THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE
Armstrong's Empire Exposed
Continued from previous page:
PREPARING FOR ACTION
Prior to my calling Kuhn, he has 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 your 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 is that the people behind it 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 publicly, 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 details to Cole and the
others, who were not to be identified to me until later. He
planned to have them ready 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 then 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 that time. He reminded me of what
I had been told by Jack about his situation. "Understand one
thing," I 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 with 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
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 if he
was sincere, or if he just hoped to save his own skin by helping
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 to Wright, Kuhn felt that
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
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 Quinlan and I, along with Church employees
Cordon 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 its internal problems. He was
pleased 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 Armstrongs, Rader, and the others, you
must know something more specific."
Kuhn could see that Pearlman 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 any
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 even be something there. As an example, Rader was very
well acquainted with H.R.Haldeman. 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 or 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
Pearlman asked, "What about yourself? Have you ever been
engaged in a business dealing with the Church in a personal way
other than your 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 selfdealing. 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
organizaton at discount, would seem to be in violation of the
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 that he was quite angry
over the fact that Wright had taken Church money and put it into
their jointly owned Environmental Plastics 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 them. 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 though 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
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 I 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 by 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 soon as I saw him.
As we 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
Environmental Plastics didn't go to the attorneys 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 by 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 assured him that our purpose was to expose those engaged
in financial improprieties and remove them from 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 future problems of the type we were
Wright seemed to be satisfied that our attitude was proper,
and realized that if 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 a hard place,
and he knew it. Any help that he could provide at this time might
just enable him to get a lighter treatment later by the
authorities, although no promises could be made to him.
After lunch we met Ron Quinlan 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 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 Pearlman, "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-trial discovery proceedings to take place.
In reality, we are acting on behalf of the Church, and that is
our first responsibility. Once this suit is filed, no one is
immune if they were engaged in any wrongdoing. And", he
continued, pointing at 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 Pearlman's
statement. He said: "That's quite clear. I feel that to be right
before God, I must tell what I know. There were rumors of pending
lawsuits in the past. I understand that Rader always managed to
get them quashed or bought people off..." Pearlman 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 then began by 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 in 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,
"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-11,
but Rader had that quashed."
Pearlman 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
"Well," said Wright, "there was an IRS investigation some
years back, but it was only superficial. It only dealt with the
college, but not the 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.Haldeman."
On hearing this reference to Haldeman 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 Expense Analysis' came
from the Church accounting office. The 'Pastor General Report'
was compiled 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 took 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 the 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 Pearlman, "these figures, such as $7,284.47 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 in nine entries on one day at the Hilton Hotel in
Jerusalem on Rader's Diners Club Card? And over $19,000 spent on
an Ambassador Mugo, including his visit to Disneyland. And Dr.
Singh, a justice on 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,
Harrod'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 is 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 would only get a monthly
bill from them for services, but never a breakdown or supporting
invoices from broadcast stations. I later found 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 precious metals on margin for their own
account using Church funds; about an account at the Union Bank of
Switzerland that was used to cover margin requirements for
speculation in foreign currency. Then, there was the home that
Rader had 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 with 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
Pearlman said, after Wright had 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."
Wright then explained that he and Kuhn had bought
Environmental Plastics in March 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 building 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 engaging 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 quite 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 that
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.
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 into his office and said,
"Now Ted, what is this about Al Portune? What do you mean
here? You mean Al 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 coversation went on back and forth for some
time 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 a 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."
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 revelations, 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, his
mortgages and so on."
Wright then continued to explain how it was decided to
retain attorneys to conduct certain investigations while he would
internally prepare summaries of various expenditures. The "Pastor
General's 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 then came up
with the idea of funneling money through Environmental Plastics
and then have Environmental Plastics pay the attorneys.
Wright then reached into his pocket and said, "I have a copy
of a memo right here from 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, Incorporated for very special projects
and studies as and when necessary." Only about $30,000 went to
the attorneys for the studies. The balance of the $219,000 went
into Environmental Plastics and was used for purposes other than
those which Garner Ted had in mind.
That memo was Wright's blank check and, when he found
himself in 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
officer of the Church, himself engaging in the same type of
On hearing Wright's statement and seeing this 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 when 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 he had never heard of the
company? Was it just 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 Ray 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 wellknown fact that Herbert Armstrong has a huge art
collection appraised at somewhere between a half million and a
million dollars. That was all paid for by the Church, too. And
then there was the Currier Insurance Company, there was some sort
of connection there 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
At this point it was becoming open war between Garner Ted
and Rader and would be only a matter of time until the events of
the following spring leading to Garner Ted's ouster would take
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 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
"Well, there were others", said Wright, "there was a Jim
Johnson who I understand is from Florida. He is a CPA who was
brought in back in 1972 or 1973 to look into things. 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 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. Then he was transferred back to the Church payroll and
began to on his own conduct an internal audit. His investigations
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 to the Church. There were
many questions regarding the propriety of the furnishing of top
officials' homes and then their subsequent sale to various
insiders. 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 what he 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 home to Florida and submitted the details of his
findings to the Ethics Committee of the California State
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
showed too much personal initiative their job was quickly placed
in jeopardy. 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.
(And to Garner Ted also. Back in 1972 the now late Richard
Nickels [founder of "Giving and Sharing"] was working in the
office at Amassador College. When Ted was disfellowshipped for
sexual misconduct TWICE and brought back into the ministry upon
"repentance" Richard said to Ted, "Do you not think you should
not be in the ministry after such sins?" Ted had him fired within
two weeks - Keith Hunt)
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 his becoming a real estate broker was employed
in the Church offices. He was in charge of managing the
Church-owned homes. He has 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 Evans'
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.
Pearlman 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 with 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 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 that he just
needed a small amount of money to be 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 Ted's head to use whenever he saw fit. Rader maintains
meticulous files and a detailed diary of his every activity. He
would do 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 of the other top
Again, Herrmann brought up the same question that he had
asked Kuhn, and a question that constantly preyed 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 at all what it
Wright stumbled and stammered a bit and acted as though he
wished that that question had never been asked. He then said,
"Well, of course Armstrong has spent more than his share of
money, too. Rader is 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 he 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 center
around Armstrong's own weaknesses. He has his drinking problem
and that just leads to all other types of problems. I think the
whole key to the thing 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's 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 time I had heard such
things from someone so 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 from 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 that 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 in intimate detail by one who was there was almost more
than we could cope with. How could it have gone on so long, we
wondered. Could everyone either have been so blinded, or such a
part 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
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 the 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 extra danger when one gets too close to the till. There may
be some interesting parallels 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 into 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 he 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 hath
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 relieved that we had been successful in obtaining
it before the service of the complaint would have everyone
scrambling for their own individual necks.
To be continued with "Armstrong's Fear of Rader"
It will take years to reveal, till the fall of 1994, that Ted
Armstrong was just as much a liar [as his father] and his
weakness for women and sex [in one form or another] he would
masterly cover up form all in the CGI, until caught on video by
one gal who was smarter than himself.
THIS IS BETTER THAN ANY FICTION STORY YOU COULD WRITE ON CORRUPT
RELIGION - BUT IT SHOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO THROW UP!!! I'M SO GLAD
GOD TOOK ME OUT OF THE WCG IN 1972!