Though I adore the Word Bearers and would gladly join them, if they were real, in a heartbeat, I agree Lorgar before the Heresy is kind of a joke. For lack of a better term, he's a huge pussy. It took him to gain Demonhood to actually become the Lorgar most people enjoy reading about.It might just be from how little I like the Word Bearers and Pre-Istvaan Lorgar in general, it's no co-incidence that the parts I enjoyed most were those that involved the Custodes and Corax.
On the other hand, some could argue that Gullimen is the same way. It took his world to get sacked and his brothers to turn for hi, to grow a pair and stand up to his fellow loyalist brothers. Like the Lion for example. In Unremembered Empire, he kind of "comes out of his shell". So to speak.