What I am about to show you are a few examples taken from my recently completed review of a booklet by Herman Hoeh titled “True History of the True Church” 1959 edition. (My deepest thanks to my friends who helped me edit this project.) Hoeh's booklet attempts to build a lineage back through time from Herbert Armstrong to the Apostles. It cites real history books and makes real falsifiable claims on history. This is not some debatable bit of doctrinal curiosity here. This is history – supposedly the “TRUE history.” We can look at this and see without a doubt if it is true or if it is not. If what Hoeh says is not true, then it cannot possible be the "true history." I think you will be shocked by what I have found.
I would like to share these few examples with you since my overall study is far too large to post here and let you see for yourself whether or not Hoeh was being truthful. These are some of the most blatant examples, but I assure you the rest was no different.
How this works is I am going to give you a "claim", which is a quote from Hoeh's book. Then we'll review the facts behind the claim. Then I'll summarize.
“But how did Nimrod – ‘Peter’ – become associated with Rome? Because it was to Rome that Nimrod fled from his persecutors. The ancient name of Rome was ‘Saturnia,’ recorded by Pliny in his Natural History, bk. III.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15
In The Natural History of Pliny (the Elder), Volume I – which contains Book III – starting on p. 191, Pliny begins describing the regions of Italy. He mentions various areas and cities until, on page 202, Pliny begins describing the city of Rome. On page 203, he states that within the massive walls of Rome there were 14 districts. The metropolitan area grew, however, and eventually spilled over all bounds and engulfed several surrounding towns. On page 204, Pliny mentions that within the first district, within the bounds of the then current city of Rome, there was one town engulfed which was called Saturnia. Pliny also mentions Janiculum (formerly Antipolis) which also forms part of the then current city of Rome.
The translators write in the notations on page 204, about Antipolis:
“Said to have been so called from having been ‘opposite’ to the ancient city of Saturnia. The Janiculus or Januculum was a fortress on the opposite bank of the Tiber, and a suburb of Rome, connected with it by the Sublician bridge.”
This claim is false. Hoeh distorts what Pliny said. Rome was not formerly known as Saturnia. Rather, Rome had grown to engulf Saturnia and many other small towns.
“Anacletus, an elder or bishop in the apostate church at Rome, dedicated the ancient shrine of the pagan Peter (or Nimrod) to the apostle Peter around 80 A.D., according to a record in the Liber Pontificalis (I, p. 125).”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15
Anacletus, aka Cletus, lived during the time of the Apostles. Some records say Anacletus was bishop of Rome in 77-88, others say 80-92. The records just aren’t entirely reliable. There are even some records that split Anacletus into two different people (Cletus and Anacletus). But we should ask ourselves, why were these records so spotty? Simple! The persecution of Christians that began with Nero was still going strong, and it was deadly to be a Christian out in the open.
I’ve searched the Liber Pontificalis for entries about Anacletus dedicating a shrine, and I have found nothing. Nothing in volume I page 125. Nothing in the entire thing. I did, however, find reference to Anacletus building a tomb in Volume I, p. 9:
“He built and adorned the sepulchral monument to Peter, forasmuch as he had been made priest by the blessed Peter, and other places of sepulcher for the burial of bishops. There he himself was likewise buried near the body of the blessed Peter…”
Vatican hill was an ancient cemetery used by both pagans and eventually Christians. It was also used as farmland. It also housed the Circus of Nero (an arena for races and gladiator fights). Given that, it is impossible that an ancient shrine could have survived from Nimrod’s day for Anacletus to rededicate.
This claim is false. Hoeh, I suspect willfully, misquotes the Liber Pontificalis. This tomb was built by Anacletus; he did not dedicate an ancient shrine.
“Anacletus claimed to be the sole successor to Peter. He insisted that Rome should be the new headquarters of all the churches.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15
History is so spotty that there are several versions of his placement in the Catholic list of Popes. Hoeh gives no source for this claim. I suspect there is no source. Hoeh only invents this claim to take down Anacletus, and that solely because of his involvement with Peter’s tomb.
This claim is manufactured. There is absolutely no record of Anacletus making this claim. Later Popes (much later) made this claim, but that is no proof at all in regards to whether or not Anacletus made this claim. The notion that the Bishop of Rome would have made a claim like that in those days is laughable and betrays a complete lack of understanding of the order of things in the early church. In fact, at that time, it was the Greek east that was dominant – not the Latin west. And all Bishops were considered of equal rank.
I would remind you that the list of Popes is an attempt to link the Catholic Pontiff to the Apostles - and that is precisely what Hoeh is doing in this booklet. This claim is meant to discredit his competition.
“This church [Smyrna] claims they are spiritually Jews.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.17
Here is God’s word:
(REV. 2: 9) …I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
They do not at all claim to be “spiritually Jews.” The Bible neither says that, nor does it intend that as its meaning. None of the most respected Bible commentaries support Hoeh. This is a blatant rewriting of the Bible. Hoeh inserts the word “spiritual” so that in your mind you will equate this to the phrase “Spiritual Israel.”
This claim is false. Hoeh has added to the words of the Bible in order to change “Jew” into “Gentile Christian.”
[Hoeh quotes Eusebius:]
“But before this time another most virulent disorder had existed, and long afflicted the Church; I mean the difference respecting… Easter. For while one party asserted that the Jewish custom (as to time) should be adhered to, the other (did not).
Accordingly, the people being thus in every place divided in this respect… no one appeared who was capable of devising a remedy… BECAUSE THE CONTROVERSY CONTINUED EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN BOTH PARTIES… Constantine appeared to be the only one on earth capable… He convoked a general council…”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.18
When I read this, I get the sense that Eusebius is an indifferent reporter of benign fact. I showed this quote to a neutral third party, without any commentary from me, and their conclusion was the same as mine.
Here are the actual words of Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, book III, Chapter V, in section “Of the Disagreement Respecting the Celebration of Easter”. I will underline the areas that Hoeh left out.
“But before this time another most virulent disorder had existed, and long afflicted the Church; I mean the difference respecting the salutary feast of Easter. For while one party asserted that the Jewish custom should be adhered to, the other affirmed that the exact recurrence of the period should be observed, without following the authority of those who were in error, and strangers to gospel grace [Jews].
Accordingly, the people being thus in every place divided in respect of this, and the sacred observances of religion confounded for a long period (insomuch that the diversity of judgment in regard to the time for celebrating one and the same feast caused the greatest disagreement between those who kept it, some afflicting themselves with fastings and austerities, while others devoted their time to festive relaxation), no one appeared who was capable of devising a remedy for the evil, because the controversy continued equally balanced between both parties. To God alone, the Almighty, was the healing of these differences an easy task; and Constantine appeared to be the only one on earth capable of being his minister for this good end. For as soon as he was made acquainted with the facts which I have described, and perceived that his letter to the Alexandrian Christians had failed to produce its due effect, he at once aroused the energies of his mind, and declared that he must prosecute to the utmost this war also against the secret adversary who was disturbing the peace of the Church.”
Not only did Hoeh leave out all that I have here underlined, he added two sections in parentheses, and a third section at the end.
What Hoeh does here is strategically rewrite Eusebius in order to cause it to say precisely the opposite of what it does say. Hoeh would leave us to understand that the static dating of Easter was disturbing the church. Hoeh removed or rewrote all of the references to how his own position is considered to be “evil” and “disturbing” in Eusebius’ sight.
“Not even the persecutions of pagan Rome matched the terrible slaughter of Constantine’s ‘Christian’ Rome. From the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) to about the death of Constantine, the persecution raged for 10 long years as prophesied (see Rev. 2: 10, where a prophetic ‘day’ represents a ‘year’ in fulfillment – Numbers 14: 34).”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.18
Once again we see Hoeh’s claims are factually erroneous. The Great Persecution under Diocletian was the worst Roman persecution by far – even worse than that of Nero. Galarius and Constantine ended that.
In 311 AD, Galerius issued an Edict of Toleration, ending the persecution of Christians. Constantine restored confiscated property to Christians in the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. There was now religious freedom in Rome. He outlawed crucifixion in favor of hanging, he restored property to Christians, he freed Christian slaves, he allowed the Christian bishops to decide their own policy (he then enforced their policy in an effort to maintain peace and unity), and many other such benevolent things.
This claim is shockingly false. Hoeh would paint Constantine as a horrible butcher. And why? He does this for no other reason than to invent a history favorable to his flawed presuppositions.
“The names given to these people of God by their enemies were ‘Athyngani’ – meaning ‘those who understood prophecy’ – and ‘Paulicians’ – the followers of the apostle Paul.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.20
"Athyngani" means “untouchable.” Sándor Avraham, in his online study titled Myths, Hypotheses and Facts Concerning the Origins of Peoples, under section heading The True Origin of Roma and Sinti, says this:
“The Athinganoi were given such name in connection with their ritual purity laws, that regarded impure any contact with other people...”
Vasile Burtea's "The Roma in the Synchrony and the Diachrony of the Contact Population" [say that 5 times fast], under section 1.2 "The Motives and Passages of Migration" claims the phrase "Athinganoi" comes from the Greek and means, roughly, "untouchable."
Johann Lorenz Mosheim agrees, in his book "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Volume II" chapter V. This author and book are quoted by Hoeh in his booklet.
As for the Paulicians, they got their name from Paul of Samasota, Bishop of Smyrna (200-275 AD). Not the Apostle Paul.
This claim is demonstrably false. After all of the reading Hoeh did - especially reading Mosheim - I find it impossible to believe that he didn't full well know this.
“They [the Henricians] were charged by the Catholic Church with remaining faithful to the whole law of God and of observing the Sabbath (Ecclesiastical History, by Peter Allix, pp. 168-169).
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 22
Hoeh quotes the book “Ecclesiastical History” by Peter Allix. This turns out to be “Remarks Upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Albigenses”.
That’s Albigenses - not the Petrobrussians, Henricians, or Arnoldists.
The omission of the full title of this work seems utterly deceptive to me since Hoeh uses this quote in direct reference to Henry of Lausanne (founder of the Henricians) and Arnold of Brescia (founder of the Arnoldists) .. but the book is about the Albigenses. Peter de Bruys (founder of the Petrobrussians) and Henry of Lausanne (Henricians) are only mentioned in the book in regards to proving the Albigenses predated them.
To put it plainly, he is citing a book about one group and trying to apply it to other groups.
Hoeh only paraphrases, so there is no specific quote to confirm or deny. What I can do, however, is tell you that the word “sabbath” never appears in the work, and the “law of God” certainly does not refer to the laws of the Old Covenant (which is precisely what Hoeh understands this phrase to mean).
I have found nothing in this book at all, or any other besides, to justify Hoeh’s paraphrase. All of these men were Catholic reformers, outraged by the excesses of the clergy. Peter de Bruys even sought the Pope's permission to preach.
“Their [the Waldenses] enemies admitted that these people proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom of God, that they baptized repentant believers and obeyed the whole law of God.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 23
William Jones, in his book "History of the Christian Church", specifically says, on p. 80 of his book, that they did not tithe. In fact, Jones relates this to us on p. 82:
“An impartial review of the doctrinal sentiments maintained by the Waldenses; the discipline, order, and worship of their churches, as well as their general deportment and manner of life, not to mention their determined and uniform opposition to the church of Rome, affords abundant evidence of the similarity of their views and practices to those held by Luther, Calvin, and the other illustrious characters, whose labours, in the sixteenth century, contributed so eminently to effect the glorious Reformation.” [emphasis mine]
Note: This is a book Hoeh quotes often. Andrew Dugger and C. O. Dodd in their earlier work "A History of the True Religion Traced from 33 AD to Date" quote from it 33 times. They all refer to it as "Jones' Church History."
Hoeh is obviously not impartial. His claims are false.
The Waldensian church still exists today. They are part of the Presbyterian church. Ask them what their history is.
“Through the preaching of Lollard and other helpers, hundreds were repenting. Thousands were learning for the first time that baptism means immersion – that the world’s religious holidays came from paganism and that Sunday was not the Sabbath.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, P. 23
Hoeh goes into some specific claims, but backs them up with nothing.
He mentions the Lollards. What do we know about them?
The Lollards were followers of John Wycliffe, another early Protestant. They rejected the excesses of the clergy. Once again we have a group who opposed tithing – they wanted the clergy to live off their own labor. Wycliffe only wanted to reform the Catholic Church.
This claim is false. John Wycliffe was a Catholic reformer; certainly not an Armstrongist.
“Several faithful congregations did not become members of the [Seventh-day Baptist] Conference because they would not submit to the new Protestant doctrines being introduced (see p. 246 of Belcher’s Religious Denominations).”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, pp. 23-24
The book Hoeh references is The Religious Denominations in the United States: Their History, Doctrine, Government and Statistics with a Preliminary Sketch of Judaism, Paganism, and Mohammedanism by Joseph Belcher. Upon turning to page 246, as referenced, I found that Mr. Belcher was not at all speaking of the Seventh Day Baptists. He was speaking about a subsection of Baptists that he calls “Six Principle Baptists.” Mr. Belcher even lists these 6 principles, and contrasts them with the Associated Baptists and the Freewill Baptists, so it is obvious that he is not speaking of the Seventh-day Baptist church.
Hoeh infers Belcher was speaking about the Seventh-day Baptists; he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers that Belcher was saying certain independent seventh day Sabbath observing groups were refusing to join the Seventh-day Baptist General Conference; he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers that Belcher was saying the issue was over the introduction of pagan heresies (ie. Protestant doctrines); he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers the refusal was more specifically over the Sabbath, or naming, or some such issue; it was not. Hoeh didn’t get a single detail correct except that there was one group who refused to join another.
I can see no possible way that this was done without complete foreknowledge and willful intent. For it to be anything besides would mean Herman Hoeh is either not the author, or he was suffering from some form of dementia.
“The original Church of God brethren generally did not go along with the ‘inspired restimony’ of Ellen G. White. Finally, a meeting was held by some of the members in Battle Creek, Michigan, September 28 through October 1, 1860.”
-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 24
Hoeh is referring to Gilbert Cranmer and his rejection of Ellen G. White. Hoeh is attempting to sever all ties with William Miller and the Seventh Day Adventists.
According to the Ellen G. White official estate website, in an article titled “Ellen G. White: A Brief Biography”, under section “Marriage of James White and Ellen Harmon”, John and Ellen White accepted the Saturday Sabbath in the latter half of 1846. According to the Seventh Day Adventist website, in an article on the history of the church, it states the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was chosen in 1860.
It was at this conference in Battle Creek, Michigan that one of William Miller’s followers, Mr. Gilbert Cranmer (an elder in Ellen G. White’s Adventist church) publically aired disagreements with Ellen G. White and her visions. Afterwards, Gilbert Cranmer took a chunk of people in Michigan with him when he left, and he formed the group that eventually became known as the Church of God (Seventh Day).
This statement is false. Generally speaking, for several years the majority did go along with Ellen G. White. If they hadn’t, there wouldn’t be any “Seventh Day” in “Church of God (Seventh Day)”. Only a handful eventually broke away, and that was due to her odd visions and prophecies. But Armstrongism is a branch of Adventism and a descendant of Ellen G. White’s church. (Technically they still go along with her to this day.) In trying to deny this link, Hoeh inadvertently admits it. That tie is impossible to sever.
One person can show every last verse in the Bible on a given topic, and as sure as the sun rises in the east there will be someone bound and determined to argue against it. It is the nature of people to feel so highly of their own opinions that some will never be convinced otherwise by any evidence. Mankind would kill their Savior before they re-assess their opinions and beliefs.
But this information I have laid out here is not speculation. It is a matter of historical fact. In one place Hoeh quotes an author, and I have checked that quote, and in the vast majority of instances his quote was incorrect. Some were not just incorrect, but grossly so. In some cases he left whole swaths of information out. In some cases he claimed things were said that were not.
This is not a matter of opinion. Did Hoeh misquote or did he not? It is a fact that he did! Therefore it cannot be the "true history."
The works are there, I have provided links, check for yourself. I deeply suspect, given the rare and inaccessible nature of the source material, that Hoeh and Armstrong hoped no one ever could or would double check.
Dear reader, you will have to read the full version of my study to get the full effect of Hoeh’s errors (or do a study of your own.) Several times Hoeh misquotes his sources. Several times he invents history. Several times his information is blatantly taken straight from the grossly flawed and fully debunked works of Alexander Hyslop. Several times his inventions are obviously designed to justify Herbert Armstrong and the things he has said or did. Indeed, the whole booklet was written to this end.
Some of the examples are so blatant, so egregious, that there is no possible way they were not deliberate, premeditated, and done with intent to deceive.
Taking in to account my recent review of Herbert Armstrong’s “Who is the Beast?” –where I saw much the same thing as I found here - I have no choice but to look at every work from these two compatriots with the highest degree of skepticism.
Current members of a COG, deeply sought after by God, please take this information to heart and consider the methods of the men who gave you what you now believe. Was it honest what they did? How much of what you now believe is based on the booklets and articles written by these two men? Did you do as the Bereans did and verify the information for yourself? I did not – until recently. And I am ASTOUNDED by the mistruth I found. Is that Godly fruit you’re eating, or rotten?
May God lead you to His truth. And may God have mercy on these men who have foisted such terrible lies on so many tens of thousands of people.