Keith Hunt - Armstrong's Empire Exposed - Page Eight   Restitution of All Things

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Armstrong's Empire Exposed

Bringing a Law Suit!

                      THE TRUTH SHALL MAKES YOU FREE

                    Herbert Armstrong's Empire Exposed


                                 John Tuit


Basis For Action

his father, Mark Armstrong traveled to New York to visit with
some friends. As he said, "I have to get out of Pasadena for a
while and get away from all of this. Maybe by the time I get back
in a week or so things will be settled down. I just can't take it
out here right now." Prior to his leaving the New York area, Mark
came to our home one Sunday evening and visited with Paula and me
for a couple of hours. He told us an incredible story. He said
that Stanley Rader was taking over control of the Church and, in
order to do so, Garner Ted Armstrong had to be out of the way. He
said that some of the top ministers at headquarters were either
involved with Rader or, if not involved, were standing by
watching things happen, hoping they could move into the vacuum
that would be left after Garner Ted's removal. Mark said that
Rader and his grandfather were spending millions of dollars just
to entertain the world leaders. Osamu Gotoh, according to Mark,
had spent several hundred thousand dollars in one year in a
questionable manner. He said that the Church had paid all of
Rader's mortgage and tax payments on his home and also picked up
all of his other personal household expenses. Mark said, "It was
bad enough before, but now that Grandpa is married to that fat
Ramona, things are really crazy. Not too long ago he spent
$200,000 of his own money to buy jewelry and furs for her and
then reimbursed himself from the first tithe fund. My dad knows
all about that. It really happened. That's the kind of thing
that's going on."

     Paula and I were shocked to hear these things coming from
someone who should certainly know. For so long we had heard so
many rumors and now here sitting in our living room was Garner
Ted Armstrong's son confirming these very rumors. I said to Mark,
"Do you mean then that all of this stuff that I read in the
Ambassador Report is true?" Mark, of course, considering his own
prejudices, was prone to be a little more selective in his
evaluation of the Ambassador Report. He said, "Yeah, all that
stuff about the spending of money is true, and that's only the
half of it. But you know, they're just out to get the Church.
They don't like my Dad either, so they wrote a lot of bad things
about him. That's all just a lot of garbage."

     We then discussed the path that the Church may take with
Herbert Armstrong again having such a dominance over the
organization. Mark said, "I wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon
Grandpa's got the Church back into the Dark Ages on the healing
doctrine. Of course, he won't teach against divorce any longer,
now that he's married Ramona, who was divorced. But pretty soon
he will be declaring it a sin to go to doctors. He doesn't want
the people in the Church to go to doctors or take medicine, but
if it weren't for all the pills and medicine and drugs that he's
been taking since his heart attack, he wouldn't even be alive
now. He tells the Church one thing, and does something different

     Paula then said, "It's amazing that he's alive at all, let
alone in such a good state of recovery at this time. We always
thought that God had worked a miracle to allow him to live
longer, but now I really wonder. What do you really think of his
condition at this time?" Mark then said, "Well, he's really
coming along quite well, considering what he's been through. His
liver is pretty bad, you know. He's got whatever it is that you
get from drinking too much wine and cognac. Boy, that's a real
problem with him. He tells the Church people to drink in
moderation, and for years he's been getting himself smashed just
about every night."

     Again, Paula and I were both shocked to hear such things
about this man who represented himself as God's apostle, our
religious leader, the man who has brought us so much truth. Yet
the degree of hypocrisy here was almost more than one could
handle. I said, "Do you really mean to say that your grandfather
actually gets drunk?" To which Mark replied, "Oh yeah, I've even
helped carry him to his bed when he was just plain wiped out from
too much booze."

     This was quite a bit to handle for Paula and I, and while
Mark was telling us all of this, I was wondering, "How much can I
believe? After all, he is Garner Ted Armstrong's son and is bound
to be somewhat biased in his thinking on this entire situation."
     I had to realize, however, that allowing for the close
personal interest on Mark's part, that a great degree of what he
said must still be true. If that were the case, I just had to
know more, and although I didn't know what I would do about it, I
told Mark that I wanted to have any documentation of the claim
that he had been making regarding the financial abuses on the
part of Rader and Herbert Armstrong.

     On the Sabbath of the fast, just prior to Garner Ted's final
removal, Paula and I decided not to fast. We felt that to do so
would place us in an attitude of being in concert with Herbert
Armstrong, which we knew was a totally wrong attitude. At Church
services I began discussing the situation with Ron Quinlan, who I
had known since coming into the Church. Ron is a young man in his
twenties and is associated with his father in a heating/oil
distribution business in Staten Island, New York. He had taken
the past several months off from work in order to attend a year
at Ambassador College to take special courses in theology. Having
just completed the semester, he had now returned back East. Ron
told me that this latest crisis was of course a major one and
that only Church members in the Pasadena area and students who
are attending Ambassador College are aware of the fact that the
Church seems to be in a constant state of turmoil and crisis. He
said there always seemed to be a great deal of in-fighting and
political intrigue going on within the organization. He said, "If
I weren't so sure that the doctrines of the Church are true
because I've proven them, I would wonder if this was God's
Church. You certainly could never prove it by the conduct of the
people out at headquarters."

     I told Ron what I had learned from Mark, and said that I had
definitely felt that Rader was taking control of the Church
through his control of Herbert Armstrong. Ron said that, based on
his observations of the situation in Pasadena during his year in
college, it appeared the same way to him. I conveyed these same
opinions to some others before leaving services that day, but the
reaction that I received was rather strange. The general attitude
was one where people felt that Armstrong, as God's apostle,
certainly knew what he was doing. I was told by one person, "We
should be careful not to criticize Mr.Armstrong, and we should
not say anything against Mr.Rader. After all, Mr.Armstrong
wouldn't have him there if God had not led him to do so. God is
in charge and He'll take care of everything. We should pray about
it, but we should not criticize." It was quite evident that
Herbert Armstrong's continuous propaganda had completely
conditioned the minds of most people. Don't question, don't
think. Once you come into the Church, check your brain at the

     That following week I received a phone call from the
minister, Richard Frankel. By this time, through a phone call
from Mark Armstrong, I was aware that Garner Ted had been
permanently removed and disfellowshipped by Herbert Armstrong.
Frankel told me that I was speaking to people in the Church in a
manner to cause division among the brethren. He said that he
received several reports from people that I was causing trouble.
I thought to myself, "Is this the Church of God, or is this some
Communist country where every time you voice an opinion, someone
runs to the local leader with a complete report on what is being
said?" Mindless, blind loyalty, hardly the spirit of Jesus
     I told Frankel exactly what I had said to the people. I told
him, "It looks to me as though Rader is taking control of the
Church. He now has Garner Ted out of the way and controls Herbert
Armstrong. Everything that I said to the people last Sabbath is
factual. I have the information straight from Mark Armstrong and
he said that there is proof." He responded, "Are you going to
believe everything you were told by that young twit, Mark. He's
Ted's son. He's just going to spread whatever lies he has to, to
gain support for his father." I again reminded Frankel that the
basic facts were true even allowing for the fact that Mark may be
somewhat prejudiced by his family involvement. Frankel's response
was incredible, he said, "Even if everything you say is one
hundred percent true, the fact still remains that you said things
that caused people to get upset, and anyone who says anything to
cause people to get upset is guilty of causing division among the
brethren. If you do any more of this, I will have no choice but
to remove you from the Body of Christ and mark and disfellowship

     Could I believe my ears? A man who's supposedly a minister
of Jesus Christ talking to me in this way? I told him, "You could
throw me out of the Church if you want but you cannot remove me
from the Body of Christ. Only Christ can do that." I did promise
to say no more at that time, however, as I wanted to stay around
a while to see what would develop. During this period of time,
Paula absolutely refused to attend Church any longer. She said
that she would feel like a hypocrite by doing so and that she
wanted no further part of the Church. I decided, however, to
continue attending to see what might develop.

     The Sabbath following the fast promised to be interesting,
as I was anticipating the announcement of Garner Ted's final
removal. I decided to attend and keep my mouth shut. A brief
announcement was read very matter-of-factly and the letter that
Herbert Armstrong sent his son was read to the congregation.
There was no further comment. After the services I found that I
could hardly believe the general conduct of the members. They
were discussing everything but Garner Ted Armstrong. It was as
though they did not even hear the announcement. No one wanted to
discuss the subject, for to do so would then lead to the
possibility of voicing an opinion on the situation. To voice an
opinion would be dangerous because one would not know whether
anyone listening would be of like opinion. This, of course, could
lead to a threat of being reported to the minister. After all, no
one wanted to be thrown out of the Church.
     To further illustrate the mentality of some of these poor
people who have given their minds over to a man, I recall an
incident just a few weeks later. I was speaking in the parking
lot with Bob Sorge, a man who shared my opinions. He too felt
that we were witnessing a total capitulation on the part of the
people to a man. While they thought they were being loyal to
Christ, they in truth were rejecting Him by being blindly loyal
to a man who was now actually teaching contrary to Scripture and
doing it in the name of Christ. This had been my first
opportunity to talk to Bob Sorge since I had spoken with Mark
Armstrong, and I was bringing him up to date. Standing some
distance away, but straining to listen was a young member, Roy
Koons. We were trying to speak privately but Koons was doing a
good job of eavesdropping. He then walked over and blurted out,
"You're speaking against God's apostle. You're speaking to cause
division among the brethren. I heard what you said. You can't
talk about Mr.Armstrong that way." I responded. "We're having a
private conversation and what we are speaking about is none of
your business. I'm not trying to change anyone's opinions and I'm
not speaking to cause division. Bob and I happen to be in full
agreement on this particular matter." Sorge then indicated his
agreement with what I had just said. Koons then said, "That's not
the point, you're still speaking against Mr.Armstrong and he's
God's apostle. That's causing division. Someone could overhear
you as I did. I have no choice but to report you to Mr.Frankel."
I said to him, "Fine, go and tell him, but if I see him first,
I'll tell him before you do. What kind of a childish mind do you
have, anyway?"
     With that he ran off like a kindergarten child seeking out
his teacher to tattle on a fellow classmate. That evening I
managed to contact Richard Frankel by phone before he got around
to calling me. I told him what had taken place and he
acknowledged that Koons had come to him with a full report on my
conversation with Bob Sorge. I told him that I had promised to
keep my mouth shut, but I had not promised to refrain from
private conversation with individuals who were in agreement with
me. I asked him if he intended to throw me out for something that
was said in a private conversation which no one else had any
business listening to. This put him on a spot and he asked me to
be more cautious in the future.

     On July 25, 1978, Garner Ted sent a letter to the Worldwide
Church ministers. In it he reviewed the entire circumstances
surrounding his removal and then announced that he had formed the
Church of God International, headquartered in Tyler, Texas. Tyler
is the main town near Big Sandy and is the area where his wife
Shirley had grown up. He said in the letter that he had taken his
savings of $20,000 and began to purchase radio time. A few days
later a similar letter was mailed to many members of the
Worldwide Church. Garner Ted had then totally severed himself
from the Worldwide Church and this action would appear to
preclude his ever going back in some sort of a reconciliation. In
making the decison to form a new church, Garner Ted totally
rejected the terms of a letter which Stanley Rader sent him on
July 24th.
     Rader advised him that he had been discharged "for cause"
and as a result was not legally entitled to any severance,
termination or retirement payments. The letter went on to say,
"However, as a matter of Christian courtesy, and not by virtue of
any legal obligation, Mr.Herbert Armstrong, with the counsel and
consent of his advisors, has agreed that the church pay you the
sum of $50,000 per year in bi-monthly installments less Federal
and State withholding. The payment of such sum is subject,
however, to the unconditional right of the Church to terminate
said payments at any time, with or without cause, within the
Church's sole and objective discretion. Without limitation upon
the generality of the foregoing, one of the conditions that would
result in the termination of said payments would be breach of the
following confidentiality provision."

     Then regarding that confidential information that Garner Ted
may have knowledge of, Rader continued, "By accepting either of
the benefits provided herein, or any portion thereof, you agree
to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of such information
and documentation regarding such corporations and persons which
you have within your knowledge, possession, custody or control.
Further, you agree never to release, divulge, disclose, make
available, or in any other manner make known any such information
or documentation, in perpetuity, which you have within your
knowledge, possession, custody or control. You further agree to
take reasonable precaution to safeguard all such information and
documentation. Whether any information or documentation is
private or confidential shall be decided by the Church. Such
decisions shall be within its sole and subjective discretion and
shall be deemed conclusive and determinative of the question."

     In accordance with the same general terms, Rader also
offered Garner Ted the use of a cabin at Lake Tahoe as his place
of residence. Had Garner Ted signed this document, Rader would
have been, in effect, judge, jury, and executioner. For, he
continued, "It should be noted that the use of the Tahoe cabin,
and the financial arrangements, are without legal obligaton but
are based solely upon the certain subjective, discretionary
spiritual determination based upon the Bible." Rader ended the
letter, "It is our sincere hope that you will see fit to accept
the following under the terms and conditions provided and in the
attitude of love and concern in which they are offered. In Jesus'
name, (Signed) Stanley R. Rader."

     To write such a letter to anyone is in itself a gross
insult. To do so in Jesus' name is the height of blasphemy. Such
a letter could only make one wonder what it was that Garner Ted
knew that so concerned Stanley Rader. After all, how many secrets
could there be in a church organization that is established as a
non-profit, taxexempt charitable organization. This is not a
business where one must be concerned about trade secrets, and
there should certainly be no concern about financial matters, as
they should all be a matter of public information anyway. It
would seem that while Rader initially wanted to prevail over
Garner Ted, his plan was to relegate him to a position of
neutrality, but still keep him in the employ of the Church. In
that way, Rader would think that he could control him.
     Considering Garner Ted's weaknesses and past problems, it
would not have been at all difficult for Rader to manipulate
situations in order to have Garner Ted subject to him at all
times. But now Garner Ted was totally out of the Church on his
own and in no need of any financial aid from the Church. This
situation presented a danger to Rader. By the time Rader's letter
reached Garner Ted, the Church of God International had already
been incorporated and Rader could only look at Garner Ted as a
continuing threat. Now, however, Garner Ted did not threaten
Rader as a rival for dominance in the organization. Rather, he
threatened the existence of the organization itself as a result
of what he might be able to reveal.

     Around this same time -I believe it was also in July - I
received a set of documents in the mail from an anonymous source.
These documents served to confirm some of the financial
information that Mark Armstrong had given me verbally and in fact
went far beyond that. They were entitled "Executive Expense
Analysis" and dated March 3, 1978. One sheet showed that Henry
Cornwall managed to spend $51,094.13 in Japan. Most of this money
went to two recipients - $22,925.56 going to the Imperial Hotel
and $24,881.28 to Japan Airlines. The purpose of these
expenditures was not noted so it would be difficult to determine
from this document the legitimacy of the expenditures. Documents
covering Rader's expenses were much more detailed, however. He
managed to spend a little more than Cornwall, a total of
$51,431.14. $22,571.19 went to the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris
and $1,536 to Wilshire Travel. The balance appeared to be mostly
for his own use. Expenditures relating to his Beverly Hills home
included: utilities - $287.26; property tax - $7,284.47;
landscaping $413.17; mortgage payment - $2,400; expenses
allocated to his Tucson home were: furnishings - $7,508.65;
mortgage payment - $999.30; telephone - $944.88; housekeeping
service - $580; utilities - $237.91. There are also other smaller
amounts, including a pest control service bill of $11.03. It
appears from this document that every expense in both homes was
paid by the Church. Even a minor bill such as that for the pest
control service was not paid by Rader.
     From this and the following one would wonder if he even
needed a salary at all. Other expense items continued: expense
allowance (unitemized)- $2,782; La Scala's - $694.78; White Tie
Limousine Service - $367.55; and on it went, even to a
miscellaneous subscription of $19.36. From this it would appear
that Rader was able to spend more at La Scala's Restaurant in one
month than many families spend to feed an entire family for twice
that amount of time.
     I was outraged when I saw these figures. Certainly I realize
that many of the expenditures were legitimately on behalf of the
Church, and Rader and Cornwall would be entitled to
reimbursement. But with my knowledge of business, having owned my
own manufacturing business at one time, I knew that there was no
way that the IRS would allow a business to pay such personal
expenses for an employee. Certainly I thought, in view of the
fact that the Church is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation,
that such payments of personal expenses were highly out of order
and probably illegal. And then I thought about the matter of
fiduciary trust. The officers of a stockholder - owned
corporation have a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders.
An even greater responsibility is placed on officers of a
non-profit charitable organization. They are in a position of
fiduciary trust. This fiduciary responsibility extends, however,
not to just a small group of stockholders but to every individual
who has contributed money to the organization.
     I just couldn't quite understand it. Church members would
sacrifice to contribute to the Church. Many of them postponed the
purchase of necessities, including even clothing for their young
children in order to tithe to the Church. This appeared to be
just a tip of the iceberg. How much money, I wondered, was
actually going to the true purposes of the Church and how much
was going to maintain a regal lifestyle for the top officials? I
decided that something had to be done about this.

     Suddenly I realized that the Ambassador Report contained
more truth than I had wanted to admit to myself in the past. I
realized that if the Church leadership was so able to brainwash
the members into disbelieving the Ambassador Report, then a
different approach had to be taken. Just to publish information
and try to generate a public outcry, as the publishers of the
Ambassador Report had attempted to do, would not be enough. I
thought of the many recent cases where stockholders of
corporations had brought suit against the corporate officers for
mishandling of corporate funds. Perhaps, I thought, a similar
thing could be done in this case. Some kind of a class action
suit perhaps. I didn't know that such a thing could be possible.
Paula and I discussed it at great length and we both agreed to
look into the matter further.
     I then obtained copies of Dun & Bradstreet reports on the
Church and the AICF. Dun & Bradstreet is a credit-reporting
service which issues extensive detailed reports on businesses to
their subscribers. These reports are used in a process of
determining the credit worthiness of a business. I was astonished
that such a major organization as the Church would have a report
only one page in length. The information that Dun & Bradstreet
was able to give on the Church and AICF was very limited. A most
surprising aspect of the reports was the fact that the Church and
AICF had declined giving financial information to Dun &
Bradstreet. While many owners of privately held businesses
decline such information, publicly held companies always submit
detailed information to credit reporting agencies such as Dun &
Bradstreet. It seemed to me that it was rather strange for a
charitable organization, and of all things a church, to be so
secretive regarding its finances. Paula and I discussed just how
we may approach this situation. I said, "The problem is here we
are in New Jersey wanting to do something about this and the
Church is 3,000 miles away. I really don't know what we can do
under the circumstances. The other problem is that it may cost a
lot of money, and we just don't have it." Paula said, "Well, why
don't you talk to Peter Pearlman about it, anyhow. He may have
some ideas. At least he'll know if anything can be done and how
we may go about it."

     For sure I thought Pearlman would think that I was nuts when
I would come to him with a situation like this. Peter is a
brilliant young attorney and a partner in the firm of Cohn and
Lifland in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. I had been a client of the
firm for over twenty years. I knew both David Cohn and his son
Albert very well, and could still recall the first time I walked
into their office, then in Paterson, New Jersey in 1956 holding a
careless driving ticket in my hand. I drove sports cars back in
those days and soon became a regular client with my traffic
tickets. After some years, when I settled down and became the
owner of a business, Cohn and Lifland handled all of my legal
affairs. When Peter joined the firm around 1969 or 1970, I began
to deal mostly with him.
     We became good friends over the years and I was always
impressed by the fact that Peter took more than just a business
interest in his client's affairs. He always seemed to have a
personal concern regarding his clients. In fact this was also
true of the senior partners in the firm. Yet I wondered how could
I go to Peter with a situation like this at this time. A few
years earlier I had been driven from business by the brutal
attempt of a competitor to monopolize the waste oil reprocessing
business in which I was engaged. This resulted in a total
financial disaster and a pile of debts, including an unpaid bill
to Cohn and Lifland. Peter had introduced me to attorneys in New
York, who are now handling my anti-trust suit against the people
who drove me from business. There was ultimately a hope of
recovery, but it would be some time, perhaps another two or three
years. So here I was, still owing Cohn and Lifland several
thousand dollars, now going to see Peter Pearlman with a proposal
to bring suit against the officers of the Worldwide Church of

     At my first meeting on the matter with Peter Pearlman, he
asked Jeffrey Herrmann, a more recent addition to the firm to sit
in on our discussion. He explained that Jeff Herrmann had been
handling some class action stockholder suits for their firm
recently and that he wanted his opinion. After laying out the
entire background story on the Church and showing Herrmann and
Pearlman the Executive Expense Analysis, Peter said, "Well, John,
how does it feel to know that you have been paying for Stanley
Rader's house?" He was never one to miss an opportunity to needle
me. He then said, "Well, Jeff, if we don't make it in law, we can
always start a church. It looks like a good business."
     Getting more serious, they then said that they felt that the
matter warranted further investigation and that it certainly
looked as though there may be cause for further action. Peter
then explained to me that they had been recently involved in a
class action stockholder suit in California and were dealing
there with an attorney named Hillel Chodos. He said that Chodos
was a top trial attorney in Beverly Hills and liked to go out
after causes. I felt very encouraged that perhaps finally there
would be a way to get the Church straightened out by freeing it
from the grasp of those who appeared to have motives which were
not in accord with the teaching of the Bible. Paula and I
certainly didn't want to do anything that would be contrary to
God's way. We prayed about it constantly, asking God to guide and
direct us and to show us if he wanted us to proceed in this
     Having now seen confirmation of Rader's expenditures, I
realized that I could no longer refrain from publicly discussing
the sitution. I wasn't about to give Richard Frankel the
satisfaction of throwing me out of the Church. I decided to
voluntarily withdraw. I told him that I could no longer remain
associated with a group that had been rendered totally
ineffective and drawn inward by refusal to address its many
problems. At the same time, Paula and I thought that Garner Ted
appeared to be doing the right thing. We believed that he had
repented of his past conduct and truly wanted to preach the
Gospel as he claimed he was called to do.

     I contacted Garner Ted by phone and told him that I would
like to arrange a meeting for the Church of God International in
New Jersey. He agreed to send tape recordings of his sermons in
Tyler which we could then play at meetings here. Our first
meeting was to be held at a motel meeting room in Clark, New
Jersey on August 26, 1978. While we hoped for fifteen or twenty
people, we also felt that we would not be surprised if no one
showed up. We carefully scheduled the meeting for a Sabbath
afternoon to allow Worldwide Church members to attend without
having to be absent from their regular Sabbath morning services.
As it turned out we had a grand total of eight people in
attendance, including Paula and myself. Four of them were not
members of the Worldwide Church and had come out of curiosity as
a result of news releases printed in the local papers. And then
there was Pat Hearty, a member of the Worldwide Church, who
stopped attending several months previously due to his
disenchantment with the leadership. The only other Worldwide
Church member in attendance at our meeting was Ron Quinlan. He
said that several people who we knew had planned to attend,
including his brother. It was then that we realized that we were
fighting the power of fear, the tremendous hold that Herbert
Armstrong had on the minds of Church members.

     The previous Sabbath, Richard Frankel had announced to the
congregation that I was no longer in the Church, having succumbed
to the dissident material. Then this Sabbath, realizing the
threat that our meeting presented, he announced that I was being
marked and disfellowshipped, which meant that no member was to
have any contact or conversation with me. He also announced that
Paula was being marked and disfellowshipped because she was my
wife and evidently in accord with what I was doing. The members
were told that anyone having contact with us in any way would be
subject to the same fate. People had been so conditioned to
believe that their very salvation depended upon their being
members of the Worldwide Church of God that they were stricken
with fear, and in blind obedience they followed Richard Frankel's

     Apparently, Ron Quinlan was the only active member of that
congregation who knew that his salvation was dependent on his
personal relationship with Jesus Christ and not upon his blind
obedience to a minister or self-appointed apostle.
     As discouraged as we were with such a low turnout, we were
even more stunned by the fact that people will follow Church
leaders in such blind obedience. It is one thing to observe such
conduct where the populace would allow itself to be mesmerized by
a Hitler or a Mao, but quite another thing entirely when people
will follow a religious leader in a way totally contrary to the
very Scriptures in which they claim to believe.

     About a month later Garner Ted appeared at a speaking
engagement in Hackensack, New Jersey. Paula and I arranged for
the meeting place and handled the advance publicity. Again,
Church members stayed away out of trembling fear of being thrown
out of the Church. There were approximately eighty in attendance,
half from the general public and the other half Worldwide Church
members from a scattered area, some having driven from as far
away as Buffalo and Baltimore. Even those who attended were
fearful that if they were found out they would be thrown out of
the Church. But they did want to come and hear what Garner Ted
had to say regarding his removal.

     Garner Ted was very convincing and gave every indication
that he was going to go forth and preach the Gospel, as he said,
"unshackled from the monstrous debt and political intrigue of the
Worldwide Church of God."

     Our own experience after leaving the Church was something
difficult to believe. Members who we considered our friends would
have nothing to do with us. Only a couple of people maintained
any contact with us at all and it was a most uneasy type of
relationship. Even those contacts finally dwindled to nothing. We
were looked upon as though we had a disease. We had rebelled
against God's apostle. No one wanted to take the risk of having
their minds poisoned by our evil influence. But I did receive
letters. It appears that people can always be very courageous
with the pen and put things to paper that they would never say to
one face to face.
     In these letters I was told that my comments on financial
improprieties were "vitriolic, always laced with antagonism and
bitterness." I was accused of being an opportunist: "If you will
examine your own motives deeply and honestly, you will be
confronted by the universal bugaboo of us all - vanity. The
vanity of a hoped for position of authority or influence in the
church. (Referring to the Church of God International)"
     Another member wrote regarding his opinion of Herbert
Armstrong: "But yet some might propose that he never was the
anointed of the Lord. But, I would only reply, what human
instrument did God use before you, Mr.GTA, or I were alive. No,
he truly is the anointed of the Lord." He went on to say about
the financial improprieties: "I am not at all worried about how
the money is being spent. Do you know why? Because that money
doesn't belong to me, it belongs to God. Why should I get upset
about something that doesn't even belong to me? My first tithe
money is God's money, to use as He wants to." This was so typical
of the blind obedience of so many people. They would feel that
once they had given their money over to Herbert Armstrong he
could do with it as he wished, and he was responsible only to God
in his handling of the money.
     At the same time the conscience of the people was at peace.
They had done their religious duty. They had turned over the
money. They had fulfilled their responsibility. There was no more
to do. Blind obedience and checkbook salvation. This is really no
different than the old practice in the Roman Catholic Church of
the selling of indulgences. The name has been changed, but the
game is the same. Because of my criticism of Herbert Armstrong's
leadership I was asked: "Do you have the authority, to remove the
mantle from God's anointed?" And then a most revealing comment
which tells so much about the mental attitude of someone who will
just blindly follow one who claims to be a special messenger from
God: "I will pray for you, but yet even now I feel you are very
dear friends I shall never see again. But what God wills, I can
only obey." An assumption that an order from a minister or
Herbert Armstrong is what God wills and therefore must be obeyed
- one must wonder if people will ever learn to think for
     When I received these letters I wondered if these same
people would obediently sell everything they owned and line up at
a dock for a ship to take them to the place of safety if they
received such an instruction from Herbert Armstrong through the
local Church minister. Far-fetched, perhaps, but I thought that
some would be so obedient as to do even that.

     At the same time, our unsuccessful efforts to get a new
local Church started caused members to think we were meeting with
failure, we received encouragement from Peter Pearlman. He
informed us that Hillel Chodos was interested in pursuing a legal
action, and if we could get him additional information to go on
he would consider doing so on a contingent fee basis. The concept
was to sue for the removal of Herbert Armstrong and Stanley Rader
from their official Church corporate positions and seek
restitution of all monies wrongfully taken from the Church. The
attorneys were to receive a portion of this as compensation for
their efforts. Chodos had initiated meetings with the California
Attorney General's office and had discussed the matter with
Lawrence R. Tapper, Deputy Attorney General.
     Then, a short time after Chodos' original contacts with
Tapper, I was able to obtain a copy of a lengthy financial
document called "The Pastor General Report." This document,
containing twentyseven legal-sized pages, detailed millions of
dollars in expenditures, most of it of a very questionable
nature. This seemed to be the extra piece of ammunition needed to
convince Tapper that the situation warranted a further
investigation. Again, this too was only the tip of the iceberg.
But as the Ambassador Report was a wedge into the crack in the
facade of the Worldwide Church of God, this certainly was the
next major wedge to be driven into that ever-widening crack.
The Attorney General's office agreed to conduct an investigation
to determine whether any action could be taken. Our approach had
to be a little different than suing officers of a commercial
enterprise. As we were dealing with a charitable organization,
any suit to be brought against the officers would have to be
brought by the Attorney General's office. Any individuals such as
ourselves would be named as relators, rather than plaintiffs.

     At this point, I discussed the matter with Ron Quinlan and
asked him if he would be a party to any action that may be
initiated. I told him that while the attorneys would be willing
to take the case on contingency, there may be the need to come up
with some money to cover their disbursements. Paula and I were
still recovering from the financial difficulties caused by the
loss of my business and were not able to do anything to guarantee
such payments. Ron also felt that something should be done and
agreed to be responsible for disbursements on the part of Cohn
and Lifland. We had done all we could do for the moment; now it
just remained for us to wait it out while the Attorney General's
office investigated further, in order to determine a course of
action that could be taken.


To be continued with "On the Track or Off the Track?"

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