I was in Tucson working on a case, and returning home, walking in the airport when I received a call. I picked up the phone and heard a frantic voice say: "What am I going to do? What am I going to do? They're banging on the door. They're banging on the door. They want all the files. They want everything in here." That happened to be Virginia Kineston.
Now, whatever limitations Virginia Kineston may have, I'll tell you, I have come to admire her stamina in the way she held out, because they were banging on the locked door to the Executive suite and they were threatening to take the files, and to put her in jail. But she held out there.
I'll tell you, I could see it was a battle. If I could just bring the point home that we are fighting Satan! This is a battle, and I mean a REAL FIGHT! Satan has stirred up an attack on God's Church.
Since that banging on the door we've been awake consistently for three days except for only a couple of hours of sleep, trying to fight this battle. But God is on His throne in Heaven, and there are so many things we could tell as to the way He made circumstances work out for us.
Well, at that point we came back. We found that a suit had been filed, and that certain people had gone out and had themselves appointed, under the Attorney General. This "Attorney General" happened to be a deputy that was rather antagonistic to us (I know because he called me one time and I could tell his attitude just by the tone of his voice). He had read something in a paper and was just a little bit embittered. So the dissidents got to him, and he took certain steps in their behalf, saying in effect, "Okay, I'll kind of give you authority so it looks as though the State Attorney General is doing it, you see, so the people of California will be the plaintiffs. My question constantly is: "If there has been a wrong done, why do you pick dissidents from the Church — disfellowshipped Church members to come and file the suit? Why don't you, Attorney General, have enough guts to do it yourself? Why didn't you do it yourself?" That's a question that has to be answered.
Then what happened? They had certain documents, went to court, and sold the court on something that I thought would never happen. You talk to every attorney, and they will tell you it is impossible to have happen. But I'll tell you, there's a Satan, and he's got power to sway men's minds.
I had heard about it in a rumor from Mr. Frank Brown. And you know what I told Mr. Brown? I said, "Whoever told you that could happen is a liar. You go back and tell him he is a liar. That could never be done in the courts here." Then, before long, I had another call from him. He said, "I tell you, I heard it again! Could you at least check it out?" I said, "I wouldn't even dignify it by checking it out. It could never happen!" But it did happen!
They got into court even though the court rules say that if you're going to come in and try to have any action taken against anybody, you must give them a minimum of four hours notice, so they can at least come in and explain what they're going to do.
Now what they asked for was — in every piece of law I checked — was the most extreme, possible remedy that could ever be exacted on anybody. That is to have somebody appointed to walk in and take charge of everything — I mean buildings, assets, records, everything owned — and run it! This is something that the law says is so extreme, considering our constitution and our means of law, that you just virtually can hardly ever get it done with notice. But they walked in and they got it done without even giving us notice!
If they only had given us notice, we could have come in and explained the lies and the petitions that they filed, and the erroneous affidavits containing conclusions. They said, "Oh, they are shredding files." But tell me; who saw whom shred a file? Who? Nobody! A minister in charge of a church (and this will tell you then how much credence you can give this man — supposed to be leading a flock here but taking God's money} and he files an affidavit on this. He says, "Oh, a lot of people told me files were being shredded." But he didn't give one single example. It's the same man that says, "Oh, I'm a relative of Mr. Armstrong. I can tell you, he is senile."
I can stack up articles — and that's what we did for the attorney that had to go into court because we couldn't since we were named as defendants — that Mr. Armstrong had written in the last couple of months — more than the other man had written all his life. And he's supposed to be senile! All you've got to do is talk to him and you'll find out.
I don't want to keep downing people, but you have to understand who the loyal people are. That's the only reason I'm going to mention names here. My first thought when I learned who had filed the suit was, "Look, these people have been disfellowshipped — Mr. Wayne Cole, I'll get him on the line because we've got to... then I realized these people had not yet been disfellowshipped, as I understood. They may not have been because of the policy that was established by Mr. Ted Armstrong that we don't put anybody out of the Church. And, as a consequence, regardless of how wicked or wrong they are, the thing festers and festers and festers. This is contrary to Mr. Herbert Armstrong's long standing instructions that say you've got to keep the Church clean, and if a person causes division, you put him out. But that rule was changed, so it permitted these people to say they were members, and be able to file this suit.
So I tried to call Mr. Cole. Where is he? I was going to ask could you disfellowship these people? The greatest battle in God's Church is taking place now. They have police up there in the Administration building. They're going to take al£ the files, and I can't find Mr. Cole. Where's the general? Where's the captain? He's gone. He's disappeared. Well, later we found out he went to see Mr. Herbert Armstrong. He'd left, but no one would tell us where he was. He comes back with a certain document appointing himself in charge of certain things that enabled him to end up all of a sudden "in charge of the Church."
Okay, we didn't know that at first. All these pieces didn't all fall together at once. You see what I'm getting at? There's a little snatch of information here, a little snatch there; this is unusual, that's strange, so on and so forth.
The Receiver was here. He was appointed. He took charge of everything. Although I think he is a responsible man, he went far beyond any authority that could ever be given to him by a court of law, and that was exemplified here just recently at the Friday, January 5th hearing in this court order.
We have no concerns with somebody looking at our records. The Internal Revenue had just spent eighteen months going through our records. There's nothing to hide in the records. In fact, what they attached to their petition was our records! That was supposed to be the sneaky thing — we had records! And they attached a copy of the Pastor's Report where all the information had been sent to all the pastors in the field. It wasn't somebody saying, "Hey, I've got some secret, inside information that nobody knows about." It was their own records they had cited.
The Attorney General had full authority to come in and say, "I'd like to look at your records." We could say, "Here, sure. Here they are." But all of a sudden, somebody is banging on the door and wants to take those records. With a little bit of thinking later, it began to fall in place today and I mentioned it. Those records are our salvation here insofar as a physical matter is concerned because they show that no wrong has been done. But now, all of a sudden, dissident Church members were going to get their hands on these records and could carry them out of this building. And I began to see that, once they accomplished that, we would lose the very protection that showed that we're innocent. Do you see that?
And you know what they said? The only evidence they had was that we had a file shredder some place. Well, Mr. Rader didn't even know it. I didn't know it. We were ready to even put in an affidavit that we don't even have a file shredder. We learned that there was a little wastebasket- like one in Mr. Ted Armstrong's office all along.
Then when we were in court, rumor comes out, "Mr. Henry Cornwall has taken $52,000,000 from the Work — $52,000,000! Now, how do you even carry that much out?! But you see, how in the world are you going show such things to be false if your records are gone? How can you do it? For example, they said the Big Sandy property was worth 30 million dollars! The only basis they had was a newspaper article. That's all they had. I tell you, we'd sell it tomorrow for 30 million! Do you see the stupidity in their saying it's worth 30 million? But they're not saying that we're selling it to a friend of ours. They're not saying that we got an "in" with it, that we got part of the business. Do you see the silly allegations?
So I saw the importance, and pretty soon this conspiracy began to kind of take hold. If the dissidents could get hold of the records, they would disappear. We'd probably never see them again. And how are we going to defend without records and proof? You see, just like this property value now. We have an appraisal. The appraisal shows it was worth less than what we got it for. But, you see, that file is in somebody else's possession now. What would happen if that appraisal disappears? How are we going to show that we did the right thing? So you see how dangerous that was.
So, you see, don't misunderstand this battle. One thing I want to do is get clear in your mind the issues. We are not trying to hide the records. There is nothing to hide. The only fact there is, we are not about to sit back and let a man come here and say, "Mr. Armstrong, you are out." You should have seen the dedication of the large number of people that carne down to court to attest to that. You should see the dedication of the people that were down at the law office where we were working till five o'clock in the morning! People carne from all over this Work to help out.
I'll tell you, there's one thing this has done — it has brought this Church, I feel, together so much stronger than it's ever been before. It's given a renewed faith because now we do have persecution for the first time. People used to tell me they had persecution because they did something wrong on the job and they were fired. I said, "That's not persecution. You earned it." But this is persecution here.
Don't let somebody tell you we're trying to hide the records. We, of all people, want to protect those records. We are willing to show them to responsible individuals. IRS has consistently been here looking at them. You've got to understand that. So don't let people dupe you.
The battle was to protect the records, and most of all, the battle was to keep Mr. Herbert Armstrong the head of God's Church. If God wants him out, God will remove him. And nobody from the State is going to do it, at least not as long as God gives me power. And, of course, with the help of everybody else. I'll tell you, this wasn't a one-man job. Fortunately we could pull together a lot of people from the Church. They had to help to get the thing accomplished.
So the conspiracy became very clear. I've got a letter here. I'm not going to bother reading all these things. It contains another piece that falls together today.
We were at Mr. Armstrong's place. Mrs. Armstrong said, "I just happened to get a letter in here. Do you want it? I haven't even read it." I said, "Yes, let me read it here." And, boy, there it is! This poor lamb, an innocent member out in the field, he can't understand what his local minister is doing. He can't understand the rumors that his local minister is passing out about a conspiracy, where certain people are going to take over the Church and Mr. Wayne Cole is going to lead it. This came to us just by happenstance today, to kind of reconfirm everything that happened here as we were going to court.
Another thing really hit home after we worked all through one night preparing everything to go to court to get the Receiver put out. Now, remember, the Receiver was appointed by the State. He came in, and after certain consultations with Mr. Cole he appointed Mr. Cole, and reconfirms or puts his appointment in as head of the Church because Mr. Armstrong has been put "out of the Church." So Mr. Cole is in the top spot of the Church, the leader, and who put him in, now? The Receiver.
The Receiver was the one who did the appointing, remember now? Okay, so now we have a different man in charge of the Church and they were having lunch together, and all of a sudden, Mr. Cole was telling everybody, "Now look, you cooperate with this Receiver. You do exactly what he wants. Remember the Receiver is running the Church now, both spiritually and physically, right? And you obey that Receiver." But Mr. LaRavia says, "No, listen. We can't do that. You know, Mr. Armstrong's in charge of this Church." And the assistant Attorney General, what did he have the gall to say? He not only said Mr. Armstrong was out, he said, "This institution has been too autocratic in the past." He said, "Henceforth, we're going to run it more along traditional lines"!
Now, can you imagine that?! That is like somebody going into the Catholic Church and voting for the Pope. That's pretty ridiculous! That is like him saying, "The whole Catholic church didn't vote for the pope so I am going to take over the Catholic Church!"
I tell you, this is so mind-boggling for anybody who's ever studied constitutional law that one simply can't believe it. But, anyway, that was the essence and tone of the statement and that was what was not going to be permitted. And that is where the battle came and the catalyst came as he appointed Mr. Cole.
Further, I found out another piece of the puzzle today. Mr. Antion and Mr. Cole had called Mr. Herbert Armstrong and said, "Say, Mr. Rader and Mr. Helge and others have got this attorney (Mr. Browne and they're all going to go to court to try to have this Receiver removed — to get him out of here." That call of theirs was kind of strange. Mr. Armstrong was told, "You shouldn't do that. They (Rader and Helge) have got some bum attorney and they don't quite know what they're doing so you should rescind their actions and keep that Receiver in there."
Mr. Herbert Armstrong was given an ultimatum. They said, "Mr. Armstrong, you'd better keep that Receiver in there — the one already chosen, or else you're going to be out!" That's the ultimatum. And Mr. Armstrong said, "Look, we will participate willingly in any investigation. If it says we've committed a fraud, they can look at our records." But he went on to say, "I'm not going to retreat one inch if they think they're going to run the Church!" And he hung up because he wasn't going to accept any ultimatum!
So then a big event occurred. We went down to court to have the Receiver removed. We were going to battle to protect our records and to get them back in our fold so we could surely protect them. We are not saying, "You can't look at them, Attorney General." We are saying, "We want the records in our possession, and we want your Receiver out insofar as running the Church and the temporal affairs of the Church are concerned. But we don't want you signing the checks to the ministry. We don't want you saying we can't buy tapes." He had stopped payment of checks to pay for tapes for the broadcast to go out. And he admitted in his testimony last night the fact that he was going to make decisions about the broadcast and everything else. Understandably, we didn't want that.
So we are at court now and what's the first thing the attorney for the dissidents pulls out? He says, "We have here, your Honor, a letter from Mr. Wayne Cole. He has been appointed as head of the Church, and he has confirmed the Receiver running the Church. Therefore, the Receiver (seeing he's in charge of the Church with Mr. Wayne Cole) does not want these men — Mr. Rader, Mr. Helge, this other attorney (Mr. Browne) — to have any authority to represent the Church or to try to put the Receiver out."
Do you see what that ruse would have done? That would have effectively put Mr. Herbert Armstrong out of authority in God's Church for good. It would have put the Receiver in charge of everything, and Mr. Wayne Cole in charge of everything, along with certain others. And by limiting us we could not even have spoken in court to say what the people, let alone God's apostle, wanted. We would have been effectively barred from all that. But with the help of God, that case didn't go to trial there because it kept being juggled around before one judge and another judge. And the time began to be eaten up until finally they said, "No, we have to hear it tomorrow." And that gave us more time for Mr. Armstrong to learn more of the conspiracy and then change a document he had been forced to sign so that he could be represented. If only I had time to tell you the many different things that had to fall into place.
All of a sudden, while we're busy working, we get word, "Somebody has gone into the computer department, and they're trying to get the computer cranked up." I could just see that they were going to go ahead and send a letter out to the membership saying somebody else was in charge of the Church, that Mr. Herbert Armstrong was out, and so on.
I tried to call the police immediately. I said, "There is a break-in.
Get someone down there." He said, "Oh, I know you people are having trouble over there. But I don't think I want to go." Then I said, "Look. I happen to be the Secretary of that Church and I'm the attorney for it, and I'm telling you to get down there." He said, "Well, I know about the trouble." So I said, "Look, I don't care what trouble you've heard about. Does that make us fair game for a bunch of burglars?" He replied, "Well, okay, I'll send somebody down. But if I send somebody down and there's no break-in — that they went in with a key — no literal break-in, I'm not going to do anything."
I said, "But they have access to a membership list that is worth millions of dollars." By the time I called Mr. Dickinson and he had run out there, they had already gone. Ghastly, I thought. Look what happened. It's all over. They got the membership list and now they're going to put themselves in control insofar as the membership is concerned."
You know what really happened? The computer wouldn't start! So I'll tell you, we're great believers that you've got to have faith and that "faith without works is dead." You've got to have works to supplement your faith, for as somebody very astutely said, "Faith without works is dead; yes, but works without faith is useless."
Then, during the night we made some calls. I began to think of all the loyal ministers that we knew. (This is not an exhaustive list.) But we got on the phone right away and tried to get in touch with Mr. Norman Smith to have him come, and to get Mr. Dean Blackwell down, George Meeker, and of course, many others — including Dennis Luker. I'm just giving a few names here, but there are many, many faithful ministers.
But with that, then things were put together and we went to court. And the court changed the court order to a very large degree saying that Mr. Herbert Armstrong is the one that has authority to hire and fire. And, you see, with that inspired decision, it gave Mr. Armstrong the unobstructed authority to clean house. Now I say, let's "clean house." Because of the conspirators and those of their ilk, there were problems I can't even tell you about.
Before all this happened we couldn't understand the rumors, rumors, rumors, going out. They weren't being squelched and ministers were calling the legal office saying, "I need information to squelch them." I said, "Well, I guess it's not my job, you know. You got an area Pastoral Administration office especially for that." But they weren't being fed with the proper information. You see, all this now has come out. This suit actually, I feel, was inspired by Satan. But, I'll tell you, I believe that God is just making use of it in such a way as to build unity in the Church, and to bring forth this conspiracy.
I just want to make one more brief comment before closing. I feel there was a source of rumors, but I feel that it's out of the Church right now. And I'll tell you, in many of those rumors (which ultimate source is Satan who uses certain instruments), there's one man that has constantly and continuously been castigated, and that's Mr. Rader. Now, I know I am called "a Rader man," so anything I say is highly suspect. But you see, it so happens that when Mr. Rader got his ·law degree, then it was just the opposite. Then it was rumored, "Helge, you got a lot of trouble with Mr. Rader — very jealous, probably because he's next to Mr. Armstrong and he has now got his law degree." At that time I was his antagonist, according to the rumor, but now all of a sudden I'm in his hip pocket, so to speak.
Well, I'll tell you. Neither has been true. We just have a great admiration for each other. But I want to tell you something about this man that I feel I must. And this comes from my heart. And Mr. Armstrong gives me my pay,-not Mr. Rader, just so you'll understand, Okay?
So many times over the years there have been rumors against Mr. Rader — how he does thus and so, and so forth. But so many times, when he didn't have to tell me (see, I'm in a lesser position than Mr. Rader and I'm not ashamed to say that; I really am, so he doesn't have to try to build himself up in my eyes in any way). But he is continuously', never-endingly, always, I tell you, praising Mr. Herbert Armstrong. He always tells me about Mr. Armstrong's tremendous judgment. Every time something happens, he will often say, "You know something? Mr. Armstrong said that was going to happen." He said, 'That man was that way,' but I said, 'No,' and I fought with him, and I argued with him in behalf of the man. But you know, he was right." And he tells me it happens every time. He says, "People don't realize how great that man is. The people don't realize how inspired he is. They don't realize the judgment he has." He has consistently built up Mr. Armstrong. I'll tell you, that has given me great faith in Mr. Rader, so that, in turn, I have defended Mr. Rader over the years.
And you know, they say he controls Mr. Herbert Armstrong. Well, I'll tell you, all you've got to do is know Mr. Armstrong and you know better! It was very interesting recently when I gave Mr. Rader an eight-paragraph document saying, "Look, here's a recommendation I'd like to make. I really think this is a very good idea, and here it is." He looked at it and said, "I think you've got something here. I really think this is good, and I'm going to present it to Mr. Armstrong."
Now, he's supposed to control Mr. Armstrong, right? He calls me back the next day. He says, "I want to tell you something. You know, you really kind of did it in for me.," he said. "You know," he said, "I brought that document to Mr. Armstrong and he not only rejected and struck out each paragraph, some he struck out twice!" So I'll tell you, if he controls Mr. Armstrong, he's got a funny way of showing it because this whole idea of mine which he thought was very good was shot down the tubes.
I do want to thank you for the support that so many of you gave when we were in court. I feel that God is using these events to bring this Church forward to something we've lost under Mr. Ted Armstrong, and that's the idea of prayer, faith and fellowship. Let's keep an ear tuned so we can all, through the type of preaching we heard from Mr. Meredith, come to a oneness again, and just be together.