I am quite a bit older than most of those who have already posted on your website. As a child, I went to a Baptist church and sunday school in Memphis, Tennessee. It wasn’t until 1957 in Raleigh, North Carolina, that my mother and I started listening to The World Tomorrow radio broadcast. Two years later, when my father was transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas, we were baptized by the "team" of Allen Manteufel and Charles Dorothy into the then "Radio" Church of God. I, also, at the age of 22, was accepted at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, where I worked my way through college in the Letter Answering Dept and later as the secretary to various executives and ministers of the church. These included, at times, Stanley Rader, Ralph Helge, David Jon Hill, Roderick Meredith, Herman Hoeh, Albert Portune, Richard Plache, Leslie McCullough, Norman Smith, Paul Royer and finally, Herbert W and Garner Ted Armstrong.
I was secretary to the "apostle" and his "evangelist" son on two different occasions. The first time was when Nevelene Swaney became seriously ill with meningitis. For several months while she recuperated, I was the Armstrongs’ secretary. The second time was after my husband Fred Brogaard (we married in 1964) and I returned from Portland, Oregon, where Fred was the summer assistant to Carlton Smith, for his final year at Ambassador. I was instructed, unceremoniously, to go back to the penthouse and work for the Armstrongs. Nevelene had been "disfellowshipped" from the church, I was told, because she was "demon possessed." (She, apparently, had confronted Mr and Mrs H W Armstrong about Ted’s "indiscretions" involving some Ambassador coeds who had confided in Nevelene.) I never knew the straight "skinny" on this; but I was devastated because I greatly admired and respected Nevelene. I, of course, was not allowed to have any contact with her.
Fred was ordained as a preaching elder after his senior year, and we were sent to Seattle, Washington. Eventually he became a "pastor," and we remained in the Pacific Northwest where Fred oversaw several congregations until the "great exodus" from the church in the early to mid-70s. The accusations against Ted became more public and frequent. In addition, doctrinal questions were being discussed by many of the ministers both at headquarters and in the field. To make a long story short, Fred and I left the Worldwide Church of God after a long, tortuous investigation into the legalistic and nonsensical doctrines we had been living and teaching. It was not an easy decision to make as we had both believed this truly was the TRUE Church of God.
After several years Fred and I joined a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in the Seattle area. This was the denomination Fred had left to join the Worldwide Church of God. Fred is still a dedicated christian and is currently an Elder in the Lutheran Church. I, however, have evolved, after many years of soul searching and personal, in-depth study, into an atheist. Even though I feel, at times, alienated from our families who are for the most part all orthodox christians, I have never felt so "free." I no longer fear offending any god, and I don’t feel I must strive for perfection in order to be "accepted" by some deity or by an organization.
In several months, hopefully, my book manuscript, "Dare To Think For Yourself," will be posted in installments on another author’s website. It will disclose in much more detail my spiritual metamorphosis. If you would like me to, I can let you know where it is when this becomes a reality.
Thank you for your informative website. I hope many more will add their experiences.
Betty J. Hayley-Brogaard
Note: Ms. Hayley-Brogaard’s book Dare To Think For Yourself is now available on this site. Just follow the links.