"Uncertain of the future, the Packs returned to Buffalo. Weeks later, on a Friday afternoon in August 1985, they received a telephone call that would dramatically alter their lives.
It was from Mr. Tkach. Mr. Pack knew instantly that he was not calling with good news. Mr. Harold Jackson, an elderly evangelist and Mr. Pack’s friend, was also on the phone.“Dave, are you seated?”, Mr. Tkach began.
The field minister said, “No, but I can sit down.”
Mr. Tkach wasted no time: “We’ve heard some complaints. We think there are some lessons you need to learn, so we are sending you to New York City as an associate pastor.”
Mr. Pack could not believe the news. Yet another gross injustice, this time a plain demotion, and it had been stated in such a matter-of-fact manner—a terse notice that they would need to leave Buffalo as soon as possible—within a month. Mr. Tkach offered few explanations as to what were the problems, what lessons needed to be learned, or which brethren were upset.
“I was more shocked at this moment than at any other in my life to that point. I suppose in a way I feared it was coming, but the actual arrival of such an unbelievable injustice was the single most difficult experience in my life—or that of my wife. I had experienced injustice before, but NOTHING of this order. I knew that I had been the victim of a conspiracy of evil thinking, but would only learn later just how great that evil would be.
“What was worse, and what drove the moment indelibly into my mind, was that, while on the call, my 11-year-old son, Robby, ran into the house crying. Both sons had been playing a football game with neighborhood friends in the backyard—and Robby had snapped his collarbone—for the second time! He was simultaneously pleading for my help, while holding his shoulder as the bad news was being received. I did not realize the seriousness of his injury, and told him to go upstairs and I would be with him later.”
Mr. Pack hung up and walked upstairs in a daze to check on his son. Seeing his condition, the parents took him to the hospital. It was in the emergency room waiting area that the reality of the life-altering phone call sank in.
“I understood that New York City had been selected for my assignment because the goal of this maneuver was an all-out attempt to destroy my life. I would have no understanding of the true level of evil I was dealing with until years later. It was only in the apostasy that I fully understood the devil’s role acting through one of his chief agents in trying to destroy my ministry, in trying to get me to give up. Strangely, I was better able at that later point to more completely forgive the man for simply following the alien spirit that was probably always leading him.”
Reconsidering the Demotion
The next morning, without her husband’s knowledge, Mrs. Pack called the Ministerial Services Coordinator. Again, her family had known him since 1959 in Milwaukee, back when the Ochs family first came into the Church.
She pleaded with Mr. Tkach. Here are her words describing her call in a summary:
“‘You’ve known me for a long time, Mr. Tkach. I’m telling you, the reports you’re hearing are false. Why are you allowing these lies to be treated as truth without hearing our side? It is unfair and I don’t understand why you would do this to us.’
“I questioned him as to why my husband was being transferred when there was so much growth in Buffalo. I told him of senior ministers who had visited and praised him for all that was accomplished and explained that the decision made no sense.”
Assuring her he understood her concerns, Mr. Tkach said he would reinvestigate the decision.
Mrs. Pack hung up under the impression he was going to honestly reconsider the transfer. She could not have known that something much darker was unfolding.
The following Monday morning, Mr. Pack received another call from Mr. Tkach, only this time he was cheerful.
“I have good news!” he said. “We’ve been thinking about the situation over the weekend and I’ve received some additional counsel. We have decided to promote you.”
Alas, the "promotion" was a demotion in disguise but clever. Dave did pick up on the clever part.
(17) Are you familiar with the new teachings that God has added to His Church on top of what Mr. Armstrong taught?
- Which ones?—and do you agree?(18) If your ordination(s) is(are) invalid, are you interested in being re-trained for Christ’s true ministry?
Very favorite. Point 19 is a formula for disaster in your future. Most of his office staffs haven't quit in the past because they loved and deeply respected the boss no matter what he did or said. I think Mr. Pack is making rules to avoid this problem in his future. Of course it can't be avoided by real men.
(19) Do you believe ministers should be able to voice opinions to others about:
- Where Headquarters is “wrong”?
- What Mr. Armstrong taught/said/did “wrong”?
- What Mr. Pack teaches/says/does “wrong”?
- Where your boss is “wrong” or harsh, etc.?
- Where you disagree doctrinally?
(20) Do you consider yourself as having been (rate yourself from 5 being best to 0 being worst):
- Political (And did you ever “run for office” in a splinter?)
- Easily deceived
- Betrayed your calling
(21) Why did you lose the ability to “discern good from evil” (Heb. 5:13-14)?—and for so long?
For number 22 and just for the fun of it, why not put in "Abraham to come," "Moses the Magnificent," "Aaron of God," "One of the Two Witnesses You Will Train," or maybe "Amos of Tekoa Reborn," or "Spawn of Zerubbabel." Rank is REALLY important but please don't say anything above "Pastor."
(22) What do you consider to be your ministerial rank?
Evangelist Pastor Preaching Elder Local Elder Local Church Elder “Elder” Ministerial Assistant
For the next one here, you might consider a side note: "I will if you will..."
(23) Are you prepared to dedicate the rest of your life to serving God’s flock and fixing completely the horrific mess you helped cause in so many lives?"
Go ahead, make Dave's day. Fill it in and send it in. You can also go to bed every night knowing Dave has a copy stored somewhere. He may not want you to share it with anyone, but I'm not so sure he wouldn't. And if you show up employed, we'll know how you got there and how much of your soul , your experience, your own journey and your mind you have thrown away to get there.
I can't speak for any save myself and the few ministers I actually know. But in my own journey through WCG those I knew were sincere. They came into the church out of the hope it seemed to glean from scriptures and those things were important to them. Most made compassionate ministers, that I knew, with right motives. The whack jobs tended to rise to the top in WCG or at least stand out like sore thumbs. I always faulted someone for not actually telling some they simply were not for the ministry. They were not helpers of anyone job but thorns in their sides. Rather than moving them around and inflicting them on yet another congregation, tell them they aren't cut out for the job. Never happened. There was never a mechanism I ever saw for even testing a guy for even having the personality or heart for a pastor in reality.
Dave Pack was brought back into the ministry after a layoff in 1973. Dave has a tendency to see the spectacular in the mundane.
"The field ministry was undergoing a restructuring in 1973, and, after careful consideration, the new Regional Director (RD) in Chicago requested Mr. Pack for an assignment in Rockford, Illinois. This was, in a sense, a significant promotion that sent the young ministerial assistant beyond where he would have been had he not been laid off." Autobiography Chapter 15.
I can't speak for the spectacular promotion this was as this is how Dave saw it, but I was there. The RD (George Kemnitz) was from Milwaukee and close friends with Shirley Packs father, Peter Ochs. Wonderful guy. George asked me, as I was "spectacularly promoted" to being the RD's personal assistant and taken from Minneapolis to do so about bringing Dave Pack back into the ministry. I don't recall offering much of an opinion. I was 23 years old and having my own miserable experience in Chicago with my own "promotion." But Dave was brought back also as a family (dare I say nepotism) favor as far as I could tell. I was going to be sent to Rockford , Ill which is about 90 miles from Chicago because I told the RD I had had enough of the lifestyle and wasn't a johnny on the spot type. My days there consisted of babysitting, car washing, lawn mowing, going to the YMCA and sitting in the sauna and staying up until the wee hours of the morning which I don't do well. Chicago was where I learned to drink. It was a joke. Then all hell broke loose, I got fired with George, got rehired the next week and sent to Eire , Pa but rerouted to Findlay, Ohio where I actually could be a pastor with wonderful folk. Dave got the Rockford job in that way. Chicago in 73 and 74 was a nasty place to be a young minister.