Herbert W. Armstrong Box 431 Tucson, Arizona 85702
January 28, 1979
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
THANK YOU! THANK YOU for your great response and coming to the aid of GOD'S WORK in this most monstrous and outrageous travesty of justice ever heard of by any state government!
With NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER, except the false accusations of six disfellowshipped members, the then acting Attorney-General of the State of California, WITHOUT NOTICE, invaded and besieged the offices of God's Headquarters, making allegations to the public press that I and my assistant had been siphoning off millions of dollars of Church money to our own personal benefit.
Such an outrageous false accusation, acted on officially, is big screaming-headline front page news. It made Walter Cronkite's CBS evening news. Thus the public press in this country virtually reports that innocent people are GUILTY, without any evidence whatsoever. And when one is finally cleared and the false accusation proved false, the news media will ignore it, or print it in a little single column squib buried on about page 27—after they have assassinated an innocent man's character!
We thought, did we not, that in this country a person is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty! But NOT GOD'S SERVANTS! If we were not serving God, carrying out HIS orders and HIS Great Commission, no false charges would have been made, or acted on if made!
Therefore this is DIRECT PERSECUTION AGAINST GOD! But God will call such persecutors to judgment!
On Monday morning, January 22, some three thousand or more brethren in the Pasadena and southern California area came enmasse into our Hall of Administration, the Ambassador Auditorium, and the Student Center buildings. They shut, locked and barricaded the doors, and shut out the Court-appointed Receiver. This was a Brethren-to- Brethren outraged response. This made even bigger headlines.
Neither I nor any minister had anything to do with this. The suit was a "class-action suit"—this was a "MASS ACTION RESPONSE!" Women brought their babies and children, willing to be arrested if the authorities went that far. They were harming no one—just protecting God's property.
That evening, my wife's mother called her by telephone, saying the next time she telephoned, it might be in jail!
Tuesday the crowd increased, and the ex-Judge Receiver was still kept out. Wednesday more than five thousand brethren filled these buildings and the campus. The ex-Judge had secured a court order to use force. On Monday he had tried to get the Pasadena police to force our people out and let him in. It just "happened" that some of the city police, I am told, were "home sick" on Monday and unable to be on duty. But on Wednesday, the Receiver had a bastion of deputy sheriffs assembled a short distance from the campus, ready to break down the doors to get in. Putting about 5 1/2 thousand people in jail would be quite a job!
At this point the Receiver or his attorney called for Mr. Rader.
"Can't we work out some kind of compromise?", he asked. This was his first admission of defeat or of backing down!
"Absolutely no compromise," said Mr. Rader, firmly. "You have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in breaking in without notice, and in appointing one representing the STATE to take over and operate God's CHURCH. You have violated the First Amendment guaranteeing separation of Church and State."
Finally the Receiver agreed to stay off our campus proper. He agreed to work, checking our books, in a small room over in the old Press building the other side of the freeway.
We have never objected to any government authority checking our books and records. They contain PROOF we have done nothing of which we are falsely accused. They started rumors we had secreted away some of the books. On the contrary, we stood guard that NO ONE could destroy or remove our records and books!
It was arranged that one of our men would escort the Receiver through the crowd in the Administration building up to the 4th floor where he had been working over our books in my son Garner Ted's former office. I think the Receiver was greatly embarrassed as they cleared a narrow aisle for him to the elevators. To save face and embarrassment, he took my private elevator down to the basement, where his car could drive to my basement garage, and drive him out without having to face our people jammed into the first floor.
This spontaneous response of our local Southern California brethren was history shattering—the most remarkable response to an emergency or crisis in the Work for 30 years! I especially want to thank from the heart such men as Dean Blackwell and Joe Tkach, who did not participate in planning, but did give mighty aid once this Grass Roots movement was under way. Also especially Kevin and Aaron Dean and their step-father James Snook for their help—I understand Kevin lost 15 pounds in the three days. Also my heart-felt gratitude to Joe Katora from Pittsburgh, and to thousands of other brethren.
Brethren, this is an example of how our brethren leaped into action when they saw it was needed to protect the Work and property of God and His Work. Also it is an example of how everybody was not shut off from me, as they were before the departure of my son.
Now we need ALL the brethren to continue to RALLY BEHIND CHRIST'S APOSTLE until a higher court releases the Work from its virtual captivity. If arrested, our brethren would not have resisted. At all times they behaved like God's people, orderly, neat, polite. Many people outside our membership have noticed this and commented on it.
Brethren, REMEMBER what I wrote in my last letter. This is drawing all our brethren closer together than ever before—BUT IT MUST ALSO DRAW US CLOSER TO GOD! I called a day of fasting and prayer for last Sabbath. If any did not receive that letter in time, then FAST AND PRAY on the very next Sabbath—both that we shall all be drawn closer to GOD, and that God will release this grip of the STATE over God's Church.
I KNOW that neither Mr. Rader nor myself have siphoned off any money for our own use. Our system of records and book-keeping is such that it COULD NOT happen, without being detected! We have one of the finest accounting systems in the world.
We now begin to notice a little change in attitude in the press. At first news reports were slanted, practically condemning us as guilty without any evidence or proof. Now they are more objective. The Attorney General's office has changed its language from using the terms "siphoning off", and "pilfering" to "possible mismanagement", at least in the last newspaper notice.
Some of our enemies have tried to construe my work of personally walking into opened doors to carry Christ's Gospel Message INTO NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD as "mismanagement", and "siphoning off" money so spent for our own personal use! THAT IS SIMPLY A LIE! Before my marriage nearly two years ago now, I took my elder daughter Beverly Gott with me as hostess—for there were many banquets, receptions, luncheons and dinners at which I was privileged to speak to people high up in various nations, and even royalty. This required additional and better clothes, and some jewelry that was not mere "costume jewelry." But EVERY SUCH ITEM was paid for by my own personal money on which both federal and state income tax had been paid. Later I had to purchase the same sort of things for Ramona my wife—OUT OF MY OWN MONEY—not a cent from corporate funds or expense money. While I think this should have been a legitimate expense, I did not so construe it, and all such purchases, were paid out of my personal funds. And Mr. Rader did the same.
For our protection from such false charges of "mismanagement" which might possibly come later, I enclose a statement which I would like for you to sign and return to me IMMEDIATELY. I am sure you realize that when I am meeting with kings, emperors, prime ministers and presidents of nations, it is needful to stay at the best hotels. I REPRESENT YOU in these meetings, which pave the way to carry Christ's Message into their countries.
They have tried to treat as "extravagance" such things as the purchase of Steuben crystal—which is about the only type of art object made in this country fitting for presenting to a King, President, or Prime Minister. Look into your Bible, Matthew 2:11, and see that the wise men presented GIFTS to Christ as an infant. This was not a birthday present, for it was many days after His birth. But since long before Christ IT HAS BEEN CUSTOM TO PRESENT A GIFT WHEN VISITING A KING OR HEAD OF GOVERNMENT. It would indeed look strange if we did not present an acceptable gift when visiting a monarch.
THERE HAS BEEN NO MISMANAGEMENT! Just the opposite! I have written you at times through the years how we have made a dollar go further than any other operation of which I know. Read Revelation 10:11. This shows that after we thought we had completed the Work, or were to complete it by January, 1972, how God says, "Thou shalt prophesy (preach) again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and KINGS!" Most of the doors to kings and heads of governments have opened since January, 1972.
Christ has called and chosen His Apostle for this end-time job of the GREAT COMMISSION! We have been getting that job done! Often there are as many as twelve to fourteen of us travelling—especially on such trips as when I twice took eight top-ranking Japanese Congressmen on trips to the Middle East oil countries, and to South America. On such trips I have introduced them, and arranged receptions for them in countries where I already know the heads of government. And, in turn, they opened the door to me on an official basis in other countries where I had not been before! Often there were banquets, receptions, and such occasions. Yes, that cost some money.
BUT, of all the departments of God's Work, that COST THE LEAST, and was THE MOST IMPORTANT!
Today, Monday, I believe this case is to go before the California Supreme Court. Then we will take it into the FEDERAL COURTS, and if necessary to the Supreme Court at Washington. AS I wrote you before, we are making this fight not only to protect God's Church from State encroachment, but all churches and even the freedom of the press and right of free assembly, despite the evils in the press media.
I THANK YOU ALL for your wonderful response in sending God's tithes and your liberal freewill offerings to me, personally, here at Tucson, Arizona. A Tucson newspaper has reported that the Receiver at Pasadena will try to induce the State of Arizona to shut off my personal mail. If so, we will get word to you quickly, through your local ministers, where to send it—even if need be, to your Area Coordinator, and we will find a way to pick it up from there. I have already signed legal papers making me personally custodian for the Church's funds. Remember money sent to Pasadena will go to the Receiver.
GOD IS STILL ON HIS THRONE, WITH JESUS FULLY ALIVE THERE BESIDE HIM INTERCEDING FOR US! Let us realize God has allowed this to draw us closer to HIM as well as to each other. Keep PRAYING—FASTING AND PRAYING. God will WIN!
With deep love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong