Many today use innuendo, outright lies and other forms of deception to confuse and divide in order to control followers. False leaders always face the same dilemma. Unwilling to admit what they are, they must create a series of obvious lies to cover their actions in the eyes of people too far away to know the truth. The cover-up includes misrepresenting, denying, hiding or blurring the facts. Others participate—and assist—by seeking out their slander (Psa. 4:2). When facing this, what do you do? So few look to the teachings of a man to know whom to follow. This means confronting—and prosecuting—all forms of deception to defeat them.
For this article to help you, you must read it all. However, if you read very far into it, you may be unable to stop. Pulling no punches, what you read will forever change your view of what God expects.
A Tale of Two Leaders
Most in the splinters live as though the apostle Paul’s warning for the last days of “evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13) is other people’s concern, not their own. It is other people who are deceived or in danger of it, not themselves. Why be concerned over what only applies to others?
Here is why…
In the late 1980s, a self-proclaimed apostle (Joseph Tkach) arose and came to power in the Worldwide Church of God. This new leader promised he would uphold the truth and “walk in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps.” Yet he began almost immediately to rebel against what Mr. Armstrong taught, and to throw the truth out of the Church. He claimed, “There are no changes,” but years later, after resistance to new teachings had diminished, openly admitted there were, but that the Church was “growing in grace and knowledge.” There were also shocking revelations about the man’s personal character that came to light. The senior ministers—the evangelists—with the Advisory Council of Elders, saw what was happening, but did not come together with the Board of Directors and fire him if he were unwilling to publicly repent. Inaction prevailed. The corporation ultimately collapsed, and all the assets were essentially stolen by one lone, particularly weak false leader, working to pull the whole thing off with basically only five junior co-conspirators. A great percentage of brethren and field ministers witnessed the process, and lamented, “Why did the evangelists, Council and Board fail in their duty? How could they have let Joe Tkach and Co. get away with throwing out the truth? How could they let him take all the money and buildings, and close and sell off the colleges? Why was he allowed to destroy everything? Why was nothing done?”
The end result? Very few pursued the facts and the truth. About 80% of the Church succumbed to lies and deceit, and either followed Joe Tkach or went home in confusion. Thousands of these had declared, “Wait for God. He will set things straight!” Having forgotten II John 1:8—“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought”—most of these became “lost to history,” spiritually dying where they sat. The remaining 20% fell into following various bickering, disagreeing splinter leaders teaching selected—preferred!—parts of the truth. Slowly over the years, some of the 80% awakened to what happened. But only a relative few.
Fast forward to 1993-1998, to sample one splinter. An evangelist (Roderick Meredith) arose and came to power in the Global Church of God. This second new leader also promised that he would uphold the truth as the Church “understood it in January 1986,” at Mr. Armstrong’s death. Yet he began almost immediately teaching numerous false doctrines—many of them big. He asserted, “We teach the whole truth—the whole counsel of God,” but years later, after resistance to new teachings had diminished, openly admitted to them and accelerated his changes, saying the Church was “growing in grace and knowledge.” Again, all of this happened on top of shocking revelations about his personal character. And again, both the majority of the Council of Elders and the majority of the Board of Directors plainly saw him for what he was. But this time, remembering the past, they intervened and confronted him several times, over a period of more than a year, seeking to reason with him and to get him to repent. Rod Meredith eventually promised the entire assembled group that he would stop certain conduct and that he would “do better.” But the Board was almost immediately after forced to fire him for not changing. Incredibly, when facing almost identical circumstances (the dissimilarities were minor), the majority in the Church this time took a different view, and lamented, “How could the Council and Board have done this to Mr. Meredith? The Board had no right to fire him! The Council should have supported him. How could they think they could intervene and take the assets? Who do they think they are? There has been a rebellion against God’s appointed leader!”
The end result? Very few pursued the facts and the truth. About 80% of the Church succumbed to lies and deceit, and either followed Rod Meredith or went home in confusion. Thousands in LCG today declare, “Wait for God. He will set things straight!” Having also forgotten II John 1:8—“Look to yourselves…”—many of these may soon also become “lost to history,” again spiritually dying where they sit. (Evidence is plain that some already have.) Again, slowly over the years, some of this 80% also awakened to what happened. But this time more than a few (with the process accelerating).
Why do so few seem able to spot even the most obvious deceivers?
What was the difference in the two men? Certainly not the end result, nor that both were false. In the first case, people complained about inaction. In the second, they got what thousands of Worldwide Church of God members said they wanted—and what should have happened to Rod Meredith. They still complained. In the end, only the names were different. There were lies, deception and false doctrines by two top leaders—one a false apostle, the other a false evangelist. Both were able to control the thinking of the majority with deceit. The second case even saw the majority of the Council and Board in agreement about what to do. No matter. A covert “middle of the night” letter by Rod Meredith, filled with lies and a completely false narrative, was sent to Global’s members (spreading far outside Global) despite promises made before the whole assembled Council of Elders not to do anything “behind their back.” It “slew” 80% of the Global Church of God’s membership, who “rolled over” the next Sabbath into the Living Church of God (LCG) with little or no resistance.
To summarize, Rod Meredith rebelled against God’s government and many of His truths, including the form of government that Mr. Armstrong taught. He openly adopted (and still does) the Protestant (anti-christ) view about what is the true Church and Body of Christ—that it is composed of many organizations, groups (“branches”) and scattered individuals, thus rejecting what Mr. Armstrong taught and the Bible teaches about Christ leading a single unified organization under a single chosen leader. He altered the truth of the gospel—and numerous other truths taught by the Bible and Mr. Armstrong. This was because he first rejected the great primary teaching that doctrinal truth only enters God’s Church through apostles. Over time, Rod Meredith openly affirmed what he was by adding many more false teachings than these, including more notorious recent ones such as the falling away of II Thessalonians 2:3 is to be led by the man of sin and applies to the world, not the Church—and that the wedding supper will be in heaven.
This false leader’s list of heretical teachings now runs into the scores.
For years, since 1998, Rod Meredith has loved to claim, “Dave Pack caused all the trouble in Global.” In fact, this man knows his doctrines and his conduct caused all his trouble. It was the Board of Directors, not I, that fired Rod Meredith. Make no mistake. I completely agreed with their action. But as a member of the Council of Elders, not the Board, I was neither part of, nor in any way connected to, his termination, or even aware that it happened until it was over. Of course, most were never given a chance to know this. (The interested reader may read several chapters covering the details of this period in my two-volume biography.)
At the time, to get away with their conduct, Joe Tkach and Rod Meredith had to put an entirely different face on their actions. (David Hulme, Dennis Luker, Clyde Kilough, Jim Franks, Gerald Flurry, and others like Ron Weinland, have done the same, but each in his own way.) Meredith’s altered “face” has been effective enough to permit 14 years of cover-up. One-third of Global ministers refused to follow him. Two-thirds stayed with him. These were unwittingly drawn into agreeing and working together to misrepresent events because they were geographically too far removed to know the true facts. Many of these men have since left Rod Meredith—or have died, often in horrible fashion, as did Joe Tkach.
How many have been instructed—and sobered—by this?
The Only Response
False leaders always face the same first big challenge. Unwilling to admit what they are/did, they must invent a series of obvious lies to cover their actions in the view of people too far removed to know the facts. These deceivers seem to innately know what Adolf Hitler knew when he famously stated, “What luck for rulers that men do not think.” Their cover-up includes misrepresenting, denying, hiding or thoroughly blurring the facts, as well as publicly and privately smearing all voices of truth—making the whistleblower(s) appear to be the perpetrator(s) and the false leader the victim.
Obvious lies play the most crucial role.
The greatest series of demonstrably provable falsehoods and false narratives about events in 1998 that Rod Meredith has continued through the years have been about me. But as the leader of the Church, just as did Mr. Armstrong, I draw regular fire—deceit and powerful lies—from a host of sources in the splinters and slivers of the former Worldwide Church of God. So few look to the teachings of a man to know what to do and whom to follow. And for whom not to follow. This means being willing to confront and “prosecute” deception in order to overcome it. Most will not “try the spirits” (I John 4:1) as God COMMANDS because it takes too much thought and effort—too much study and careful consideration of facts and truth. Also, one must know how to do this. The material here will show you! For instance, when UCG split in 1998, this knowledge would have shown the members not to follow either side. The same in January 2011 when UCG split again and “COGwa” was born. Both sides were to be rejected both times. Some saw this. More will. Many never will.
Why the Need to Now Be Personal
In this article I will be much more open about many of the personal facts of my life as per false accusations, just as was Mr. Armstrong on occasion. I will address longstanding rumors about my business, inheritance, supposed “wealth,” home, office, salary, benefits, expense account, teachings, relationship with Mr. Armstrong, my first wife’s role and her relationship with Mr. Armstrong, rewriting Mr. Armstrong’s literature, our advertising practices, the early decades of my ministry, and other things.
Many today are literally trapped in the WCG splinters and slivers by endless falsehoods about me. These are spread by their leaders and pastors. Long troubled where they are by false doctrine, altered traditions, lax policies, worsening conduct, minimal productivity and generally bad fruit—many are naturally very unhappy. We hear from them daily.
Able to see the very different fruit of The Restored Church of God—uncompromising truth, immense Work, beautiful Headquarters (and extensive building program), enormous array of books, booklets, articles and magazines, Ambassador Center, powerful media reach, state-of-the-art websites, national television, doors opening to world leaders, rapid worldwide growth in ministers and members, exploding income, programs for youth of all ages and emphasis on quality in everything—thousands are more than intrigued. Tragically, blatant falsehoods about me personally have prevented many of these from taking action.
A quote from a famous novelist applies at this point: “Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.” This is because facts can often be spun into “facts,” which no longer paint a true picture. Truth is truth. This article contains the TRUTH, but also necessarily many basic facts—all accurate.
Rod Meredith’s and other leaders’ efforts against me today have paralleled and continued what Joe Tkach started when he and his team long ago began to systematically falsely accuse me, and eventually made me the first pastor fired in early 1993. I know the fault lay at the devil’s feet, and that these men are merely his agents. My goal—and sincere hope—is to help true brethren—those led by the Spirit of God—cut through the biggest and most obvious lies about me. They need facts—truth!—and I have decided it is my duty to present them. Salvation is at stake. While many may want me to now move directly into these facts—I understand human nature—a brief but crucial setup must come first.
Two Well-known Examples
In late December 2002, the FBI announced it had credible information that five potential terrorists had entered the United States near Buffalo, New York, coming in from Canada. Photos were prominently displayed. Names were released. The result was that most of America heard about them. For at least a week, and after intensive effort to find them, there was great concern about why these men could not be located.
But a dramatic announcement altered the unfolding drama of this story. The “informant” who had passed on his “tip” to the authorities admitted that it had all been a hoax. Astonishing! One lone man was able to invent a lie so monstrous that, quite literally, the entire world was put on notice of the possible alleged actions of these “five suspects.” Think of the time, money, energy and worry that went into the investigation of this story. I believed it. Most likely you did, too. Yet, it was an absolute BALD LIE!
On another occasion, this time in July 2004, a 22-year-old French woman reported to the authorities that she had been accosted by a gang of six teenagers at a suburban Paris train station.
She claimed that, with her 13-month-old toddler watching, the attackers, said to be Arab or African, cut off her hair with knives before tearing her shirt away and drawing swastikas on her belly. She also reported that no one on the train answered her cries for help and came to her rescue.
With anti-Semitic crimes already on the rise in France, the nation was stunned. French President Chirac expressed outrage, as did many religious leaders. (I read it and was appalled.) The police called for anyone with information to come forward and assist the investigation. Any facts that could prove the account turned out to be lacking—no corroboration developed. Next, apparent inconsistencies appeared in the woman’s story.
Suddenly she made a startling admission—she confessed that she had made it all up. None of it was true!
Needless to say, the backlash equaled the initial outrage. How could she do this? And why? What motivated her? Her answer: She simply wanted attention and more support from her parents and boyfriend. Again, astonishing!
Here was another completely bald lie, published the world over by respectable news sources, that had appeared so credible, so believable, so TRUE!
Do you learn anything from such incidents? Have you been sobered by the power of lies? If you heard these stories at the time, were you surprised that people could “make it all up”—and that so many could be fooled? Do you recognize that stories can sound perfectly credible—and yet be pure fiction? Joe Tkach, Rod Meredith and others today have long understood the tremendous power of such invented stories.
A common tactic used often in the business world works like this: If a business owner wants to drive a competitor out of business, he simply starts a rumor that his competitor is having “financial trouble.” The goal is to make this a self-fulfilling prophecy—and this is often exactly what happens. Customers and potential customers begin to pull back from business dealings with the targeted victim, thinking they could “get hurt” if he folds unexpectedly. Then, if the victim does fail, ironically, the credibility of the slanderous liar who set the chain of events into motion is actually enhanced! In the end, the liar can appear to have been an authoritative source on the matter. In reality, we have described an evil manipulative person—and one who at least temporarily appears to succeed only because events and the truth have not yet caught up with him.
With false religious leaders, this sometimes means waiting for God to bring the ultimate justice to a man. It also means that those with God’s Spirit who are following such men must reject them! The “Spirit of Christ” in them (Rom. 8:9) will “lead” them (vs. 14) to His truth and His one Church (John 10:3-5; Rev. 3:18). If they ignore Christ’s voice, they will lose the Holy Spirit (I Thes. 5:19; Heb. 6:4-6). Hebrews 10:26-27 describes their fate!
Two Types of Liars
There are two types of people who lie—and you must see the distinction! This means coming to grips with harsh realities, difficult to accept.
First, there are those who lie out of panic or fear, usually on short notice. Caught by surprise in a matter, many (almost all people) will cover themselves with a kind of reflex “knee-jerk” falsehood. (Of course, the Christian tries to never do this, and repents when he does.) This kind of lie is born largely of self-preservation. The offender may feel himself threatened if he told the truth, so he protects himself via a “snap-decision” lie. Such untruths are easier to understand, and to forgive.
While wrong—sin is sin!—this could be likened to the thief who steals to feed his children, instead of due to greed. God made a distinction in the Old Testament between thieves, and the punishment for the latter (repaying, plus 100%) is five times greater than for the former (repaying, plus 20%).
But there is a second type of liar—and these are very different from the first. There are those who out of malice invent murderous lies for the sole purpose of harming the innocent. Their goal is to inflict maximum damage against one or more specific people, or against an organization or institution, perhaps a former employer. These are not merely those who told a lie—something they did—these are liars. In other words, this is something these people ARE, not just something they did. However wrong it is, a person does not become a thief or an adulterer after a single act. Once a pattern is established, this becomes what the person IS, not merely something he or she did. The repeated act has defined his character.
Those who follow the second pattern of lying openly reveal who is their “father” (John 8:44)—these are murderous liars (I John 3:15), minds within which their spiritual father, Satan, can inspire whatever he wants them to say.
Let’s momentarily bring in another facet of this kind of liar. Psalm 81:15 speaks of them when it declares, “The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto Him.” This verse reveals that there are people who simply hate God. It is the plain message of the passage. Get this in your head before continuing! Accept it at face value. As with malevolent liars, it is equally difficult for some to believe that there could actually be human beings who hate God, but there are.
How are such people guilty of this hatred? How is it demonstrated? Let’s understand.
First, there are even those who get into the Church, but hate God’s Law and His authority over them! These are a big part of the “tares among the wheat” sown into the field by the devil. Notice that the verse states that these people will not “submit themselves to” God. These are people then who hate God’s government over them. Of course, that government—the government of God—is found only in His Church, the only one led by Jesus Christ. Obviously, Satan hates God’s government knowing that it will soon banish him from Earth—and replace him with those in God’s Church today.
Most politicians are cold, calculating liars. To them it is routine. They will say anything to harm opponents and gain political advantage. Who doubts that the devil would do everything in his power to defeat his “political opponents,” as he would see God’s people? What he would do to derail the Church of God is without limit.
Let’s return to the two types of liars.
Most can easily believe that the first type of person described exists because they have themselves likely told knee-jerk lies, probably more than once. But the second type presents a problem to those who have not, and never would, do such things. They simply cannot comprehend—cannot fathom—those who would. They cannot grasp that there are human beings on planet Earth who would lie straight from pure malice and intent to harm. Think of it this way—comprehending such evil eludes the “average” liar.
Understand. Certain murderous haters of the Lord have been sent by the god of this world to plague Christ’s people in the “last days” with lies. Read II Timothy 3:1, 3 and 13! No doubt, Satan reserves his worst, and most capable, liars for “service” against the true Church and Work of God. He needs liars good enough to “bring home the bacon,” and at the end of the age God tells us he has them.
Now, as the father of murder and lies, if Satan were going to use his top agents—among the “wheat”—to invent falsehoods against someone, who would be his most obvious target? Who would he most want to harm? Who would he most want to discredit? Who would he most want to turn people from following?
If you can understand the answer to this, you can see why God’s leading servants through the ages have been slandered beyond all normal bounds.
Certainly Satan wants to harm all of God’s people. All who have God’s Spirit—those begotten of a different Father—are his enemies. But those who are leaders within God’s Church receive special attention. History demonstrates this.
If you read my book The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties, you will see with different eyes why Satan must attack God’s servants—especially His chief servant—beyond all limits. This book is not what its title might suggest. Far from tedious, readers describe it as fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring. But most of all it is called instructive, while at the same time gripping—hard to put down.
Above everything else on the devil’s agenda is to destroy God’s Church and government, and to do so at all costs. He believes that if he can destroy the leader’s reputation or credibility through lies, he has successfully undermined the government of God in His Church, and the result is that he would be able to at least limit or maybe even bring the Work of God to an end. After all, it is the government of God that gives the Church of God the ability to remain together, working in unity fulfilling its two purposes—feeding the flock and completing God’s Work!
The Government of God book also takes an extensive look at government within the splinters and slivers. It will take you on a journey from the 1950s to the 1980s, to Mr. Armstrong’s death, and compare how Satan’s best agents destroyed for a time the ability of God’s government to continue producing the wonderful fruit and growth the Church and Work once enjoyed. Then it will bring you to—connecting events to—the present.
Reread this last section until it rings in your ears. Then read the book!
Around Mr. Armstrong
There were always—always—wolves in sheep’s clothing around Herbert W. Armstrong. Do you doubt this? Just remember what he reported in his autobiography about how often leaders and others stabbed him in the back and betrayed him all through his Oregon years. This pattern never really ended as the next 40 years continued. Have you forgotten how many top ministers and administrators completely fell away after his death? And have you recognized how many other once top ministers and administrators have severely compromised his teachings since his death? Obviously, this has also been true of scores of thousands of former WCG members.
But there is one main difference between Mr. Armstrong’s time and today. Those people, and of course local “members,” could not take their story to the Internet. At best, they could poison only a few people around them who were foolish enough to listen to their angry, twisted inventions (Rom. 1:30).
Grasp this! Many of these same leaders today, including many splinter ministers and members, hold a hatred—an outright loathing—for Mr. Armstrong, and his authority, that is almost palpable. (We see their emails with their affiliations given.) Usually though, they do not say that they hate him. (But some do.) After all, even the apostates professed to love Mr. Armstrong. But their fruits say something very different. Even those who declare they genuinely respect Mr. Armstrong are more than capable of fabricating stories or distorting the truth of events.
Regarding doctrine, Mr. Armstrong could spot a liberal a mile off. When someone was seeking to water down doctrine, he knew it immediately. So do I. But, spotting false doctrine and a heretic is much different—and much easier—than identifying false witnesses. For instance, if a group of leaders come to agreement, and tell you that the Sabbath is Tuesday, you would immediately recognize that they were speaking falsely. On the other hand, if the same group alleges personal misconduct against a minister—even one who will not compromise the truth, and who is doing the Work of God—people suddenly become confused and willing to believe their report!
Why?—especially when God explicitly tells His people not to!
At this point, some might protest that “In the mouth of two or three witnesses, a matter is established.” Yet, these forget that thousands charged falsehoods against Mr. Armstrong. But that did not make them true. How sad that so many can no longer, spiritually speaking, add two and two and reach four. The question that should always be asked: What did Mr. Armstrong teach?
The Restored Church of God and I have repeatedly been the target of incredible false accusations. Destructive, divisive liars have repeatedly sought to destroy us. They will try again—and again—and again—to do this. You must beware of such people. While perhaps the worst, Rod Meredith is just one.
But what do I teach?
Early on, we had numerous tares (exactly as did the WCG) enter the flock. After becoming friendly and familiar, they threw off their sheep’s clothing and proceeded to lie, confuse, divide and attack. They were every bit as devilish as Christ’s New Testament warnings describe. I could tell true stories about former “insiders” that are so astonishing—so OUTRAGEOUS!—it would be almost impossible to believe someone could be capable of such conduct. Ironically, these very people covered their own appalling behavior by manufacturing stories about me. This is what Rod Meredith did. (And most did not consider his teachings—or mine in contrast.)
One Powerful Lie
Let me start with one example of what could be called a powerful lie—an obvious lie. A former employee stated of me in about 2002, and I quote, that I “make $125,000 a year (tax-free), have a huge expense account, live in a mansion and have a palatial office—all paid for by about 200 brethren.” This received wide circulation—and maybe still does—his attacks having begun earlier with worse charges in late 2000, when he left us. While every element in this statement is pure fiction, some were foolish enough to believe such an outrageous report. But this has only been because, in the first place, they went to the Internet cesspool where ludicrous charges are routinely posted. (Of course, the Internet has been like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is not all bad. It carries much beneficial knowledge—but also much that is evil.)
Ask: Would you walk away from an opportunity to rejoin the only true Church of God, teaching the full truth and doing the real Work of God—all under the correct form of government—because of what rumormongers can accumulate from slanderous liars and then spread through the Internet? Or will you examine our true fruits?—the mass of what we produce and teach, and the lives that are being changed.
Of course, I realize the things said about me pale when compared to the hideous things said about Mr. Armstrong both during and after his lifetime. Would you be tempted to surf the Internet to find these stories—or to believe them if you did? (Of course, some would and do.)
Do you think God wants His servants doing this? Do you think He “winks” (Acts 17:30) at it when they do?
Think about how many things a perfect, sinless Christ was accused of by people who must have appeared to be credible sources at the time. Consider once again: He was labeled a blasphemer, drunkard, traitor, bastard, heretic, demon-possessed, angry and abusive (when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple), Sabbath-breaker, ignorant, friend of publicans and sinners, and more. Yet He taught only truth—and was God!
Of course, the Internet did not exist in the first century. Perhaps most people of that time never heard these charges, spoken by false witnesses with personal motives. I ask: If you had heard these things 2,000 years ago, would you have believed that Jesus was qualified to be your Savior? Would you have recognized that He was the Son of God? Would you have followed Him?
Of course, none of these accusations about Christ were true! However, God allowed them to be recorded for ALL TIME in Scripture so we could know that even the innocent Jesus Christ—an eternal God-Being!—could be accused of things more horrible and numerous than one can imagine. Think how many from the New Testament age will at the Second Resurrection wish that they had focused only on Jesus’ wonderful teachings—on the truth!
Ponder this. Your crown could depend on understanding it!
“Scurrilous Misrepresentation” About Mr. Armstrong
Some facts of history would be helpful before looking more closely at my record. Mr. Armstrong was also, and often, accused of “being in it for the money.” And he found it necessary to periodically speak openly in the early years to the membership and coworkers about his own financial contributions to the Work. He also did this in a general way later so others could understand WHY he could speak with such conviction to brethren and coworkers about the need to truly sacrifice, and on a regular basis, for God’s all-important Work.
In 1972, Mr. Armstrong decided that the Church should know certain facts about its leader. What he wrote served to neutralize what he called the “scurrilous misrepresentation of persecutors”:
“My wife and I lived in real poverty for 28 years, in getting this Work developed into the powerful worldwide Work it now is. And not only that, I have been through the years the heaviest financial contributor to the Work. I only say that to let you know I am not asking you to do anything I have not, and am doing, setting the example—all scurrilous misrepresentation of persecutors notwithstanding…”
Letter to the Brethren, May 31, 1972
You may be surprised that Mr. Armstrong was this candid with the Church about his personal contributions. When I first read what he described, I was. Yet, in the early years, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong had to give sometimes beyond all measure. Their financial sacrifice was astonishing, and particularly so when he was so often attacked later for having a personal or selfish financial motive. Believe me, I can relate.
Here is just one additional statement from his Autobiography (it is also in our biography of Mr. Armstrong’s life) to demonstrate beyond any doubt where his heart was, even from the most difficult early years of the Work. I was stunned at what he was also doing behind the scenes for the Work (emphasis his):
“On April 2, 1940, I had to write co-workers: ‘The only way I have managed to keep the work going has been my personal sacrifice—taking money intended for our family living, letting my family suffer. One of my daughters has had to stop school. We are about to lose our home. We have gone without badly needed clothing. I could tell you more, but do not want to talk about ourselves—our heavenly Father knows. We are willing and glad to make any sacrifice. BUT THE POINT IS, WE HAVE NOW COME TO THE END, UNLESS SUBSTANTIAL HELP COMES AT ONCE. The work cannot be held up by this method of personal sacrifice any longer. As long as it was only us who suffered, I said nothing. But now the Lord’s WORK will stop unless substantial help comes quickly. For the work’s sake I must appeal to our helpers. I would starve, before I would ask one cent as charity for myself. But I’m willing to humiliate myself in any way for the gospel’s sake.’”
Vol. 2, Ch. 40, pp. 8-9
Probably few remember or ever knew that Mr. Armstrong died with virtually no personal possessions he could call his own, other than a handful of suits, a watch, and a few other simple belongings, including almost nothing of worth. This man’s pattern of unbelievable sacrifice over virtually an entire lifetime was evident to all who knew him. Therefore, it should come as no real surprise how few possessions he had at the end of his life. Nothing was EVER more important to Mr. Armstrong than God’s Work! Yet, his motives were continually questioned, and by those who could not possibly understand them.
But I do understand. My children also went without for years, in regard to clothing for instance, largely wearing hand-me-downs from older cousins because I was systematically underpaid by Joe Tkach all during their growing up years. Clothing needs—my children’s and their parents—is only the tip of this iceberg.
Following Mr. Armstrong’s Example
This takes us to stories and falsehoods about me. In the spirit of Mr. Armstrong’s openness, I came to feel that the brethren at large should know similar things about the leader of God’s Church today. If Mr. Armstrong could be so open for the purpose that he was, then so can I for the same reason!
Here then are a few facts regarding my personal finances in support of God’s Work.
In late 2007, I gave two sermons, the second titled “Clarion Call—The Time Is Now!”, in part to tell the Church in some detail the story of what my late wife and I had been doing privately—and why. (Detractors made sure never to mention the crucial Part 1 of the series, which set up what many love to always deliberately quote out of context from Part 2—and inaccurately besides—to achieve maximum damage and impact.) Understand. My wife and I did what you will now read because the early years of the Work demanded it (and this has proven to be ongoing)—just as the circumstances required the same of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong throughout the years when he led God’s Work. We really had no choice, so I seek no “credit” as such.
The entirety of our life savings (mine and my deceased wife’s) and virtually every extra dollar left in our budget month-to-month for years went to this Work, even to the point of taking out home equity loans (multiple times) to give more, when necessary, because our home kept appreciating in value until 2007. Several times, Mr. Armstrong had to ask the brethren to borrow for the Work (when the need was urgent). I have not done this. I did feel that I needed to give to the Work first myself (not loan) all along before asking anyone else to sacrifice in like manner. (Incidentally, the liar quoted earlier, who had worked at our Headquarters, was fully aware of this pattern of giving when he crafted his falsehoods.)
And all of this is in addition to not receiving any of the following: health benefits, life insurance, a fleet car, even a regular expense account, never mind a liberal one, or anything close to an annual full second tithe allotment given historically to all full-time ministers. I have not received any bonuses or any of the other things that virtually all regular field pastors received in the past, or certain items that those in the splinters still receive (who now only have to work a relatively few hours a week caring for small numbers of people)—and I am the leader of The Restored Church of God. In addition, my salary was for a long time FAR below what all the splinter leaders are paid. I know! I have no life insurance, no social security waiting in the wings, and very little home equity remaining (if any)—and am no longer in my twenties or thirties (or even fifties), with lots of years left to “save for (any supposed) retirement.” Frankly, following Mr. Armstrong’s example, I plan to “retire” either directly into the kingdom of God or through death (sleep in Christ) at the resurrection, whichever comes first.
What has been said about my “Clarion Call” message about brethren giving to God’s Work was at least partly correct. However, I gave four more extensive sermons later proving this practice is biblical. (No one can dispute that the first-century Church had “all things common”—Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-5:11.) But many don’t accept God’s Word. However, our entire ministry and membership saw the scores of plain scriptures involved for what they were. Few or none among the thousands with us have left the Church over this because the biblical explanation was so clear.
This short summary of almost eight hours of sermons may not change the reader’s mind. But we cannot apologize for what our entire ministry understands is absolutely biblical, and for what is today helping to explode the growth of God’s Church.
A Large Inheritance?
Other facts need to be clarified. Many falsehoods have been spread about my first wife, my father’s supposed “wealth,” my inheritance, rewriting Mr. Armstrong’s literature, and whether I teach doctrines different from what he taught, as well as my relationship with Mr. Armstrong. There have been other charges not worthy of comment. The biggest point is that I have been under ferocious attack, from all quarters, with nearly endless lies—utter, complete fictions—routinely told about me. (And I still am—as was Mr. Armstrong for a lifetime.)
Now for the barest facts regarding what I inherited from my father upon his death in October 1995. I have never written of it or until recently even told anyone about it.
First, I received one tiny store (about 1,500 sq. ft. retail space)—not two or multiple stores, as some have claimed, and certainly not ones generating any kind of “wealth.” Far from it. It was Rod Meredith who started the lie that “Dave Pack is a millionaire,” and this story grew long legs. I chose never to address his deceit, believing God knew the truth. But in the end, many have been hurt by his lie.
I virtually gave away the one store I received to my son in July 2000. It is the only store today, and both sons still work there. There has been no benefit coming to me now for many years, and very little before 2000. My dad was not wealthy, or even close to it. I did not even know his worth until after his death. His total estate was worth under the $600,000 federal taxable limit applicable in 1995 when he died. (And its “worth” passed a federal audit.) That amount was split 10 ways (three children, seven grandchildren)! I got my parents’ one store.
It has been said that I “inherited a large sum of money” from my father. That’s utterly false. This has also been partially a result of Rod Meredith’s lie. I did not receive one dime—or one penny!—in cash. The store yielded some money through April 1997—18 months—until I began preparation to open a second store in January 1998—which never did well and virtually ended my “extra income” from May 1997 forward, now over 15 years ago. Realize that it took two-and-a-half years (until January 2010) before I could even pay for any of my wife’s funeral expenses (she died in July 2007). These funds came from a very modest inheritance after my uncle’s death in the spring of 2009.
Work of Faith
Some claim that starting The Restored Church of God was not done “on faith as Mr. Armstrong did” since I was “wealthy” or a “millionaire,” and that I used “my millions” to start and maintain the Church. First, were this true, why would critics denigrate what would be unbelievable generosity? Why would this be included in a list of negatives about me? I wish I had become a millionaire and could have given millions to God’s Church. But nothing like it ever happened.
More brief history. In March 1993, when I was the first pastor Joe Tkach fired and marked publicly on video (March 6 from Tampa, Florida), I had to act solely on faith. Again, I had been systematically underpaid for much of my ministry by a vindictive Joe Tkach who hated me in large part because of my relationship with Mr. Armstrong. I had no money in the bank—none—when Dean Blackwell came from Pasadena (weeping at my front door and carrying flowers) with a nearby pastor to take my car, computer and Church files. The result: my wife and I had no second car even to get groceries. We walked. Two weeks of severance pay (plus a few days of my unused vacation pay) had to last for several weeks until I could be paid by Global.
Here is how I obtained a fleet car from the Global Church of God in March 1993: I took a personal cash advance (maximum amount, and to my limit) on my only credit card at the time for $4,000 and sent it to Rod Meredith so Global could buy a car in its name with my money—with the hopes that they could pay me back in the future, sometime?!?! (Of course in time they did.) I was happy to do this because it could help a tiny organization that was only eight weeks old at the time get better established. This is all very different from the way UCG (or COGwa later) began en masse, where no faith was needed because thousands of brethren and hundreds of ministers were moving together, and with most having large WCG severance checks in hand. Incidentally, not one other Global or Living Church of God minister was asked or needed to do what I did.
I have almost no money in the bank today. Some think I am wealthy because I never explained any of this when I paid for dinner in their presence with the little extra that I had for a while. I probably on occasion did do some a disservice by not explaining this in the face of what they saw.
I did tell Rod Meredith—plainly—that I was not wealthy, but he did not believe it because I initially gave some of the little bit of early store income to Global. On November 1, 1995, just three days after my father had died, Rod Meredith reached across the table in a restaurant to take my wallet to remove and literally count my credit cards, bluntly asking (as he did several times later), “Dave, are you a millionaire??” He wanted contributions from me—and said so repeatedly!—but it was not there to give. On one occasion, about a year later, he actually got angry at me in front of five others at a restaurant because I offered to pay for the meal! He declared, “We want you to give large donations, not pay for dinner.” Such was the man. Of course he will deny these stories for the same reason he invented the others about me! But they happened.
I have been forced to have more faith regarding money all through my adult life than in any other area where faith is required. It is almost humorous that people think I “have money.” I am possibly now “upside down” in my house. I lease one car. I wore the same two pairs of shoes from 1993 to 2006 because I could not afford new ones. Again, I have never asked for, or received, any benefits from The Restored Church of God—none! The Board of Directors has asked me to take them, but respected my over 13 years of declining. At certain times when I did have a little extra money in our early years the reader can guess where it was sent.
I could ask at this point: Did you need these facts about my finances? And then, because of the “scurrilous misrepresentations” of my persecutors, there is the question of whether what I have written will be believed. Did I “make it all up” to deflect criticism or gain sympathy? (Realize there is much more to add if this were my motive.) But since this concern did not stop Mr. Armstrong from reporting to the Church the facts of his contributions, neither should it stop me from reporting the same thing to God’s people at large.
For those who still doubt after this explanation, I could go on to ask: Must I post a picture of my house for people to accept how ridiculous the earlier discussed accusations are? Must they see my tax returns for several years to know that my salary was far—FAR—below the figure quoted above, and how tiny my occasionally reported expenses have been, even as the leader of God’s Church? Would the report need to be certified by accountants and attorneys for readers to believe it? And then would some still not believe the facts, since they were willing in the first place to seek the reports of liars, rumormongers, talebearers and false witnesses?
Now think about all that has been said and written about me. If it were all true, I would have had to get our staff, field ministry and thousands of brethren who stood up for the truth to falsely agree together—to conspire to lie with me—about the facts in this article. (In fact, most of our Headquarters ministers read the contents of this article before posting.) Also, my daughter has been professionally trained in accounting and worked in our Business Office since early 2000. She has been aware of my finances for years, and would also have had to participate in any “cover-up.”
Few consider the source of accusations: For instance, how many know that the man who reported about my income and house—to quote Paul, my modern “Alexander the coppersmith,” who “did me much evil” (II Tim. 4:14)—is publicly on record as vehemently against Mr. Armstrong, as well as for outright defending the devil’s conduct in the Garden of Eden. He bluntly disavows the Bible’s validity and openly lampoons God!
Few know any of this about the early employee who attacked me. But thousands have read his lies. The same with Rod Meredith’s—and Joe Tkach’s. The outright falsehoods they told—what I once thought would be easily seen to be obvious lies—have taken on the same life through the years. Like Paul with Alexander, I am left to say, “The Lord reward such men according to their works.”
Questionable Advertising Practices?
Some claim our advertising methods to the splinters are “wrong” and amount to “sheep stealing.” First, we acknowledge our policy and practice, but not that it is wrong. Although our ad budget is focused mostly on the world, there remains an obligation to WARN God’s people of IMPENDING PUNISHMENT if they do not anoint their eyes (Rev. 3:18)—if they do not repent and return to God’s Church, Truth, Government and Work!
Understand. We have written much more literature to the world for those learning the truth for the first time (over 5,000 pages of books and booklets, plus articles) than for the splinter groups (2,100 pages of books) to help people escape the apostasy. I would never apologize for our practice—and I would do 10 times more if I could! When I look at the absolutely HORRIFIC DOCTRINES—“damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1-2)—taught by LCG’s, UCG’s and COGwa’s “leaders” (PCG also), it is hard not to vomit.
The good news is that our warning is having a real effect!
While most of our growth is coming from the world, hundreds of people have come to us from LCG (the rate is speeding up), hundreds more from UCG, and more hundreds from PCG, plus from other smaller groups. Hundreds of former WCG brethren are coming with us after going home for years. ALL of the splinter leaders are savaging God’s people with false doctrines that Mr. Armstrong decried time and again—and far beyond what occurred in what were called the “liberal years” of the mid-70s. Mr. Armstrong would have disfellowshipped the entire LCG and UCG ministries ON THE SPOT before they got one-tenth the distance they have. How he dealt with all the 1970s liberals, including disfellowshipping Rod Meredith in 1979 for division—as well as so many others through the years—makes this impossible to misunderstand.
Make no mistake. I will do everything in my power with God’s help to WARN the remaining tens of thousands against the utter vileness that has been spewed on them by their leaders in the name of “truth” for almost 20 years. I speak here of much more than their evil governments. This is but the beginning of a long list of false doctrines for which Mr. Armstrong would THUNDER WARNING to those who would listen!
Some say Mr. Armstrong would not do what I am doing. I say he would! If I could, I would write every member in LCG, UCG, COGwa, PCG, and every other splinter and sliver, about the literally hundreds of wolves who are lying (doctrinally) to them from pulpits in the name of Herbert W. Armstrong.
If the reader is truly interested in seeing what Mr. Armstrong would do—and what he DID DO under less dire circumstances!—read an article I posted in March 2012 “‘Cry Aloud, Spare Not’—What All Forgot.” Then hear a crucial sermon “The ‘Synagogue of Satan’ Identified—and Marked!” I challenge you: read the article and hear the sermon! Then read in I John 2:18-19 of where the apostle John spoke of “many antichrists,” but more importantly of where they came from.
Regarding the charge that “Mr. Armstrong did not reach out and ‘recruit’ Sardis,” understand that this era was spiritually dead. There were not many there to warn. Albeit in weak condition, many in the splinters are still (barely) spiritually alive. Incidentally, there is a quote in which Mr. Armstrong stated that he wrote all the Sardis people he knew when he left—about 300 names on a list. (He had no Internet to give worldwide reach as Google helps us do today.)
Mr. Armstrong was the “Ezekiel watchman” to the nations of Israel and Judah when only PHYSICAL life was/is at stake in the Tribulation and Day of the Lord. How important by comparison is also warning spiritual Israel when ETERNAL life is at stake? What watchman who cared even a little for God’s sheep would not do all in his power under today’s circumstances? All the big splinters’ public sermons and broadcasts—I have heard many—are so anemic they would have to get better to be called pitiful. Thousands know this. There is no real effort or even thinking at work in UCG, for instance, to warn the 630 million Israelites in 30 nations and territories today. LCG is doing almost nothing. COGwa has no extra money to do anything, and never will. But here, coupled with announcing the kingdom of God worldwide, urgency to warn drives all in God’s Church like a POWERFUL ENGINE does a car! Sadly, many former WCG members cannot even remember such a driven mindset. But then they have not seen it in action for 27 years, since almost the day Mr. Armstrong died.
More could be said. But know that we apologize for nothing and rather are sorry we cannot do more! In time, we WILL!!!
My First Wife’s Relationship with Mr. Armstrong
Certain detractors say that my first wife’s 25-year personal relationship with Mr. Armstrong was simply her having “worked on some dinners at his home,” or having just been part of his secretarial “typing pool.” Too much to outline here, my wife was very close with both Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong—and long before I was in the picture. Just after Carl McNair married her oldest sister in September 1961, she began a relationship with the Armstrongs starting at that Feast. (She had met the Armstrongs at the Feast of 1960, the year her sisters went to college.)
In 1963, as a freshman student, my wife began serving as one of Mr. Armstrong’s secretaries—until the Armstrongs personally took her on a ship (with a couple others) to Bricketwood in 1965 to stay for one year. At graduation in 1968 (after a fifth year back in Pasadena under Mr. Armstrong’s “terms” because she had requested a second year in England), she became one of Mr. Armstrong’s two personal secretaries for the next three years until our marriage in 1971, when her second secretarial stint ended.
Mr. Armstrong wanted to “know me” before he “signed off” on our engagement. He was so disappointed that he could not perform our wedding—he had to be in the Philippines—that he called Shirley long-distance to speak for two hours after arrival there to give additional last-minute marriage counseling the day I graduated (June 4), two days before our wedding on June 6.
Mr. Armstrong more than once made sure that I heard the story about why Shirley was special to him, and how my big, gregarious, German father-in-law had made him “promise” in 1963 to watch out for his “last daughter” so that she didn’t marry the “wrong man.” Mr. Armstrong enjoyed my father-in-law, Mr. Peter Ochs, in a more than usual way. That quickly became obvious to me even before marriage. Incidentally, Mr. Armstrong reported for many years that Mr. Ochs’ Festival choir and music was the “best in the whole Church.”
My Relationship with Mr. Armstrong
My relationship with Mr. Armstrong has not been immune to false accusations. Some have said I claimed to have been Mr. Armstrong’s “personal confidant.” I have never said this, and in fact was not. But my relationship with Mr. Armstrong was unusual, and close.
That I was a field pastor was helpful to Mr. Armstrong. During most of that period he was surrounded by administrators in Pasadena who had their own agendas. He was also somewhat isolated during the period he lived in Tucson. (A heart attack and marriage had temporarily taken him there.)
It was through phone conversations and several personal visits that I slowly began to realize my relationship with Mr. Armstrong had changed. I had become an advisor from the field perspective. Mr. Armstrong expressed that he appreciated frankness and honesty, even when it meant respectfully disagreeing (of course never on doctrine). He wanted that, and it stood in stark contrast to the usually sugarcoated, self-serving political anglings he so often experienced in Pasadena. Advisors there largely shielded him or told him what they thought he wanted to hear.
These are the facts! I did not come this far teaching the uncompromised truth to fabricate stories now. There were maybe one or two times through the years that Mr. Armstrong did not take my call—but I was instructed to call him back a little later. I would. He never once ended the call, meaning he never a single time said that he “had to go.” He called me a few times to read whole Co-worker Letters to me, and at least another time to read a short article I had suggested he write. He wanted my opinion on it.
Details of my relationship with Mr. Armstrong could continue—starting with how he knew me from 1967 simply because I was a well-known swimmer on campus. But also because I was 6’ 7” tall on a small campus. My marriage to his secretary served to solidify the relationship from 1971 forward. I later framed this in my mind as part of a crucial training under a special man toward an awesome responsibility at the end of the age.
Rewriting the Literature
Next is the accusation that our literature is all mere “copies” of Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets. First, any who read them know they are absolutely NOT copies—not even a little!—not a single sentence! And NONE of the books and booklets are paraphrased versions of Mr. Armstrong’s, but rather are completely rewritten, only containing the same truths he taught. I rewrote every one of Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets (except Mystery of the Ages, which he felt was God’s task for him as messenger to the sixth era of God’s Church). None are copies. Why such a point would be on a list of “negatives” about me—that God’s truth was rewritten so thoroughly—is beyond comprehension. No one else even began to take on such a daunting task.
There is a story behind how the literature was written so rapidly. I would arrive at the office at 8 o’clock every morning with my wife for almost five years (half Sundays included, having preached most Sabbaths). We would type most of each day until about 8 o’clock in the evening (sometimes later), until my wife’s eyes began running with uncontrollable “tears,” not from crying but because she could no longer stare at the computer screen. (I had to watch carefully because she would not tell me, not wanting to break my thought pattern.)
In fact, for a three-and-a-half-year period, from December 2000 to the middle of 2004, neither of us ever stopped to eat lunch—not once!—and a late dinner came three or four times a week in the same nearby restaurant, often as late as 9 or 9:30 p.m.! (Also, we did not eat a single breakfast or a single lunch or dinner together—not one—at the table at home from 1999 until the months she was dying in mid-2007. There was no time.) That workload would probably kill any three men lacking the help of God so obviously given to us.
Frankly, this may be a big reason my first wife is gone today. I walked around my office calling out the words (our nickname for me was the “caged cougar”) of each new book without any notes—NONE, there was no time to prepare any—and only a Bible in my hand. (My wife had to just sit and type. That was harder. I could burn off stress and suppress my appetite with coffee.) My wife, many staff members—and God—know this routine to be true. My first wife never complained a single time—not once!—and in some ways it could be said she virtually died at her post where she sat having typed over two million words (plus scores of thousands of individual edits). All those who witnessed her efforts know that she would not have had it any other way.
It should be said that none of this was made any easier when Rod Meredith was telling so many appalling lies about us. After all, he had baptized my wife in 1963 as an 18-year-old Ambassador freshman.
Unprecedented Amount of Material
A helpful comparison, not said to boast but to clarify: Mr. Armstrong’s total life’s work (books and booklets) was 1,155,000 words (by a software word count). My books and booklets total over 2,900,000 words (approaching triple the number—not including articles like these—and in a fraction of the time, with endless other duties swamping my days)! Incidentally, all of this becomes a big reason I had to virtually give away my store in 2000.
I had to write much more than Mr. Armstrong because there was a need for additional literature not needed during his time. No one came to help, so I “squared up” and did what Mr. Armstrong did—with the unending power of God so obviously making it possible! And this was while men in the splinters attacked and attacked and attacked me for what all of them collectively would not do. Denigrating statements about my having written mere “copies of Mr. Armstrong’s material” dismiss and minimize what no other WCG minister would even attempt. Our critics have no idea the awesome size of what we offer—of what God’s Spirit achieved!
All the reader needs to do is visit our websites and view all that is there, moving slowly, thoughtfully, title by title. But this won’t tell you the marvelous quality of the hardcopies we distribute, which some claim, “Do not even exist because RCG is merely an ‘Internet ministry.’” We are far, far more than that. Look at the vastness of what we have, and what becomes the clear evidence of the Holy Spirit at work. Critics should think hard before attacking me. These in fact overcredit me because no human could do what was done on human power alone.
Try to summon God’s Spirit as you read these words because the subject is not like a criminal court case, but rather one that demands the discernment that comes of that Spirit.
Believe me, I don’t think for a minute that I could carry Mr. Armstrong’s water, and in probably any regard. But having also done almost 180 half-hour World to Come™ broadcasts and about 250 audios, with hundreds of sermons and scores of Bible studies just since May 1999—plus endless meetings and other duties, just one being the writing of well over 5,000 emails—my workload over the last 13+ years would stagger a whole herd of elephants. I know what Mr. Armstrong meant—like no other minister alive today!—when he said that he lived, breathed and functioned by the power of God.
Oh, do I understand…
Before undertaking the rewriting of Mr. Armstrong’s books, I called five copyright lawyers to see if I might paraphrase them sentence by sentence. Three of them said, “Absolutely no problem” because “ideas cannot be copyrighted.” The fourth said, “Highly unlikely that paraphrasing is a problem.” The last one said, “It is probably okay, but it is America and anybody can sue anybody.” I took the last man’s advice—the safest—and completely rewrote everything. I looked through Mr. Armstrong’s materials generally after the fact with each new book or booklet to be sure I had not missed critical points. (By the way, what many have called a truly inspiring story of this process can be found in chapter 16 of my book The Work of God – Its Final Chapter! It is titled “A Personal Story – Rewriting Mr. Armstrong’s Literature.”) My wife was permitted to live long enough to bring her high-speed typing to all but the last few books and booklets. Speed typing is not my strength, so someone else later typed in her place, just as someone else is typing this article.
Some claim that I teach doctrines contrary to Mr. Armstrong. That is pure fiction, coming from people who know it is. Our greatest strength is that we have not departed in any way from “hold that fast which you have” (Rev. 3:11) and “hold fast the faithful word as you have been taught” (Tit. 1:9). Knowing Mr. Armstrong was the prophesied Moses who laid the doctrinal foundation (Mal. 4:4) in the Church, we “continue in the things which we have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom we have learned them” (II Tim. 3:14). We also do not deviate from Mr. Armstrong’s teaching, written and preached time and again, that truth only enters the Church through apostles, never committees or offices of lower rank (I have his many quotes).
This overall position forms what I have called the FOUR GREAT WALLS of defense against all forms of false teaching at the end of the age. Despite my office, I also am not permitted to overturn what Mr. Armstrong taught as doctrine. I have certainly added details (almost all in prophecy)—but that is entirely different from supplanting established truth with something else, so commonly done today.
Beyond the flagrant sins of (1) rebellion against God’s form of government, and (2) the adoption of the Protestant/apostate view of what IS the church, the big splinters have (3) all rejected the foundation laid by Mr. Armstrong and (4) the great truth that doctrine only enters the Church through apostles. Huge errors in themselves, these things have opened a Pandora’s Box of other false ideas. For instance, and this is but the start of the list, virtually all of the splinters permit marriage “outside the church” (after all, they say in effect, “Who knows where God’s Church/Body of Christ starts and stops, anyway?”). And permit women to wear cosmetics. These groups almost all have “open door” policies regarding who may attend, thus virtually inviting the world to come in and mingle with their churches. UCG has thrown out third tithe, inserted Jesus into the gospel of the kingdom of God (as has LCG, COGwa and COGaic), has ceased to warn the nations of modern Israel, has permitted all standards of personal decorum—hair, dress, jewelry, tattoos, music, etc.—to collapse. LCG, COGwa and COGaic have also permitted most or all these things. Much about the third of the Bible that is prophecy has also been abandoned, diminished, skewed or completely lost in the splinters. These are but a few false teachings so widespread today.
There is so much, much more that could make this list several pages in length…
How Many Disfellowshipped?
Possibly more than any other single subject of rumors about me are the stories regarding supposed large numbers of people I disfellowshipped throughout my ministry. This has served to create a straw-man—that of a harsh, merciless dictator who was constantly disciplining people and throwing them out of the Church. While this is ALL utter fiction, it does deserve comment.
Through the years I came to understand what was the crucial (but very rare) need to disfellowship people who did not belong in God’s Church, according to His plain instruction. I only very infrequently had to do this. Any true minister knows that he has to occasionally remove people from membership, either to protect the Church, or even to protect the person from himself. To do otherwise is to disobey God. But, depending on the circumstances a pastor inherits, this is generally rare.
Incredibly, I have become a subject of legend in regard to something I almost never had to do! I very, very rarely had to disfellowship anyone. People who did not agree with the Church usually left on their own. A wise and skilled minister understands that people who do not belong—and we now know that scores of thousands never had God’s Spirit in the WCG—can be gently steered with a smile and handshake back to the world where they belong. I figured this out early on.
I did not have to put many people out of the Church. During the 1970s, there were maybe half a dozen where this happened—and these were the “liberal years,” where thousands were leaving the Church worldwide. In the first half of the 1980s, after arriving in Buffalo, New York, I disfellowshipped an even smaller number. This was over a four-year and seven-month period. And that pastorate was in disastrous condition when I arrived, its previous pastor having just been himself disfellowshipped by Pasadena three days before I took over. The same condition was true of the Rochester and Syracuse congregations, demonstrated in part by its pastor leaving the Church (June 25, 1977) the day he gave his final sermon—and the very same day I arrived. Over 300 people had left these three congregations over the previous three years. Yet in each case, and spanning an eight-plus-year period, these pastorates quickly turned into the fastest growing congregations in the entire Church, worldwide, month after month. Church Administration, later renamed Ministerial Services, reported this to me time and again. I even got several visits from headquarters ministers (at least four I recall) asking me what it was that I was doing to achieve such growth. They also wanted to know things like why my Bible Study attendance was routinely triple or quadruple the percentage of most other pastorates. Their goal was to apply principles that they could use with the rest of the WCG ministry.
Of course, none of this is ever reported. It fights the false narrative about me.
In the latter half of the 1980s, I was not in a position to put anyone out of the Church, because Joe Tkach had reduced me to an Associate Pastor and sent me to New York City (as Mr. Armstrong was dying). Once I became a pastor again, from February 2, 1990 to March 2, 1993 (when I was fired from the WCG), there were only two people who had to be disfellowshipped in Akron, Ohio. Two ladies who went with PCG left me no choice. This congregation again became the fastest growing congregation in the United States, even while the rest of the Church had begun to decline in attendance, with the highest attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles having been the year 1990 (151,601 attended the Feast that year). We all know what happened over the years that followed.
Between March 1993 and May 1999, while I was in the Global Church of God, there were only two people (there may have been a third) that I disfellowshipped. Stories told by Rod Meredith to the contrary are completely false. Incidentally, one of the two people was able to come back to Church soon after and thanked me for having put him out. Of course, Rod Meredith is sure to never mention that I raised up over 40 congregations in the Global Church of God, personally inviting about 1,000 people to services.
Today, in The Restored Church of God, we are almost 14 years old. In that time, I have not disfellowshipped even one person anywhere in the world. Our Church Administration Department began in 2003. It, and our ministry worldwide, have rarely (only a handful of times) had to disfellowship anyone over the nine years that followed.
While my detractors will state that this report is false, I assert that it is TRUE! Others at our Headquarters would vouch for its veracity. Those who think that others in our office would conspire with me to lie about such matters are not the kind of people who could be helped by this article.
My first wife always marveled that I disfellowshipped so few people—even when I was serving in terribly divided pastorates where almost everything imaginable had been permitted before I arrived—but that other ministers could disfellowship many more people than I and never be questioned about it because of who they knew. She said this many times.
I recognized that there was a “legend” slowly growing up about me that was pure fiction. Throughout my ministry, I had to live with the reality of being accused by ministers that I knew to be of a different spirit—men who were not converted. (Time proved this.) My wife was more than right. These same men actually got away with terrible wrongs themselves. These accusers often abused and neglected their pastorates, then got away with it due to connections in Pasadena. That they would attack me when they experienced the naturally resulting decline in growth that their conduct brought was at times very hard to bear. But Christians are to endure such things looking to God.
In the end, the tragedy is not my bruised ego or reputation, but the fact that God’s people are fed lies and my ministry and the Work of God today have been clouded by rumors. Those with God’s Spirit will decide if what they have just read is true.
Through the Decades
Here are a series of additional items where facts are helpful—things that are generally NOT known about my ministry, but that are true.
For my entire ministry, I sought to “think out of the box.” This habit started in childhood simply by being born to the particular parents that I came from. Mr. Armstrong’s example enhanced this influence. It was important to me to always relate my pastorate to the greater overall Work of God. Constantly on my mind through the decades was “What else can I do? How can I make the whole Work bigger?—make it more effective? Is there anything I am missing that could make a difference?” (When understood, this is the very reason I am writing this long, time-consuming article.)
A way in which ministers could directly serve God’s Work was through Headquarters inviting local Plain Truth subscribers to Public Bible Lectures (PBLs). Beginning in the mid-1970s, I conducted more of these lectures than almost all other ministers. In the spirit of the previous paragraph, I added a feature to my lectures. It involved asking Headquarters to send us one copy of every piece of literature the Church had, along with 10 of the larger, more important books or booklets. At first Pasadena balked over the cost, but later saw the approach was effective—that it brought growth. They never hesitated again to send what was requested. I heard at one point that this began to be employed in PBLs elsewhere because it was demonstrated to make a difference.
I later took the idea further, suggesting that Headquarters send a senior minister—a recognizable name from The Plain Truth—to my area. My thought was: If Bible Lectures were successful with only a local minister present, how much more fruitful might they be if a recognized representative visited—a World Tomorrow broadcast presenter? Pasadena was intrigued. This idea later spawned a program in which for a short while various of these men were sent to large American cities to give lectures.
It was surprising to me that more ministers did not use this tool (PBLs) very often to expose local residents to God’s truth. Of course, some did. I made sure the PBLs occurred all through each of my pastorates (every 12-18 months), and made sure that as many local brethren as possible were involved in some way in their success. They loved playing a part, and it served to unify and excite the congregation for a period before and after the lectures. Just recounting it recalls fond memories.
I was the pastor who developed the Plain Truth Newsstand Distribution Program into what it ultimately became. I did not originate the program, but carefully structured it in a way that Pasadena could maximize its effectiveness, should they wish to extend my ideas to all pastorates. They did. But you need not believe my report on this. Anyone who has the old Distribution Manual will see that it is based on Buffalo, New York maps, and what I wrote up for Headquarters to employ everywhere.
Similarly, I saw that Youth Opportunities United (Y.O.U.)—the Church’s formal program to develop its teenagers—was starting at too late an age (13) to effectively shape young minds. I had three children (2, 7 and 9) at the time (1982), and saw the need to begin with children as young as five. So I developed a local program in Buffalo for 5 to 12-year-olds. It was tremendously successful (we had a children’s choir of 99, which we fit on the stage at one time!), and involved a variety of sports, camping and fundraising ideas, plus Bible classes, to teach, unify and bond the children. Pasadena found out about it and asked me to write up what I was doing. I did—and the result was Youth Educational Services, or Y.E.S. as it came to be known. This is why God’s Church today does so much for its youth—more than all the other groups combined!
Understand. I am not writing these things to gain credit, but rather to explain the truth of my ministry.
I wrote a number of articles for The Good News magazine that did not get me a pay raise or a bonus. I wanted to serve and help people as far and wide as I could. Others in the field ministry wrote, but these men were few. I held annual regional activities for singles, as well as certain annual sporting tournaments, which always involved hundreds of people. The last singles activity I held, in 1992, was attended by 400 singles from 38 states. My pastorates fundraised on behalf of the Work tens of thousands of dollars that could be sent to Pasadena, and not just during the one or two times that Pasadena asked congregations to collectively do this. A sermonette seminar that I gave in Syracuse in the spring of 1978 was developed into a very extensive handout, which found its way to Dean Blackwell in Pasadena. I learned that, for the next 15 years, it was used as a speech preparation tool at Ambassador College (still carrying my byline). My son called me in 1991 to tell me it was a speech handout that his class was to study.
Most other ministers just never did any of these kinds of things, never mind on a regular basis. Sadly, all of these activities served an additional hidden purpose that I found myself up against: they caused a very real resentment from pastors around me who thought I was “horn-tooting” or “grandstanding” to impress Pasadena. I was making them “look bad.” Rather than copy the parts that would have helped their service to God’s people, they chose to spread rumors about me. It is some of these very rumors that have taken on a life of their own and led to this article.
Joe Tkach and a couple men around him were able to actively nurture and use this resentment against me to their advantage. He literally ordered five pastors who lived nearby to “write me up” in the summer of 1985, just before Mr. Armstrong died. Two of these men called me about six months later to confess what they and three others had done, and to relate how they were given “no choice.” These five men today have all completely left God’s Way. One stayed in the WCG. Another stayed there and had a complete nervous breakdown. Another became an alcoholic. Another one gave up all of the truth and went home…and so on.
Yet so many have come to believe what men like these, working in concert with men like Joe Tkach in his time, and later Rod Meredith for the same reasons, had simply invented. Again, those led by God’s Spirit will decide if all that they have just read is true.
Let’s talk about fruits TODAY! I never cease to be sad when I think of how others could experience what we experience on a daily basis all through God’s Church—and in so many ways (certainly not perfectly). The peace, happiness, love, extraordinary unity of doctrine and purpose, zeal, unrelenting sacrifice, efficiency and production—so much wonderful FRUIT!—are almost physically palpable in God’s Church. (Just our rented office, over 20,000 square feet, entirely remodeled as a labor of love for the owners by volunteer work over the years, would astonish the reader as it does everybody who sees it.) None of this speaks to regular dramatic healings, demons cast out, many miracles, open doors, blessings and incredible GROWTH in all statistical categories (including over 20% growth on average in Church attendance—for 13 years running—the last four averaging almost 25%).
Our income in 2011 was 102.2% above 2010. 2012 greatly exceeded 2011. (Both of these years and several before them have been in a terrible economy.) Our income has averaged about 35% increase annually for 13 years, well above the robust 20% growth in Church attendance. (A sharp increase in co-workers and donors has long made this difference.) Let’s ask: What happens when the full effect of national television kicks in? And when our beautiful world Headquarters campus opens in May 2013? More doors seem to be opening (some have already) to world leaders. Newspapers across the world are doing articles about us (check the Internet), and we are told by sources that this is just warming up. We will have over 110 employees just at Headquarters (about 80 now) by next summer—with full-time ministers across the world being in addition. Massive high-quality literature inventory is permitting us to follow through with ALL of this! While enemies predict we won’t finish our building project, we are not even using a bank! We are on an entirely cash basis on our first multi-million-dollar building. (Time will tell if it stays that way with other buildings scheduled to follow soon.)
During this same period, we actually were able to undertake national television, and to hire many more ministers and staff. We have also been able to increase our literature budget by 11 times—or 1,000%!!!—at the same time. These are all evidence that GOD IS WITH US—because no man or men could do these things, whether Mr. Armstrong, me or anyone else.
SEE THESE THINGS! Ignoring them will come at a terrible price!
City Set on a Hill
If individual Christians are each by themselves a “city set on a hill that cannot be hid” (Matt. 5:14), as with our beautiful, developing campus, today’s Church and Work is truly God’s “GREAT city set on a hill whose fruit cannot be hid.”
An unbelievably powerful Work is underway in The Restored Church of God. This is because we did not break the grand pattern set by Mr. Armstrong—any of it! It is because Jesus Christ actually does HEAD this Church. In one to two years maximum, the profile of God’s Church and true Work will be beyond imagination. It will take your breath and leave your ears ringing. The good news is that more ministers and members are leaving ALL of the splinters to return to God’s one Church. Thousands will join us, and you will see it! This means our power, impact and growth will be further affected upward. We expect to be the largest presence—the loudest voice!—in religious television in the world some time in 2014, and maybe before. And this will be backed up by the largest amount of literature ever compiled by any single organization on the face of the earth.
One could only wish that students at UCG’s “Bible” Center, LCG’s “University” and PCG’s “College” could see the Ambassador Way—the true, pure, wonderful AMBASSADOR WAY—still at work as before at our Ambassador Center. Several hundred students and graduates all tell the same story. Even the Envoys that we produce are of the same quality every year as those of 40 years past.
Finally, I urge every reader to view all of our 63-minute “Behind the Work 2012” film, which presents an eye-opening look at God’s Work around the world. You will be glad you did. In fact, you will almost not believe what you may be about to view. You are challenged to contrast it with the truly sad, tragic productions by other groups in 2012 (but also every year).
See if you do not come away tremendously inspired by what you may have thought was gone forever!
Focus Away From the Man
Mr. Armstrong long ago offered an instructive statement to God’s people about what should be their focus—truth, not any human being. His words seem more instructive and important today:
“WHO AM I? A false prophet, or a man sent from God with a Message? Do you know they asked Jesus Christ that question?
“They asked John the Baptist. Was he the Christ? Was he Elijah? No, he answered—he was merely a voice in the wilderness of religious confusion. But the man is not important—it is his Message.
“Why do people seem always to want to follow a man? Why do they look to the man, himself—and either become a follower of him, or an accuser and persecutor? Why must they look to the man instead of the truth?
“The enemies of the truth know this trait of human nature. And they utilize it to turn people away from the truth by discrediting the person who proclaims it. Or else they seek to attract people to their false way by exalting the person of their leader, and inducing people to follow that person.”
“Do you want to know who I am? Well, who I am is not important. But if you want to know the truth about it, do not ask those who are imbued with this world’s competitive spirit. They can’t tell you the truth about who I am, or whether what we proclaim is true, because they don’t know! If you want to know about me personally—it’s not important—but if you still want to know, ask me, not uninformed enemies. [Author’s note: I ask this same question of those who are uncertain as to whether they should believe attacks against me.]
“Check up, as the Bereans did on the Apostle Paul—they listened with open minds, unprejudiced, then searched the scriptures, whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).
“If we proclaim the truth—if we make it plain and understandable, and lead you to the truth which you prove to be the truth, then believe that truth.
“Look to the Fruits. By the thousands, people are being converted—their lives changed—brought to Christ and the Kingdom of God. Christ’s own gospel is being proclaimed, as a witness, to the whole world—on every inhabited continent. God’s own flock is being fed. Those brought to Christ, and who through Him are now begotten children of God, are finding happiness and joy that literally radiates in their lives! The sick are being healed. Future leaders in God’s work are being trained in God’s Colleges. Those are the fruits. This is the work where God is working. [Author’s note: Today, this paragraph describes The Restored Church of God.]
“Yes, even as Jesus, the living head of this work of God said: ‘Though you believe not me, believe the Work [of God], that you may know …’
“Be a follower of jesus christ—I am not seeking followers of my own. Don’t be a follower of a man—but of christ!”
PT, Personal, Sept. 1963
In like manner, throughout our splinter material, we urge people to prove that we teach the full truth, and that we emphasize and do the true Work of God—proclaiming the kingdom of God to the world and Ezekiel’s warning to the modern nations of Israel—exactly as Mr. Armstrong did! Christ’s flock is being fed and lives are being changed. Millions are hearing of God’s Way, thousands are learning why they were born—and hundreds are being baptized and converted each year.
God Selects His Leaders
One final quote from Mr. Armstrong is truly instructive at this point for those who will receive it. As you read it, set aside Joe Tkach’s appointment because he completely fell out of the equation for those who understand what God has done over the last 27 years. Mr. Armstrong was speaking in a July 21, 1978 Headquarters Bible Study about Zerubbabel’s temple and the proper view of how God would replace him if he died:
“Are you worried about if anything happens to me? I’m not. I know that God will do one of two things: He’ll either keep me alive or He’ll raise up the right man, that’ll be His man. And it won’t be someone that you people are going to vote on. You’ll have nothing to say about it!”
It is time to step back and see the big picture. Think for a moment about the leaders of LCG, UCG, PCG, COGwa, COGaic, going carefully through the names in your mind. Which of these (other names also apply) did not either: (1) appoint himself out of the gate, or (2) receive the top office through voting—early on or after someone else was “voted out”? Never mind for the moment that none of these men have held to the truth.
My story is very different. After being fired, I sought a faithful leader over a period of six years and two months. Like Mr. Armstrong, the top position was given to me—and at least in part because I never sought it. Certainly my peers or “the people” did not select me. No one else would teach the whole truth! My trouble came when I would accept nothing else.
In light of the above quotes, like everyone else, and like God’s choice of Mr. Armstrong, I also had “nothing to say about” who God chose to finish His Work. In the beginning I supported other men after leaving the Worldwide Church of God. I had to learn that Rod Meredith and Raymond McNair were both false. God had not picked them to take up the baton. He had selected someone else.
Where God’s chosen leader is not present as the human leader of an organization, and a Board of Directors or elected eldership has voted in its leader, that leader has, in fact, accepted the authority of a board over him. It would be utterly dishonest for a man to claim that God installed him into leadership, when it was a committee of men who cast ballots placing him into office over the organization he “leads”!
The leader of God’s Church—the man whom God has chosen—would NEVER allow himself to be voted into office by a group of any kind in the first place.
God’s leader is always placed into office by Christ after he has been carefully trained and prepared—after he has endured numerous trials and tests, designed to ensure that he would never compromise, with either the truth or God’s Work, once God has installed him into office! This training process, of necessity, ensures that God’s selected leader must lead an organization coming from the humblest possible beginning—where the fruits of growth, works and truth expand around and under him, after he began essentially alone—as Mr. Armstrong did. He cannot rise through the ranks of an already-existing organization run by committee without having to derive his authority from the committee’s decision to hand him the top position.
What committees of men can give, they can also take away! UCG has done both numerous times.
Any large organization beginning with hundreds or thousands of people, and involving many ministers, like UCG or COGwa, would automatically face the difficult question at the outset of “Who is in charge?” Of necessity, because it started this way, such a group would think it had no choice but to elect a leader. Think this through, recognizing that God’s chosen leader would never participate in such a process. It would be anathema to him. Of course, UCG and COGwa justify their rejection of God’s method of selection, in place of their own, by continually asserting that God has not yet made clear His choice for them to follow. Ask: Who among them is looking to see if God has sent another chief human shepherd today? We will momentarily return to this issue twice more.
I repeat: The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties is of titanic importance to those who really want to know why all the confusion and chaos of the Laodicean age. The reader must study and grasp the contents of that book. It is unlike anything you have ever read on this subject, and recaptures the truth of God’s government that so many have lost.
I implore you to carefully consider the spiritual logic of what Mr. Armstrong understood when he left Sardis with only 13 brethren joining his family of six. This represented truly the humblest of beginnings, yet it began an organization that eventually grew to enormous size, and impacted every corner of the world. This was because of the miraculous power of God working through the man that He had chosen and sent.
Be careful not to overlook the message God sent within Mr. Armstrong’s example!
A New Leader Chosen
God has selected a new leader for His Church. Just as Mr. Armstrong would not apologize for God’s decision to use him, neither can I. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that God selected me is because I never sought this office—never dreamed for a split second that God could have this position in mind for me. (If I am accused otherwise, that is someone else’s error.)
With all of my faults and weaknesses, only God knows why I could be useful as His tool. But this much I can say—I never once looked in the mirror, in the 28 previous years I had served in Christ’s ministry, and said anything akin to, “Behold, I am God’s answer!”
I never did. Prior to being fired from the Global Church of God in the spring of 1999, the fact that God had selected me for a special purpose had not occurred to me, even once. Only at that time—three weeks before God established The Restored Church of God—did I begin to look back at my remarkable training and experience, and conclude that God had been preparing me for a very long time. And this only came to me because I could no longer find a single senior minister, or even one trained minister, who was fully holding to all the truth I treasured.
When I was finally forced to look back at my years of preparation and experience, one of the things I saw was that I had been, in part, trained personally by Mr. Armstrong during the first 15 years of my ministry (again, after marrying his secretary in 1971). I recognized that I had been prepared to be able to continue the Work as he had done it. I was familiar with how he thought in a host of ways that would be invaluable to anyone who was thrust into what had to be done. And I remembered he had repeatedly said that he would “walk across the street and start over” if necessary.
This meant there was no excuse for not being willing to do the same. While the amount of work necessary to press on was beyond what I could at that point comprehend, the training was in place from Mr. Armstrong—and God—and I was only left with whether I would follow through as he would.
In addition, God had caused me to travel an extremely difficult course—you have read only summary excerpts of it—as He does with all His leading servants, in preparation for the time to gather all the rest of God’s people—those with His Spirit—back to His Church after the apostasy. I did not appoint myself. No one else came along—and believe me, I searched for someone who was not compromising!
Of course, many will never accept God’s selection. This is true even among those who still feel that God only works through one man at a time. If they do not “anoint their eyes” first, they will not—actually cannot—look with the right criteria in mind. To understand this process, read my book “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People.
Blind Splinter Leaders
Consider again the well-known thinking of the twelve-man, elected committee that leads UCG, still having the largest number of people who “survived” the falling away. Their leaders plainly adopted democratic government, where the elected committee then votes on who should be their leader for a set “term of office.” They justify such appalling confusion—where the tail wags the dog—by stating, again, “God has not raised up a single man, as with Mr. Armstrong. If He did, we would follow him!” Several there have told me this in social settings over the years.
God has selected His leader, but they do not follow. Why?
To appreciate their “churchview,” take a glance back to the final years that the leaders of UCG and COGwa remained in the Worldwide Church of God. This includes the period through the spring of 1995 (many ministers who went with other groups also left at either this same time or only slightly earlier). These leaders compromised, appeased, politicked and played along, while at the same time being perfectly willing to sit in the presence of the false, pagan trinitarian god for 2½ years after it was introduced in late 1992! Facts are stubborn things. And the facts of history are that most of these men accepted this false god—they ALL tolerated it—and only later conveniently reassessed their position to one degree or another—never publicly.
Subsequently, having absorbed dozens of false doctrines and ideas to which they had unconsciously grown accustomed, these ministers left at the last possible moment, when they saw the membership leaving without them. They saw themselves about to permanently lose their paychecks if they did not immediately follow thousands of tithepayers out of the WCG. But, not wanting to appear to be followers—and horrified that many who were leaving were either joining or contemplating joining one of the two established, more doctrinally conservative splinters of the time (GCG and PCG)—they quickly jumped in front of the departing flock, claiming to be their leaders.
However sincere these men may be—then or now—they have a long history of deep blindness! Of course most of them will never follow me as I follow Christ (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1). Of course they will not recognize where and through whom God is working. Of course they will not give up their power, authority and influence. And of course they spin stories about me, as do so many others, to frighten as many brethren as possible into remaining frozen where they sit—because this keeps the tithes rolling in.
Many of these leaders also enjoy a relatively good relationship with the leaders of the other organizations, because the beliefs and practices of the big splinters are much more similar than these leaders are willing to admit. However, because none of these leaders are willing to give up their individual seats of power, organizations that could otherwise probably be combined remain separate.
I repeat: The reader will want to listen to my sermon “The ‘Synagogue of Satan’ Identified—and Marked!”
Those Not Prepared
Understand that I am not trying to attack these men. What is taking place behind the scenes, if you knew the truth, is the opposite of this—and by now you may understand that their attacks on me started long before any of us left the WCG. I am relating certain events so that you can understand how virtually ALL of the splinter leaders think. They ALL share a complete blindness that prohibits their ability to see how much truth they have lost—and where the one organization is that has not compromised any of it.
Again, God thoroughly trains His servants over a long period of difficult coursework. His choice could never be one of the “golden boys”—the “beautiful people.” These are the ones who generally attained high office through political dexterity and smoothness, and by rarely taking tough stands or making difficult, unpopular decisions—unless it personally advanced them.
I have known many men who are gifted at “walking the halls of power” and only rarely offending any of the many constituents that they felt they must please, if they were to continue in office—and to continue advancing. Such “leaders” would automatically draw large numbers of followers simply because they were “name brands”—and because they have such smooth, comfortable personalities, good at telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. These are some of the same men who were (still are) able to secure enough votes to be installed into UCG’s or COGwa’s top positions. They are men like Rod Meredith who can cover up their own sins and false teachings for years and get away with it. That takes a certain “skill.”
May God help you see this.
Ask yourself: Why do so many people look for a leader to follow among those who played along and sat silent with little or no resistance for years while Mr. Armstrong’s successors slaughtered scores of thousands of God’s people—their brethren? Why do so many want to be led—again!—by such weak non-leaders? Why would anyone want to follow followers, let alone a second time? Yet, so many do. And why would one want to follow a leader like Rod Meredith who long ago so openly—and OBVIOUSLY—disqualified himself as a man of God?
Understand the following: Mr. Armstrong could never have picked the one whom God would use as the true successor to lead His Church. If he had, God’s purpose for the apostasy—to test which brethren in the Church loved all of His truth and way of life—would have been thwarted. God’s people would also never have gone on to face the second step—and test—now upon them, that of leaving bickering, disagreeing splinters to return to God’s one Church.
Fix this firmly into your thinking!
Before God can use the man He has chosen, all of the man’s coursework, suffering, training and experience must be in place. Eventually God would have to make His choice known for those waiting to return to His Church. Self-appointed, compromised, cowardly leaders—blind to the age, lacking true training for the job, and seeing God’s choice as a rival—would have to denigrate that man. They would have to! Their blindness, and the general nature of how they conducted their ministry for years, prohibits them from understanding his leadership. After all, they have proven they never understood Mr. Armstrong’s leadership style!
The Worst Hypocrisy
Let’s consider one final time the United Church of God, and also COGwa, for a message they carry—that the committees leading them believe God has not raised up one man to follow. Again, they repeatedly declare that if He had, they would follow that man—and that if God does in the future, they will yet follow him.
Such phoniness—such hypocrisy! Who is kidding whom?
Many questions arise—for them and for you: Have they sought that man? Have they examined the fruit of possible candidates in their thinking? Do they know what to look for? Where do they think this man will come from? If they are eliminating possibilities—ministers or organizations—are they doing this on the right basis? Do they concern themselves with, or even once think about, the doctrines this man would have to be teaching—and how many teachings they would have to change to follow him? Do they realize that this man could not—and would never—compromise God’s government as they do? Is there a working plan in place for how to close down UCG (and COGwa) and follow him when he arrives? I speak as a fool.
Most important, have they sought God’s guidance to find this leader, perhaps collectively praying and fasting in their search? Then, have they considered that God would never condone their “waiting” for such a man under completely unbiblical forms of government? Do these men actually believe that they will suddenly be willing to come under the authority of one man again after so many years of following leadership by “consensus”—where they had a vote and “voice”?
Again, who are they kidding with such mind-boggling hypocrisy?
No serious person—one who even begins to think this through—could possibly believe the elected bunch professing this is actively doing ANY of these things! Like the researchers seeking a cure for cancer, this gang knows if they actually find the man they often described as “the one through whom God is working” they will be out of a job. Do not let this committee deceive you into believing that you can safely trust them to let you know when they have located “God’s man.” They are not looking for him. They have no plan or process in place to find him—and are not about to devise one! (We could say humorously that it is surprising they have not appointed a committee for this purpose since they have one for everything else!) But neither are most ministers in LCG looking for God’s leader—because they assume that they have already found him. How desperately wrong they are…
Willing blindness has covered so many eyes. But they are without excuse. Like so many today—if these men were looking—they would be inclined to seek one whom men speak well of, even though Christ said, “Beware when all men speak well of you.” Will you follow them, or men like them? Is their shallow, phony, self-serving “promise” to “join forces” good enough for you?
Be sure that YOU are not looking to follow one who “played the game,” rose to the top, and has the approbation of men.
Pause and consider yourself. Think hard. After witnessing apostate leaders, coupled with one or more compromised splinter leaders, including Gerald Flurry, who began the first splinter in December 1989, and who has used government to brutalize his flock, you are presented with a personal choice. Mr. Armstrong consistently taught, “God always works through one man at a time.” Therefore, you must either: (1) Conclude that the system of government led by one man was wrong, because it was capable of producing bad leaders, and support putting power into the hands of an elected committee to select your leader, or (2) in faith, determine to find the uncompromising man whom God has trained and raised up.
There are no other choices. Carefully think this through—there are no other choices!
God’s government was restored to the sixth era of His Church. Mr. Armstrong taught that “government is everything” (his words). No apostate leader or any man carries the authority—or the power—to permanently banish or remove that government from God’s Church. Neither can they alter its form. The government of God is found where His full truth is taught and practiced, where the gospel is being preached to the whole world, where the special warning is being given to the great nations of modern Israel, where the flock is being properly fed, and where Jesus Christ’s appointed leader is found.
There can be only one such place!
Never forget! Human beings enjoy hearing what they want to be told. Many people throughout the splinters and slivers are more than happy to hear lies and deceit, rather than the truth of a matter, especially in regard to obeying God. This is why there are so many successful deceivers at work today. These simply offer people what they want!
Titus warns of “gainsayers…vain talkers and deceivers…whose mouths must be stopped” because they “teach things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (1:9-11). In the end, false teachers always have a money angle hidden in their teachings. II Peter 2:3 shows that it is through “covetousness which they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” Another way of stating this is false prophets try to deceive you so they can take your money!
Do you believe plain warnings? Will you allow yourself to be made into merchandise?
Here are two remarkable scriptures about how human beings enjoy false ideas, rather than what God actually says: “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [not according to God’s Law, His government or His appointment]; and My people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof?” (Jer. 5:30-31). Reread the last phrase as many times as necessary until you can see where wrong choices always END (Prov. 14:12; 16:25)!
The second passage: “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9-10).
Ancient Israel enjoyed hearing lies from false prophets. Why? Because they DID NOT WANT TO OBEY GOD! They, like thousands today in the splinters, preferred to hear false leaders tell them they did not need to change their ways. They, like millions today, preferred to continue in sin and hear false prophets tell them that “no evil will come upon them” (Jer. 23:17)! Israel’s deceitful heart would not allow them to admit their errors and turn to God. Neither will thousands in the splinters do this. But you might.
So many today have “itching ears.” Do you? When outrageous statements are made—about anyone—do you just believe them, simply because they “seem credible,” or because there appears to be “overwhelming evidence”—in other words, because a group of liars has banded together? Their lies should still be obvious for what they are.
Many people come together for evil purposes. Some gather to commit crimes. Others to perpetrate terrorist acts. Still others for group sexual immorality. Others organize to deliberately undercut, through use of “dirty tricks,” political opponents. Think. All of these groups practice an automatic additional sin. They must cover up their purpose through deceit. In other words, they are forced to add lie upon lie to hide actions. Of course, these kinds of people are of the world and recognized to be unconverted. Such conduct is expected there.
But why do so many among God’s people—who have been plainly taught by God to know better—fail to recognize that the same kind of carnal people, this time among and leading the splinters, could, will—and do!—gather for malicious intent, whether willful or themselves deceived? Matthew 13:24-30 explains that the devil has been permitted by God to sow tares into God’s field. More should have remembered this. You are responsible before god for recognizing their actions at work!
There is a “plus” to Internet attacks against The Restored Church of God and me. They serve to screen from joining us most of those not committed to following the full truth and to doing the Work. If people will not cut through the silly nonsense of such obviously false charges against either God’s Church or me (but also invented charges still occurring today against Mr. Armstrong), they do not belong in God’s Church. In this way, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28) applies to us. It can be said that the long list of ridiculous stories about me performs a certain “good” in this way. We understand God’s winnowing and sifting process (I Cor. 11:19; I John 2:19).
The Internet: God long ago understood and purposely allowed the creation of this amazing technology. It plays a central role in His end-time Plan for all converted people. Each person must fight his way through endless lies (assuming one has also been foolish enough to seek or listen to them in the first place) as part of the process of choosing where he will reside—including whether he will ultimately choose to thrust himself into the lake of fire!
What “Evil Reports” Should Teach
II Thessalonians 3:1-2 describes “unreasonable and wicked men” plaguing the apostle Paul. This passage includes his instruction to pray for God’s ministers so the “word of the Lord may have free course [Greek: “speed on”].” Paul was an authority on what he was inspired to write about.
A spiritual principle, related to how evil reports about a faithful minister should be received, is contained in II Corinthians 6:3-10. Paul explained that “evil reports,” mixed with “good reports,” and charges of being a “deceiver,” when he was “true,” actually validated his role as God’s servant and apostle! He described his life as full of “distresses” and “tumults” (Greek: “tossings to and fro”). My ministry testifies to these things. But they are true of every faithful leader of God.
Take time for a moment to read this eye-opening longer passage. It contains 28 different phrases that are inseparable from the lives of ministers God is using. If you read it, you will never view these men’s role or their “profile” the same again.
Have you recognized that charges of deceit and evil reports about a man can help identify him as God’s servant? Are you surprised Paul was considered to be a deceiver?—that there were evil reports about him? These accusations surely turned some aside from entering and remaining in God’s Church and following one of His greatest servants (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1). They can turn you aside from God’s Church and Work today.
Proof of a man’s life or ministry never rests solely in good reports, honor, and acceptance by society or peers. This has never been the case even with worldly leaders, let alone with those God has raised up. There will inevitably be accusations, slander, every kind of evil report and shame brought to bear upon God’s servants. Those led by the Spirit of God—the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13)—will see beyond smokescreens from the accuser of the brethren. Remember, Paul also cited public beatings, imprisonment, and even a stoning, as proof of his apostleship!
Have you considered these things—or even known of them before?
All of the explanations presented in this article necessarily force you to examine the office I hold. I am either a true apostle or a false apostle. I cannot be both or half of each. It must be one or the other. I know this. You must know which it is. I either was “given” (Eph. 4:11-12) by Christ to be an apostle (like Herbert W. Armstrong), or took the office to myself (like Joseph W. Tkach). The fruit and proof of my apostleship is inseparable from the fruit and proof associated with God’s Church. Much of the answer to the question of my office is addressed in various of my books—particularly The Government of God and “Anoint Your Eyes”—but also in certain sermons discussing my office that are available on our website.
All who profess to be true followers of Christ: Do not listen to rumors, gossip and talebearing—“evil reports.” Reject them. Do your own thinking. Understand that there are “inventors of evil things” (Rom. 1:30) abroad in the world—and throughout the splinters. Christians must endure “all manner of evil said against [them] falsely for [Christ’s] sake” (Matt. 5:11-12). Recognize the great power of lies and deceit, and the devil’s murderous determination to use his agents to employ these things on God’s servants (John 8:44) to scare them—to scare you!—away from the only place God is leading and working. These agents can be false apostles, false prophets, false evangelists or false pastors and elders.
Those with God’s Spirit are to see His fingerprints. So much the more when they are as obvious as they are with us.
If you are willing to take seriously God’s instruction on these matters, then review the following verses (among many others), perhaps regularly. They are God’s plain instruction to you about matters described in this article. Read and think:
- “An ungodly man digs up evil…in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man sows strife” (Prov. 16:27-28).
- “A lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth works ruin” (26:28).
- “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue…a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren” (6:16-17, 19).
- “The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul” (29:10).
- “Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation” (26:26).
- “A righteous man hates lying” (13:5).
- “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (18:7).
- “A false witness shall perish; but the man that hears speaks constantly” (21:28).
- “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yes, strife and reproach shall cease” (22:10).
- “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (26:22).
- “He that hates dissembles, and lays up deceit within him” (26:24).
- “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:15-16).
- “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).
- “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). [Author’s Note: We have learned that doctrinal fables are not the only ones that people listen to today!]
- “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding has wisdom” (Prov. 10:23). [Author’s Note: Those with wisdom understand what is happening today.]
The apostle Paul specifically warned of the “perils of false brethren” (II Cor. 11:26). Every one of God’s people must be on constant guard for such people. The Restored Church of God chooses to ignore false brethren—whether they attack from inside (a few have) and leave, or from outside (where many do this). Our brethren know not to wait for a minister to formally disfellowship such people, when it is immediately obvious that one has disfellowshipped himself from the Body of Christ. Paul also admonished the “brethren” to “warn them that are unruly” (I Thes. 5:14). Turn and read to whom Romans 16:17 is addressed.
Our Headquarters makes no attempt to keep up with the speed of the Internet, emails, faxes and telephones, when used by malicious liars. YOU—personally—must “be strong in the power of [God’s] might” (Eph. 6:10), “standing against the wiles of the devil,” knowing YOU are “wrestling…against wicked spirits in high places” (vs. 11-12), as YOU “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
Remember this “simplicity in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
It has been said: “A lie runs around the world while the truth is still lacing up its sneakers.” How even more true this is in the Internet age. It is the speed and power of lies that made me finally realize the need to write the kinds of personal facts and stories that this article contains.
All those of God’s one Church have a responsibility that continues for a few more years: “Keep your [mind] with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from you a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from you [this could refer to the lips of others or your own]. Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove your foot from evil” (Prov. 4:23-27).
Jesus declared, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13 and 10:22). Many will not endure because so much confusing outright evil is occurring all around them (24:12). They will not “keep their mind with all diligence,” and will be swallowed by obvious lies.
At this point a disclaimer is necessary. I am 64 years old, and have lived a full life. I suppose that other stories could be, and perhaps some already are, alleged against me that I have not addressed. Everything in life has a reasonable and natural limit. The answers and clarification that this article contains have reached that limit. However, be ready for the same liars who invented these stories to spin and deny the truth written here. Expect this! They may even fabricate new lies to keep you under their control. But you can now make an informed choice about who to believe.
With each future supposed “revelation” about my character, or that of any of our ministers, some will collapse into Satan’s arms—and pull back from rejoining God’s one Church. They will not stop long enough to consider Revelation 3:11 and its all-important warning to let “no man take your crown.” Sadly, some are almost eager to hand their crown to anyone with a story!
If you think that you love God’s Way, but liars can dissuade you from joining The Restored Church of God—the only place where the real Work of God is being done and His full truth, with His government, is upheld and taught—YOU DO NOT LOVE THESE THINGS! You are kidding yourself that you do. The devil has defeated your conviction with heinous—and obvious—lies! You were unwilling to fight through the blizzard of deceit about my leadership, and return to God’s Church.
My book Should Accusers Be Answered? addresses the subject of this article in detail. I urge everyone who cares about God’s instruction on this matter to read it. Study each verse listed carefully as you do. This is vital to survive the age. (The interested person may wish to read my thorough two-volume biography, which explains much more of all that is covered in this article.)
Be vigilant. Determine to remain focused on the full truth and on doing the true Work of God. How often did Mr. Armstrong admonish this? Satan has for 2,000 years “detonated” his agents in the midst of God’s people, with his focus on assassinating the character of God’s leaders. In the New Testament, this started with attacks on Christ. Like terrorists with explosives strapped to their bodies and hidden under a trench coat, these “twice dead” “clouds without water” (Jude 12) board a “bus” or enter a “café” (spiritually speaking) and blow themselves up in hopes of perpetrating mass murder of innocent victims who never saw it coming.
Understand how desperately the devil wanted to suppress the return of God’s full truth in writing—and its distribution around the world—and his need to destroy this Church at all costs! Matthew 16:18 makes clear he cannot succeed.
No Higher Stakes!
Stop wallowing in an ocean of false teachings—and nonstop falsehoods. You cannot remain outside God’s Church, unconnected to Jesus Christ the Vine, and retain God’s Spirit. Mr. Armstrong taught this time and again, no matter what liars try to spin about his plain teaching in this regard. You must return to God’s one Church—THIS Church—The Restored Church of God—or you will fall away and lose the Holy Spirit!
Do you fear this? It is evident that many (including around you) already have lost God’s Spirit. Many others (including around you) apparently never had it. Others will lose God’s Spirit if they do not act soon. Will this include you? Many would do well to read and reread four critical words—“Quench not the Spirit” (I Thes. 5:19)—until they can’t think of anything else.
WAKE UP to what is happening among God’s people! WAKE UP to the hatred and deceit that abounds at the end of the age (Matt. 24:3, 10-11)! WAKE UP and recognize that after becoming offended—then angry and embittered—people spin and distort the truth of matters to suit their own ends! Be ready to take your head out of the sand to see the “clear and present danger” that these things are to you—and to your salvation. I must “cry aloud, sparing not” (Isa. 58:1) about these things, because no one else is—or will!
If you reject all of my explanations in this article as untruths—as so many lies themselves—you are in a dilemma. Think carefully. You have decided that those who teach heinous doctrinal lies are telling the truth about me. Further, you have decided that a man with a long track record of teaching the uncompromised truth of the Bible—and suffering for it has chosen to now tell lies about himself. Consider the logic, or rather the illogic, of your position. Are you sure you want to do that—with eternal life at stake?
Enormous new heresies are spreading in the Living Church of God, but also everywhere else. Read my thorough articles “The Wedding Supper Is NOT in Heaven!” and “Is the ‘Falling Away’ (II Thes. 2:3) a Future Worldwide Rebellion Led by the Man of Sin?”, as well as “A 3-fold, False Gospel—How LCG Leaders Deceive Their Members!” But, again, to understand the great process that all those with God’s Spirit must undergo, read “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People.
Everything is at stake! Will you disqualify yourself from returning to God’s Church and Work, thus losing the Spirit of God—and very salvation!—because you believed, or even sought out, obvious lies?