the painful truth about the worldwide church of god

This article was edited on 9/9/2010 to supply the link as to the missing page (522) of the pdf document posted on various Armstrong church related websites.

Who is telling the truth about makeup doctrine changes,

Wayne Cole or HWA ?

By Stinger

Part One

Herbert Armstrong blamed Wayne Cole for going behind his back and changing the Worldwide Church of God doctrine on makeup in late 1974. But Wayne Cole has a different story to tell. And it's time it was told. All of the material I will be quoting in this portion of my article came directly from The WorldWide News, Vol. IX, No. 19, Nov. 16, 1981.

First, let's look at what HWA said about this confusing issue that was changed five times between 1955 and 1987 (four of which HWA made himself and thereby helped to confuse).

HWA's article from that Nov. 16 issue was titled:

How subtly Satan used MAKEUP to start the Church off the track.

The subtitle was:

How Satan began injecting liberalism into God's Church.

HWA stated, "For Three Years the living Christ has been working to put His Church back on the track! But how did the people of the living God get off the track? How did the whole world first get off the track?"

So here we have HWA, in his usual mode, claiming Christ had been speaking directly to him and helping him (and only him) put God's church "back on track. " Many of you will remember what a catch phrase that was during those unsettled times. Just about every other article in the WWN was about how Jesus was getting us "back on track." It was almost a litmus test to see how many times that phrase could be repeated in a sermon. Many faithful ministers (and some sly ones) made it an essential part of their vocabulary & sermonary.

Some of you will also remember that the old fool also changed the name of the World Wide News to the "Good News" for a short while, complete with that horrible Gothic font we all had to stare at each and every month. This finally changed when someone at last pointed out to HWA that we already HAD a Good News magazine and there should not be two of them being published at once!

He finally relented and changed the name of the Good News back to it's original World Wide News, our Church newspaper of record. This should have been a tip off to what was to come, just as it was to me. But being the loyal cult member, I put the blinders on, just as surely as some of you readers did at the time. Senility knows no bounds, however. And the "Apostle" was about to demonstrate that in a big way.

HWA continues:

"God's Church, the now imminent Bride of Christ, is not going to rise to meet the returning Christ in the air with painted faces and plucked and repainted eyebrows!"

Now we have a real dilemma. If HWA's "Christ inspired" statement is true then there are going to be very few women in the Kingdom of God, including Ramona Armstrong! And the women from the splinter groups (who can now wear makeup) such as United, LCG, and Gerald Flurry's PCG are really going to take a hit. Why? Because these groups are the very ones that positively claim that all that HWA spoke on doctrinal matters was true, uncontestable, and came from the very mouth of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and seconded in truthfulness by Jesus Christ Himself.

Houston. We have a problem.

I hope you can all appreciate the seriousness of this issue now. According to HWA, if you wear makeup, any amount at all, you are in danger of hell fire.

"But the Church in the 1950s, still GROWING in knowledge as well as in numbers, ruled on makeup based on specific scriptural "do's and dont's" -- as we then interpreted them. Actually we came to the same right ruling. A very few women argued a bit, but I remember specifically of none who rebelled and left the Church. As near as I could observe our women were happy to leave their faces as the Master Designer made them."

Notice how Armstrong subtly infers that this was the decision of the Church, not just his decision. And also notice how he blithely assumes most of the women in the Church went along without a complaint. Of course, no woman in her right mind would have dared to speak her opinion at the time, esp. in light of the dictatorship HWA had established. Herbert Armstrong, if it hadn't already been spoken, would have invented the saying, "If the people have no bread, let them eat cake." He was a man sorely out of touch with the average person, as will soon be illustrated.

" . . . beginning in 1968, Christ the living Head of the Church, began to send me to capitals of nations all over the world. I was unable to give day-to-day management at headquarters. Sin entered Pasadena leadership."

Here we can see that Armstrong is getting ready to set us up for the big excuse - while the cat's away the mice will play! Notice how he keeps bringing Christ into the equation, yet he himself shows no faith in Christ to straighten out the situation he has left behind in chaos due to Christ sending him overseas! No, he has to rush back from his latest world tour to fix the situation. Besides all the love, fellowship and mirth at HQ, there was always that constant element of rebellious bulls, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by later would-be-leaders who cut from the Armstrong herd their own sizeable population of cows and cult followers.

"In the early fall of 1974, my son caught me on the run as I was leaving Tokyo and Manila, where I held a big campaign. It was a time when certain "scholars" among our leaders were engaged in "doctrinal research."

(In Part Two of this article we will see that it was HWA himself who had appointed this doctrinal research team!)

"My son said this team had found we had the wrong meaning on four such detailed specific scriptures, and the use of makeup was OK.

"Those who know me best know I have a single track mind. That is, I can concentrate deeply on one subject at a time, but when my mind is on one subject, I often do not really "get" something said to me."

So the plot gets even thicker. Herbert Armstrong, under the divine guidance of Christ (as he says), is in a hurry to meet the next world dictator when his son gives him something to sign and, well, I'll let him tell you the rest of the story about how the Apostle was duped.

"On the plane, I typed the brief statement that appeared on page 522 of the Oct. 23, 1974 Bulletin. I did not return to Pasadena for several weeks.

"In my absence my brief statement appeared with my signature under it. WHAT I NEVER KNEW UNTIL NOW was that, after my signature, Wayne Cole, then director of Pastoral Administration, added a few pages giving the new liberal watered down reasoning, changing the truth of God.

Satan masterminded this in such manner that it all APPEARED under my signature, as if I fully approved all that followed my signature -- when in fact I never saw it until the day before yesterday [Nov. 15, 1981 ?]. It was subtly handled and KEPT FROM ME."

Here we have more classic Herbertism. HWA, God's Apostle, and head of the Church with Jesus Christ directly inspiring him, did not know what was going on with the makeup issue for seven full years. The fact that his new wife, Ramona, wore gobs of the stuff, seems to have somehow escaped his attention. One has to wonder if he really was going physically blind, or perhaps was totally blind at this point. Afterall, he wrote this letter a full seven years after the makeup change, the change he himself approved! Yes, he must have certainly not been paying attention to what the women in the Church were wearing or putting on their faces all those intervening years.

And yet, we know this simply cannot be so. Leaving his wife Ramona aside, some of you will remember HWA's bombastic pronouncement about short sleeve shirts in 1982. This writer was sitting in one of those hot metal festival buildings in Lake of the Ozarks when he blasted forth that it was a shame to see men in short sleeve shirts attending church services! How dare we wear such garments when coming before God Almighty! How DARE we come before God without our Brooks Bros. suit coat on!! The fact that such a suit would have then cost the average member half their entire 2nd tithe also seems to have escaped him. But what could you expect from a man who flew around in a Gulfstream III at the brothers & sisters expense? Anyone for a quick stop in Monte Carlo? Hey, Herbert, can you spare a little of that petty cash you took, like ten or fifteen grand? I think you get the picture. That is, unless you are more blind than he was.

Consider this: HWA made this remark from the stage of the comfortable, air-conditioned Auditorium where he sat at his desk addressing the entire satellite hook-up holy pay-day audience. That fact that it was close to 100 degrees in the festival building where I was also seems to have escaped him, but not those short sleeve shirts. Question is, if his eyesight was that bad, how could he even see those shirts, let alone who was wearing them? From his desk on stage to the front row in the Auditorium is approx. 30 feet. I know. I used to attend there. It may even be farther. So how could a nearly blind HWA, who couldn't even see the makeup on his wife's face at six inches, see those guys sitting in the first or second rows and what they had on?

The reader is free to draw his or her own conclusion here at the veracity of HWA's statements. But I think pondering on my question above will certainly shed light on his lack of trustworthiness and his outright fraudulent statements.

In Part Two of this article we will look at Wayne Cole's response to HWA's putting all the blame for the makeup debacle on Cole's shoulders. (Yes, there was a response from Cole, but HWA was certainly not going to allow church members to read it). The reader might also ponder this: HWA unloaded on Cole a full 2 1/2 years after Cole was gone. HWA had fired him, of course. So Cole wasn't even around to defend himself against HWA's specious charges. Armstrong also blames his son Garner Ted Armstrong, in part, for catching him "on the run" while the 1974 makeup change was under way. The reader will note that Garner Ted Armstrong was also long gone by the time of HWA's denial, blame placing, and reversal of this strange and cult-like doctrine of telling half the people in the Church what to wear in the morning.

[To be continued]


Part Two.

Who is telling the truth about the makeup changes?

Wayne Cole or Herbert Armstrong ?

In Part One we examined HWA's repeated changes on the doctrine of makeup. We looked at HWA's fourth and final change in November, 1981 and how he blamed Wayne Cole for the third change that was made in 1974. HWA claimed to know nothing about this change. He said this change was made while he was on his way back from the Far East.

In HWA's own words:

"In my absence my brief statement [Oct. 1974] appeared with my signature under it. WHAT I NEVER KNEW UNTIL NOW [Nov. 1981] was that, after my signature, Wayne Cole, then director of Pastoral Administration, added a few pages giving the new liberal watered down reasoning, changing the truth of God."

Since HWA fired C. Wayne Cole in January, 1979, very little was ever known about this fiasco. Even less is known about Cole's demise, a shameful episode that will probably be forever buried in the Worldwide Church of God archives. But in a letter written to Garner Ted Armstrong in late 1981, Wayne Cole has a different story to tell about HWA's denial and subsequent cover-up. Here is Cole's letter.

Dear Ted,

Attached is a copy of the articles on make-up which appeared in the October 23, 1974, The Bulletin. A very brief account of developments is as follows:

Following the Feast in 1974 Mr. H.W. Armstrong brought up the subject of makeup to Charles Dorothy. His comment was something like: "I noticed how plain and ordinary our women looked at the Feast this year. In my travels I have noticed that the women at banquets, etc. look so much better dressed, attractive, etc. I think we need to examine our doctrine on makeup again."

[The reader may note this is almost the exact same thing HWA said to Joseph Tkach Sr. before HWA died. JWT cited HWA's comments shortly before he changed the makeup doctrine for the fifth and final time in 1987.]

Continuing with Cole's letter:

"Charles Dorothy related this conversation to Robert Kuhn, who in turn informed others of us. A paper was prepared with my having put it into final form but much of the substance quoted from Lester Grabbe's writings.

"We then made an appointment with HWA to discuss the subject with him. Actually we went to lunch with him at Chez-Paul Restaurant. A copy of the paper as it appears in the Bulletin with my name under it was given to Mr. Armstrong and it was read very slowly and carefully to him during that lunch. He made a few suggestions for minor changes, then he said, "I want that article published in the Bulletin but if it appears without something written by me it will appear that you are repudiating my booklet on the subject. So what I will do is to write a short article officially announcing the change and it will run in the Bulletin followed by your article."

"We returned to the office where Mr. Armstrong went into his office (alone) and wrote his official statement. Others of us waited in Robert's [Kuhn's] office. Within 30 minutes or so your dad came into Robert's office and read to us his statement (the article that appeared in the Bulletin and signed by him). He was -- as was often the case -- pleased with what he had written and the entire discussion of the subject was quite pleasant. No form of pressure, persuasion, etc., was present. Actually, he wanted the change but did repeat that he didn't want to see an abuse of the change.

"What I have written is the absolute truth as I recall it and if my memory has let me down it is only in minor areas.

"See you later, Ted, enjoy the trip to Jordan."


-- Wayne

The following are excerpts from the original October 23, 1974 Bulletin (page 522) wherein HWA outlines the new changes in the makeup doctrine. All emphasis, italics, etc. are Herbert Armstrong's.

"The doctrinal research team I appointed has carefully and thoroughly researched the [makeup] question and determined definitely that the scriptures we used which appeared to condemn any use of cosmetics whatsoever on the face are, in fact, misleading.

"For example, Isaiah 3:16 actually says, 'wanton glances' in Hebrew, not 'eye painting.' Makeup is actually not mentioned at all in Isaiah 3.

"No woman in God's Church should ever APPEAR 'painted.' As we relax moderately on this question, women must be cautioned against overuse, bad taste, and that the scriptures admonish women to retain MODESTY.

"I do not want to see God's women dressing and grooming so VERY plainly and UNworldly that they appear to be wearing a 'religious uniform.' That is, to set themselves so far off from 'the world' as a whole that they actually APPEAR 'religious' -- and, also, a little ridiculous. And frankly, some of our women DO - they go too far to the extreme in plainness.

"Our women must avoid the overdone Hollywood glamour-girl grooming on the one hand, and the plain UN-beautiful eyesore 'religious uniform' appearance on the other. Both men and women should dress in a manner that does not attract special attention because of grooming or appearance too far from the average. And we should take a little pride in our appearance -- not from VANITY, but to be pleasing to others.

"If, on a slight relaxing of our policy on make-up, some woman appears too far toward overdoing it, the minister should speak to her privately about it -- kindly -- but still admonishing her."
Herbert W. Armstrong

An interesting aside here is that HWA didn't even concede the idea that it is the responsibility of the woman's husband, not the minister, to let his wife know when too much is too much. This is clearly another illustration of the Armstrong Cult at work. Having paid lip service to the husband's authority all those decades, we can see where the real authority actually lay.

Here are a few excerpts from the Bulletin Policy On Make-Up article that followed HWA's introduction above. As an exercise, let the reader see if he or she can spot the "new liberal watered down reasoning" that HWA later charged this article and Wayne Cole with, the reasoning that was "changing the truth of God."

"In a telephone call following the Feast to Dr. Dorothy (regarding other matters), Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong brought up the subject of make-up realizing that clarification of our teaching has been needed. This brief conversation was followed by a later meeting in which Mr. Armstrong, Dr. Charles Dorothy, Mr. Frank Brown, Dr. Robert Kuhn, and myself [Wayne Cole] discussed the issues and needs in this area.

"We presented the situation to Mr. Armstrong, explaining that you fellows are being asked repeated questions about make-up -- doctrinal and administrative -- whether it can be used at all, if some types then which ones, what do we say or do in cases where people appear in Church wearing make-up, what is the difference in principle between a woman wearing make-up and men wearing toupees, plus other questions. We explained to Mr. Armstrong that if we continue to teach absolute prohibition against make-up, we need to redefine and explain the decision from the Bible.

"Mr. Armstrong proceeded to jump way ahead of us and immediately referred to Ezekiel 16. He explained how that he has, for example, never personally preferred to see women wear earrings, but that he certainly couldn't teach against it since it was so clearly in the analogy of the way God adorned Israel. Furthermore, he added that the same principle might well apply to make-up.

"We then presented the following information to Mr. Armstrong: Isaiah 3:16 actually says 'wanton glances' in Hebrew, not 'eye painting.' Make-up is not specifically mentioned in Isaiah 3.

"Notice the things mentioned in Ezekiel 23:40. The woman bathes. She decorates herself with jewelry and is waiting for her lover. Are these things wrong in themselves? No, not in the proper place and context -- such as a wife waiting for her husband. Thus the items of personal grooming and adornment listed are perfectly all right to use. . . It is the wrong use which God condemns.

"Mr. Armstrong has taught us ministers by both word and example over many years the guidelines for being properly dressed; principles about shoe care, proper socks, neckties, suit styles and colors, hair lengths and sideburns, etc. -- always emphasizing that we try to blend in with the majority rather than appear odd. He expressed his concern that our women in the Church not look different just for difference's sake. We all know that some of our people either through lack of training, lack of concern, or whatever the reasons, have set poor examples in clothes selection, clothes care, hair care and general appearance. On the other hand, we also know we have required our women to look different and be noticeable due to our teaching against all forms of make-up and, until recently, overly conservative dress length.

"In view of the fact that Scripture does not condemn make-up per se, Mr. Armstrong said that we should not go out of the way to look strikingly different from the people in society around us. We should not be the first to accept new trends, nor the last.

"So it is up to Christians to strive for moderation in all things, including the area of make-up. A Christian woman must guard against overuse of make-up, which becomes repulsive.

"This is the clarification needed, fellows -- this should end the 'problem.' Make-up is no longer an 'issue.' We as ministers must teach the truth of God revealed in God's Word. We must teach against immodest and improper use of make-up, outlandish clothes and garish appearance, absurd hair styles, etc.

"Nobody has to wear make-up! Commanding the wearing of make-up is not the new church policy. Make-up is now a personal matter -- though genuine spiritual attitude problems can or may arise as a result of the use or non-use of make-up.

"We must continue to avoid 'yard-stick religion' in evaluating members use of make-up.

"God's people are set apart (sanctified) by God's Holy Spirit, godly character and love -- and not primarily by their outward appearance. As Mr. Armstrong has stated, we shouldn't wear a 'religious uniform' of drab, plainness -- nor should we plunge into the opposite ditch of artificial, Hollywood tinsel and glamour. Balance is the watchword.

"A word of caution: let all of us in God's Church, members and ministers alike, use wisdom and discretion in explaining and administering this subject.

"The booklet on make-up has been withdrawn."

-- C. Wayne Cole

Did you, dear reader, have trouble trying to spot the "new liberal watered down reasoning" that HWA said the above represented? If so, you are not alone. In fact, this writer challenges anyone to show us where this teaching, as expressed in the above quoted article, is in fact, watered down as maintained by Herbert Armstrong. Clearly HWA had gone senile by 1981 or else he utterly distorted for his own gain the words that Cole had written.

In summing up the position of HWA:

*** HWA said in 1981 he never knew of any changes in makeup doctrine in 1974 and never approved of any.

*** HWA said Wayne Cole deceived him and later added his watered down version of makeup policy to the original Bulletin article of October, 1974.

*** HWA said he was caught off guard, not really paying attention to the proposed changes.

*** HWA said he typed his statement that appeared in the Bulletin while he was on the airplane, presumably while on an overseas trip.

In summing up the position of Wayne Cole:

*** Wayne Cole says that not only did HWA know of the makeup changes, but he approved of the bulletin article that approved of the changes! This was done over a lunch at a Pasadena restaurant with other [ministers?] present.

*** Wayne Cole also states that HWA typed his statement that approved the changes in makeup doctrine in his office, not on the G-2. Cole further states that others were there when HWA emerged from his office, seemingly well pleased with what he had written.

*** Cole said that HWA did not want this change in makeup doctrine to seem to be in contradiction of HWA's earlier policy. Hence, HWA's article appeared first in the Bulletin as an introduction to Wayne Cole's article, the one Cole says they thoroughly discussed in the restaurant.


What are the facts as we know them?

The reader is free to draw his own conclusions as to who is telling the truth about this issue. But this writer believes Wayne Cole, not HWA. Here's why.

We know that D&R had to be changed before HWA could marry Ramona -- a divorcee. Prior to this change no man was allowed to marry a divorcee -- nor was he himself allowed to remarry if he had been divorced. He or she had to be reconciled to their previous spouse or else remain single. Thus, after the D&R change, the "Apostle" was free to marry Ramona. After HWA made this change in 1974, so much controversy resulted that some ministers even broke away from Worldwide Church of God and formed their own groups, most notably, Raymond Cole, Wayne Cole's older brother.

A few months later, after things had quieted down, HWA approved of the makeup change. This finally cleared the way, removed the last obstacle, for his marriage to Ramona - a well known fan of "painting the eyes." And note, it was HWA that got this ball rolling to begin with via his comments to Charles Dorothy about how plain our women looked! I find this to be more than a coincidence. JWT later retold the same story about the same comments HWA made to him a few years later after the 1981 change. History repeats itself, as they say. Either that, or HWA was so senile by that time he actually forgot what a hornet's nest he had stirred up with the exact same comments a few years earlier to Charles Dorothy.

Probably the most damning evidence against HWA is the fact that seven full years elapsed between the time he approved of the makeup change in 1974 to the time he reversed himself in 1981. For seven long years the women in Worldwide Church of God wore makeup, most notably his wife, as has already been noted. Clearly HWA must have been aware of this fact. As stated in Part One of this article, if HWA could spot the fact that men were wearing short sleeve shirts to services at a distance of at least 30 feet, then surely he could spot the "paint" on women's faces. If he had never approved of this change in 1974, then why did he wait until 1981 to "get God's Church back on track" and tell the women to "Wash the dirt off your faces"? It is hard to believe that the Old Lion wouldn't come roaring out of his chair the first time he spied the evil stuff on any woman's face. He certainly tongue-lashed us men on the shirt issue!

Cole's account of HWA writing his article from his office stands in direct contradiction to HWA's account of writing it at 30,000 feet. True, HWA often wrote articles while on trips high in the air. But Cole appears to have witnesses to this and I doubt he would be making this up. Perhaps Dr. Kuhn, or others who were present, could tell us.

The point is not about where HWA's article was written that approved the makeup changes. The point is rather, why would HWA lie about this? He seems to keep wanting us to believe that he was just a poor old man being taken advantage of due to his pressing schedule (hence the airplane bit) and that this major deception on make-up was accomplished during his absence.

And finally, what was this "doctrinal research team" HWA referred to in his Bulletin article? HWA said he himself had appointed it. Could this be the dreaded, satanic STP, the Systematic Theology Project that HWA later said was a "stench in God's nostrils" and was leading the whole church astray? At best, even if this was only a special investigative committee, not the evil STP, it still shows:

- that HWA instigated and was directly involved in the makeup changes in October, 1974,

- that HWA knew about these changes and later sought to cover up his approval of them,

- that HWA must have approved these changes or else they could never have been put into effect,

- that HWA could spot all that makeup on women's faces years later (after he was nearly blind) and decided to change makeup back to forbidden status, BUT he couldn't even spot the makeup on his own wife's face six inches in front of his own nose.

I will leave it to the reader to decide just what other issues HWA may have lied about or deceived the masses on. The doctrines on British Israel and Holy day observance would be good starting points. Before you negatively judge what I have written, the reader should research those first. By doing so you will find that plagiarism runs rampant throughout the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong. You will also find that Armstrong destroyed many lives and reputations, including C. Wayne Cole's, during his long reign of religious terrorism.


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