Friday, February 25, 2011

Imbibing With the Apostle

Pictured above is the current price of Louis XIII Remy Martin Grande Champagne Cognac.

This was one of Herbert Armstrong's favorite evening indulgences.  The container  the cognac is in is a baccarat crystal decanter and comes in a velvet lined red case.

At HWA's death there were three of these sitting on his liquor shelves in the basement, along with loads of other expensive alcoholic delights.  Upstairs there were two more in the cabinets.

When HWA was buying these (or should I say the church members were with their tithe money) he was paying around $750.00.  That was in the mid-1980's.  Twenty-five years later the price is running at $2,195.00.  That is one expensive indulgence!  Particularly when he was drinking it out of his St Louis Excellence Cognac/sherry glasses that were appraised at $250.00 each  in 2000.

Dis-illusioned? Why Would We Want to Perpetuate Illusions?

Dis-illusioned?  Why Would We Want to Perpetuate Illusions?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIf you spend enough time on the planet, one of the great experiences we all will have is that of that of being disillusioned with persons, places or things. I personally hate it. It's annoying, takes way too much energy and makes my stomach hurt.

Of course, we also have to admit from time to time, that we all are a source of disillusionment for others as well, so I suppose this keeps the universe balanced in some way, and the feelings we have about how it feels when we experience it in perspective. If you are like me, I tend to remember well what disillusions me for a very long time, but rather quickly try to dismiss my own part in the disillusionment of others.

I'd like to ask a simple question. Why would we want to have illusions? After all, DIS-illusionment should seem to be exactly what we want to happen. Who wants to live with illusions? Who wants to base their perspectives on that which is not real, true or accurate? We should beg for DIS-illusionment, but in fact we don't. Plainly, disillusionment in any of life's quests is painful and is the reason we tend to defend them, at all costs. Pain is to be avoided at all costs it seems.

I think we all know people who live with well thought out, well defined and deeply entrenched illusions. As a former, very sincere and hopeful pastor type, I was a master teacher of illusions and had darn good proofs that I was right to defend them. The problem was, ultimately, I was wrong. Let me share a few. I realize that some will be quick to point out my flawed thinking, because of their own illusions, and to refute my observations as a simple lack of faith, or trust. Some will say, I was in the wrong church, had a bad attitude or simply misunderstood God. Illusions are easy to defend and difficult to let go of at best. I understand that. But when simple theological promises are made, and then applied with either no results or negative results, that's pretty darn disillusioning. But the goal here is to not have illusions, so it's all good.

So here goes. Let me share a few of the most simple and yet theologically disillusioning concepts that many Christians struggle with. I know I am not alone, nor is it inappropriate to observe just how untrue, in human experience these concepts are in practical fact.

As a minister, I often anointed "the sick" with oil and laid hands on them offering "the prayer of faith." In most cases, it was not serious stuff, but rather, the type of maladies that would pass in time with a little self care and patience. There were many times, however, where it was either be "healed" or die before one's time. I'd like to say that the "prayer of faith" did save the sick, after all that's what it says...

James 5:

14 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

...but it did not. I watched many die, in time, just as those who did not ask. Doing this hundreds, if not thousands of times did not result in my personally having any real miraculous stories of obvious healing to relate to you. I have a sense even now of not wanting to admit this, knowing the arguments that humans come up with to explain why this is as it is, but I experienced this simple theological promise as I did and wish to face it. I wonder now if it helped or hurt those who were facing final days? Did it encourage them or discourage them since God did not intervene? Did they feel a lack of faith and blame themselves or is this simply one of life's disillusionments to deal with? People get sick and die. Some live long, some die young. None of us are getting out of here alive. Believe me, I have heard every explanation under the sun as to why God did or didn't do what he said so simply in James would happen. The fact is, every explanation is a simple need we have to explain why something so simple, simply didn't work.

I have quoted in sermons the financial promises "God" makes to those who give until it hurts, "good measure, pressed down and overflowing." I have noted that humans have "robbed God" of tithes and to give so that He might open the windows of heaven to the giver, and yet they simply end up with less income and worried about how to pay the bills. Again, the poor giver seems to take the heat for having little faith, patience or the ability to grasp that all of God's blessings aren't monetary. Yeah, that's the answer! "You have air don't you...why if God wanted, he could take the air away...sooooooooo." You know what I mean. When God does not deliver, it's never God's fault, it's our fault and we spend the next six weeks examining ourselves for bad attitudes, poor faith or misunderstanding the text as explained by apologists. I have even given church emergency help to those who gave too much of their income to "God". Does God really need income, or is this a organization thing?

In my denomination, members gave much to help the "poor" and often I ended up giving it back to those who gave it, so I guess they were blessed by the church in a round about way with the occasional return of their own gifts to the church. But, in fact, giving to God or the Church of your choice is often just that, giving, with precious little to show for it in practical and real life returns. Oh I know we are not to give to get, but the promises of scripture plainly say we shall receive and the practical reality of it is disillusioning to say the least.

Try asking your church for financial help, in most cases, no matter how much you have given and see how far you get. "Why Mrs. Jones, if we did that for you, we'd have to do that for everyone, and we just can't. Don't you have some relatives you can call?" I always wondered if we are to give to and serve others so much, who are they supposed to give to and serve? Themselves it seems. If we are to esteem others BETTER than ourselves, what are all the others suppose to do?

Finally, there is the illusion of protection. While the Bible might boast of angels who watch and protect children and the idea that "a thousand shall fall (hey who protects them?) at thy right side and ten thousand at thy left, but it shall not come nigh unto thy dwelling," it is a disillusionment of epic proportions to believe. I have buried too many children whose lives ended because they made one bad mistake at just the wrong time, or were the victim of a moment out of their control. I've gotten too many calls to come quickly, so and so has been killed, and so and so never made it to 18.

Were "their angels" on strike or vacation? Is this the time where once again, God gets off the hook and reminds me that "all things work together for the good to those that love Him." Is this another time where I have to ask about who had faith and who didn't? Is it the fault of the human...again, that things did not work out so well? How come when it happens to a believer, it is Satan, with God's permission, trying to discourage them, and when it happens to a non-believer, it is God, trying to get in touch with them? It's all so disillusioning.

Time would fail, as would space to recite all the promises made to sincere believers by the writers of the Bible for their obedience, loyalty, belief and faith. I believe there is a book entitle "All the Promises of the Bible." After a lifetime of application, I suspect it is a list of disillusionments.

But...GOOD NEWS! DIS-illusionment is a good thing! Who wants illusions! In the long run, they are more painful,harmful and detrimental than reality, which is something we innately seem to wish to avoid at times as humans. I suspect even Jesus, who just knew that if he did his part and pushed the Romans hard enough to ignite the final confrontation at the Temple in Jerusalem, learned a lot in his final moments on the cross. I don't think he was kidding when he is said to have cried out, "My God, my God...why have your forsaken me?" The Kingdom did not come in the nick of time to save him. I think he died honestly disillusioned about his own perceptions, unless the line is simply for dramatic effect. I think the early disciples were pounded with their illusions about how things would be if they followed Jesus. One of the first reactions was to flee and go home to catch fish again, like the whole thing never happened.

The historical church, that grew out of the great dis-illusionment would go on to offer the now familiar apologetic we experience today as "The Church," with the best yet to come, always just around the corner, just ahead, in the near future, any time now for sure.

Life does what it does, not at times, but always. The experience of Disillusionment, while painful is necessary for our growth and when it comes knocking...let it in. It really does work for the good as the book says. :)  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Real Cause of the Christchurch Earthquake Discovered!

The world has witnessed the devastation in Christchurch New Zealand. Living in earthquake country it is a sobering reminder of what we face everyday here in CA.

As usual, American numbnut Christians are spiting what they claim is the cause of the quake in Christchurch.  It's the gays!  Oh wait, where have we heard that one  before? Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other loony American evangelists have been spouting this silliness after every major natural disaster.  It was the gays that caused the tidal wave that swept over Thailand, it was the gays that caused hurricane Katrina and it now is the gays that are causing earthquakes.
There are idiots in Utah that have a web site up claiming that the quake in New Zealand was because of lesbians running loose on the island.  They also claim the Pike River Mine disaster was also cause by the gays....

“The men who died were not guilty of the conspiracy to murder a child. But they could see what was going on, what had happened to the Labour Party. Anyone could see it – the squadron of butch women, with deep voices, dressing like men, walking like men, talking like men, taking lesbian lovers, who had taken over NZ’s Labour Party.”

“Like it or not, Pike River was God’s answer — the whole country was judged guilty, and judgement began in the heartland of the party that let itself be taken over by perverts, paedophiles and murderers.”  Christchurch Quake 

It's no wonder why society looks upon Christians as complete idiots at times!

I have not even wasted my time to see if Flurry, Meredith and other COG splinter cults are saying the same thing.  They usually do.

Aviv Barley, Passover and Armstrongism

Armstrongism has always had legalistic people who demanded that the WCG observe New Moons, sacred names and other non essentials.

James Malm has take this to a new extreme that I have not heard before.  He  will actually have people in Israel to see if a certain type of barley has achieved ripeness in order for the 'correct' date of Passover to be observed.

There is a small segment of Armstrongism that has attached it's self to the Karaite Jews and their legalistic rules and regulations that are completely irrelevant to Christians.  There are a couple of people on the Original COG Yahoo board that  practice all things Jewish and try to get others to do it also.  You never hear these people talking about Jesus, but spend their entire time talking about Jewish law, rules and regulations that people should be following.

Malm claims to be a 'new covenant' christian yet goes it fits over people eating out on the 'sabbath', working over onto sundown, and other legalistic rules.  There is nothing 'new covenant' about this delusional guy! No matter how hard Armstrongites pretend to be Jewish they are  not Jews.

He writes:

NEW YEAR:  The last day of the twelfth month of this year is expected to be March 5.  It appears that an intercalary 13th month needs to be added to bring us into the proper season for Passover.  To comfirm that and to make absolutely certain; my friend Brian Convery will be in Judea with a team of specialists to determine the state of the Aviv Barley.  A number of other COG groups as well as the Karaite Jewish community will also be doing this Aviv search.  The search will take place next week, just before the end of the twelfth month, unless the airlines cancel flights.  In that case observers living in Judea will do the search alone.

If no Aviv barley is found then another month will be added to the year and Passover will take place in April.  Please pray that God’s will should be clearly revealed in this matter and that his servants should be kept safe from all harm in this difficult time.

While one can calculate the probabilities, it is very important that practical experience be gained by taking the time to actually study and do these things.  The major COG Groups do not understand the Biblical Calendar because they are content to cling to their past traditions and are not willing to make any real effort to find the truth of the matter. 

The Truth Shall Make You Free: Chapter 12 - Armstrong's Fear of Rader

Chapter 12 Armstrong’s Fear of Rader

(pg 169) During the month of December, while various individuals involved in the lawsuit were buy gathering information and preparing for when the suit would be filed, there were things taking place behind the scenes in Pasadena that few were aware of.

On December 4th, while Wayne Cole was out to lunch, his secretary took a call from Garner Ted Armstrong. His message was: “Mike Wallace has been hounding me to death; he wants me to go on 60 Minutes. I don’t want to go on and I desperately need to talk to my father about it. Wayne Cole is the only man who can get through to my father.  Please have him call me about this.”  Cole, on receiving this message, felt that he should not call Garner Ted back without first discussing it with Herbert Armstrong.

That same afternoon, he called Armstrong at his home in Tucson.  Cole informed Armstrong of Garner Ted’s call and said: “I felt I should ask you counsel before speaking to Ted or if you even want me to speak to him at all.”  He then went on to relay the entire message regarding Mike Wallace’s persistent efforts to get Garner Ted to appear on a 60 Minutes program.  The specter of his son discussing his ouster on national television apparently was sufficient to convince Armstrong that there should be a dialogue between him and his son and he asked Wayne Cole to be a go between.  He said” “Wayne, I want to give Ted the following message: ‘Ted, I had to do what I did to get the Church back on the (pg 170) track.  It was not a personal attack against you, but I could not let the Church and the college continue to go the way they were going. If you, Ted, will admit that you were wrong in the way that you left us and all you have done, I would be happy to see you back in the Church.  I love you Ted, very much and do not wish to get between you and God and harm your eternal salvation.’”

After discussing further potential unpleasant and perhaps disastrous effects of Garner Ted discussing Church and family problems on national television, Armstrong said to Cole, “Wayne, I’m staying alive by sheer determination and struggle.  I have felt that I need to live to get this straightened out. It would be very easy to sit down and relax, stop struggling and it would not be very long.  I do not think I could be replaced.”

Cole interrupted, “Mr. Armstrong, there should never be any thought of replacing of anyone replacing you.  God has preserved your life and we hope and pray he will allow you to life to finish this Work and be here when Christ returns.”

Armstrong then continued, “But if He doesn’t allow me to remain that long and I have been replaced, I guess it will be up to you, Wayne, to try.”

Whether Armstrong really meant what he said was open to question, as he had often made the same statements to many other leading ministers in the Church.  And even if he felt that way, would it be his decision?  Further events would show that more clearly.

The next day, a call came from Garner Ted.  Cole told him that he had spoken to his father and that he was asked to be a go between in this father-son estrangement. He told Garner Ted that he had a message for him from his father. Garner Ted replied, “How fine. I have a message for my father also, but first let me hear the one he has for me.”  After hearing the message, Garner Ted said: “That’s pretty hard for me to believe to think that he actually believes that he could get between me and God and harm my eternal salvation. I ‘m absolutely horrified at the things he’s been saying about me, comparing me to Jim Jones and inferring that I could lead people off to such tragic end as he did to those people down in Guyana.  I’ll say one thing, though. If my father were to announce that now is the time to sell everything and flee to the place of safety, I wouldn’t be surprised if half the people in the Church would do just that. Give my father all of their money, show up wherever he told them to be, and go off with him to Petra.”

(pg 171) It was evident that Garner Ted was not about to return to the Worldwide Church under conditions that his father had established.  Yet in spite of the fact that he had started the Church of God International, he so fervently wanted to reconcile with his father.  One would wonder if he would have gone back and if so under what conditions and what type of compromise.

After hearing his father’s message and discussing the belief that each thought that the other could lead a group of people off into the wilderness as Jim Jones, he was right with his message for his father.  He said: “Wayne, I want you to give my father the following message. ‘Mike Wallace has called me repeatedly.  On two occasions I have talked with him for approximately three hours.  They have already done their homework and may do a show on the Worldwide Church whether or not I cooperate with them; Mike Wallace has called me an S.O.B. for not already saying I will appear on the show.  I don’t really want to go on 60 Minutes, but unless I hear from my dad then Dottie (Garner Ted’s sister) and I am going to go on the program.  Whatever we’ve had to bear because of my moral problems was absolutely nothing compared to what me and others in the family had borne down through the years because of my father’.”  With a promise from Cole to do whatever he could to urge Herbert Armstrong to call his son, the phone call was concluded.

On the same day, Cole called Herbert Armstrong in Tucson.  Cole conveyed Garner Ted’s message to his father, and Armstrong was quite noticeably affected in an emotional way by the message. He voiced considerable concern as to what his daughter Dottie might want to say on 60 Minutes. Armstrong then said that he was going to call his son and that concluded the conversation with Cole.

One may wonder why there was a concern about what his daughter Dottie might say. She was not a member of the Church, but did receive assistance from the Church, which she considered inadequate, in view of the fact that her husband Vern Mattson had served faithfully as an executive during the early years of the Church.  Perhaps she would say some of the things that she had said to others. She wondered when her father was going to get rid of Stanley Radar and stop him from destroying the Church. She would tell of times when her father‘s phone numbers were being changed and she, his own daughter, wasn’t able to call him for long periods of time. She would tell of those lengthy periods of time (pg 172) when she never heard from her father. She would tell how, when she attempted to make him see how terribly wrong he was ion both the way he treated his son and the way he was so trusting of Rader, he would get angry, refuse to continue the discussion, and hang up on her. Finally, she would say, “I hate to say it, but all these years the only one my father has cared for is himself.  That’s really all that counts to him, just himself.  He’s never really cared about the family.  He doesn’t give a ---- about us and never has.”

This is part of the story that Dottie Mattson would tearfully tell to the world about her father, God’s apostle. With all of the wrong in the Worldwide Church of God, the family tragedy is rally the worst part of it, especially in light of the fact that Herbert Armstrong has often said that the Worldwide Church of God is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi 4 Verse 5 and  6.  He claims that his preaching is the spiritual fulfillment of that prophecy which states: “Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hear of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”  The Church was to be a fulfillment of that prophecy, but had failed, and was being smitten with a curse.

Five days went by before there was any further contact between Cole and Armstrong. On December 10th, Herbert Armstrong called Wayne Cole.  It tuned out that he had never attempted to contact his son and wanted further clarification on what Garner Ted hoped could be accomplished by a call from him.  Cole then told him that it was Garner Ted’s desire that the two of them reach an agreement whereby Armstrong would cease attacking his son constantly or else Garner Ted and Dottie were going to cooperate with Mike Wallace and appear on 60 Minutes.

Armstrong then said, “Has Ted given any indication of the hope of coming back into the Church?”

Cole replied, “No, he hasn’t.  He merely wants to discuss a means of stopping the constant charges and allegations against him or else, 60 Minutes.

Armstrong then responded, “I will answer him with silence.”

Armstrong was not convinced that Mike Wallace wanted Garner Ted to appear on his program, but thought instead that his son was attempting to convince Mike Wallace to put him on.  One can only understand Armstrong’s reversal and his decision to call his son by (pg 173) realizing who advised him in this matter. Armstrong said:  “Satan tells me that he has spoken to officials in CBS headquarters and was given assurances that there would be no comments made on their network slanderous against me or the Work.  Why, CBS has even shown interest in purchasing Quest Magazine.”  Armstrong had become convinced that there would be no 60 Minutes program on the Church and, with that fear removed, no longer saw any need to effect any reconciliation with his son.

Though all of this, however, Armstrong was becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that radar’s hold on him was getting progressively tighter. The conversation then took a sudden turn away from Garner Ted, and totally surprising Cole, he said: “Wayne, I do have a problem which I would like to discuss with you in the strictest confidence.  Every time I speak to anyone Stan Rader always wants to follow me and speak as well.  I have been told that many of our members do not appreciate this practice, and don’t know what to do about it. He always writes out his own notes and pretty well reads from them in making his comments.  Stan is a very brilliant man in many ways, but he certainly is not an effective speaker or preacher. He has plenty of opportunity to speak and if God were calling him into the ministry, we would have seen his development long before now.”

With a comment such as this coming from Herbert Armstrong, Rader’s motives and ultimate goal were quite apparent.  Armstrong then continued outlining a list of complaints the he had about Rader and Rader’s constant attempts to move into the limelight and place himself in a position of authority before the people.

Armstrong continued, “If I say anything to Stan, even very gently, about his problem, he flies into a rage and screams at me.  He is very sensitive about this. He gets into such a rage that he is opening himself up for a demon at these times.”

Armstrong indicated that he didn’t have the courage to deal with this matter directly and wanted some backup support. He suggested that Cole have the ministry write letters to him indicating their criticism of Rader.  Cole told Armstrong eh thought such a maneuver would not work.  If such a think were done and should Armstrong then change his mind about dealing with the Rader problem, it was obvious that any minister who would have written such a letter would be on the purge list.  The conversation ended with no conclusion having been reached on the Rader problem.  Cole wished (pg 174) him well on his coming trip to Jerusalem.

Armstrong’s trip to Jerusalem was to be his first trip out of the country since his illness the previous year.  He was finally going for the delayed dedication of the Children’s Playground at Liberty Bell Park. Armstrong met with President Navon, Prime Minister Begin, Mayor Teddy Kollek and other top officials.  The Children’s Playground had been sponsored by AICF; in other words, it was essentially paid for with Worldwide Church of God money.  Even though this money was given for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Herbert Armstrong has never taken the chance of offending the Israeli leaders by preaching the Gospel or mentioning the name of Christ.  He was more interested in being known by one of his other self-proclaimed titles, “Ambassador for World Peace.”  Quiet a contrast to the apostle Paul who wrote in Ephesians 6:20 regarding his approach to preaching the gospel: “For which I am an ambassador in bonds that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  The apostle Paul; was willing to be throw in jail and actually had been imprisoned many times for boldly speaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Herbert Armstrong was more impressed by the opportunity to be honored personally. He had a dinner in his honor, the inauguration was in his honor, and his name was engraved on the name plaque at the entrance to the park.  There was a special program honoring Herbert Armstrong at the ICCY (International Cultural Center For Youth), which is an organization funded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Moshe Koi, Minister of Tourism.  This organization is for the purpose of promoting better relations between Israeli and Arab youth and is almost wholly supported by Ambassador College and the AICF. In other words, supported by the tithe-paying members in the Worldwide Church of God. The Gospel is not preached to these youth, however. Armstrong was proud to have a name plaque placed on a stone marker at the square to the ICCY Building, announcing that it was to be called The Herbert W. Armstrong Square.

Upon conclusion of his visit it Israel, Armstrong and Rader went to London. They arrived early in the week, with Armstrong planning to speak that following Sabbath, December 23rd, at a special service at the Bricket Wood Campus.  Members were coming in on special buses from various parts of Britain to hear his special sermon.  This was to be the last service at Bricket Wood prior to the vacating of the premises completely.

(pg 175) On December 21st, Frank Brown, who at this time was Director of the Church affairs in Britain, drove into London to meet Armsrong and Rader at their hotel for breakfast.  On arriving there he was shocked to be told by the chauffer that the entire party had rushed off to the airport and left on the Gulfstream II to return to the States.

Gordon Muir had received word of this sudden departure from a friend of his who was employed at the printing facilities by the Church in England.  Gordon called me with great concern.

He said, “I’m afraid Armstrong and Rader may know about the lawsuit.  I can’t think of any other reason why they would be returning to the States so suddenly.  Somehow the word seems to be out over in England and Frank Brown seems to know about the lawsuit.  Jack Martin has found out from someone else over there that Frank Brown knows about the lawsuit and also knows that I was to the Feast in Jekyll Island and he actually asked Jack what he knows, if anything, about the California attorney general.”

We were panic-stricken.  With rumors all over Pasadena, none of them accurate but all of them in one way or another having their original root in the truth, we were fearful that Rader may be able to take some action to render our efforts ineffective.  At this time we didn’t know of any of the things that had been taking place between Cole and Armstrong.

That same day, Frank Brown called Wayne Cole’s home and told Cole’s wife about Armstrong’s sudden departure.  He also then told her that he had heard about a lawsuit.  Cole thought that he would certainly hear from Armstrong upon his return, for such a sudden change in plans must have been for a very important reason.  Yet by December 26th, Cole had not yet heard from Armstrong, so he decided to call him and welcome him home. Strangely enough, in that conversation Armstrong gave no reason for his sudden early return.  He bragged on for some length about his visit, his meetings, his dinner, and all of the important people he had met.  Then he said that now that he had seen Begin, he was planning to see Sadat in Cairo in February and then in April was planning to go to Japan.

Coming events were soon to cause him to cancel his trip to Cairo and postpone his trip to Japan.  It does seem very strange, however, that Armstrong would constantly make this three point circuit, (pg 176) Israel, Egypt and Japan.  Many of his trips to these countries seemed to coincide with a time that negotiations may have been going at higher diplomatic levels regarding the Arab/Israel peace initiatives, energy problems, etc.  Could there be something more than meets the eye?

Cole continued his conversation with Armstrong, telling him about the continued and increasing concern on the part of many ministers and members regarding Rader.  Armstrong replied, “I’m afraid so, that’s a problem to me Wayne, and I want to talk privately to you about it.”  Armstrong then said that Rader wanted to bring lawsuits against Garner Ted and also that he wanted to disfellowship John Schroeder, an employee in Britain who said that he had heard rumors about a lawsuit and about Rader, but refused to disclose the source of the rumor.

Of significance here is the fact that Armsrong made no mention of their early return or the reason for it, and was complaining about Rader.  This conversation, of course, proves that Armstrong or at least Rader, knew about the lawsuit rumor, and it would also indicate that Rader sensed urgency to return.  He apparently felt that it was important to return to Pasadena to nail down the source of the rumor that John Schroeder had heard.  He was to be unsuccessful and remained unprepared for the events soon to occur.  The fact that Rader, who was not a minister, felt that he could even suggest removal of someone from the Church to Herbert Armstrong would indicate the true position of power this man actually holds.

Armstrong, continuing on the subject or Rader, then said, “It’s quite a problem because he keeps boring in all the time.  He is one who can just lose his temper and fly into a rage, and I don’t want to upset him.  When he gets angry with me he threatens to bring lawsuits against the Church.  He says that he will tell the world what he knows.  I don’t know what he knows, I don’t know what he can do to harm the Work, but that’s what he said he will do.”

Discussing the matter further Cole said, “My concern is that he is in too prominent a position in the leadership in the Work and that seems to be the biggest concern we have coming in.”

Armstrong interrupted, “That’s right, and he is deliberately trying to put himself there.  I don’t know.  I don’t want to think that anyone has their eyes on 50, 60, 70 million dollars a year, but that is quite a magnet, you know.”

(pg 177) Armstrong then continued voicing his concern for Rader’s constant desire to continue the public dispute with Garner Ted.  Armstrong referred to Garner Ted’s public allegations that his wife Ramona had been giving sexual favors to Rader and to other men, and said that he felt the best answer for that was one of silence.

At the very same time that we were about to file our lawsuit in the hopes of saving the Church from total destruction through corruption and self-dealing, Armstrong was on the verge of alt least partially removing what he considered to be the main source of the problem. , Stanley Rader.  Through the evening of December 26th, Cole prepared a lengthy letter outlining all of the concerns throughout the Church regarding Rader.  The following day, he discussed it with Dr. Herman Hoeh, one of the evangelists and a professor at Ambassador College.  Hoeh indicated that Cole’s response to Armstrong regarding Rader was in order, and appeared to agree with it.

On December 28th, Cole flew to Tucson to meet with Herbert Armstrong and hand over his letter to him.  The letter was a written confirmation of all the facts that they had discussed on their previous phone conversations.  After reading the letter Armstrong said, ‘Wayne, I don’t believe that Stan is really converted enough to understand the love that you have expressed for the Church in your letter. He is the most powerful person in the Work right now.  He only speaks from the position he occupies, but also speaks with my authority which he uses as he wishes. Why, he even uses my underground garage and private elevator to the office, and I don’t like that.”

One may wonder if Armstrong is truly concerned about Rader’s honesty and integrity or if his anger was caused more by Rader’s presumptuous use of Armstrong’s exclusive facilities.

Armstrong continued to Cole, “Yes, Wayne, I know that I must remove Stan from all executive and administrative responsibility. He’s giving the impression that he’s trying to take over the Work. I must do something to stop that.”

Having heard more rumors about a lawsuit, Cole thought that he should bring up the subject. He told Armstrong that he had heard sufficient rumors from various sources to believe that there may be some substance to them. He said, however, that according to Ralph Helge, a member of the Church and law partner of Stanly Rader’s, such rumors were just rumors with no basis in fact as there (pg 178) there was no way any kind of lawsuit could be brought against the Church.  Of course, some of the rumors that Cole had to go on were a result of the delicate spoon-feeding of information that he had been receiving from Robert Kuhn so that it would not be a total shock to him when it occurred.  In spite of the fact that this entire matter between Cole and Armstrong was for the purpose of discussing the removal of Rader from executive and administrative positions, Armstrong’s first reaction was, “I’m going to have to talk to Stan about this.”

Would Armstrong really be able to release himself from Rader when at the first signs of alarm, his immediate reaction would be to “call Stan”?  Armstrong wanted to know what kind of claim the suit was going mention, and in spite of the fact Cole really didn’t know, Armstrong continued to press on that point.  Cole then mentioned one rumor that he had heard regarding the fact that Rader on a trip to Monte Carlo rented a large yacht at a cost of $3,000 per day for several days.  All of this was paid for by the Church.  Armstrong remembered such a yacht and that he in fact had had a cruise on it and also had diner aboard.  Armstrong and Cole prayed about the entire situation and then Cole left to Armstrong’s parting words: “Wayne, if you see Stan taking over the Work, I will expect that you will stand up and fight.”

The next day Armstrong phoned Cole and wanted to know more about the possibility of a lawsuit being filed over yacht expenses.  He was very disturbed about such a possibility.  Armstrong said, “I remember we rented a bog boat, a two-story boat with a full crew, on board.  Ramona, Stan and others spent more time aboard than I did.  Maybe if that is going to be a problem, I should reimburse the Work for expenses of the yacht.”  Cole indicated that he didn’t think it was necessary and should not react to rumor, so Armstrong did not send any check in.

It’s interesting to note that Armstrong was fully aware that the yacht was used only for personal purposes, strictly pleasure, and was willing to reimburse the Church for the $30,000 only if it were the source of the problem.  As long as it seemed there would be no problem over such an expenditure, he appeared to have no guilt about not reimbursing the Church for the expense.

At about this same time, I had heard that there was a possibility (pg 179) that Armstrong might be successful in removing Rader from his position of prominence.  There was the possibility, I was told, that Rader would be put on the AICF payroll and that he would remain advisor to Herbert Armstrong, but have no executive duties in the Church.

In discussing this with Gordon Muir, Gordon said, “Maybe you should not have bothered with the lawsuit.  It looks like everything may be getting taken care of anyway.”  We discussed it somewhat and finally agreed that just the presence of Rader, no matter what his official position, was still dangerous. To have in a position of lower authority, as a sop to the members and ministers who were complaining about him, could actually make him more dangerous.  In such a position, he would not be recognized as one having any official authority, yet he would still have his influence and control over Herbert Armstrong, though not in an obvious way.  I felt confident that no matter what, we had to proceed, and in fact even if we didn’t want to proceed, as the entire situation was in the hands of the Attorney General’s office.  As each day went by, we were anxiously awaiting word as to when the suit would be actually filed.  Each day seemed to bring the words, “Maybe tomorrow.”

On January 2, 1979 Cole received a call at his office from Armstrong, who asked him to go to a private phone and call him back.  Armstrong said, ‘I don’t want this call to be overheard by eavesdroppers”.  Although Church officials were later to deny that phones were tapped at Church headquarters, Armstrong’s very own comment in that regard and his concern for privacy would indicate that he was quite aware that the phones were not private.  Armstrong then said that he had written a letter to Rader, and proceeded to read it to Cole.  In the letter he outlined to Rader the concern that many have about Rader trying to take over the Church.  He said, “But you are pushing yourself to take over.  People do look at you as an attorney, experienced in finance, etc., but not as a minister and shepherd over God’s people.  So what I propose is that you resign from the administrative positions in the Church and college, but continue in the AICF and as a personal assistant and advisor to me.”

Armstrong then asked Cole if he knew what Rader’s salary was, to which Cole responded, “No, I’ve heard rumors but I don’t really know what the figure is.”  Armstrong didn’t reply directly at the (pg 180)
Time, but went on to state that he thought it was best to have Rader retained as financial and legal advisor to the Church at a figure of $75,000 a year, plus fees and additional services, and then put Rader on the payroll of the AICF at a $100,000 a year.  Armstrong then said, “That’s the total of what he gets in salary.”  Armstrong then went on to explain that the $100,000 salary from AICF could be kept confidential and that no one need know anything about it.  Armstrong said to Cole, “Keep this quiet, as I want it to be as though Stan volunteered to resign.  I don’t want it to be known that he actually triggered it.  If Stan doesn’t volunteer, then I will force it.  There’s no turning back now.”

Armstrong then went into a discussion about changes in membership of the Board of Directors.  He mentioned the names of some individuals that he would remove and others that he would install on the board.  He said, “I can put people on and off the board as I wish.  It’s really been a dummy board up to now.”  In making this statement, he confirmed what Robert Kuhn had told us at the offices of Cohn and Lifland earlier and also confirmed what the organization was operating in violation of the law under which it was chartered which calls for an elected board.

While these calls between Armstrong and Cole were taking place, we were becoming very uneasy wondering when the complaint would be filed.  It seemed that as we drew toward the end of the year, each day the story from Chodos was that it would be another day or so. We just hoped and prayed that the suit would be filed before anyone would be able to confirm the rumors of the impending action.  Earl Timmons had been telling me that Chodos was going to let him know in advance in order that Earl may show the court officials locations of various offices at Church headquarters.  This would be necessary, as the Attorney General was going to attempt to have a judge rule in favor of an ex parte receivership.  A receivership of this type is one that is imposed without any advance notice to the parties involved.  This was an important factor as it was felt that should any advance notice be given to the defendants, they would have time to shred and dispose of sensitive documents and evidence.  We were on pins and needles waiting day by day, moment by moment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The New Tithe

Giving money to your local community will do far more good than sending anything to Rod Meredith or Gerald Flurry!

Heathen UCG Youth Raise Money With Bake Sale

Those backsliding heathens at UCG recently held a bake sale to raise money for brethren in Malawi so they can sink a new well and have clean drinking water.

The  clean water wells have been major fund raising projects for countless youth groups here in the US, it is not something unique  to UCG.

And that might be more of the problem than selling cookies on the 'sabbath'. These are heathen blacks in Africa, not the  lily white British Israelites of the US or UK which are heirs of HWA's British Israelism BS.

Some conservative Armstrongites are all in a tizzy in the Elijah Forum on Yahoo.  All kinds of negative comments are being spit at them.  One threw the Bible at them quoting  Neh 13:14-22.
Whining COG member writes:

When did it become okay to have bake sale fundraisers on the Sabbath? One UCG
congregation in Los Angeles had one yesterday. Here is what the member of that
congregation posted on a UCG facebook group. the resolving issues one:

In our Los Angeles church yesterday, we had a potluck and bake sale fundraiser,
organized by the young adults. The money we would raise would help our brethren
in Malawi sink a well, to provide enough water for them, and also for the

So teenagers made cup-cakes, others made lemon pudding, red velvet, chocolate.. cup cakes and more, and my favourite German lady made two apple strudel cakes as only she knows how. We raised about $2000 for our Malawi brethren.

Most of the cakes were cut up and shared with one another over coffee after the
sale. Moving forward as a church, seeking to please God...can be so much fun.
While in Malawi, soon, may the water flow.

God forbid that these youth cared enough to raise money for members in one of the poorest nations on earth! These young adults will do more good that the snarling and gnashing of teeth that the die hard legalists will ever do.  Almost all of them will never lift a finger or drop a dime to help these poor people.

If you want to donate to provide water for those in need check this link out.  It doesn't  take much and you won't be breaking the COG sabbath rules unless you are using your computer on the COG 'sabbath'. So there will be no need to worry about fire and brimstone reining down on you.

Click to enlarge or go to the site


Extreme Armstrongism: "Urban Homesteaders' Threaten To Sue

The Pasadena headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God has always attracted and produced really weird people.  Over the years we have had loads of picketers protesting in front of the Hall of Ad, men and women on arriving proclaiming they were apostles or that they were Elijah with a message to the church, and members who go off the deep end, like a lady who came up to me at church one Saturday proclaiming she had snakes in her head that were eating her brain away.

Our most enduring and longest active protester/picketer was Jules Dervaes.  He used to be an employee of the Landscaping Department in Pasadena.  Something ticked him off and he started protesting the church by parking his van outside the property boundaries. The van would be moved to different locations, in front of the Hall of Ad, on St. John behind the auditorium and down by the tennis courts on Del Mar.

He would haul his family out to picket with signs.  You could tell his wife and kids hated it.  His wife later left him because of all the nuttiness. Like a true Armstrognite he refused medical treatment for his kids, kept strict legalistic rule sin his life and his kids and other silliness.

Jules also later proclaimed that Gerald Flurry, cult leader of the Philadelphia Church of God, had stolen his writings and incorporated them in to Malachi's Message.

Jules web site is chocked full of visions and messages to those who are part of the various splinter cults of the COG.  Crazy stuff! The HiddenYears    Some of the web sites out there compare him to David Koresch in regards to his radical religious views.

Jules is also noted for his garden in the back of his house over off of Orange Grove close to Fair Oaks.  He has made his land behind the house into an 'urgan garden'. They do everything organically and supply local restaurants with fresh produce and have sent things to Oprah for television shots.

Here is an article from The Telegraph in the UK  The Dervaeses of Pasadena: Poster Family for Greener Living

For some reason Jules has decided that he owns the legal right to use the term 'urban homstead' and is now out threatening legal action against all ho use it.
Various articles about the use of the name are here:

Getting Pecked

LA Times: Who Is the True Urban Homesteader?

Dervaes Institute Seeks to Shed Light on Trademark Rumors

Because of his silly threats about using the name he is now starting to get a backlash:

Urban Homestead, Urban Homestead, Urban Homestead
Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader, Urban Homesteader

The Wonderless World Tomorrow

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI'm not so sure I'd enjoy being ruled by the fundamentalist Christians I know. They just know that they, the true true saints, will rule the world under Jesus Christ. This makes me nervous and I'm not so sure it will be source of my never ending joy realized when Jesus returns to rule us all with a "rod of iron." Somehow the use of seminars, luncheons and field trips never seems to dawn on Jesus or God as a way to better teach us poor ignorant slobs. But not to worry, I think the Rod of Iron thing is made up by the men who love to rule with such things. In becoming as little children, you'd think rods of iron would be prohibited as an acceptable way to solve problems and teach truth. I guess my common sense is not the common sense God and Jesus experience according to my fundamentalist friends.

First of all, the Clergy I know, don't get along very well among themselves. The screamers among them seem to compete for the recognition and preeminence and the rules they believe they will enforce upon all mankind within their reach are down right depressing and frightening. Worse yet, they don't seem to be able to agree on which rules are rules, which are suggestions and which are done away with. I do know they tend to want to be in charge and not just work for the Lord in lower positions.

In a small way, the rules on "dating" at many fundamentalist colleges leave kids getting married for the wrong reasons and not really knowing each other all that well.  The divorce rate among those who, as college kids, were "guided" in how often and who to date when, is high.  Mind your own business never seems to occur to such colleges.  However,  the
Apostle Paul gives us great examples for how the religious gurus should go about minding other people's business to their harm.

There will be no dancin' or card playin'. No hair longer than that of the 1950's and no dresses shorter than ankle high. They will be made mostly of boring colors and put you in mind of your grandma. You'll be forced, because it's the rule, to go to Bible studies
on Wednesday nights and church EVERY Sunday. You'll agree that Jesus really was born on Christmas and really died on Easter for all the appropriate reasons. You will be baptised by immersion or sprinkled depending. You're repentance will be heartfelt and genuine and you will become perfect like God is, or else of course. In fact you'll agree with what you are told to agree with even if you don't. If you don't, you will keep that very very quiet. However a local pastor says that God knows our thoughts, so that will be a challenge. I just know he's gonna tell!

As far as entertainment is concerned, you will love Andy Griffith and hate American Idol.
Chris Sligh, outstanding singer and all around good guy, on American Idol, and Bob Jones University drop out, will be executed unless he rejoins the choir. Bob Jones is very disappointed in Chris for misusing his talents and spending time with the enemy. Any feelings that the kind of religious control he experienced is creepy or confining will be purged from his deceived mind, should he survive. Movies will be strictly monitored and you will learn to love "The Sound of Music"and "Oklahoma" as you never thought you could, or else. Stores will close on the appointed days and times and only sell the appropriate Christian things. I imagine only Christians will be allowed to even own or run a store. Oh yeah, the non-believers will be dead.

Concerning science, well, hold on to your hats.
Evolution, which is literally true, will be banned and creationism and the Fall of Man because of woman in the Garden of Eden, which is not literally true, will replace it. You will get your views from the Creationism Museum in Kentucky and deny that it is built over shale showing millions of creatures layered quietly and turned to stone over millions of years.  It's a Karma Fairy thing.
 Science will be ever so much more easily understood. Phrases like "Quantum physics tells us," or "human consciousness studies inform us that," will be replaced by "God says." In fact, every finding of archaeology, paleontology, astronomy and every other "onomyies"and "tologies" will be replaced with "God says." A degree in science won't take long at all and the answers will become so much easier to come up with on the test.

Clergy will replace politicians and giving to the State will be regulated by
Old Testament laws on tithing and many other such things you won't believe how happy they will make you. It will be to one's advantage to become a Priest of the Most High if you ever expect to accumulate any real material wealth. The Ten Commandments will be suspended long enough to steal the unbelievers blind, rape their wives, enslave their children and kill those who can't see the light as it is revealed to them. If you should find yourself in any kind of conflict over why you have to be so compliant and believe the unbelievable, this is why Jesus has his very own rod of iron. He will convince you that you need to adjust your attitude and you will do so nicely and with sincerity. After you learn anatomy by seeing eyes and tongues dissolve in the appropriately "God is Love" way, you'll feel more inclined to obey and be happy.

Now we can all hope the above nightmare scenario in the hands of Christian Fundamentalists will never come to pass. However, we have ample
Old Testament predictions that Jewish fundamentalism will prevail in a very similar way. The above mentioned pastors will be forced to give up Sunday for Sabbath, Easter for Passover and Christmas for the Feast of Tabernacles. Boy are they gonna be surprised! I mean, this is what it says in the book they love to use to tell us all just how happy we will be when Jesus returns and restores all things his and God's way. A common phrase to be heard by these Pastors will be "hmmmmmmmm, no one 'splained it to me that way before."

Let's take a quick look at how happy we will be when the Messiah comes from the Jewish perspective, and how deep our joy must be, or else.

Zechariah 14:
Jerusalem under siege from the nations.

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
See, I told ya the
Ten Commandments would be suspended for the greater good!

(12-15) Enemies are forever plagued.

And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.

See, I told ya you could still have lots of good stuff if you were the chosen ones and you'd learn anatomy in new and interesting ways!

(16-19) All the nations come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the
Feast of Tabernacles.

See, I told ya have to give up the pagan Christian holidays and absolutely fall in love with the Jewish Holydays, or else.

(20-21) The common is made holy.

In that day "Holiness to the Lord" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the
house of the Lord of hosts.

See, I told ya Church was going to be a lot different and you better not be one of the not so special ones!

Doesn't being under enforced, for your own good, religious rule sound fun? No! Won't we be ever so much more happy and fulfilled? No! Actually, I sincerely hope this is not what "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free," really means. Freedom under religious rule and control is truly frightening and depressing.

The Truth Shall Make You Free: Chapter 11 Preparing For Action

Chapter 11 Preparing for Action

(pg 135)  During the time of the Feast, reports began circulating about an embezzlement that had been reported in the Worldwide Church “Pastor’s Report.”  It was revealed that Raymond Wright, Vice –President for financial affairs, and Robert Kuhn, had been responsible for the illegal diversion of $219,000 of Church funds.  According to the “Pastor’s Report,” this money had been transferred to Environmental Plastics Inc. of Dallas, Texas. This was a small company owned by Wright and Kuhn which dealt in the application of chemical-resistant coatings for chemical processing equipment.  Church officials claimed that it was an embezzlement authorized by Garner Ted, and they inferred that he was a pivotal figure in the embezzlement.  While it was later found that most, if not all, of the transfers of this money took place in 1977, for some reason no announcement of the discovery was made until the fall of 1978.  The “Pastor’s Report” stated boastfully that the uncovering of this scheme was a fine example of the talent of the CPA firm employed by the Church.  The report stated that the embezzlement was discovered as a result of “God’s auditing procedures.”  Yet if the books had been audited earlier in the year for calendar 1977, one would think that the embezzlement would have been discovered at that time.  This is most likely the case, which of course leads to the question, “Why did they wait until autumn to disclose the discovery?”  “God’s auditing procedures’ must be something (pg 136) unique only to the Worldwide Church of God.  The revelation of these unique procedures has never been disclosed even to the “big eight” accounting firms and one can only assume that they were given by divine revelation to Stanley Rader. I make that assumption since not even the Scriptures appear to contain any such procedures, not even the Book of Numbers.

Following the announcement of the embezzlement it was interesting to note that the Church never brought criminal charges against the alleged embezzlers in spite of the fiduciary responsibilities of Church officials to do so.  The reaction on the past of Robert Kuhn was swift.  He threatened to bring suit, as he had not know of any transfers of money until the matter had been published by the Church.  He reported that he had been a silent partner, merely an investor in the company with Ray Wright, and knew nothing of the daily operations or financial activity of the business.  Wright then confirmed that Kuhn had known nothing of the transfers, and it was necessary for the Church to retract any allegations regarding Kuhn.  Strangely enough, while Wright was relieved of his vice-presidential duties, he was retained in the employ of the Church.  It was announced that he would be sent to Europe.  There was speculation at the time, later confirmed, that Rader appeared to know of the embezzlement for some time.  Holding that knowledge, he was then able to use it at a time most appropriate to putting Wright in a position of enforced loyalty.  The time to use it against Wright was when it appeared that Wright may reveal to authorities his knowledge of Rader’s financial dealings with the Church.  The involvement of Garner Ted, if any, in the embezzlement was still to remain a mystery for a couple of months.

Back in September, Garner Ted, knowing that I was exploring the possibility of a lawsuit gave me information that Jim Lookingbill, the general manager of Environmental Plastic, had given him over the phone.  Garner Ted said, “This guy Lookingbill told me that he works for Environmental Plastics, which is owned by Ray Wright and Bob Kuhn.  I never even heard of the place.  I never knew that they were involved in another business like that.”  He then went on to tell me that it seemed like their business was being used as some sort of a laundry for Church money.  He told me that money had been coming into the company from the Church and (pg 137) that it appeared that some really strange things were going on. He said that Lookingbill was frightened about possibly being implicated in something illegal. 

I then obtained a Dun & Bradstreet report on the company, and in this way was able to confirm Wright and Kuhn were the owners.  Yet I was not able to find anything further until the disclosure of the embezzlement by the Worldwide Church of God.

While these various events were unfolding, and Herbert Armstrong was focusing his attack constantly on is son, another wedge was about to be driven in the still-widening crack in the façade that was covering the secret truths of the Worldwide Church of God.  Hillel Chodos had been pursuing the matter of a possible legal action with the California Attorney General’s office, and was infrequent contact with my attorney Peter Pearlman at Cohn and Lifland.  In early November, Pearlman wrote me a letter advising that Chodos was interested in pursing the matter.  It was their suggestion to initiate an action similar to what is known as shareholders derivative action in corporate litigation, in which Rader and others could be sued on behalf of he Church, seeking to obtain reimbursement to the Church of funds which we alleged had been misappropriated. In this type of lawsuit, the recovery would be for the Church itself. In other words, we were to pursue an action against individuals on behalf of the entire Church.  Of coursed, the legal fees would be very high in a case such as thins, and I  was thrilled to be informed that both Chodos and the Cohn and Lifland firm were willing to take the entire case on a contingency fee basis, as we had hoped they would.  They just required assurance that disbursements would be covered.  As I already had preliminary discussions with Ron Quinlan about the possibility of bringing a suit, and the hope that it could be handled in this fashion, he had been making arrangements to cover any disbursements on the part of the attorney’s.

At this point, we were faced with the financial decision of whether or not to proceed.  Paula and I reevaluated the entire situation and it appeared to us that there just was no other way to solve this problem.  But we wanted to be sure we were doing the right thing.  IN discussing it with Ron, he said, “I’m willing to put up the money to cover lawyer’s disbursements.  It appears that would be a better use of my tithe money, compared to what it was spent for in the past when I was ending it out to WCG.  I just want to make (pg 137) sure though that we are doing all this in accordance with Scriptures. It’s a serious matter to take your brother before the courts.”  This was something we had to be very certain of.  Even though Church leadership had gone wrong, they were still our brothers.  Christ’s instructions regarding handling of disputes with fellow Christians are quite clear. 

Obviously we had not tried to confront Rader or any of the others with our allegations.  How, then, could we now make this a court matter?  After considerable discussion and prayer, it became quite clear to us that although we personally had not confronted the people, we were just a few of many people having the same complaints.  It was known that others had confronted the Church leaders with allegations of self-dealing and misappropriation of funds.  Garner Ted Armstrong had confronted them on many occasions in the last days of his power struggle. Others, as reported in the Ambassador Report, had done the same thing back into the early 1970’s and even the late 1960’s; and of course the Ambassador Report itself and  the ensuing news coverage had served to bring the entire matter before the Church.  IN view of this the Church leaders had been made well aware that there was concern regarding their conduct.  There was no doubt that the scriptural requirements of handling such a situation had been met.  We were merely in a sense bringing to conclusion a corrective campaign that had been started many years earlier by many other brothers and sisters in the Church.

I told Pearlman to proceed.  From there on, events moved very rapidly with Chodos and Deputy Attorney Tapper doing all of the work necessary to prepare the case.  There was little more that we could do here, three thousand miles away, other than feed them any additional information that we might be able to uncover.  It was then finally determined that we as individuals would not be Plaintiffs, but relators with the Attorney General’s office actually bringing suit. This was in accordance with the required procedure for (pg 139) bringing a civil suit against officers of a non-profit, charitable corporation alleging their misuse of funds. We were immediately faced with a problem as the Attorney General and Chodos thought that it would be good to have a California resident as a relator.  Their reasoning was that it would probably be necessary to sign affidavits or assist in some other way and only with a California resident could such things be done expeditiously.

Up to this point we had one of the best kept secrets in the Church.  The only ones not directly involved with the lawsuit who had any knowledge at all were Gordon Muir, with whom I had discussed the possibility and Garner Ted Armstrong.  Garner Ted, while helpful in answering any direct question I put to him, seemed to act as though he wished things were not heading in that direction.  But he also realized that it was inevitable sooner or later.  He said, “Well, I’d sure like to see them get Rader.  It’s about time they get that guy out of there.  No one should become a millionaire off of a church.  But I know my father’s lived pretty good too, but it’s nothing compared to what Rader has done.  I just hope it doesn’t all back up on my father, too.  I hope he won’t have to be involved in this.”

Of course, what I didn’t realize at the time was that Garner Ted was quit concerned for himself. How will this affect him? What about the publicity?  Would it enhance or destroy his efforts in building the Church of God International?  He was saying all the right things now; he was speaking out against ostentations edifices, massive spending of worldwide trips and entertaining and autocratic rule.  He was even saying that he could never be an autocratic ruler, as the constitution of the CGI was being set up to provide for his removal if necessary.  But the fact remained that, while at the Worldwide Church, he had a home in Pasadena, Big Sandy, Texas and Lake Tahoe, as well as the use of facilities at Orr, Minnesota.  And, of course the airplane.  The Church had its own private air force; the Gulfstream II jet that was used for Herbert Armstrong was just the flagship of the fleet.  There are a few prop-driven planes of various sizes, a Cessna Citation jet and a Flacon jet.  Garner Ted could fly them all, which he did frequently.  He had gotten his pilot’s license after having attended flight school with Church money.  But of course, these were necessary tools for doing the work of Christ, he claimed.  In addition to the various Church (140) areas, and the shuttling back and forth between Pasadena and Big Sandy, there were the frequent rest and rehabilitation trips for fishing and hunting in places like Canada and Alaska.  Yes, it could back up on him, too.  I was concerned about it, and I hoped that it wouldn’t.  For it appeared as though Garner Ted had repented of whatever wrongdoing was in his past and was not making an effort at being a diligent servant in preaching the Gospel.  But if he did get caught up in it, one can only say that he should have thought of it when he, too, was living the good life.

Gordon had promised to keep the whole thing a secret.  So had Garner Ted.  Considering his nervous attitude regarding the entire situation, he was certainly not about to talk about the suit. Now we were faced with letting the cat out of the bag.  I thought, “Who could I contact in California?  I don’t really know anyone there who could ride this thing out, in case it turns into a long drawn-out battle.  And even worse, suppose the person I tell says no, then it would no longer be a secret and we’ll lose our element of surprise.”

The only possibility that I could think of was Earl Timmons.  I had heard of Earl and his wife Shirley from Mark Armstrong.  They had been early supporters of his father after his ouster from the Worldwide Church of God, and it was they who contributed substantial amounts of money to him and encouraged him to start a new Church.  He seemed to be not only the ideal choice but the only choice.  At the moment Earl did not have any job or any business responsibilities, as he had previously sold a plumbing contracting business and had not yet gotten involved with any thing else.  I felt fairly confident that if he rejected the idea of getting involved, we could at least trust him to maintain the confidence.  What we were about to do with this lawsuit was later to be attacked by Herbert Armstrong as a massive conspiracy orchestrated by his son.  Stanley Rader was to claim that the entire scheme was hatched and organized in Jekyll Island.  Contrary to the wild claims that were later to be made by these men, no such conspiracy existed and in fact I had never met Earl Timmons or his wife Shirley at that time.

Early in November, I phoned Earl Timmons and told him of the plan.  As I began to ask him if he would be a relator, he interrupted and said, “Wait a minute, you don’t; have to go further.  It’s about time something like this was done. Yeah, I’ll do it, of course I will.  Maybe finally we could get the evil influence out of the (pg 141) Church.  But what about Mr. Armstrong?  You’re not going to have to name him in a suit, are you?  I know he’s not been perfect, none of us have been.  I just think he’s been under a very bad influence.”  I then saints, “Aim glad that you agreed to this!  I was afraid that in our attempt to get someone in California to cooperate with us that we just might blow the lid of secrecy off the whole idea.

Earl then proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had just recently gone to the Attorney General’s office on their own with some information they obtained and thought that the Attorney General should look into the Church. Earl said, “They told me down there that they were already looking into it and that something was being developed.  They said that an attorney had been retained by some Church members back east and asked us not to say anything.  The it must have been you people that he was talking about.”

“That’s right, we’re the ones.  I don’t know of anyone else actively engaged in bringing any action at this time., I know there have been various rumors from time to time but I think it was all talk. This is for real”, I said.

There had been two other developments in recent days that graphically illustrated the excesses existing in some religious organizations. The one was the tragic murders and suicides resulting in the loss of over nine hundred lives in Guyana.  If there had been any question in our minds before as to how far individuals may go into following dictates of a religious leader, it was not quite clear that there were no limits.  No matter how sincere a religious leader might be or how correct his doctrine, he must always be viewed in light of Scriptures and should be considered a heretic should he stop preaching the truth of the Bible.  More than enough has been written about he Guyana tragedy that it is not necessary to belabor the point.  It did impress upon us, however, that the Worldwide Church of God was in the early stages (pg 142) of apostasy and the leaders had been engaging in lies and deception.  It was quite plain where this could lead to if allowed to run its potential course, under the leadership of an all powerful apostle and his crown prince.

The other development was the situation that prompted Earl and Shirley Timmons to approach the Attorney General regarding the Worldwide Church of God.  Shirley Timmons had been driving in her car when she heard a news announcement stating that the Attorney General’s office had launched a probe into the Faith Center Church of Los Angeles.  There were allegations of misuse of funds by the church leader W. Eugene Scott.  Faith Center owned their own FM radio and UHF TV stations and conducted an almost marathon broadcasting schedule mainly featuring Scott and his brand of evangelism. It had been alleged that Faith Center, a non-profit charitable corporation had been using money solicited for one purpose for other proposes.  Records have been subpoenaed and an attempt to quash the subpoena on November 3, 1978 met with failure.  Judge Phillips made it quite clear that while government agencies are not allowed to interfere with the ecclesiastical activities of a church, they do have the responsibility to see that the church uses its funds for the purpose for which they are collected.  To deviate from that would be a violation of the State Corporate Laws.  Judge Phillips said, “The nature of a religious organization is such that any funds it has are subject to public trust.”

This appeared to be a situation quite similar to what we were dealing with, and it gave us encouragement to proceed.  It appears to be more than a coincidence that at the same time we were preparing a lawsuit, Timmons also approached the Attorney General.  Also we were later to find out that Robert Gerringer and his associates at the Ambassador Report also approached the Attorney General’s office at about the same time.  It seems that one way or the other something would have happened.  While we had been accused of being agents of the Devil, it appears that something quite different was the case.  The ministers had often said that God would take care of the situation.  I would say that God had decided to deal forcefully, and was doing so in such a way that if one of us fell down on the job, there were others coming forward at about the same time with the same ideas.  This was much more than coincidence, I am sure.

(pg 143)  Earl and Shirley then visited Chodos, as it was decided that they would both sign affidavits as relators.

Shortly thereafter, a sixth relator David Morgan, was added to the list of relators by Earl, for as he said, “Just in case something happens to me, you know these guys can get pretty mean out here.  I really don’t trust them.  I’m not paranoid, because I really don’t care for myself.  This is a very important thing we have to do, and I won’t be intimidated, but in case something does happen we’ll have Dave here to carry on.  It’ll be a lot harder for them to stop two of us.”  I don’t think we are dealing with quite the type of a situation, but it still made sense if for no other reason than the fact that Earl just may be hit by a truck; one just never knows.

Over the next few weeks Earl and Shirley began gathering as much information as they could to have a good foundation on which to base a complaint. They were able to make it known, without revealing our plans, that they had a desire to gather as much information about the Church as possible in an attempt to correct problems.  That was when we began to realize that the entire organization was built on a very shaky foundation.  Few of the employees were actually loyal to Rader.  Information began to literally pour out of the sky.  Many anonymous informants, employees in very sensitive areas of the organization, began to funnel data to the Timmons.  Many apparently felt that the Timmons were fronting for Bert Mann, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

There had been rumors for the past several months that Mann was going to do a major expose of the Church.  I called Mann to determine the accuracy of the rumor and he did admit that he was planning such a story. He said, “This thing just has to be exposed. It’s a colossal rip-off.  I’ve never seen such fraud in the name of religion in my life. It’s going to take quite some time, however, to get all my facts together before I can run the story. .”  Many had been hoping that the rumors about Mann’s forthcoming story were true, and were basing their hopes on such an expose.  I kept in touch with Mann from time to time and sent him some of the more devastating documents such as the “Pastor General’s Report” and “Executive Expense Analysis.”   I confided in him that we were planning a lawsuit and asked him not use certain of this information until I gave him the go-ahead.  With Mann’s high degree of interest in the Church, we were counting on the Los Angeles Times to give our lawsuit the type of publicity that we hoped would make (pg 144) it a national issue.  We did not realize at the time that this matter was going to become a national issue without any special cooperation from any one reporter.

From the extreme position of fearing Rader may find out about the lawsuit ahead of time and stop it, the conversation would wing to the other extreme.  We would discuss lists of potential defendants.  I told Gordon that according to our attorneys, it definitely would name Rader, the Board Members and, unfortunately, Herbert Armstrong.  Gordon was concerned that if Armstrong were named it would be viewed by the Church members as an attack on the apostle, giving them a rallying point to fight the suit.  I agreed that such a possibility existed and felt that I would prefer to see that Herbert Armstrong would not be named.  Maybe there was another way.  We discussed the possibility of confronting Rader in advance in the hope that just a mere threat of a lawsuit would cause him to see the wisdom in resigning from his position.  If that could be accomplished, then any other problems could easily be dealt with.

I discussed this concept with Ron Quinlan and he said, “Look. I know that Herbert Armstrong is not an apostle.  Still, we have to acknowledge that he was used by God to raise up this Church and we can’t deny the fact that we learned a lot of truths as a result.  I almost feel that he is trapped by Rader and would like to be released, but doesn’t know how to handle it.”

(pg 145) We agreed that if there were some way to use the threat of a suit without actually proceeding with a filing, then perhaps the Church could be cleaned up without any scandal and adverse publicity.  We knew that if we had to follow through with it all the way, not only would there be a lot of publicity, but that we would  actually seek it since it would be a necessary instrument in preventing the public from being deceived by the organization..

One visit to the offices of Cohn and Lifland, I decided to discuss our idea with Pearlman and Hermann. I said, “If we actually file this lawsuit it would hurt and perhaps even destroy the Church when our real desire is to save the Church from the corrupt leadership. Why don’t; we just get everything prepared, then Ron and I could go to California and along with Chodos and the other realtors call on Rader.  We could just tell Rader, “Look, this is it.  It’s all over. We’re going to file this lawsuit before the courts close this afternoon, unless you agree to resign from all positions in the Church.”  I really thought that could work.  Ron and I were both convinced that if Rader’s main objective was one of gathering riches for himself, that he would have to realize that sooner or later the game would be over.

I continued, “Look at some of these men like Robert Vesco, they know sooner or later the game is going to be over and they make preparation to skip the country.  When it’s over they run, that’s all.  We won’t even have to be concerned with whether or not we gain restitution.  It would be worth it just to be rid of this cancer.  We could say to Rader, “Look, the game is over, pack your tent and leave.  We just don’t want to see you any more.  Here’s a one way ticket to Costa Rica.”

Pearlman nearly had a fit. He said, “Do you really believe that this man has spent the last twenty years at the Church, methodically gaining control over every aspect of the organization, just to have some of what he considers dumb sheep jackass members to come and scare him off?  I can’t tell you right now that we are not dealing with an armature. We’re dealing with a man who knows what he is doing, and this man will fight, there is no doubt about it. In fact, when we file this lawsuit he’s going to fight.  I told you before, this is not going to be over one. Two, three, just like that.  It’s going to take a longtime.  And while I think that money is a very important thing to Rader, I think that he may just hold on due to another even more powerful motivation.  There’s power there, a (pg 146) a lot of power.  Don’t you think he likes it and wants to keep it?”  I argued my point presenting the same case, in several different ways, but Pearlman kept shooting me down.  He said, “It’s important that we have the element of surprise here.  If they have any advance notice at all, there’s no telling what they will do to destroy evidence or hide it.  You know there have been a lot of pretty well-founded rumors regarding double books, false entries, and things of that sort.  To do what you want to do would only serve to give him advance notice, and then when he tells you what to do with the lawsuit and where to stick it, it will be over.  We’ll have lost before we even got started.”

I knew Pearlman was right, but there was such a desire on the part of us to be involved in this to still give benefit of the doubt that we felt that it was worth discussing this approach.  Then Pearlman further summoned it up very clearly, saying “How easy do you think it’s going to be to just convince a man to walk away from $65 million a year?”  Reluctantly, all of us had to agree that Pearlman was right. There was no choice but to allow Chodos and Tapper to proceed in a way that they considered most appropriate. It seems that ever couple of days I was on the phone to Earl Timmons. In the beginning, it appeared as though my investment in this lawsuit would be mainly one of time, as Ron Quinlain had agreed to handle the payment for our attorney’s disbursements.  As the frequency of phone calls increased, I was later to develop a feeling that I was directly resizable for a substantial increase in the earnings of New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. In the next couple of months, my bills were to climb as high as $750 per month.

A similar situation, but on a lesser scale, developed with Ron.  He is single and lives with his parents.  It was no longer possible for him to share the family telephone.  He had to have his own private line installed, as he found it necessary to make frequent phone calls to the West Coast.  He had made many friends in California during his year at Ambassador College and was now able to take advantage of those contacts.  It was important to obtain every bit of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in order to be properly armed for this legal action. He could only say, in very general terms, that they had lots of good information, but he could not be specific. Ad there (pg 147) had been reports of phone bugging within the Church headquarters, he was fearful that his own phone many not have been clear.

Toward the end of November, in a conversation with Gordon Muir, I felt he had really breached a trust.  He said, “I know that I agreed not to tell anyone about the lawsuit, but I felt it necessary to discuss it with Jack Martin.  I thought he should know about it.  He’s a minister you know, and very concerned about the condition the Church had fallen into.” I couldn’t understand Gordon’s having done this, and was quite angry.  I had met Jack on a few occasions, and also heard him preach a couple of times.  I was always impressed by him and knew that he was not fooled by the ridiculous claims of Herbert Armstrong or by Armstrong’s and Rader’s constant justification of there own excesses.  But I didn’t feel it was Gordon’s place to decide that Jack should be aware of the lawsuit.

I angrily responded, “Gordon, what did you do that for?  There’s no purpose or reason for it.  Just to let Jack in on it so he would know, is ridiculous.  He knows a lot of people in top positions. So now how do we know that he won’t in turn let some of those people in on the secret?  By the time it’s all over, the cat will be out of the bag and Rader will have advance knowledge and it will be too late.  You could have blown it right here, Gordon!”

Gordon said, “Hey, I can assure you that he won’t tell anyone, but I thought he should know that you are planning to name Ray Wright and Robert Kuhn as defendants. I know those men, John, and I am quite sure neither of them was implicated in any way in squandering the Church’s money.  I know Ray had his problem with embezzlement, but he’s owned up to that and I understand that he has fully repented and is making restitution to the Church.  These men, I’m sure had no par with any of Rader’s doing.”

I just thought it was ridiculous to begin getting selective in the list of defendants. Ray Wright had publicly admitted to embezzling and Kuhn had been a member of the Board of Directors of the Church.  According to the attorney’s, there was no way that they could avoid being named.  Finally, I settled down and at least accepted the fact that Gordon meant well, and only hoped that Jack would not discuss the situation with anyone else.  Gordon said that he would suggest that Jack call me in order to put my mind at ease.  Soon Jack Martin called and he said, “John, as a minister I must (pg 148) advise you that you are dealing with a very serious matter when you are preparing to bring a lawsuit against officials of the Church.  I’ve thought a lot about it and perhaps there is no other way to straighten out this whole mess that the Church has gotten itself into.  There’s no doubt that we are in the end-times and one can expect almost any kind of trouble in the Church.  I’m concerned, however, that you are going to name Ray Wright and Robert Kuhn.  John, I know these people, and as Gordon told you there is really no justification in naming them. If you do, you are only going to bring a lot of trouble on two men who don't deserve it.”

Again, I made the same points to Jack as I had made to Gordon.  I felt that he grudgingly was accepting the fact that there was nothing more that he could do about it and further there was nothing that I was going to do about it, considering that the attorney’s advice should be followed regarding the naming of defendants.  Jack then said, “Are you also going to name Mr. Armstrong?  I really hope that won’t be necessary.  If there’s any way to avoid it, I wish that you could.  If the lawsuit is successful in removing Rader and freeing Mr. Armstrong from his influence, I think things would be fine,  John, I don’t believe that Mr. Armstrong is an apostle, but I do believe that God has used him all these many years, and we have to consider that.  With all his many faults, he has done a lot.  We shouldn’t be quick to judge, as no one can know what we might be like were we to be in his position.”

We discussed that further, and I felt that I couldn’t really object too much to Jack’s position regarding Herbert Armstrong.  I promised to discuss it with the attorneys.  I conveyed Jack’s opinion regarding the naming of Mr. Armstrong to Peter Pearlman, indicating that I was in agreement with Jack. Pearlman said, “Look, I can understand that we are dealing with more than just physical considerations here.  This is a very unusual case.  I know that you have a spiritual consideration in mind also.  However, Herbert Armstrong is the chairman and president of the organization and there’s no way that he could not have know some of the things that were going on.  I don’t want to disillusion you, but the results of the investigation out there seem to indicate that Herbert Armstrong is in this up to his ears, according to what I have been told.”

There was no way that it was going to be changed, and it was something that we finally had to face up to.  Altogether there was a list of approximately fifty defendants, consisting of current (pg 149) and former employees in various positions of responsibility in the Church.  How many of the total list would be named was not yet determined.  But we had to accept the fact that the key figures, including Herbert Armstrong were going to be defendants.  From that point on, both Jack Martin and Gordon Muir became part of the daily phone network as the lawsuit was drawing closer to reality.

It was early December, and the daily phone calls from Jack Martin and Gordon Muir increased to several each day.  Every time one of them could obtain a bit of information or grapevine scuttlebutt, they would call, and then also inquire about the progress in preparation of the lawsuit.  They had nothing to do but sit around home, collecting their paychecks from the Church, as they had received no new job assignments.  At least they were now putting their time to good use, although Rader may have had a different opinion, had he known of the interest at t the time.

The phone rang early one morning, and when I answered, I heard a familiar “Hello, John,  Jack here again.”  He then stunned me by announcing that it was about time he told me that he had been discussing the lawsuit with Robert Kuhn.  I responded, not hiding my annoyance at what I considered to be a breach of rust: “Jack, why did you do that?  He’s a crook like the rest of them, and will be named as a codefendant.  Kuhn was one of the guys who double-crossed Ted when he could have stood by him last May against Rader.  And don’t; forget that he was involved with Environmental Plastics.  You know very well that he  is implicated with Wright on the embezzlement.”

Jack then assured me that Kuhn had nothing to do with Ted’s ouster, but along with Director of Ministry, Wayne Cole and Wright, was set up and used by Rader in that situation.  He continued, “Look, John, Rader is now out to destroy his opposition one by one. He caught Ray in the embezzlement, but Ray is taking the rap for something that appears worse than it is.  He didn’t use all the money for himself.  Most of it went through the plastics company as a conduit to lawyers in Texas who were investigating Rader’s dealings.  The man was under a lot of pressure, and kept some money for use by his company.  He is totally repentant, and has given Rader a letter stating that Robert was only an investor in the company, and had no knowledge of any financial dealings.  Robert is totally innocent of any wrong doings, but Rader, (pg 150) is using this situation as a means to destroy him before the Church.  He must get rid of Robert, as he is afraid that sooner or later Robert may expose him.”

“That’s all very nice Jack, “ I said sarcastically, “but what is to be gained by telling him what we’re doing?  Now we have a leak.  It’ll get back to Rader and we’ll lose our element of surprise.  By the time we get the suite filed, Rader will have picked the Church clean to the bones, and be on his was to Costa Rica in the G-II.”

Begging me to be patient with him, Jack explained that Kuhn wanted to help, and that he could possible convince Ray Wright to meet our lawyers. He also claimed that Kuhn could speak to Cole and other leading ministers in order to gradually prepare them for the impact of the lawsuit.

While I was quite suspicious of Kuhn, I agreed to let Jack proceed further in contacting him. There was certainly doubt in my mind as to the motives of Kuhn and his associates, as they were publically in support of Rader, if only by their silence.  I thought, “Could it be that they did actually cooperate with Rader against Ted, only to be later kicked aside?  Or, were they truly innocent puppets of Rader? And, were their motives sincere now, or did they just want to get in on what looked like a possible wining situation in order to save their jobs?”  There could be no answer at this time.  I had no choice but to trust Jack’s good judgment, and allow him to continue his discussion with Kuhn.

A few days later, Jack asked me to call Kuhn.  We agreed that no one would know of these contacts, except our attorneys, Perlman and Herrmann, and of course Ron Quinlain and Gordon Muir.  Earl Timmons was not going to know at this time.  The Pasadena area was now rife with rumors of pending class action suits, IRS investigations, attorney general investigations, a lawsuit by Garner Ted, an expose by Bert Mann, and an expose by the TV program 60 Minutes.  Some of these rumors seemed to have their foundation in fact, but were so distorted that any leaks appeared to become swallowed up in the rumor mill.  Without our realizing it at first, the rumor mill turned out to be our best protection against any leaks from our own associates.  Some of the leaks were the inevitable result of our having to confide in others in  order to gather evidence.  As even the slightest rumor regarding involvement of Kuhn would destroy his effectiveness, we decided that only those with a need to know would have any knowledge of his activities. 

(pg 151)  Prior to my calling Kuhn, he had been meeting with Cole.  He told Cole that some sort of legal action was being prepared, and would be filed near the end of the year.  Cole asked, “What kind of legal action?  Who is behind it? There are a lot of rumors around here and if one  of them is true, I think that I should know about it.”  Kuhn responded, “Wayne, I just can’t tell you anymore at this time.  I know more, but please don’t ask.  This is enough for now, and I’ll tell you more as I can. If you know the details, I know that out of loyalty to Mr. Armstrong, that you’ll feel obligated to inform him.  Then he’ll immediately call Stan, and then the action may run into problems.  All I can tell you about it is that the people want to save the Church.  They aren’t dissidents, but feel that strong action must be taken to clean this place out.”

Cole realized that all efforts within the Church just weren’t working.  He had a constant battle with his conscience, as he continued to write and preach to the membership that all was well and the leadership was in full unity now that Garner Ted had been removed.  While maintaining this position publically, he agonized over the fact that he was deceiving the people.  He continued to rationalize that it was the right thing to do while he tried to work from within with Herbert Armstrong to remove Rader and establish a legitimate board of directors.

As Jack had asked, I phoned Kuhn a few days after Jack had informed me of what he now called his private diplomatic mission.  Kuhn’s main concern was to be fully assured that we were not out to destroy the Church, but rather were sincere in our desire to save  the Church.  I assured him that this was the feeling of all those involved. He then told me of his meeting with Cole, and that Cole in turn would keep a few of the top ministers informed of developments.  Over the next couple of weeks, it was his plan to continue slowly feeding additional information to Cole and the others, who were not to be identified to me until later.  He planned to have them already to make a decisive move the day the suit was filed.  It was his and Jack’s hope that  by swift action, the leading ministers could be effective in reducing  the traumatic effects of what was to be a legal action much more drastic than they, or even we, could have ever anticipated.

Kuhn was very upset that he was to be a defendant, along with at least twenty others at the time. He reminded me that I had been told by Jack about his situation.  “Understand one thing, “ I (pg 152) said, “this is bigger than you or anyone else.  This is God’s Church and it is our responsibility before Him to clean it up. If you’ve done no wrong, you’ll be vindicated, but you must be named, as your name is linked to Wright’s in the embezzlement.  It’s all through the Church as a result of the story being in the latest ‘Pastor’s Report.’”

Kuhn responded, “Okay, I guess I’ll have to live with that for now.  In the meantime I’ll see what I can do to help. In fact I think that I can even get Ray Wright to come forward voluntarily.”

The possibility of Wright helping was almost unbelievable.  No one knew more about the daily functioning and procedures of the business and accounting offices than he did.  I wondered of he was sincere, or if he just hoped to save his own skin by helping us.

Kuhn assured me that he would contact Wright, who was visiting with his parents in Texas, and begin to prepare him for the possibility of speaking to our attorneys.  Wright was still recovering from the trauma of his ordeal, as he had been totally disgraced before the entire Church as an embezzler of $219,000.  It was necessary for Kuhn to use the eyedropper approach in preparing Wright to agree to do something that could be totally contrary to his own best personal interests.

After several days of phone calls with Wright, Kuhn felt it was time for Jack to contact Wright.  Jack was successful in convincing Wright that he had a spiritual obligation to assist us in any way possible.  He then obtained Wright’s agreement to meet with us at the offices of Cohn and Lifland in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.  The meeting was to be only a few days later, on December 22, 1978.

On December 21st, Kuhn met us at the attorney’s office for a meeting in preparation for the following day.  While seated at the conference table, it struck me that this was a most unusual meeting. Here were Ron Quinlain and I, along with Church employees Gordon Muir and Jack martin, witnessing the questioning of the former executive assistant to Garner Ted Armstrong by attorneys Pearlman and Herrmann. I thought, “What an unlikely situation, Robert Kuhn voluntarily submitting to questioning by my attorneys an entire continent away from Church headquarters in Pasadena.”

Kuhn proceeded to outline the entire purpose of the Church and his main responsibilities in doctrinal research.  He said that the Church was not fulfilling its main purpose of worldwide evangelism as it should due to internal problems. He was pleased (pg 153) that something was finally going to be done to remove those who were misusing the Church and its money for their own purposes. After listening to Kuhn for a while, Pearlman said: “Mr. Kuhn, it appears that your main role was a theologian, as you have stated.  But you haven’t really told me anything concrete about the alleged misdeeds of the top officials.  Surely, as a close associate of the Armstrong’s, Rader, and others, you must know something more specific.”

Kun could see that Perlman was skeptical of his willingness to be totally candid, and said, “It may sound crazy, but while I heard a lot of rumors, I actually never knew the facts.  The documents that you have shown me today: the ‘Pastor General’s Report’ and the ‘Executive Expense Analysis,’ are the first items of proof that I have seen.  It is quite shocking to see in black and white the confirmation of rumors that I have heard for so long.  You must realize how the Church is run.  Mr. Armstrong is a total dictator, calling himself God’s apostle, and Rader controls the entire business and the board is not what I would call a functioning body at all.  Everything is very secretive.  Even Ted had no knowledge of the finances of the Church. He was just used as a front, but actually had no real authority, except for a short period of time when he began to assert himself. That was when it looked as though he was succeeding in getting Rader pushed into the background, and nearly had him out.  Then, Rader apparently threatened Mr. Armstrong, and last May, Ted was thrown out. His own father sacrificed him for Rader.”

Herrmann then asked Kuhn, “What does Rader have on Herbert Armstrong, that he can seem to control him in that way?”  “I’m not sure, “responded Kuhn sadly, “but there are rumors of sexual compromise, in addition to the vast expenditures of money.  I also believe that Rader has a lot of powerful connections, I don’t know how they fit in to Mr. Armstrong’s international travels, but there may be something there.  As an example, Rader was very well acquainted with H. R Halderman.  During the Nixon administration, Rader’s oldest daughter worked in the White House and is now an attorney with the prosecutor’s office for either the city of the county of Los Angeles.  During the Nixon years there were some IRS audits of the college books and Ted’s return was audited. I understand that they were also going to do Rader’s return, but through some contacts in Washington he had that stopped.”

(pg 154) Pearlman asked, “What about yourself?  Have you ever been engaged in a business dealing with the Church in a personal way other than employment? Kuhn said, “No, not at all, other than the purchase of my home from the Church.  I was very fortunate in that transaction, as the Church was good enough to sell it to me at a discount below market value.”  That struck me as very strange.  Apparently, Kuhn did not see any particular significance in such a transaction, and it was hard to believe that he would volunteer this information if he had consciously engaged in self-dealing.  Yet someone must have had a motive in allowing him to buy a Church-owned home at below market value.  A transaction such as this, where a director of a charitable non-profit corporation is permitted to buy a property from the organization at discount, would seem to be in violation of the state law.

Kuhn said that he hoped that we would have a good meeting with Ray Wright on the following day, and that he was very concerned about Wright.  He said at first he was quit angry over the fact that Wright had taken Church money and put it into their jointly owned Environmental Plastic Corporation, which for a while made it appear as though he was also implicated.  He said that later when the whole matter came to light he had lengthy talks with Wright about the situation and came to understand that Wright was under considerable personal pressure  of one nature or another and that, while not condoning Wright’s actions, could understand the.  Kuhn said, “I have forgiven Wright and now my only concern is to see that he gets himself straightened out.  Perhaps by you giving him this opportunity to help here tomorrow, you will be helping him get one-step closer to a normal life.”

In listening to Kuhn, I felt that he was sincere in his desire to help save the Church. He had worked very hard at arranging for Wright to appear at the following day’s meeting with the attorneys.  He was now involved with us to a degree that would make it very difficult for him to back out.

As the meeting drew to a close, Pearlman announced:  ‘Don’t worry about being a defendant, Mr. Kuhn. Chodos informed me yesterday that he will name the Church and its subsidiaries; plus Herbert Armstrong, Stanley Rader and Does one through one hundred.  If you’re clean, you won’t have to worry, but if evidence shows otherwise, you’ll be one of the Does. I have agreed with Chodos in naming the defendants in this way in order that the main (pg 155) thrust of the action is clearly identified.”  While the statement pleased Kuhn, it also set the stage for considerable problems which were to develop in less than two weeks.,

The following day, December 22nd, was when IO first met Ray Wright.  I had arranged to meet Jack and Gordon at a restaurant near the attorney’s office.  They arrived with Wright, who had flown into Newark from Dallas the previous evening.  I immediately recognized Wright from photographs in Church publications, but was struck at his appearance. He seemed much thinner now than in photographs of only a few months ago. The rumors that he had lost over twenty pounds as a result of his recent ordeal seemed valid as son as I saw him.

As I talked over a hurried lunch, Wright said, “I have been totally destroyed by Rader as a result of what he has written about me to the Church. While some of the money that was given to Environment Plastics didn’t go to the attorney’s as it should have, Rader makes it look as though I stole the entire $219,000. I have already paid back a good portion of it my mortgaging my house, but he will try to control me because I tried to help Ted expose him.  I want to help you people, but only if your motives are right,  If you just want to destroy the Church as others have tried to do, I would rather go to jail than to help you.”

I assure him that our propose was to expose those ensnared in financial improprieties and remove them form the organization, as well as to establish a board of directors that would never allow an autocracy to develop again.  This was the only way we would be protected against further problems of the type we were now facing.

Wright seemed to be satisfied that our attitude was proper, and realized that of he didn’t help us, he would come out worse in the end, as the Attorney General would certainly investigate his situation thoroughly.  He was between a rock and hard place, and he knew it. Any help he could provide at this time  might just enable him to get a lighter treatment later by authorities, although no promises could be made to him.

After lunch we met Ron Quinlain in the lobby of the attorney’s office, and proceeded to our meeting.

Again, as in the meeting with Kuhn, I was struck by the fact that only a few months ago, I would never have thought that I would be engaged in such a situation.

Pearlman, speaking in his best lawyerly manner, advised Wright (pg 156) that he was appearing voluntarily without counsel, and could leave at any time, but that anything he said may be used against him, as he may be a defendant in the lawsuit before it is all over. “You must realize,” said Perlman, “that although the Church will be named as a defendant, it is merely for technical reasons to enable us to have access to the documents without having to wait for pre-trail discovery proceedings to take place.  In reality, we are acting on behalf of the Church, and that is our first responsibility.  Once the suit is filed, no one is immune if they were engaged in any wrongdoing.  And”, he continued, pointing to each one of us seated around the conference table, “that means you, or Jack Martin, Gordon Muir, or even the relators!”

Wright appeared to be stunned by the firmness of  Perlman’s statement. He said, “That’s quit clear.  I feel that to be right before God, I must tell what I know.  There are rumors of pending lawsuits in the past.  I understand that Rader always managed to get them quashed or bought people off…” Perlman then interrupted: “Mr. Wright, this action is going forward, it will not be stopped and no one will be bought.  It is about time that organizations such as the Worldwide Church of God be released from the grip of those individuals who seek to use religion for personal gain.  Now, if we may, let’s begin by your telling me about yourself, and what you know about these matters, Mr. Wright.”

Wright then began telling a lengthy story of his having been  a top executive of Texas Instruments, with responsibility over certain aspects of their British and  European operations.  While living in England several years ago, he came into contact with the Church. Later he and his wife were baptized, and he decided to commit himself to the work of the Church.  He began by working in the British office, and after a few years was appointed business manager at headquarters in Pasadena.

“One of the first things that came to my attention, “ he said, “was the $25,000 in cash going out the door tin Gotoh’s briefcase.  Someone in the accounting office thought it was strange that Gotoh would take $25,000 on frequent occasions, and thought that I should know about it.  When I brought it to Rader’s attention, he told me that it was needed for foreign campaign expenses, and that I was not to ask any more questions.”

“That kind of cash can’t leave the country without being declared,” said Herrmann, pausing a moment, then continuing (pg 157) “Strange, very strange way to run a Church.  Isn’t this the same Gotoh who bought thousands of dollars worth of cameras, and spent hundreds of thousands at Gucci, Cartier, etc.?’  What were all those cameras for, by the way?”

“I don't know”, said Wright, “but there is a story that he was caught for smuggling such items into the country on the G-II, but Rader had it quashed.”

Perlman responded in astonishment, “How can Rader get a smuggling charge quashed? All right, so he’s been hobnobbing with all those foreign politicians, but who does he know in Washington?”

“Well,” said Wright, “there was an IRS investigation some years back, but it was only superficial. It only dealt with the college, but not Church books.  Rader saw to it that his personal returns weren’t audited.  That was when Nixon was President.  One of Rader’s friends was H.R. Halderman.”

On hearing this reference to Halderman again, I couldn’t help but think that the comments that I had made weeks earlier that we were onto a Watergate might mean more than I had realized.

Pearlman then handed Wright some papers entitled ‘Executive Expense Analysis’ and a twenty seven page document entitled ‘Pastor General Department, Report of Expenditures.’  “Do you recognize these documents?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Wright,. “the ‘Executive Expenses Analysis’ came from the Church accounting office. The ‘Pastor General Report’ was complied by my people, by extracting figures from various accounts and assembling them into a single document, to show how money was being wasted, and perhaps stolen.  These figures were scattered through different accounts, and it too a lot of digging to get them together.  I did this when Ted asked me to investigate Rader’s financial activities.  At the same time, the lawyers in Texas who were being paid through my company so Rader Wouldn’t know that we were hiring lawyers, were investigating Rader’s leasing companies.  These were companies that owned the jets that were leased to the Church.  We could have made a better deal elsewhere than we had with his companies “Then,” said Perlman, “these figures, such as $7,284.476 for taxes on Rader’s home in Beverly Hills, $2,400 mortgage payments on his home, $7,508.65 for furnishings in his Tucson home, a total of over $51,000 for one month, are correct?  And also over $10,000 (pg 158) in nine entries on one day at the Hilton Hotel in Jerusalem on Rader’s Diners Club Card?  And over $19,.000 spoon on an Ambassador Mugo, including his visit to Disneyland.  And Dr. Singh, a justice of the World Court in the Hague, several thousand dollars in air fare for him?  It goes into the hundreds of thousands, with places listed such as Gucci, Cartier, Harrods’s, Patek Phillipe, Steuben Glass, etc., etc.  Incredible!”

“Yes,” Said Wright, “I’m afraid that those figures are correct.  And that doesn’t show what was spent through the special executive checking account, which’s how Mr. Armstrong’s and Rader’s salaries were handled. The checkbook for that account was maintained at Rader’s law and accounting offices in Century City.  We just made a bulk transfer into that account, as we were instructed to do. We never knew how it was spent. That was also the location of Worldwide Advertising, run by Rader and Cornwall.  This was the company that bought several million dollars per year of radio and TV time for the Church. We only get a monthly bill from them for  services, but never a breakdown or supporting invoices from broadcast stations.  I later found out that we could get much better prices for broadcasting time, than we were getting through Worldwide Advertising.  That was before Ted finally dumped them and made a deal with Ed Libov Associates.

Wright continued, talking almost non-stop.  He commented that even Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t dream up a story as this true one. He told how money had been spent on personal homes; about executives speculating in previous metals on margin for their own accounts using Church funds; about an account at Union Bank of Switzerland that was used to cover margin requirements for speculation in foreign currency. Then, there was the home that Rader purchased from the Church for $450,000 with little more than $100,000 down payment, and with the Church holding the mortgage. He then paid the mortgage loan from money received from the Church for that purpose. Over $500,000 was spent by the Church to remodel the home. He then sold the home for $1.8 million dollars, with the Church paying his capital gains tax for him.

Perlman said, after Wright talked for some time, “I’d like to get back to this matter of the $219,000 which you transferred to Environmental Plastics.  That seems to play a very important part in this entire situation.”

(pg 159)  Wright then explained that he and Kuhn bought Environmental Plastics in March of 1976 for $90,000.  It was strictly an investment and was to be operated in absentee ownership.

Wright then said, “I guess this really started boiling back in March of 1977 when I was called down to Tucson by Mr. Armstrong. He demanded that I produce evidence of Ted’s wrongdoing and produce proof that he was a playboy engaged in frivolous expenditures of Church money.  He wanted to get rid of his son then, but shortly after Ted and his father made up and there was no investigation conducted on Ted.”

There was apparently was a concerted effort to remove Garner Ted at that time.  At the very same time Wright was being pressured to produce evidence against Garner Ted, other officials in the Church had been asked to do the same thing.  Also at the time, Herbert Armstrong had initiated meetings with Albert J. Portune who had left the Church in 1974 as one of the leaders of the 1974 Rebellion.  Portune had been a minister and had held several high positions in the Church including that of business manager.  Not only was Herbert Armstrong asking Portune to return to the Church and have his disfellowshipment lifted, he was actually offering to bring him in as Garner Ted’s replacement. l   garner Ted had been led by his father to believe that Portune may be coming back into the Church as a minister, but was not aware of the full range of his father’s plans.  Portune, however, revealed the entire scheme to Garner ted, who then wrote a memo to his father indicating that Portune would not be coming back.

Herbert Armstrong called Garner Ted to his office and said, “Now Ted, what is this about Al Portune? What do you mean here? You mean All is not coming back?”

Garner Ted then said, “No, he’s not coming back.  He’s not coming back because of what you said to him about me.”

Herbert Armstrong then said, “Why Ted, your name never even came up.  Your name wasn’t even mentioned.”

This type of conversation went back and forth for  sometime with Garner Ted just allowing his father to lie to him.

Garner Ted then finally said, “Dad, you called me a wild jackass, an ass of man, absolutely irresponsible and so on.  You totally just took me apart to Al Portune. “Herbert Armstrong continued to deny having done or said any such thing.  And Garner Ted then said, “Al and I just went to breakfast this morning.”

(pg 160) Turning white, almost as though he were going into a state of shock, Herbert Armstrong lowered his head and mumbled, “Oh, I just guess I ought to just go out and kill myself.”

Pieces were beginning to fit.  Ray Wright was filling in the pieces that, together with this account of what took place between Garner Ted and his father, made it quite clear that there would have been no reconciliation had Ted not caught his father in a horrendous series of lies.  God’s apostle, the very representative of Jesus Christ on earth, the head of God’s Church, scheming and conniving and lying, and of all things maneuvering against his own son.

Getting back to Ray Wright’s startling revelation, he then continued, “At about this time, Ted realized he had to do something and being suspicious of Rader said that he wanted to compile a complete dossier.  He decided to investigate Rader’s financial dealings and his association with the companies that lease the planes to the Church, Worldwide Advertising, is mortgages and so on.”

Wright then continued to explain how it was decided to retain attorneys to conduct certain investigation while he would internally prepare summaries of various expenditures.  The “Pastor Generals’ Report” was a result of that effort.  They were concerned that any expenditure for outside attorneys would be noticed and brought to Rader’s attention. Wright came up with the idea of funneling money through Environment Plastics and then have Environmental Plastics pay the attorney’s.

Wright then reached into his pocket and said, “I have a copy of a memo right here form Ted authorizing the use of Environmental Plastics for that purpose. “  The memo was dated July 13, 1977, addressed from Garner Ted Armstrong to Ray Wright, and said, “I hereby authorize Ray Wright to use the firm of Environmental Plastics, Incorporate for very special projects and studies as and are necessary.”  Only about $30,000 went to the attorneys for the studies.  The balance of he $219,000 went into Environmental Plastics and was used for proposes other than those which Garner Ted had in mind.

That memo was Wright’s blank check and , when he found himself in a financial difficulties, he was able to use the authority he had been given to ‘borrow’ from the Church at any time.  It was a strange picture here of a man conducting an investigation to expose financial misdeeds on the part of the top office of the Church, himself engaging in the same activity

(pg 161)  On hearing Wright’s statement and seeing the memo, it struck me that only a couple of months earlier Ted had told me that he had never heard of Environmental Plastics.  It was during our phone conversation that he informed me that the manager of Environmental Plastics had called him with information of suspicious movements of money from the Church into the company.  Why, I thought, did Garner Ted tell me that he had never heard of the company?  Was it an oversight?  That’s hard to believe. Or, realizing that I had  determined to expose the wrongdoing in the Church, he decided to funnel additional information to me, hoping to keep himself out of it as much as possible. It’s doubtful that he ever expected Wright to turn stoolpigeon in hopes of saving his own neck.

Wright continued revealing even more as he rattled on like an LP record. He said: “We came up with all sorts of things.  Rader’s home is just full of art purchased by the Church and then given to him as gifts by Herbert Armstrong.  Of course, it’s a pretty well known fact that Herbert Armstrong has huge art collection appraised at somewhere between a half million and a million dollars.  That was all paid for by the Church, too. And there was the Currier Insurance Company, there was some sort of connection between that company and Rader. Interestingly enough, the Church placed its insurance business with Currier.”

At the end of 1977, Wright confronted Rader with his findings. It was never made clear whether this was done with Garner Ted’s approval or if Wright did it prematurely realizing that he may be in trouble for taking $219,000, finding it necessary to protect himself on all fronts.  At any rate the outcome of that was as Wright said: “Rader was shocked. He was absolutely shocked. He went into a rage when he found out what we had done.”

At this point it was becoming open war between Garner Ted and Rader and would only be a matter of time until the events of the following spring leading to Garner Ted’s ouster would take place.

As I listened to Wright’s story, I couldn’t  help but wonder  what would be the reaction of the people in the Church when this was made known.  Would they finally wake up and demand that corrective measures be taken?  I didn’t expect that all of them would but I thought it would be reasonable to expect that at least half would finally revolt against the apostle.

Herrmann then said, “This is incredible, but do you mean to tell (pg 162)  me that these things could go on for so  many years with no one before this time deciding to do something about it.  It’s hard to believe how so many people could close their eyes to such a thin.”

‘well, there were others,” said Wright, “there was a Jim Johnson who I understand is from Florida. He is a CPA who was brought back in 1972 or 1973 to look into tings  It was kind of an undercover deal.  But he didn’t last long and he was sent back to Florida, out of a job.”

Jim Johnson had been hired by others in the church business office who were suspicious of Rader’s dealings. He was originally brought in as a cost accountant with the fact of his being a CPA kept secret.  After working for the Church for two months, Rader was so impressed with him that for six months he was put on the payroll of Rader’s accounting firm of Rader, Cornwall and Kessler.  The he was transferred back  to the Church payroll and began to on his own to conduct an internal audit. His investigation produced details regarding many questionable dealings and possible conflicts of interest.  He found that First Pennsylvania Corporation financed the planes for the Rader  owned leasing companies which in turn leased jets planes to the Church.  There were many questions regarding the property of the furnishing of top officials’ homes and then their subsequent sale to various outsiders.  Johnson began to reveal some of his findings to Frank Brown, who was then the business manager of the Church.  It was then that Brown realized that those under him had brought  Johnson in to the accounting offices and that he had looked upon as a spy functioning right under his nose.  The solution was obvious. Late in 1974, Frank Brown informed Johnson that due to budgetary considerations, Johnson’s salary could no longer be justified and that he was being terminated.  After his termination he returned back to Florida and submitted the details of his findings to the Ethic’s Committee of the California State Accounting Board.

Shortly thereafter, Rader “voluntarily” announced that he was withdrawing from the accounting firm and turning it over to his partners.  Then to insure the continuity of his relationship with the Church, Rader had Herbert Armstrong baptize him in the Hong Kong bathtub.

Again, everything was beginning to fit.  It became more and more apparent that whenever anyone became too inquisitive or shoed too much personal initiative their job was quickly placed in jeopardy. 
(pg 163) It appeared that the major consideration regarding one’s continued employment at Church headquarters was not one of qualification but rather one of continued unquestioning loyalty to Armstrong and Rader.

Pearlman then said to Wright, “There have been several references to dealings in real estate, other than the transaction on Rader’s homes, do you have anything further on that?”

Wright replied, “ Yes, one of the strange things about the real estate transactions is the fact that most property sales seem to have been handled by William Evans a real estate broker in Pasadena.  He’s been a deacon in the Church for about twenty years and prior to becoming a real estate broker was employed in the Church offices. He was in charge of managing the Church-owned homes. He sold properties owned by the Church.  I don’t know how improper that may be in itself, but I did wonder about some of the transactions. There were cases of Church –owned homes being sold at a certain price and then immediately resold by that buyer to someone else at a substantially higher price. It all seems rather strange.”

I wondered about the significance of what Wright had just said.  All of Garner Ted’s recent talks and writings out of the Church of God International seemed to indicate that others had been defrauding the Church and that he was thrown out in an attempt to expose it with he himself being innocent of any such abuses.  Yet Evans was a close friend of Garner Ted’s and it seemed highly unlikely that he had no awareness of Evan’s activities. Pearlman had also been wondering if it could be so that Garner Ted was so totally innocent of any wrongdoing, when just about everyone else seemed to be accused of an involvement one way or another.

Perlman said to Wright, “all this seems to center around Stanley Rader, but I don’t think Herbert Armstrong is free from involvement either, and none of this could be going on without the collaboration of many others.  Do you really think that Garner Ted Armstrong had pure motives for attempting to expose Rader?  Or is it that he saw Rader as a threat to his own position?”

Wright responded: “I really don't know.  But Garner Ted has been accused many times of excessive spending also.  He lived quite well in his several homes and jet planes.  There have been many stories widely circulated regarding Ted’s gambling activities.  One that comes to mind is that the Church had to bail him out of a (pg 164) massive debt in Las Vegas.  He likes to play blackjack and has been known to drop a lot of money at the blackjack tables.  Ted denies the story and claims he just needed a small amount of money sent to him in Las Vegas as he was out of cash which he needed for personal expenses.”

Herrmann then asked, “Would Rader, if he were an enemy of Garner Ted actually bail him out of  a large gambling debt?”

Wright replied, “Yes, he probably would.  That’s the way Rader operates.  Then it would give him something that he could hold over Garner Ted’s head to use whenever he saw fit.  Rader maintains meticulous files and a detailed diary of his every activity. HE would to that very type of thing if he thought it could provide him the tool he needed to control Ted at a later date. But there were other expenditures on Ted’s behalf. He frequently got large cash advances, which seemed rather strange considering that everyone had a credit card.  And then of course there were his flying lessons.  All of his flying lessons were paid for out of Church funds, including those which he required to obtain his jet pilot’s license.  All of those payments were made out of the general expense fund.  When you get right down to it, the Falcon jet was more of a toy than a business tool because it was used mostly for his personal use.  The same applied to the Cessna Citation which was used by Ron Dart and some other top ministers.”

Again, Herrmann brought up the same question that he had asked Kuhn, and a question that constantly prayed upon all of our minds.  He asked, “This is incredible. I really find it all hard to believe. I just don’t see how this man Rader can stay so tightly locked in to the point of coming out on top of Herbert Armstrong’s own son. He must have something on Herbert Armstrong that no one knows about.  Do you have any idea what it might be?”

Wright stumbled and stammered a bit and acted as though he wished that the question had never been asked..  He then said, ‘Well, of course Armstrong has spent more than his share of money, too. Rader was the guy who knows where every penny has gone.  He has threatened Mr. Armstrong many times that if he were ever let go he would tell the world everything knows.  He has also  threatened many times to sue the Church and sue Herbert Armstrong.  His knowledge seems to go far beyond money.  A lot of the hold that he has over Herbert Armstrong seems to be centered around Armstrong’s own weaknesses. He has a drinking problem and (pg 165) that just leads to all other types of problems.  I think the whole key to the thin is Dr. Floyd Lochner. He’s a Ph.D. who used to teach at the college, but most of the time he accompanied Mr. Armstrong as one of his aides and also as his masseur. Lochner claims to have made several tape recordings of Herbert Armstrong revealing very intimate things to him.  He has acknowledged that he knows that he is not an apostle, but that  it is through the use of such a title that he can control the Church.  And then I understand that there were many sexual sins, but I don't know the details about it.  I would say that the validity of all this is confirmed by the fact that Dr. Lochner is on a salary from the college of about $25,000 a year.  He has absolutely no duties and no responsibilities. It is strictly a  no-show job.”

I had heard such stories many times, but they were always probably about tenth-hand rumors.  Other  than the comments made to me by Mark Armstrong, this was the first I had heard such things from someone close to the situation. Wright was asked whether he still had any information in his personal files regarding all of his investigations, and he said that he had very little remaining. At about the time Garner Ted was ousted later in the year, Rader seized all of Wright’s files in his office.  He did say, however, that he had removed some documents from the premises and had them stored in his garage at his home and had only hoped that they would still be there.

At the end of the meeting, Wright assured us that he would contact Chodos by phone, and arrange to bring him Church documents that he had stored in his garage in Altadena.  He promised that after spending the weekend in Texas, where his family was staying, that he would return to his home, and see that the documents were given to Chodos.

Both Ron and I were quite stunned by all of what we had heard. Even though we had heard rumors of all sorts of wrongdoings for so long, even after having seen several documents, to hear  it all confirmed intimate detail by one who was there was almost more than we could cope with.  How it could have gone on so long, we wondered.  Could everyone either have been so blinded, or such a past of it themselves that such a monstrous abomination could continue to exist in the guise of a church?  It would be so easy to become totally disillusioned and just check out on religion altogether. Yet we knew that was not the answer, for we knew God (pg 166) is real and Jesus Christ is our Savior, ever-living High Priest and soon coming King. Yet how could this be, such corruption in the very Church that seems to have more of the truths of God than any other religious organization?

Of course, it was nothing new.  Both Old and the New Testaments have several accounts of corruption among religious leaders. Even one of Christ’s own disciples, Judas Iscariot, was able to be bought.   If one who lived with Christ and actually witnessed his miracles could fall to such temptation, then none of us are immune but for the grace of our Savior. Perhaps there is an interesting parallel here.  Judas Iscariot not only took a payoff to betray Christ, but he was actually the treasurer.  Not only was he the treasurer, but he had been dipping in the till. This point was clearly made in the twelfth chapter of John when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Christ’s feet with  a very expensive ointment and then wiped his feet with her hair.  Judas Iscariot said, in response to that, “Why was not this ointment sold for 300 pence and given to the poor?” He seemed to be so concerned for the poor.  What he really meant was that they should sell the ointment with the proceeds being given to him, the treasurer, to, in turn, distribute to the poor.  But was he really giving all the money to the poor as he claimed?  The next verse makes it very plain. John states in Verse 6: “This he said not that he had cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the bag.
, and bare what was put therein.”

Here was Judas Iscariot the bag man, the treasurer for the disciples, acting so concerned for the poor, when in fact he wanted to replenish the treasury which had been running low because had been stealing from it.  Jesus, knowing he was soon to be crucified and realizing that Mary was anointing him for his burial said, “Let her alone; against the day of my burying had she kept this.”

The parallels here are amazing.  Jesus Christ had a thief and a traitor right beside him, so we must realize that there is no reason why we should expect any less difficulties today.

With Kuhn and Wright on their way back to California, and the lawsuit just about ready to go, we were expecting that sometime during the following week that it would be served.  The information that we had obtained was sure to be very helpful, and we were quite (pg 167) relieved that we had been successful in obtaining it before the service of the complaint would have everyone scrambling for their own individual necks.