Herbert Armstrong the Fraud

Here are two letters that will explain how Herbert W. Armstrong bought his professorship from USC with a grant to their Law Center. Even after finding out what a character this guy was, USC didn’t care. They just wanted that money.


June 13, 1983
The President and
The Board of Trustees
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The April 18th issue of The Worldwide News, official organ of Herbert Armstrong and his Worldwide Church, has extensive coverage of the March 31st ceremonies at USC announcing the new Herbert W. Armstrong Professorship of Constitutional Law. There is a picture of you, President Zumberge, together with Herbert Armstrong. There are three paragraphs of quotes from your speech which lauded Armstrong in the customary manner of those who receive huge sums of money from his treasury. But I am wondering, ladies and gentlemen, if you were fully informed of Herbert Armstrong’s history before concluding negotiations for the honor you have conferred upon him.

I know nothing of the others for whom professorships have been named in the past. But assuming they are honorable people, I do wonder if you have been fair to them to associate Herbert Armstrong with them in such a manner. The burden of this name and its association, I expect, will become heavier and heavier to bear.

Herbert Armstrong has been remarkably clever at erecting a beautiful facade, but behind that false front lies a very ugly reality. For instance, his well-publicized court case, which broke into the news in 1979, was never settled in the courts. Rather, Armstrong sought and obtained passage of a bill in the California legislature which emasculated the laws operating against him. He obtained a political solution to a legal matter. Is this consistent with the principles of constitutional law? And while he was advocating strict observance of the principles of the First Amendment in California, he took the exact opposite position in Tulsa, Oklahoma in another highly publicized case. Here, Armstrong tried with his might to muzzle the press to prevent publishing of important facts about himself. He had his lawyers go all out to stop publication of the book, “Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web”, even to using prior restraint! This move failed, but not for lack of money or effort on his part.

Herbert Armstrong is known to many as a man who is a law unto himself. Supporting evidence is include with this letter. It seems to many of us who know him best, and I know what I am talking about after thirty years with this “whited sepulcher,” that Armstrong and constitutional law mix about as well as oil and water. He is for such law as long as that law does not get in his way. But when it does, it is the law which must give way-not Herbert Armstrong.

Further evidence of the nature of this man is the designation he assigns to universities such as your own when he speaks to his followers. To them, he explains that all schools, except his own little college in Pasadena, are instruments of Satan the Devil, and are of this present evil world. (One can but wonder, if he believes what he preaches, why he would want to be memorialized in your institution. To him the Catholic Church is the prime instrument of Satan, and others, such as the Methodist Church, are daughters of Rome and slated for utter destruction when the wrath of God falls. He hold out the same fate for the United States Constitution, and our whole nation. As a mater of fact, he prophesied during World War II that Hitler would win, and conquer Britain and America. He preached this doctrine until the war was almost over. One can but wonder how many additional lives were lost in our war effort because of this poison injected into the minds of thousands.

It is because of fear inducing doctrines he teaches that people send him over a hundred million dollars a year. Thousands of his faithful are people are poorly positioned in life-pensioners, widows, and the underemployed. He teaches that without paying him their money they will be denied the hereafter, and as a result, money flows to him in a torrent. He calls this “God’s money.”

I do not know how strong your school of medicine is at USC, but it might be worth knowing that Herbert Armstrong has taught his followers for many years that use of medicine is totally wrong, and is a trick of the devil to destroy men’s faith in God and his healing. Many people have suffered and died in his church in an attempt to follow his ideas in this matter. Might there not be a dichotomy her as well? I personally have seen some of those people needlessly die under the most awful conditions.

Another of the messy loose ends in the Armstrong organization is his teaching to his followers that they must be prepared to leave the country en masse at a signal from him. The destination is a desert region called Petra in the southwestern corner of the kingdom of Jordan, where they are to await the return of Christ. Thousands of his followers are to this very day anxiously awaiting his signal for the exodus. He even encourages his most ardent ministers to proclaim him The Apostle, Moses, Elijah, Zerubabbel, John the Baptist, and the principal of the two witnesses of Revelation, all rolled into one. Also, his ministers have been encouraged to preach that he will never die, even though he is 90-years old (yet if appearance counts, he ages as do other men). While we are living in an era when moral turpitude seems to be a phrase from the past, nevertheless, Herbert Armstrong’s conduct in this area is legendary. Included in the legend is even a ten-year incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter.

Armstrong himself is wont to say, “Where there is so much smoke, there has to be some fire.” The truth is that a bonfire is raging. After he is gone, who is going to continue the defense of his name? Will it be those now surrounding him who have all suffered many indignities at his hand? Will they do as the successors of Stalin did when their feared and hated leader died: revile him before the world? What then of your Herbert W. Armstrong Professorship?


David Robinson



University of Southern California

Office of the Dean
Mr. David Robinson
9006 South Hudson
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74155
June 24, 1983

Dear Mr. Robinson,

President Zumberge has asked me to respond to your letter of June 13, 1983, concerning the Armstrong Professorship.

As you know, the professorship was established by a grant from the Ambassador Foundation to the Law Center. At the Foundation’s request, the professorship was named for the Chairman and Founder of the Foundation. It is customary to name professorships for the institution or persons who provide the funds to establish the professorship’s endowment.

Mr. Armstrong’s career, like the careers of many other noteworthy person, has of course not been free from controversy. We take the occasion of the establishment of a professorship to mark the undeniable contributions of the person for whom the chair is named. Mr. Armstrong is a recognized religious leader and philanthropist.


Scott H. Bice, Dean

One Reply to “Herbert Armstrong the Fraud”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.