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!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I gave money to Harmstrong. And what did I get?

What I got in return was a free! lousy magazine, some crappy booklets, and more free! brainwashing by his ministurd robots, who bloviated nonstop every Sabbath for hours on end.

No thanks.


Dill Weed said...

First time visitig here. COGers sure like to blog. I think they must be among the most technically savy church goers in the world. My blog is an irreverent look at Ron Weinland.

I'm Dill Weed, the author of

Stan said...

Please to make your acquaintance, Dill Weed.

Ron Weinland came a bit too late and a dollar short for me to take him that seriously. Nonetheless, he has been getting a lot of free press lately.

I have added The Prophet Who Failed to the AR blogroll. Welcome.

Stan Gardner

Anonymous said...

Notably, the current Worldwide Church of God is NOT on the member list of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, which should hopefully be a red flag to mainstream Christians considering the group in the present.

Do Junior and Weazell and Kelly the Snake want to go through the measures necessary to have the church become a member in good standing of ECFA? And if not, WHY not? Inquiring minds want to know.

Stan said...


The ironic thing is that UCG now does more regular financial disclosure than the Tkach's WCG, and is much closer to meeting ECFA standards.

Tkach spends thousands of WCG dollars to maintain his NAE denominational membership to try to gain some respectability. The NAE has had financial and other difficulties recently, not the least of which was the recent resignation of Ted Haggard. Significantly, Tkach's Azusa (Russell Duke is Acting Haggard Dean) and Fuller are both academic members of the NAE.

The WCG did have some dealings with the Christian Stewardship Association (CSA), an affiliate of the NAE. The CSA, so for as I can tell, was devoted to teaching successful fund raising techniques for NAE membership, but became literally bankrupt, merging into another organization.

ECFA was formed to prevent abuses of the system. At least ECFA requires an independent board and some standards, such as:

Standard 5 - Financial Disclosure
Every member shall provide a copy of its current financial statements upon written request and provide other disclosures as the law may require. If audited financial statements are required to comply with Standard 3, they must be disclosed under this Standard. A member must provide a report, on request, including financial information, on any specific project for which it is soliciting gifts.

There is absolutely nothing standing in the way to prevent Tkach from meeting or exceeding ECFA financial disclosure and accountability standards all on his own, even without a formal ECFA membership. He just doesn't want to “play church” responsibly that way, with a trifle of WCG accountability.

Of course, it would be highly beneficial if he did. ECFA was founded to prevent the kind of financial abuses and fraud in the evangelical community which occurred under Armstrong and continue to exist today in the COGs.
Because Tkach will not make these ECFA reforms into WCG policy, and make proper WCG financial disclosures, all of the Tkach era reforms are called into question, which will lead to the morally bankrupt final demise of his WCG.

Stan Gardner

Anonymous said...

In re: UCG, if you read through their doctrines, on the website, it's clear that they still require 3 tithes as well; only if you are paying income tax, are you exempt from third tithe.

Presumably, this means United requires those on social assistance to tithe 30% of their income. The same "widows mites" the church required back in the day, if I am not mistaken.

Stan said...

I'm not suggesting that the UCG doctrine on three tithes is substantially different than was promulgated in the WCG.

Triple tithing to the church was sold as a beneficial financial law that somehow ends financial worries, resulting in magical financial blessings to the donor.

Robbing the poor to give to the rich, the Armstrongs secretly authorized using third tithe “poor fund” sent to Pasadena for the needy church widows to buy jet fuel; to furnish and redecorate WCG ministerial mansions; help pay favorites excessive ministerial salaries; and similar fraudulent uses of WCG third tithe long held secret.

UCG is publishing some, although limited, restricted financial information - more than the obfuscating blurbs Tkach offers to placate. UCG probably does this in part because they have do so to survive, in light of tremendous WCG financial abuses.

As with the Armstrongs, it's not possible, using information made available, to trace cumulative UCG third tithe "poor fund" donations- and what major UCG corporate and ministerial expenses are actually paid with UCG third tithe.

Stan Gardner

Anonymous said...

I've heard from someone on the inside (so take that for what it's worth) that some of the ministry is unsalaried; I daresay that is NOT the case for "the Council of Elders", however. (Who probably still believe they will see that verse in Revelation come to fruition during their lifetimes.)

Which gets off the topic of the tithes, I guess, but apparently United says most of their tithes go into the literature, which is unfortunate. Especially since they have ads for US&BC all over the Canadian UCG website.......

Stan said...

If any in the UCG are willing to work without salary, I'm sure they'll take them up on the offer.

Last year at the GCE meeting in Cincinnati the UCG treasurer gave a handout of the May 9 cash flow report and listed the salary ranges for Church employees.

I don't have those specific salary ranges or how lavishly the UCG Council of Elders is paid. Maybe Dixon Cartwright has more detail to publish on who gets paid and how much.

For its fiscal year ending 6/30/08 UCG grossed $23,927,074.

It spent $5,734,800 of that (roughly 24.0%) for media and literature, but as you realize, these large overall categories can be creatively manipulated.

UCG spends $17 out of every $100 dollars donated on expenses to pay for headquarters, over $4 million dollars last year.

Questeruk said...

Aaron Dean is on the Council of Elders, and is unsalaried, as he has an ‘outside’ job.

There are a number of unsalaried ‘ordinary’ ministers, more so outside the USA.

Richard said...

Are any COG's members of ECFA? I can't think of any.

Put a set of eyeballs on top of that $10,000 packet, and you'd have a great GEICO parody.

Anonymous said...

"Are any COG's members of ECFA?"Nope.And, for the record, I was wrong about UCG and 3rd tithe; apparently, 3T is not required in countries that provide social assistance programs. Their "paper on tithing" on the website does not make that very clear, however, which is why I automatically assumed it was quid pro quo, and "give the widow's mites" in UCG, as it was in the heyday of WCG/GCI.

d said...

in 1978 mike wallace reported that wcg took in over $150 million per year. herb died 10 year later in 1986. that year the church took in $225 million. a conservative estimate using the basics comes out to $1.5 billion in 10 years.
grasp that!
this total doesn't include the 10 years immediately preceding the 1978 period, where gta rose to prominence. using conservative estimates it is safe to say that at least $1 billion was taken in.
then figure the interest income, the wills and trusts receipts that aren't figured as income until received and you can get a brief picture of the wealth that flowed to god's apostle.
$2 billion in cash!
so, the vultures circled the carcass and somehow tkach magically was appointed master of a billion dollar bank account.
i ask how?
are we to believe that hwa didn't leave anything to his family?
are we to believe that hwa didn't take safeguards to protect the church he built from the very end it suffered?
where were the super evangelists? you know the ones who stood on saturday and declared they would die before they allowed the church to fall?
where were the lawsuits brought by "leaders" who saw the theft?
where was goat man hoeh? where was superstar blackwell? where were the mcnairs, orbans, salyers, winails(sp) and all the loudmouths?
the question to ask is why was there no resistance? do you seriously believe the membership would not have stood behind mcnair? or do you really believe that herman goat man hoeh couldn't have stopped the theft simply by standing up to the thieves?
100% of wcg membership would have listened to goat man or rod or burk or doug or larry.
they didn't fight! they said it was god's will. huh?
in other words the sheeple were told not to stand up to the thief. why? it was god's will!
is that true? did god will the theft?
well, my question is who got the money? you remember the money? the $2 billion? where is it?
oh, i know, i'm just a cranky old woman. i'm stupid. there really wasn't any money! right? (cue crickets) right?
are we to believe that little joey magically concocted this rumble all by his lonesome along with bernie and ronnie?