Scandal, schism, and spiraling inflation have been forcing Herbert Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God (WCG) into drastic economic retrenchment and doctrinal revision (see March 15 issue, page 49). Despite a claimed 2.1 per cent increase in income over last year, the belt-tightening has included: (1) termination of the undergraduate program at the Bricket Wood, England, campus of Ambassador College (a training school for ministers will be substituted at this facility), and other academic trimming (earlier, a 27 per cent slash was decreed for the main Pasadena campus); (2) sharply reduced use of the church’s jet airplanes; (3) closure of high schools and elementary schools operated by the church (a move Garner Ted Armstrong views as “traumatic” inasmuch as children from the Imperial Schools will “be suddenly thrown in with all the foul language, filthy habits, sloppy hair and dress, drug usage, violence, and racism that exists in the public systems”); (4) a 5 per cent across-the-board reduction “in all divisions and departments”; (5) the sale of “peripheral” properties (including faculty residences); (6) production cutbacks for the TV program “The World Tomorrow”; (7) curtailment of the church’s editorial and other departments; (8) sale of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of imported paintings, which heretofore have adorned the walls of faculty homes.
Some time earlier, other economy measures had been taken. Free distribution of The Plain Truth decreased from a record high of 3.2 million copies in October, 1973, to 2.7 million with the June-July, 1974, issue. Size was reduced as well. Following the February exodus of some thirty-five ministers and 2,000 members, it was announced that three of the church’s festival properties—at ...1