At press time early this month Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God appeared to be headed toward catastrophe. An insider predicted the defection of more than half the church’s members. Armstrong says the upheaval involves only 10 per cent. The following two stories were filed by correspondent Russell Chandler and edited by News Editor Edward E. Plowman.

Probably not even in the most fanciful dreams of his youth did Herbert W. Armstrong—who says he was precocious and obsessed with a desire for wealth and prominence when he was young—dare to imagine himself the head of a sprawling empire of publishing, broadcasting, and educational enterprises whose influence would girdle the globe (see following story).

But by the early 1970s, forty years after he founded what has become the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), Herbert Armstrong, 81, and his personable, handsome son, Garner Ted, 44, were flying high in command of the sect and its Ambassador College, a broadcast ministry believed to be the most extensive in the nation, and a mail operation that kept 180 men busy sending out seven million pieces of literature last year alone.

The 1970s, however—a decade that already has brought complex worries and no little embarrassment to more than one expansive administration—has dealt the Armstrong domain a body blow whose damage may take years to determine.

First, in January of 1972, a rift between father Herbert and son Garner Ted came to light. The son, second in command and heir apparent to the 85,000-member Worldwide Church and its outreach, was exiled for four months by the senior Armstrong. Garner Ted, whose dynamic voice is the essence of “The World Tomorrow” broadcasts, was said by ...

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