would she ever sign any statements to that effect. With scores of ministerial character witnesses as to Armstrong's temperance with Dom Perignon and good character, Armstrong should have easily been able to prove Robinson was a liar, that he was fabricating these preposterous claims of HWA drunkenness, molestation and repeated incestual sexual assaults out of thin air, to get a publication injunction and complete retraction, sue Robinson and win big money for damages to Armstrong's character and reputation.

Since Robinson had the truth about Armstrong's incest in his book, the WCG lawyers knew couldn't win with the facts- so they decided not to sue Robinson for libel. Instead, they then resorted to a legally inept, questionable, ineffectual backup legal strategy to try to stop publication - they based their lawsuit on a supposed ministerial breach of WCG confidentiality, meaning that Robinson should have kept the truth about the Apostle's felonious incest with his daughter a secret, only for Pasadena insiders. This weak, unsupportable breach of confidentiality suit by Armstrong was not about challenging the facts or material truth contained in Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web of his incestual sexual assaults with his minor daughter or his alcoholism. His suit was solely about maintaining WCG ministerial confidentiality! The irony is, many WCG ministers are known to have regularly violated rules of ministerial confidentiality, when they revealed private details about members obtained from ministerial counseling on a regular basis, right from their Sabbath pulpits.

CORNWALL, an individual, and Sherwin McMichael, an individual, Plaintiffs-Appellees,


David R. ROBINSON, an individual, Defendant-Appellant. John Hadden Publishers, Inc., an Oklahoma corporation; and Interstate Book Company, a Kansas corporation, Defendants.

No. 81-1007.
United States Court of Appeals,Tenth Circuit.
July 7, 1981.

James M. Sturdivant and John Henry Rule of Gable, Gotwals, Rubin, Fox, Johnson & Baker, Tulsa, Okl., for defendant-appellant.

James L. Kincaid, J. David Jorgenson and Keith P. Ellison of Conner, Winters, Ballaine, Barry & McGowen, Tulsa, Okl., for plaintiffs-appellees.

Before DOYLE, McKAY and LOGAN, Circuit Judges.
McKAY, Circuit Judge
After examining the briefs and the appellate record, this three-judge panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not be of material assistance in the determination of this appeal. See Fed.R.App.P. 34(a); Tenth Cir. R. 10(e). The cause is therefore ordered submitted without oral argument.
Appellants, defendants below, filed a petition to remove this action to the United States District Court on June 5, 1980. A co-defendant, Interstate Book Company, did not join in the petition for removal and the petition was thus procedurally defective. See Tri-Cities Newspapers, Inc. v. Tri-Cities Pressmen Local 349, 427 F.2d 325 (5th Cir. 1970). Five days after filing the petition for removal the removing defendants filed an application and notice for an order remanding the action to the state court. Plaintiffs concurred in the view that the matter had been improperly removed and also urged the trial court to tax attorney's fees and costs to defendants. Plaintiffs seek to avoid the traditional American rule which disfavors the allowance of attorney's fees by invoking the exception to that rule which sanctions an award of attorney's fees when a party's opponent acts " 'in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.' " Hall v. Cole, 412 U.S. 1, 5, 93 S.Ct. 1943, 1946, 36 L.Ed.2d 702 (1973) (quoting 6 J. Moore, Federal Practice P 54.77(2), p. 1709 (2d ed. 1972)). See also Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v. Wilderness Society, 421 U.S. 240, 258-59, 95 S.Ct. 1612, 1622, 44 L.Ed.2d 141 (1975).
The trial court found, with adequate support in the record, that "(t)his case was removed improvidently and frivolously because it was obvious that this Court was fully without removal jurisdiction of this action either on federal question grounds or on diversity grounds." Record, vol. 1, at 146. The court awarded attorney's fees in the amount of $6,000.
We have said that a trial court which awards attorney's fees under the "bad faith, vexatious, wanton, or oppressive" exception to the American rule "will be reversed only in circumstances which do not show a reasonable ground for the conclusion that vexatiousness existed." Ryan v. Hatfield, 578 F.2d 275, 277 (10th Cir. 1978). Yet here we do not even have a finding of vexatiousness. Notwithstanding a request by plaintiffs to find bad faith, the trial court found only that "removal of this action was improvident and frivolous." Record, vol. 1, at 147. Although "a case can be so frivolous as to reflect impermissible conduct," Americana Industries, Inc. v. Wometco de Puerto Rico, Inc., 556 F.2d 625, 628 (1st Cir. 1977), the trial court did not indicate that its interpretation of frivolous was to be equated with the intent-laden terminology of "bad faith, vexatious, wanton, or oppressive." In fact, the trial court seemed to be advocating a negligence standard for the award of attorney's fees when it interpreted "frivolous" at the hearing: "I have come to the conclusion that the commencement of this proceeding in this court was frivolous in that if counsel had carefully reviewed the applicable law counsel would have known that this court would not have jurisdiction." Record, vol. 4, at 31.
An award of attorney's fees under the bad faith exception to the American rule "is punitive, and the penalty can be imposed 'only in exceptional cases and for dominating reasons of justice.' " United States v. Standard Oil Co., 603 F.2d 100, 103 (9th Cir. 1979) (quoting 6 J. Moore, Federal Practice P 54.77(2) pp. 1709-10 (2d ed. 1972)). Further, we agree that "(i)nvocation of the bad faith exception to the normal federal rule that attorney's fees may not be recovered requires more than a showing of a weak or legally inadequate case." Americana Industries, Inc. v. Wometco de Puerto Rico, Inc., 556 F.2d 625, 628 (1st Cir. 1979). These considerations highlight the narrowness of the exception under which the trial court purported to award attorney's fees in this case. The exception is not invoked by findings of negligence, frivolity, or improvidence. The trial court's award of attorney's fees is reversed.
Defendants also challenge the trial court's award of $352 for plaintiffs' costs. We find that 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) allows an award of "just costs" if "it appears that the case was removed improvidently and without jurisdiction." This statutory standard of "improvidence" is clearly less stringent than the "bad faith" standard that must be met in order for a court to award attorney's fees in cases of this nature. The difference between costs and attorney's fees has been noted by other courts. See Bradley v. School Board of City of Richmond, 416 U.S. 696, 706 n.8, 94 S.Ct. 2006, 2013, 40 L.Ed.2d 476 (1974); Demsey & Associates, Inc. v. S.S. Sea Star, 500 F.2d 409, 411 (2d Cir. 1974). We find the trial court's finding of frivolousness to meet § 1447(c)'s "improvidence" standard and affirm the award of costs.
Four ex-WCG members - C. Wayne Cole, Ron Dart, Guy Carnes, and Benny Sharp - testified favorably on Robinson's side at the Tulsa trial. Benny Sharp, for one, was personally aware of the incest, as he was in the room when the legendary "I will destroy you" last meeting took place between HWA and GTA.

In final settlement of a legally dubious, WCG pre-publication lawsuit against Robinson for exposing Armstrong's Tangled Web, Armstrong, instead of winning the incest case through his straw men, had to write author David Robinson a check for $25,000!

HWA or the WCG never challenged the factual, plain truth about Armstrong's criminal incest itself in court, which would be the preferred legal strategy to stop publication, or get a retraction and money damages from author Robinson, to set the record straight. But in order to get that public retraction, Armstrong had to have the real truth about the guilt of his repeated criminal incest on his side to win, which he didn't.

Dare to inform yourself about the HWA few people really knew, from Chapter XX of Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web:

Chapter XX

How serious is the sin of incest, such as when a father uses his authority to force himself on his own daughter, his own flesh? All generations of the human family have viewed this conduct as an unnatural act. The apostle Paul referred to a somewhat similar relationship in the Corinthian church: "...such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentles, that one should have his father's wife" (I Cor. 5:1). Incest was disgusting beyond measure to Paul, who was led to record his revulsion for posterity in the inspired Bible.

Even during this time of "sexual freedom" the American nation was recently shocked to witness a television program, "The Phil Donahue Show," on which victims of incest discussed their emotional suffering that resulted from such parental abuse. The psychological penalty for such sin continues for generations.

Sometimes perpetrators of such crimes try to justify themselves by citing the case of Lot, the nephew of Abraham, in the book of Genesis. Does the biblical account of the conduct of Lot in any way justify a man taking his own daughter? Let's look at this matter:
  1. Lot was without a wife, as she had been killed on the trip from Sodom.
  2. Lot was not the initiator, his daughters were. They plied him with wine, in preparation for what they wanted, children. They thought all mankind had been destroyed, and they wanted to preserve the race.
  3. Lot performed his part while drunk and never repeated that reprehensible conduct.
Not that there is ever any justification for such acts, but the sin of Lot, bad as it was, is not to be compared with that of a married man who, on a continuing basis, engages in sex with his own daughter!
Many American states legislated the death penalty in such cases in the earlier years of this country. I knew personally of such a case in Texas back in the 1950's. The father was executed in Huntsville for such an act. He was convicted in Live Oak County, Texas. He had seduced his thirteen-year-old daughter and had continued the affair with her until relatives discovered the crime. It was his own people who demanded the death penalty and the State of Texas accommodated them. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the laws of Oregon and California were not all that different during the thirties and forties.

Incest is a terrible and unnatural crime, an extreme perversity. That is why I was shocked beyond measure to hear that Herbert Armstrong was, himself, guilty of this vile sin. I learned of this in the summer of 1979 from members of his own family. The story, sordid beyond imagination, was told in awful detail.

One family source was Garner Ted Armstrong. Last summer, as HWA attacked his own son in such savage fury, his son was in the depths of despair. His emotional mix included anger and deep hurt. In such a state he told family secrets that otherwise would have been locked within him forever. He said he had learned in 1971 of his father's incredible conduct during the '30's and '40s. The story came directly to him in lurid detail, but he kept it sealed in his own consciousness for all those years. But, in the spring of 1978 while in his father's house for the last time, his father had threatened to "destroy him." Ted, in response, replied, "Dad, I will destroy you. I know about you and -----." (He was speaking of the younger of his two sisters.)

His father had been on a high-handed autocratic binge. But at that comment he sat down quietly and responded, "Well, Ted, there have been times when I have been very far away from God." (Admittedly, this was a strange turn of events in the relationship of the two whom HWA had likened to God the Father and Jesus Christ!)

Ted has told many people that there was a look in his father's eyes he had never seen before. Ted knew his father was now determined to totally destroy any credibility he might have. It was either him or his son. Self-preservation now demanded such action. It was a matter of give or get, and HWA meant to get!

None who have objectively heard the incest story in its awful detail doubt it. This is a vital chapter left out of HWA's autobiography. This sin occurred over a long span of years, a decade after his ordination to the ministry, according to his own family members. No wonder he was not receptive to David Antion's "qualifications for the ministry" paper back in 1974.

Many of us have wondered why HWA was so forceful in covering up Ted's sins for so many years. Ted then seemed to be an extension of himself in his own mind and was not even a separate entity. It was like covering for himself. But when finally he knew he must cut his son off, he had to go all the way. It was either destroy or be destroyed. and there were still some things he wanted to "get" out of life even if he were nearly ninety.

Such matters should not normally be mentioned, but this is by no means a normal case. The welfare of thousands is at stake, and thousands who look to HWA, idolizing him as if he were God himself, must come to understand how dangerous such a view is. Thousands around the world have been hurt by blindly following this man. Now people must be given enough information to make an intelligent decision on whether this is the man who is going to lead them to safety during the "crisis at the close," or whether he is just going to continue taking their money and calling them "dumb sheep"!

Some may feel I should just cover up this whole sordid affair and forget it. But I find that impossible to do, because the welfare of too many people hinges on the truth about his personality.

Paul wrote to Christians of his day: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret" (Eph. 5:11-12, RSV). Earlier in the same chapter, Paul had written: "But immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints" (Eph. 5:3, RSV).
"But," some say, "you shouldn't judge God's apostle." The Bible says otherwise! Jesus Christ himself commended the Ephesian church for trying and testing those who claimed to be apostles. Notice Jesus' words: "Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and has found them liars" (Rev. 2:2).

Can someone preach truth for many years and fail in his own spiritual life? Of course! Lucifer did, Solomon did, and so have many others down through the years. That is why Christ asked, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Christ also said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). The way a man talks in private is the way he is. His public utterances alone aren't enough to judge a man's characterhis trustworthiness. It is especially necessary to know what kind of man you follow when he promises to lead you in the kingdom of God.

In Matthew 7:21-23, we read this warning from Jesus himself:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
In the 59th chapter of Isaiah, that prophet warns of those who conceive mischief, lie, and bring forth iniquity. Their feet run to do evil. The way of peace they know not. They make themselves crooked paths, and they weave spiders' webs. But Isaiah promises in the name of God that those webs shall not be a covering for their sins in the end!

Herbert Armstrong has become tangled in his own web of lies. And the time has come for him to be revealed for what he really is. May God help his followers to see.

Update: Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web is no longer available from John Hadden Publishers, in Tulsa, OK. However, it may be obtained from another source. An excerpt from a letter to ESN from about a current United Church of God evangelist, related to the Armstrong family and in a position to know,  who confirms HWA's incest:

But I still doubted the incest allegations -- that is until Mr. Gary Antion confirmed that they were entirely true when I talked with him after his sermon on the last day of Unleavened Bread, April 12. I'd asked him if he'd read David Robinson's book. He said he had. I told him that I'd read in another publication that Dorothy Mattson told his brother David Antion (a former WCG evangelist) all about the incest. (They were and are in-laws.) He nodded. I asked him if David ever said anything to him about it. "Yes," he said.
"What did he say?" I responded.
"He told me the story was true," he calmly said.
There is a way to get the book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, right where Herbert W. Armstrong got started, in your local community library. In fact, most of the books about the Worldwide Church of God, now many out of print, may be obtained through interlibrary loan to your local library for free. Just click on the ARs main page and find the entry for Feb 8, 2009 for complete details.


Tamara's New Video, and Lunch with Jesus

A new video has been posted on the WCG website front page in the WCG Today series, starring WCG box office luminaries Tamara Tkach and Mike Feazell. Tamara deftly and demurely answers Feazell's scripted questions while regally clad in a rich maroon blouse and black pants, hair cascading down to her shoulder line, while adorned in gold jewelry, which suspends a large rock of some import centered beneath her neck.

[The video is now under WCG embargo, but AR has composed an advance review of the video for you: ;) ]

After a brief intro, Feazell begins to interview Tamara with a series of canned questions about her life in the WCG beginning at age 15, when she began listening to the broadcast and getting the PT magazine along with her father. They subsequently qualified themselves and were invited to visit the Denver WCG congregation for the first time, afterward attending their first Feast at the Big Sandy campus. Tamara then voted to attend AC to begin her career.

Viable, long-term career options in the WCG at the time were extremely limited for both men and women. What could Tamara possibly major in at Ambassador? As she laments in the video, AC majors and career options at that time were very limited to AC women - with a choice of home economics, theology, agriculture, or journalism. Tamara takes home ec and theology, graduates from Ambassador class of 1978, and moves to take a supervisory job at Intel in Phoenix.

[Ed.: For background clarification, Tkach Jr. and Mike Feazell, Pasadena Imperial High best buddies, both attended together and graduated from Ambassador in 1973. Tkach Jr. then married AC graduate Jill Hockwald, and began working at the local level as a WCG ministerial trainee for the church between 1973 and 1976, ending at the Phoenix East congregation. He was ordained a local elder in 1976, which due to budget cutting, became an unpaid position as assistant pastor for Phoenix East congregation. He was later removed as the Phoenix assistant pastor in July 1978, two months after getting divorced. At some point in Arizona, newly graduated Tamara meets a temperamental, divorced Joe Tkach Jr., and they wind up getting married two years later in 1980. Tkach Jr. then eked out a living as a social worker for the next four years employed by the government of Arizona, working with the retarded. In 1984, Joe Jr. switches careers to Intel also and takes a job in corporate training services. Things are starting to look up as Tkach Sr. helps put down the 1979 receivership and Armstrong uses Tkach Sr. to replace Roderick Meredith as head of WCG Church Administration. By the end of 1985, a severely weakened, near blind Armstrong, grateful to Tkach Sr. for his undying loyalty, knows he doesn't have much time left. Change was in the air, and the rest is history.

Tamara then glibly mentions how the "inaugurated women's ministry in 1995" began in the WCG. She remarks "when the changes happened the door was opened" to women's ministry. Mentioned are "changes" in doctrine, but exactly how these doctrinal changes came about over the years under the Tkachs is never directly addressed. Joe Junior's chief theological change advisor Feazell and Tammy dance around the issue of when, how, and on whose schedule the "changes" came about. Feazell supportively offers that historically women were the backbone of the church, when men really didn't want to go to church. (Reportedly, Joe Tkach Jr. and Feazell don't bother to attend WCG services locally on a regular basis anywhere anyway.) Feazell remarks about the first 2000 years of a male dominated church hierarchy, who he says depended on women for survival and growth of the church.

In the mid 1990s with the changes, Tamara says the WCG began to realize that women had gifts of value in the church. She remarks that women had always been serving in the WCG, but not in the sense of a designated women's ministry. She recounts the story of a women fully qualified to be a festival choir director, but that opportunity was formerly denied her.

Tamara brings in the influence of women's ministry coordinator Sheila Graham's, whose stint as a writer and PT editor influenced her thinking. A member of the WCG since 1962, Graham wrote PT articles on the role of women, women of the Bible, and the family. She obtained an M.A. from the Azusa Haggard School of Theology in Dec 1997; roughly the same time frame Tkach Sr., and Feazell surreptitiously began to attend Azusa Haggard classes, to complete their mutual Azusa doctoral degree plans.

Tamara began to write and speak to encourage WCG women to use their gifts, and the WCG women's ministry began to evolve. She acknowledges there was some early opposition, including those who she believes wrongly charged a "feminist" takeover of the WCG. Rather, she focused her elder wives newsletter on the needs of the wives of the ordained ministry. She believes the wives need ministry: they can feel isolated in a fishbowl, with a limited peer group to commiserate; critiqued under the spotlight, with their WCG pastor's kids held up to an impossibly high standard.

Feazell next asks Tamara out of the blue about her bowling ministry, when amusingly, they competitively exchange average bowling scores.

Finally, what is the future of the WCG women's ministry, if any? Tamara says that women's ministry is taken care of at a local level. Women's ministry coordinators provide support recommendations which can be implemented on a localized basis as desired.

To conclude the interview, Tamara says she thinks the church may have the wrong ideas about God. She says she wants to better know Jesus, but the church may have put "God in a box", and wants the church to think of God, outside of any limitations.


Tamara's Lunch with Jesus

Tammy recently had lunch with Jesus. Read about it here.


Give Tamara A Raise?: Female Solo Pastors Earn More Than Male Solo Pastors

Okay, so there aren't many female solo pastors in American churches. A recent salary survey had six percent of solo pastors responding were women. Yet female solo pastors reported 10.4 percent higher total compensation. Their average salary was 8.6 percent higher than men's ($49,219 compared to $45,259), and better housing and retirement benefits made up the rest of the difference. Why do female solo pastors earn $62,472 in total compensation (including health insurance, retirement, and continuing education) when their male counterparts earn only $56,558?

One hypothesis is that women stay in solo pastorates longer, and their longevity leads to higher pay. But that hypothesis doesn't hold up. Research shows that for solo pastors the number of years served makes next to no difference in pay.

The more-likely explanation is regional. We know that solo pastors receive the highest pay in the New England areas and west coast, with the higher cost of living in those regions. And these areas probably have the greatest cultural acceptance of women serving as solo pastors. Thus, women solo pastors tend to find work in regions with a high cost of living, and consequently, get a higher salary.

And before we assume that the church runs counter to the still-prevalent cultural practice of paying women less than men for comparable work, women were paid less than men in every other church position surveyed except church secretary. On average, females earned approximately 80 percent of the compensation of males. Or, in other words, males earned about 25 percent more than females.

Give Tamara a raise? At least Tammy is willing to give out her denominational email address to the worldwide membership, while the Pastor General of her WCG Association isn't. Nor is he willing to open his accounting books and secret funds for the slightest inspection by the congregations sending in more tithes to the WCG's bottomless pit.


Video update: The video is now up and streaming at the wcg.org webpage.


Armstrong Indicted On Financial Fraud

Police made the raid as part of an ongoing criminal investigation and seized financial records and computers. In a raid evoking shades of the 1979 receivership, more than 20 officers sealed off the block-long church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting the senior controversial pastor, who strode the sidewalk, a copy of the warrant clenched in his fist.

Police raided the landmark Grace Church and St. Stephen’s in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado in a criminal investigation into whether controversial Pastor Don Armstrong embezzled millions of dollars from Grace Church.

Armstrong and his followers had split away form the Episcopal Church and joined the Episcopalian Diocese of Nigeria, whose archbishop once supported a law imposing five-year prison terms for gays and their supporters. Since then, Armstrong and his sect have kept physical possession of the $17 million dollar historic, architecturally inspiring Grace Church and St. Stephen’s.

In a ballot taken, 93 percent voted to align themselves with the conservative Convocation of Anglicans of North America (CANA). That group is aligned with the Anglican Province of Nigeria.

The members also overwhelmingly voted 348 to 22 to retain the real and personal property of Grace Church, church officials said. “I’m delighted. It doesn’t get much better than that,” said the ecstatic Armstrong, who has been at the helm of the Grace Church for the last 20 years.

Regardless of any voting, valid or not, the hierarchical governance of the Episcopal Church of Colorado wants the property and intends to fight Armstrong through the courts, if necessary, to keep what it claims is denominational property.

The question is, will the Worldwide Church of God, then file yet another amicus brief on behalf of the Episcopal Church, in favor of that denominational hierarchy, helping to wrestle away the $17 million dollar Colorado property away from church membership? WCG has already intervened in the Virginia Episcopal church property dispute, joining in an amicus filing in favor of the denominational hierarchy against the members, so Tkach has already elected to join the fight in Virginia. Judge Bellows ruled in late December in favor of the local congregations keeping their church property. The cases are now being appealed by the denomination up to the Virginia supreme court. (For more on Tkach's maneuvers, see "Religious Property Wars: Tkach Joins The Fight!)

Armstrong once led the largest Episcopal church in Colorado. But accusations arose Armstrong misappropriated hundreds of thousands in church funds. He was then placed under ecclesiastical indictment, and found guilty by the church of misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Armstrong was found to have committed crimes, including theft of $392,409.93 from Grace Church; tax fraud, causing Grace Church to issue false W-2s and under report Armstrong's income and benefits by $548,097.27; receiving illegal loans totaling $122,479.16 in violation of church law and policy; improperty taking nearly $400,000 in church funds to pay for college tuition, or spending for personal uses; misappropriation of church funds for another $259,999; taking and alienating the church's real property without authorization; violating a temporary inhibition placed on him; using clergy discretionary funds improperly; and failing to maintain proper books of account.

Police confirm Armstrong took the some of the funds to pay for college tuition. Police found no documents signed approving the money for Armstrong's use, but a church auditor defended Armstrong's innocence.

An affidavit affirms that Armstrong misused $392,000 and that he wrote monthly checks for six years. Those were the years Armstrong's children were in college. "There are hundreds upon thousands of pages of information that need to be looked at," a police spokesman said of the lengthy investigation, "as well as computer records."

They took files of church financial documents and computers. "It has to be done that way," the police spokesman stated, "when you have those kinds of disposable evidence that someone could get rid of if they new we were coming."

"It's not clear to us that he's the only suspect," the spokesman also said, "certainly he's named in the warrant as being someone questioned about what happened to some of the monies there." The criminal investigation is ongoing, with police expected to hand damning evidence of guilt to prosecutors.

Throughout this biblical drama, criminal charges have yet to be filed against Armstrong — and who, like his namesake Herbert Armstrong (could he possibly be any relation?) maintains his innocence.

Armstrong and a few hundred of his seemingly embattled followers are refusing to leave the physical church, an attractive landmark of downtown Colorado Springs. They are now in association with the Episcopal Diocese of Nigeria. The rest of the disenchanted congregation is temporarily meeting in the building of another church nearby.

Events have become a bit humorous at times. One wag attempted to throw a throw a cream pie right in Armstrong’s face, while in the middle of one of his sermons! (the elderly Armstrong managed to hide behind the pulpit when he saw the cream pie coming). The pie-thrower was captured by members of the congregation, arrested and later claimed he was making some sort of political statement.

Also, Armstrong was photographed by the press, illegally parking his vehicle at least twice to get into the Starbucks.

There’s also the Nigerian aspect to all of this, and the Episcopal denomination's evolving position on homosexuality. Faced with the Episcopal Church ordaining more gay clergy after the controversial election of V. Gene Robinson, a gay New Hampshire bishop in 2003, and backing same-gender unions (not to mention the accusations of his misappropriation of funds), Armstrong and his followers split with the church earlier this year, and have joined forces with the Church of Nigeria, whose archbishop is Peter Akinola -- who has written:

“Homosexuality or lesbianism or bestiality is to us a form of slavery, and redemption from it is readily available through repentance and faith in the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus the Christ,” Akinola wrote in an essay.

As there have been so many statements and counter-statements flung by Armstrong supporters and the Episcopal diocese it's difficult to know the real truth about the evolving controversy. It's sure to become more interesting when Armstrong's upcoming trial Feb. 10 begins over who really owns Grace Church: The heirarchical governance of the Episcopal Church, or the breakaway group led by Armstrong.