Friday, May 20, 2011


As fate would have it Gerald was scheduled to speak in the Tampa Florida Congregation of the World Wide Church of God where I had attended with my wife and two children ever since graduating from the University there in 1978.

Guess what the date was. January 16, 1986.

As some readers may recall that was the day somewhere before 9A.M. Herbert W. Armstrong died.  My wife left a message at my office to call her right away late that morning. When I reached her at home on the phone she seemed shell shocked as she told me the news of his death. I was a little shaken, more dazed, because everything seemed to have changed in an instant. Things I thought to be true went out the window. At that moment while I waited for my client to finish an urgent phone call himself on a business matter I was looking out of his 14th floor office window that looked out over the downtown business district and out across Tampa Bay. I remember everything was so crisp and clear in the bright sunlight that bathed the city and glistened off the bay.  Things gradually began to become more  clear to me as well - bathed in a new light so to speak.

When I hung up the phone after getting the news from my wife and consoling her a bit I suddenly remembered that this evening was Gerald’s visit…I had definitely planned NOT to be there, now I planned NOT to miss this…this was going to be GOOD! 
Armstrong's Evangelist Gerald Waterhouse

When I arrived at King High School where we rented the auditorium it was about 7 P.M. and the Bible Study was scheduled to start at 7:30 P.M. The mood was somber and the conversation quiet and shallow. No one really had any words that made any sense, and certainly did not want to state the OBVIOUS…the prophesied Zerubbabel, as Gerald Waterhouse continually referred to Herbert as had DIED. Everyone in the church knew that Herbert was a type of Zerubbabel and was completing the “Spiritual Temple,” which was his prophesied commission and WOULD live until the return of Christ to personally present this “Spiritual Temple” to Christ. Then Herbert would assume his rightful place in a top position ruling in the Kingdom of God somewhere among the Apostles, the Prophets, the Pillars, the Cornerstone, bla bla bla….snoring again. But apparently I was the only one that had the nerve to mention it, out loud to the pastor, who wrinkled his nose and suddenly developed a tic in his neck and upper lip. He abruptly turned and briskly walked away as pastors did when there was something they did not care to deal with…lots of other brethren that needed greeting you know.

There was a folding table, a single folding chair, a glass of water, and a small reading lamp and a microphone. Everyone was already in their seats and waiting quietly for the key speaker to arrive. He had not been in the auditorium visiting with the church members as one would expect, no one had really seen him yet except the pastor and a few key people. He was behind the curtain on the stage and right at starting time he emerged from the stage entrance door, head down, somber, and walked slowly 25 feet from the door to the table and sat down. He placed his Bible on the table squarely in front of himself and adjusted the microphone position. The pause before he spoke became uncomfortably long. He had not looked up to even see if he had an audience and was probably hoping when he looked up it would be to an empty room. If he had a conscience, I thought, this moment had to be his most difficult.

I was not expecting what came out of his mouth but knew there was only one honest thing he could utter at that moment. While still looking down at his Bible and the microphone a couple inches from his mouth he spoke very quietly and like someone who had been completely deflated, clearly in disbelief.

He said, “Well brethren….long pause….I guess I have been wrong.”  I heard nothing else that evening, remember nothing else. For me there was nothing else to be heard. Most if not all of the other members looked at it as just part of God’s plan, just speculation that failed. For me it was much more…why I didn’t walk out at that moment and never return to the WCG I do understand…but that is all ancient history now and so I write.

Gerald Waterhouse did not wait three days and three nights before believing he had been a false prophet just like his boss, that night of January 16, 1986 he knew. But no matter he had many rounds of golf to play, He would reinvent himself and have a new story soon enough! 

I remember having a conversation in 1996 with Roy Holladay, a former UCG  president and pastor and WCG former pastor. We were at the Pensacola Feast site a year after the breakup in 1996. I was not in the UCG but my parents were so I was there to visit with them. I told Roy about this experience during a conversation we were having. I had never seen eyes get so large, (except for Rodney Dangerfield) I was ready to duck, expecting any second they would dislodge their sockets and hit me. Then after stuttering he forced out a restrained but very angry reply, “well he was only wrong on that.” Some other members standing around in the conversation quickly realized they had other places to be and vanished. I smiled and thanked Roy for talking with me. Since then when he sees me his eyes start to bug out but he is polite and restrains himself as I smile pleasantly at him.


  1. LOL, that's hilarious! Holladay's reaction certainly shows the "fruits" of UCG (if the whole mess with CoGWA didn't seal the lid on it), doesn't it?

    I don't think any of us honestly believed...OK, most...of what Waterhouse said, when he got on his long-winded rambles. They were a trial, to be endured, for certain! :-)

    I always remember feeling uncomfortable when Waterhouse would say something that was painfully obviously out of his backside, and not out of the Bible. From the awkward shifting of others around me, I know I wasn't alone in that!

    (Not to mention the fact that church attendance was mysteriously hit by an epidemic bout of 'flu, any Sabbath Waterhouse was in town. Make of that what you will.)

    So, it doesn't surprise me that Waterhouse was a liar. Now, the reason he took the "I was wrong" tack, was so he could travel the world the year after, and preach long-winded tall tales about Joseph Tkach Sr's alleged WWII exploits. ("His name means the Weaver of Men, brethren! I would follow him unto death!" Yeah good ol' Gerry said that about Mr. Armstrong, too....)

    The thing that does surprise me, is that there are some who still think Waterhouse's ordination held any kind of "water" (sorry, pun not intended) in the first place. Sheer common sense would tell you otherwise, and I don't think I can name off a single member, of my 300+ former congregation who regarded Waterhouse the same way Holladay clearly did/does.

  2. Psalms of Praise said...

    "The thing that does surprise me, is that there are some who still think Waterhouse's ordination held any kind of "water" (sorry, pun not intended) in the first place. Sheer common sense would tell you otherwise, and I don't think I can name off a single member, of my 300+ former congregation who regarded Waterhouse the same way Holladay clearly did/does."

    Your observation is dead on, a chapter in my upcoming book will prove, using HWA's own argument that NOT ONE single ordination in the WCG was valid in God's eyes. Herbert W. Armstrong had his Eldership stripped and was disfellowshipped by the COG 7th Day, who he formally recognized as The True Church of God.
    HWA taught government from the top down not the bottom up.

    Damned by his own words and his own doctrine!!


  3. Weeelll, I honestly think the "God's Government on Earth" idea got going after he got ill, and was starting to listen to the voices of others, bolstering his ego....Whether or not he was ordained or wasn't ordained by the Sardis-era church (and whether or not CoG7 actually was the Sardis-era church; there is some debate about that, in my mind) is straining at gnats, when a lot (and I do mean a lot) of the Church's teachings are now being acknowledged by "mainstream" Christian scholars as having been correct.

    Since the apostasy, the Church has become a caricature of itself, unfortunately, and people labour under the delusion that we over-focused on certain areas (like Armstrong's Apostleship) when, in day-to-day life, we took a more holistic approach. In my experience, anyway.

  4. Hi singsongsofpraisetohim,

    It is The True Doctrine of Christ that Armstrongism is missing.

    My writings state my position on doctrinal matters taken directly from scripture and not in "proof text" fashion. I write exactly what Christ and the Apostles taught throughout the entire New Testament after Christ's death and resurrection. Especially that of the Apostle Paul.

    Once the new covenant is clearly understood which is; Salvation is through the Grace of God accompanied by our faith in Christ Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our Passover, are Baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we then receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. After that we begin to worship the Father in spirit and truth, no more in physical Temples, as Jesus taught in John 4 at the well of Jacob in Sychar where the covenants all began between God and Abraham, and Abraham's decendants.

    Deeds of the law mean nothing to God, our faith in Christ is our righteousness in God's eyes just as God said of Abraham's faith which was imputed to him as righteousness.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and please feel welcome to examine what I offer, unfiltered, and directly from God's Holy Bible...I ask NOTHING in return.

    Freely received - freely given.


  5. "Only wrong on that"?!?!?!

    Roy Holladay must have missed Gerald Waterhouse's messages in the months and years after HWA died.

    He claimed Joseph Tkach Sr. was one of the "two witnesses" in waiting -- which, of course, Mr. Tkach eventually rejected.

    He also reminded WCG members they had better follow HWA's successor, whomever it was. He'd play that clip from HWA's final sermon on the Feast of Trumpets 1985 -- yet somehow, years later he wound up in UCG.

    "Liar"? I'd hesitate to use that word. I'd rather think Mr. Waterhouse spoke in faith, but he turned out to be wrong.

    1. Some of my friends went with united. When I saw that Waterhouse went to United I said they lost it.

  6. Or... Gerald Waterhouse was a games playing psychopath.

    At this point, I see him as one of the "Snakes in Suits" -- a hireling ravening wolf, a pandering prostitute, in expensive wool sheep's clothing who knew perfectly well what he was doing -- as a nut job, always hinting at promising more than he could deliver, even up to the end in United.

    The first rule is to shear the sheep before you eat them: Lie to them and then take their money.

  7. Douglas,

    GW learned well from his mentor and boss. That is why Armstrong wanted to have a college so he could train (indoctrinate) his ministry to do it his way. This is what Mr. Keitz a former associate of HWA in the Church of God 7th Day wrote. Herbert did not get along with the leadership in that church because he could not control them Keitz relates. He did not like when people thought for themselves. That got him excommunicated on May 10, 1934 from that group.

  8. A man who's crowning revelation is that "we will be gods" is a deceived man; a child of "the deceiver" so it is with H. W.Armstrong and all who would follow him or any part of his satanic teachings. I do not think these are harsh words just simple truth. Having grown up in RCG/WCG I have many fond memories, so it's not bitterness but a simple summing up of HWA's ministry in light of Scripture. When I was a child I was entertained buy all that pomposity: it feed the pride of the old man in me. I am thankful that by the Grace of GOD I am now "Saved", and able to discern and follow the voice of Jesus through the Bible rather than some clever scheme spat out by the father of lies & lair's.

  9. Thank you for your website. Both your input as well as the comments are insightful. I guess I can only speak for myself. I was baptised in the WCG in January 1974, and I left it in January 2003; all up 29 years. In hindsight, I was somehow unable to think for myself, so I allowed others to do the thinking for me. Even when logic and my own senses used to tell me that some things simply did not add up, I rationalized it all, because I was fed such mantras as "this is the ONLY true church on the face of this world", "HWA is God's apostle and/or prophet" and others. Now, a few months off 60 years of age, I am grateful to God that I can think for myself, and His Word makes so much more sense, than ever before. I am also glad some people have already passed on, because, personal misdeeds and secrets revealed on the internet would have caused them heart attack had they been alive today. Finally, as stinking as some of them were, remember folks that God is in charge; He works in and through each individual according to His purpose and calling. We can fully trust Him to undo all wrongs, clear up all of our scars (admittedly some of us have been badly scarred) and everything will work out in the end as He intended in the first place.