Greetings, everyone! This has been a very eventful week and if I can do no more today than to make you realize what almost happened, but for the grace and the will of God, I will have accomplished a great deal today.
Now what happened this week was something that was fairly well predicted by Mr. Armstrong in May of 1978. For the past 7 or 8 months, he has been watching very carefully, has been weighing the conduct of all of us, what we have been saying, what we have been doing, our overt acts and the like. He has not been inaccessible. He has been reached by hundreds of people by telephone, by letter and in person. And he has had to weigh and sift through all that he has been made aware of during that period of time, as well as the impressions and the knowledge that he had gained in some 46 years as Christ's apostle.
During that particular period of time, I had done everything I could to slow things down, hoping that Mr. Armstrong this time was not right, hoping that what he had predicted was happening and would continue to happen would in fact not happen. And during that period of time, in person, and in writing on more than one occasion, I had defended Mr. Cole to the point that I had to come to harsh words with Mr. Armstrong. I defended Dr. Kuhn as recently as 6 weeks ago when he ordered me to fire him that moment, and I resisted and he told me that he thought that I had forgotten that he was Christ's apostle. He had given me an order and I said, "Mr. Armstrong, let me give him another chance." He said, "You are making another mistake. I am telling you to fire him." Now this was after four days of argument by telephone and by an exchange of letters between me and Mr. Armstrong over Dr. Kuhn, with Mr. Armstrong telling me to fire him and my trying to defend him. And Mr. Armstrong telling me, "I am telling you again Stan, you are wrong." Why I did it, I don't know, but I thought maybe he Dr. Kuhn was entitled to another chance. But Mr. Armstrong, obviously, once again knew better.
The man standing on my left Dr. Meredith will tell you that there is never any question about where I stand. I had heard (I still do not know whether it is true and I do not care) but I had heard from another man in the ministry whom I had learned to respect and whom I had learned to admire, and whom I had spent a considerable period of time with in Mr. Armstrong's company during the past two years — I had been informed that Mr. Meredith had slandered me; and I was in New York, and I guess I had had a hard day. And I did not want to make believe that I was someone other than myself, so I picked up the telephone. I tried to get Mr. Meredith, and I could not get him. He called me back and I blew my top, really. He can tell you that. The next day I blew my top even more, but Mr. Heredith said he did not remember saying what he said. If he said it, he apologized. I said, "Fine. I accept the apology." I called Hr. Armstrong. I said, "No problem. I do not care whether he said it and I will never be able to prove whether he did or he did not. It does not make any difference, does it?" But I got it off my chest. And I had apologized. And when it was all through, I felt worse having lost my cool, as they say, because I really was pretty angry. I think more angry the second day than the first day.
Then Mr. Cole sometime ago, right after the Feast of Tabernacles, called a ministerial meeting. I did not know why exactly. I checked around a little bit, and he said he had heard some reports about certain ministers making comments during the Feast that were divisive, and I sat in that meeting and I said, "Every man in this room, I have had occasion to defend on more than one occasion where efforts have been made to discredit them in Mr. Armstrong's eyes, and that I was serving notice on all of them that I do not care who it was if someone went to Mr. Armstrong ex parte and tried to discredit that person in his eyes, I at least was going to throw up a resistance that would allow that person to get a chance to get to Mr. Armstrong. You remember my saying that Mr. Meredith? And there was a lot going on that day. There was quite a dialog. You could see people with different points of view, basically on doctrine and church government. And that is all this is about. If this Church does not have government, and does not have a unity on doctrine, then it is not God's Church, but I was not getting involved in that. I was just serving warning on everybody that if they expected to blow somebody out of the saddle, with Mr. Armstrong ex parte, I did not care who it was, I was going to offer a defense, till that person could get to Mr. Armstrong with the facts.
So all of this was going on. In the meantime, in October right after the Feast of Tabernacles, I told Mr. Armstrong that I felt that it would still be in the best interests of the Work if within a reasonable period of time, sometime perhaps in January, I could pick up my duties that I had before May, and serve him more adequately in a role that I was more comfortable with. And that letter I wrote with a little pique I was a little bit annoyed. I had heard somebody had told Mr. Armstrong that I was running the Work and that he was beginning to believe it. And so I was a little annoyed. I did not care if everyone thought that I was running the Work. He knew it was not true. And I knew it was not true, but on this occasion somebody said that he thought it was true. Well, of course, he knew it was not. He cooled me off and we let it rest.
In November, I think it was about November 16th, about a week or so before Thanksgiving and again before our departure for the Middle East, I wrote Hr. Armstrong again and then he wrote the Pastors, and I think we published one of the comments in the Pastor's Report and in the Worldwide News, that I was beginning to kind of have it up to here with the problems of trying to be a day-by-day administrator which I did not like, and also people setting me up as a possible alternative to him in the event something happened to him if God, for some reason or other, were not to allow him to complete the Work that had been delegated to him as Christ's apostle. And again, Mr. Armstrong and I talked it over and we thought that it was a bit premature. And then, shortly before the first of the year, we had another discussion on the telephone. It was kind of an interesting discussion because on a particular Thursday, just prior to New Year's day, Mr. C. Wayne Cole had gone down to Mr. Armstrong, and in writing and under a lot of pressure had told him a couple of very interesting things. One, that he was absolutely certain that a lawsuit was going to be filed immediately after New Years and gave him a letter which concerned me, the essence of which. I will read to you, because Mr. Armstrong excerpted certain paragraphs in a letter he wrote back to me dated January 1.
And the sum and substance of the pressure, you see, was to find a way before the lawsuit began for me to step down as Treasurer, because if that were possible, if I were off someplace in Japan on a trip, and the events of this past week occurred, the battle would be over, because as a news report on CBS television said (and we have the tape, and they will show it) I am "a fighter." And I am going to fight for Mr. Herbert Armstrong. And we found out in the last 72 hours we have a lot of fighters, because I could not have done it alone. Mr. Helge and I could not have done it together without the people who worked with us for almost 72 consecutive hours.
We were locked out of our offices. We were blocked from our files, but our lawyers turned over their offices to us, and their manpower, and their secretaries and when it got too late for them to continue, they left the building and just left us in control of their entire office and we were making calls all over the world for information and they were not worried about who was going to pay the bill for the long distance calls and what have you.
At any rate, they wanted to see if there was some way to get me out before the lawsuit hit and they also had some very uncomplimentary things to say about another individual named Helge, because you see, he'd throw up quite a bit of resistance also.
Now the letter that Mr. Armstrong wrote was written to me 48 hours after we had a little argument on the phone. Apparently what they had told Hr. Armstrong was bothering him a little bit and he happened to call in on a Sunday and there was one person working in the Administration building that day. It happened to be Virginia Kineston. She just happened to be working there that day. And he had called in. See, he doesn't remember too well that Sunday is a "day of rest." And as far as he was concerned, he had just finished writing another article and he was going to dictate it to somebody. And he got her on the phone and after he got finished working with her, she made a mistake, apparently. She said, "And by the way, Mr. Armstrong, the cover for The PLAIN TRUTH February number was delivered here Friday."
And out of the clear blue sky, he exploded! Because, you see, Mr. Cole had told him that Mrs. Kineston was selecting the covers for The PLAIN TRUTH magazine. It was not enough to say I was running the work. That portion that I was not running obviously Mrs. Kineston was running. She came over to my house in the afternoon, and that was New Years Eve, the 31st, and it was a Sunday. And she came over in tears. And I felt that she had been unfairly attacked. And I called Mr. Armstrong and I did the unforgivable again. I again blew my top.
But Mr. Armstrong is pretty accustomed to that, and he knows that I do not have anything in mind that is really disrespectful of him and his authority, but I get it off my chest, and I guess that means I will not have an ulcer. And when we got all through he had said he did not know why Mrs. Kineston was upset and then he said, "Well, I guess I said more than I should have," and I should tell her that it was quite all right and he did not mean it and so on. But I could tell that he could tell that there were things under the surface.
So I sent him another letter telling him that the more I thought about it, the more I felt that my feelings for the past eight months, which were becoming a little bit more acute in the last quarter of the year, were such that within a reasonable period of time I would want to go back to doing what we were doing before — as his chief advisor, traveling with him, the Foundation, and helping in the legal and financial end of things. And he said, "Well, we will talk about that later. There is no rush. But Stan, you may be more right than wrong."
The next day was New Years and that was a Monday, and then the following day was Tuesday which, of all days, was the day before the Wednesday when all of this other activity began. And Mel Olinger rang my doorbell that evening at about 9 o'clock, I believe. And I would like to read this letter with you, because it will show you just how Mr. Armstrong and I deal with one another openly, although we do not often share the letters that we write to one another. It was dated January 1. He had written it on New Years day, for he had prayed about it, as he told me, and he did not have it sent in with Mel until Tuesday. He did not want to send it in by the "QUIP" machine that we had, because he wanted it to be a private letter to me. This is what he said:
"Dear Stan, I regret exceedingly having triggered the violent emotional outburst" (that is putting it mildly) "over the telephone last evening. Our personal relations together through the years have been too pleasant, stimulating and rewarding, and based on mutual esteem, loyalty and trust, to let anything come between us. I'll certainly do my best to prevent any such outburst in the future." So once again, he let me off the hook, because he did not really say anything to me that should have made me go into orbit. What he had said, he had said to my secretary. He caught the flack, and I, of course, apologized.
He goes on, "I had been considerably distraught by things brought to my attention, or I should not have spoken so emphatically to Virginia. As I said on the phone, I am deeply sorry. Things have been brought to my attention that seriously threaten the very life of God's Church and Work. I feel I must now candidly bring it to you. If ever I needed your help, Stan, it is now. You have been a faithful help to me in the Work that no one else could have contributed. Ted has been playing overtime on the rift between himself and you. I told you last spring that I felt I could come more effectively to your defense after I got the Church turned around and had built back my own credibility. I did accomplish that and sincerely, Stan, I'm sure that feelings that may have been aroused against your integrity, honor, and loyalty have not disappeared, and I will continue to defend your good name as do you mine. But from a number of coordinators and field ministers as well as from Pasadena, I have learned that definitely the following situation does now exist which could prove fatal to the Work unless cleared before the ministers' conference.
"I have the following report from the office of Pastoral Administration: 'Quite frankly, Mr. Armstrong, a very large number of members and ministers see only two choices for the future.' The words themselves, you see, were not emphatic enough. 'These two choices are Ted and Stan. Though many, most, actually, don't want to leave you and follow Ted, they see the only alternative as following Stan and they'd rather see Ted lead the Church than Stan.
"'To reinforce this attitude in the minds of our people, Stan is doing everything he can to present himself as next in line under you to run the Work in a purely physical way. It is common knowledge that Stan did not allow very much time to pass after Ted's departure from his office before he, Stan, moved in. That office is part of the executive suite. It is seen as a symbol — the place for the man next to you in authority. Stan uses the underground garage and he uses your private elevator. It is a very common belief that very few, if any people can get to you' (this is the irony of error), 'to talk to you privately without going through Stan. Mr. Armstrong, I could go on and on, but why? My point is that Stan and his prominent position in the Work is causing many people to stumble. This causes offense. God's Word says that we who are converted and have a godly love for our fellow man will suffer even wrongly, unjustly' (last words underscored, which I agree). 'The apostle Peter said: "What reward is it when you suffer for things deserved? But one is humble, is like a little child. He is willing and ready to suffer wrong rather than give unnecessary cause for offense and stumbling to others.
"Stan, I know you have done these things to help and serve the Work, and to help me. I love you as a son as you well know. I have accepted such things as moving into Ted's former office, as trying to most efficiently serve the Work.
"But actually, the letter quoted above is mild compared to things I've heard from other sources. CERTAINLY NONE OF IT IS IN ANY REFLECTION ON YOUR INTEGRITY." (That's all in caps by Mr. Armstrong.) "I don't hear any more reflections against your good character. But I do hear that people believe you are pushing your way in to take over.
"But no matter how false, God says we should avoid even the appearance of wrong and avoid causing little ones to stumble. Even though I do not feel as if I were over 45 years of age, people do look at that 86 plus figure. And most people do feel that anyone past 60 is old, and past 70 is sure to die any moment.
"I know and you know that I will go on living as long as God needs and wants me to live. But the little ones out there seem unable to see that. I know, Stan, that this is the general attitude in view of the ministry, and brethren, generally, around the country. I have been assured of it from coordinators and ministers from widely scattered areas. And, although I think we have cleared any false charges against your personal integrity, they do look on you as an attorney, familiar with finance and business, and not as a shepherd over God's flock.
"So what I propose is this, that we go back to the status as it was prior to Ted's departure, that you resign from administrative responsibilities in the Church and the College, but continue as Vice-President, executive Vice-President for the Foundation, as my personal assistant and advisor, as our auditor, CPA and legal counsel, and of course, perhaps most important of all, continue with me in the Great Commission overseas. It might even look better for the Church to pay you an annual retainer for legal counsel, financial advisor, etc., subject to additional billing where warranted, and the Foundation to pay you also a salary or fee, as you think best. I do want you and NEED YOU" (in caps) "to continue as my personal assistant and advisor, especially in projects such as our overseas and marketing of my books.
"Stan, I believe this will remove the last remaining serious threat to the Work of the Great Commission. I know that if we do what Christ leaves for us to do, and as I know He has led me in the above, the living Christ will preserve His Church and Work, will bless you and me and all in the Church, and lead us to gloriously finish the Great Commission.
"With deepest love in Jesus' Name."
I picked up the phone that evening and told Mr. Armstrong, of course, I was in complete accord. And we discussed the person that we would bring back to fill the office that I would resign from. And we settled on Mr. Frank Brown, who for years had been here. I helped train him. And we agreed that we would probably make the announcement sometime during the ministerial conference, or at the time of the annual board meeting.
And then the next morning was Wednesday. So they almost got away with it! But just like I said at the Feast of Tabernacles, God kept Mr. Armstrong alive to see what the Work would be like if he hadn't taken the steps vis-a-vis his son. Once again God stepped in and showed Mr. Armstrong WHO would have tried to seize power if he were not around to step it.
Now, what happened this week can perhaps be best summed up by an analogy. If it were not for all of what I have just discussed, the background leading up to it, Mr. Armstrong's concerns that it were of seven or eight months' duration; but for that background, we could have summed it up a little differently. If this had just been a vicious effort on the part of a few disgruntled people, coupled by an extraordinarily, harsh, unnecessary, and unjustifiable action on the part of the State, backed up by the courts — Satan's courts, Mr. Armstrong has called them, the unjust judges and what have you — if it had just been that, nothing more, no background, then we could describe it a little bit like the situation in Europe during the second World War. And in these Nazi-occupied territories, those of you who studied history will know that there were people who were collaborators. Now they might not have wanted to invite the Nazi's in, so they might not have been the fifth-column type of individual. They might not have been guilty of the seditious conduct. They might not have been guilty of espionage and what have you. But once the Germans were in power; some people liked it. Some people thought they would never be rid of the Germans, and they thought it would be better to collaborate.
Now that is pretty much what happened here on the very second day, I guess it was, of the events of this week. I guess it was Thursday, because the first action on the part of the Receiver, as extraordinary, because he was temporarily appointed, ex parte — no notice given to anybody. First thing he did is to announce that Mr. Armstrong was fired, and Mr. Rader was fired. And then he turned to Mr. Cole and he appointed Mr. Cole as acting head of the Church. Now anybody who would accept such an appointment, acting or otherwise, would have to be characterized in euphemistic terms as a collaborator. If I had been here and that man had turned to me and said, "Mr. Armstrong was fired and you, Mr. Rader, acting," I would have said, "You are ridiculous. You can not appoint me. No one can take away Mr. Armstrong's authority as Christ's Apostle, as His personal representative on this earth at this time. Nobody! And certainly you, an unbaptized, unconverted person could never appoint me or anybody to run this Church!" [Applause] Now that's all there was to it.
If that had not happened, we might have been in greater difficulty. If Mr. Cole had not accepted, we might have had a tougher time in court yesterday. But the Judge saw through it very clearly. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is Christ's apostle as far as that Judge is concerned, just as we know he is. And he has been given the court's official recognition as the man in charge, the man who hires and fires, the man who ordains and disfellowships. No Receiver is going to sit here as he did for several days and intimidate our people, and tell our people that his name is going to appear on our checks. No! That's not going to happen, either.
So, as I said, it could be summed up just that easily but for the fact that there was this history. Without the history it might have simply been opportunism. Maybe some people do think Mr. Armstrong's over the hill. Maybe he's right when he says, "Everybody thinks anybody over sixty is old, and past seventy is sure to die any minute." But I am going to share something with you, and that is, he said he is going to execute that letter, disfellowshipping the four people that Mr. Meredith just announced, before he falls over and drops dead. So that is what he thought about it. He had told me yesterday at 2:05, that he had made that decision. And I told him I was on my way to court, and I said, "Do not worry about it. God is on His throne." And when I got out of court that day I called him and I said, "You were right. God is on His throne."
So I think it is going to be a better Church in the future. I think we are going to have unity. We are going to have a ministry that's not divided. We are going to have Church government as it was here up until about ten years ago. And we are all going to know what the doctrines are, and we are all going to agree. And we are going to have a renewed faith and a rebirth.
Now I am a little tired. I wanted to tell you a little bit more about the events, but Mr. Helge is here. And he is tired, too. He just carne back from Tucson as well. I would like him to fill in. I asked him if he would please take a few notes on the things that I might have omitted concerning the events of these past few days. And I know you will bear with us because I think you would like to have it given to you in one, two, three, four order. So, Mr. Helge, could I call on you now to say a few words? Thank you.
Oh, excuse me. I almost forgot. The main reason I had to read this, besides the background, is that as much as I would like to get on to doing those things which I know I can do best, and as much as Mr. Armstrong and I had planned that I be able at an early time to resign, until this entire matter is over, until the lawsuit has been smashed — and it will be — and until the Attorney General has decided that we are what we are, an institution of integrity, of 46 years vintage, I must remain in office because I must be in a position to protect the Work and to protect Mr. Armstrong.
So, although Mr. Meredith was quite right when he said, because I called him this morning at seven o'clock and explained to him that I wanted to let him know precisely what had happened in court yesterday, and to let him know that Mr. Armstrong and I had been discussing, as I knew Mr. Armstrong had mentioned to him that I would be resigning. It will not, unfortunately, be in the very, very near future because I do expect that procedurally there will be a lot of things for us to work out before we crush the opposition. And, believe me, we will! Mr. Helge and I have never lost a case, and we are not going to start with this one.
So, those of you who are unhappy that I have that title of Treasurer, well, I will try to make you a little happier. I am not running the Work. I am defending it, and I have always tried my hardest to do that. And Mr. Helge and I will be in there pitching with the others to put these people to rout.
And one thing, as Mr. Armstrong and I agreed today, we do not sue people by attacking them first. But, boy, when they attack us, then they find out what kind of ball game they are in. So now it is a changed ball game. And all those people that have been taking the pot shots at us with impunity, they are going to find that it is a different game. And we are all armed with the whole armor of God. And I think you will find that God's Work will prevail. But Mr. Helge, can you fill them in, in a one, two, three, four-step manner, so they understand a little bit more thoroughly what has happened?
HELGE: All right.
RADER: Good. Thank you. Thank you.