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Armstrong's Empire Exposed

Preparing for Action - Past One

                       THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE

                    Herbert Armstrong's Empire Exposed

                                    by

                                 John Tuit
                            (Published in 1981)



PREPARING FOR ACTION


     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 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 upon Church officials to do so. The reaction on
the part of Robert Kuhn was swift. He threatened to bring suit,
as he had not known of any transfers of money until the matter
had been publicized 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 England to conduct special
studies regarding Church programs in 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 the
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 the information that Jim
Lookingbill, the general manager of Environmental Plastics, 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 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 that 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.

     While these various events were unfolding, and Herbert
Armstrong was focusing his attack constantly on his son, another
wedge was about to be driven in the still-widening crack in the
facade 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 in frequent contact with my attorney Peter
Pearlman at Cohn and Lifland. In early November, Pearlman wrote
me a letter advising that Chodos was interested in pursuing the
matter. It was their suggestion to initiate an action similar to
what is known as a shareholders derivative action in corporate
litigation, in which Rader and others could be sued on behalf of
the Church, seeking to obtain reimbursement to the Church of
funds which we alleged had been misappropriated. In this type of
a 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 course, the legal fees would be very
high in a case such as this, 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
attorneys.

     At this point, we were faced with the final 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 the lawyers' disbursements. It appears
that would be a better use for my tithe money, compared to what
it was spent for in the past when I was sending it out to the
WCG. I just want to make sure though that we are doing all this
in accordance with Scripture. 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. Matthew
records Him as saying that first the offended one must go
directly to the brother and tell him his fault. Then, if that
doesn't bring any results, another attempt should be made by
taking one, two, or more witnesses, and again confronting the
individual. If that doesn't bring any results, the matter is to
be told to the entire Church. Should all of these efforts be
futile, then it says in Matthew 18:17, "Let him be unto thee as a
heathen man and a publican."

     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 going back into the
early 1970s and even the late 1960s; 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 may 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 bringing a civil action 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 about it were Gordon Muir, with whom I
had discussed the possibility and Garner Ted Armstrong. Garner
Ted, while helpful in answering any direct questions I put to
him, seemed to act as though he wished that 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 quite 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 ostentatious
edifices, massive spending for 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 then there were the several cars that were
assigned to him. And, of course the airplane. The Church had its
own private airforce; the Gulfstream II jet that was used for
Herbert Armstrong was just the flagship of the fleet. There are a
few propdriven planes of various sizes, a Cessna Citation jet and
a Falcon jet. Garner Ted could fly them all, which he did
frequently. He had gotten his jet 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 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
such as 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 now 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 among the earliest 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 sometime
previously sold a plumbing contracting business and had not yet
gotten involved with anything 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 at
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 me and said, "Wait a minute, you don't have to go any
further. It's about time something like this was done. Yeah, I'll
do it, of course I will. May be finally we could get the evil
influence out of the 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. But in spite of all that's
taken place, I still love that old man. I just think he's been
under a very bad influence." I then said, "Am I glad that you
agreed to this! I was so 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. As far as Herbert
Armstrong is concerned, I, too, hope that we won't have to name
him in the complaint. It would be really great if the corruption
around him could be removed. As far as he's concerned, I'd rather
look to all the years of good that he has done and try to realize
that any of his shortcomings, no matter how serious, may be more
a result of Satan constantly working on him, as he does on all
those who try to serve God."

(Maybe Satan does work on us all, in various ways, but the plain
truth is that someone doing the work of God, as the apostle Paul
did [and who went through any more serious attacks, mentally and
physically] than Paul. so Herbert Armstrong had no excuse, he was
finishing the Christian race on the wrong track, and no matter
how you start, finishing correctly gets you over the finish line
with victory - Keith Hunt)

     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. Then 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 the dictates of a religious
leader, it was now 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 the Scriptures and
should be considered as a heretic should he stop preaching the
truth of the Bible. More than enough has been written about the
Guyana tragedy that it is not necessary to belabor the point.

(The writer is talking about "Jim Jones" and how he turned his
organization into a "cult" and nine hundred killed themsleves and
their children at his command. You'll probably find all the
details on the Internet - Keith Hunt)

     It did impress upon us, however, that the Worldwide Church
of God was in the early stages of apostacy 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. 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 with 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 purposes. Records had been subpoenaed and an
attempt to quash the subpoena on November 3, 1978 met with
failure before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles H.
Phillips. 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 it funds for the
purpose for which they were 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 a 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 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 the 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 it 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.

     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 didn't think we were
dealing with quite that 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
the 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 on 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 a 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 to 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 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.
     While Chodos and Tapper were preparing the case, I discussed
its progress with Gordon Muir. Gordon at that time seemed to be
the professional skeptic. He would say, "I just wish this Church
could get itself straightened out. Maybe this lawsuit would do
it. But I don't know, John, if it's ever going to work. We have
been hearing stories for months that Bert Mann is going to write
an article and nothing has happened. There are rumors that he is
being held back, too, you know. How do you know that Rader, with
his political connections won't prevent such a lawsuit from being
filed? We've all heard the rumors about the IRS investigation
that was called off some years back. He's well connected, John.
Maybe we should just forget it and face the fact that this
organization is through. Maybe God is just through with it,
that's all."
     I would argue this point with him from time to time,
constantly reminding him, "There's no way that Rader can stop
this because he won't know about it until it's too late."
From the extreme position of fearing that Rader may find out
about the lawsuit ahead of time and stop it, the conversation 
would swing to the other extreme. We would discuss lists of
potential defendants. I told Gordon that according to our
attorneys, it definitely would be necessary to 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 resiening from his position. If that could
be accomplished, then any other problems could be easily 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."


(Yes, but I'm sure Jim Jones had truths; why even the Pope and
the Roman Catholic church have truths of the Bible; the point is
SOME, the apostle Paul told the elders at Ephesus WOULD become
apostate and lead many off into "perverse things, to draw away
disciples after themselves" [Acts 20:17-34] - Keith Hunt)

     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 then we
would actually seek it since it would be a necessary instrument
in preventing the public from being deceived by the organization.
     On a visit to the offices of Cohn and Lifland, I decided to
discuss our idea with Pearlman and Herrmann. I said, "If we
actually file this lawsuit it could 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 relators 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 that 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 tell you right
now that we are not dealing with an amateur. 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 long time. 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 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 that 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 all over. We'll have
lost before we even got started."
     I knew that Pearlman was right, but there was such a desire
on the part of us involved in this to still give every benefit of
the doubt that we felt that it was worth discussing this
approach. Then Pearlman further summed it up very clearly, saying
"How easy do you think it's going to be to just convince a man to
walk away from over $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 every 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
Quinlan 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 responsible 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 too 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. In my conversations with Earl, it soon developed
that he had to be somewhat cryptic in advising me of their
progress. He could only say, in very general terms, that they had
lots of good information, or that they were coming up with many
interesting things, but he could not be specific. As there
had been many reports of phone bugging within Church
headquarters, he was fearful that his own phone may not have been
clear.
     Toward the end of November, in a conversation with Gordon
Muir, I felt that 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 has 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 very 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
their 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
that 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
there, 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 this
problem with the 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 part 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 attorneys, 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 advise you that you are dealing with a very
serious matter when you are preparing to bring suit against the
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 for 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 had 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 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 of his
influence, I think things will 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 too quick
to judge, as no one can know what we might be like were we to be
in his position."

(Well, when the time came that Rader was no longer around, the
Herbert Armstrong fellow did not change his ways. He went on to
rule his organization as a cult leader, no basic different than
Jim Jones, or any other leader that you could put in the catagory
of "Churches that Abuse" as Ronald Endroth wrote about in his
book by that name, in 1992. A book you should read if still
obtainable. The abuses that would follow in the WCG under
Armstrong ... well if the stories were told, would fill a good
thick book of its own - Keith Hunt)

     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 known 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've been told."

(And you betcha he was - up to his ears in all the cow-dung -
Keith Hunt)

     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 or sixty defendants, consisting of
current 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 call 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 their interest at that time.
     The phone rang early one morning, and when I answered, I
heard the 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
trust: "Jack, why did you do that? He's a crook like the rest of
them, and will be named as a defendant. Kuhn was one of the guys
who doublecrossed 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 the 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
plastic company as a conduit to lawyers in Texas who were
investigating Rader's various 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 Robert 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
wrongdoings, but Rader 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 suit filed, Rader will have
picked the Church clean to the bones, and be on his way 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 possibly convince Ray Wright to
meet with 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 still 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 publicly 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
winning situation in order to save their jobs?" There could be no
answer at this time. I had no choice but to trust in 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,
Pearlman and Herrmann, and of course Ron Quinlan and Gordon Muir.
Earl Timmons was not 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 the
involvement of Kuhn would destroy his effectiveness, we decided
that only those with a need to know would have any knowledge of
his activities.

                         .........................


To be continued with the second half of this chapter from Tuit's
book.


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