Pastor's Report Staff  

March 19, 1979

   Last Monday, March 12th, Judge Title unexpectedly reimposed the receivership upon the Church, College and Foundation. This receiver was given the same unjustified and extraordinary powers ("to take possession and control of the Church") the former receiver had over the Church from January 3rd until the first receivership was suspended March 1st by order of Judge Title. The original receivership was to have been replaced by an injunctive order which, as it turned out, was excessive in its demands and unconstitutional, and in effect turned many of the powers of the receiver (a supposedly neutral tool of the court) over to the office of the State Attorney General.

   Several possible receivers were named in court and the judge said that both sides would have to agree to one of the men named. Judge Title, later in the same court proceedings, announced that the receiver would be David L. Flay, 49 years old and an attorney and certified public accountant. Out of all the candidates for the job, Mr. Ray just happened to be present at the rear of the courtroom throughout Monday's hearing. He met informally with the press afterwards.

   Unlike the former receiver who had never been a receiver before (partly explaining Weisman's ineptitude while in office), Mr. Ray has 15 years experience as a receiver. He might be expected to act more business-like. When asked by the press if he had ever been a receiver in a church before, he replied, "I would rather not answer that..." This reporter overheard him commenting to one newsman that a receivership is "something you can't pass up, but once in it you wonder why you did it."

   "Ecclesiastical Lock-Out"

   Unlike the "sit-ins" we hear about in the media where people assemble in public or private facilities without permission, brethren were called Monday night asking if all who could, without jeopardizing their jobs or classes, would come the next day at 9:00 a.m. for special church services in our own administration building.

   Seven hundred and fifty members attended Tuesday's peaceful and orderly "ecclesiastical lock-out. " Folding chairs were brought in and neatly aligned for the morning preaching service and songfest. This show of solidarity of loyal brethren who could come was similar to the one in January when ex-judge Weisman locked - out all employees and brethren from the Hall of Administration and other campus buildings, including Data Processing and Accounting, by having the locks changed in the middle of the night. His purposes were thwarted by loyal brethren who occupied our own buildings and turned the tables on him. This, as you will recall, led to his backing down and moving out of his office on the executive floor of the Hall of Administration.

   This time the brethrens' presence in services, it was hoped, would forestall the receiver's attempting to take control of the premises, or tampering with the records before the Church could comply with a stipulation in the court order that would keep the receiver from discharging his responsibilities. Judge Title wrote into his order that the receivership could be stayed (rendered inactive) IF a $1 million dollar bond were posted within 48 hours. In essence, if this condition were met the receiver would be unable to take control while the Church appeals his appointment. Title could not prevent the Church from exercising its legal right of appeal, but he probably didn't think the Church could deliver the cash on such short notice as required by his order. If we had not been able to post a bond, the receiver could yet have come in even during the appeal period.

   So this time we were concerned about keeping the dapper Mr. Ray from trying to press himself into service (reportedly at $200 an hour). As it turned out, the receiver did call Mr. Rader about Thursday noon to say that he was coming! After a heated exchange between them on the telephone, it was decided that two of our attorneys would confer with him at a place off campus. (If he had come to the campus, he could have started charging for his time on assignment and in subsequent court appearances — an expensive proposition.) Word about the receiver's threatened takeover Thursday afternoon electrified the Hall of Administration, and everyone began to brace themselves for another possible confrontation with a receiver.

   Casting for Bonds

   The Church's attorneys put all our "lines into the water" in order to explore every possibility of obtaining a bond. Bondsmen, like other lenders, vary with their rates and amounts of collateral (in cash or assets) the Church would be required to put up for the million dollar bond. They wanted 33%, then 50% and finally 100% collateral. But for unexplained reasons, the bondsmen, who are licensed by the State of California, let us know they could not provide us with a bond.

   Meanwhile the call went out to the brethren worldwide for a special offering in case a technicality forced us to use a money bond. Now that a surety bond has been posted, the special offering is necessary just in case we must acquire a bond should, for some far-out reason, the court finds the sureties unacceptable after all.

   "Surety Bond" the Immediate Solution

   The special offerings began coming in, but not to the extent needed to cover the bond. Along the way our lawyers became aware of a perfectly legal and sound way of providing the bond coverage in short order. The brethren in California were asked if they would like to volunteer to put up surety pledges for whatever amount they felt they could afford. (Only residents of California are eligible.) Mr. Rader asked only for amounts within our means, and certainly not our homes, to bridge the crisis. The result was a whopping total of $3,749,689 in individual sureties as of this writing!

   The question still remained: Would Judge Title accept this kind of bond? A visit to court Thursday by lawyers from both sides indicated that he would, but it had to be two million dollars instead of the one million originally required, since he said some of the sureties night not be acceptable for one reason or another, Our brethren easily met the need with $2,374,307 worth of sureties! On Friday the Attorney General argued in court that the amount of the surety bond was too low, and then he argued that it should be in cash and not in surety pledges. But the judge did not accept either of those two objections, stating that the sureties were legal. It remains that the attorney general has ten days to find a reason to reject the bonds, or to appeal the proceedings in some way.

   Meeting the press outside court Friday, Deputy Attorney General Lauren Brainard admitted his office was "stymied" by our latest action. He complained that "things are happening so fast it was hard to keep up with everything." And so another battle in the Church's fight against the state's intrusion of our civil and religious liberties has been won, but as Mr. Armstrong has repeatedly stated, "the war is not over." Mr. Armstrong acknowledges that our brethren deserve a lot of credit for their dedication and sacrifice.

   In commenting about our victory on Friday morning, Mr. Rader reminded the brethren in the Hall of Administration that "God is still on His throne. Without His vigil and His help, none of this would have been possible. I am afraid the state [of California] doesn't really believe that God is on His throne, doesn't really believe that...our spiritual resources are most important. They probably will never accept that because they have a different image in their mind of what God's Church is all about, and what you people are all about. Really, if they did understand their whole attitude would be different. But we can't expect too much too soon, therefore the battle goes on!"

   Special Offerings Still Necessary

   Mr. Rader emphasized that we still need a million dollars in cash just in case. He felt we must reach the million dollar mark this week because "there is always the possibility that the entire suretyship undertakings by the individuals could be challenged in the state's desperate effort to regain its control and foothold over this Church and its property. They talk about wanting an audit, but they want to own it and control it and to determine how everything — can be we must keep those extra offerings coming in for that 'price of freedom' imposed on us by the court." To date (March 19) the total amount in special offerings thus far received is in excess of $400,000.

   The Attorney General's perseverance is only exceeded by the tenacity of God's Church which has "nothing to hide, but much to protect," namely our constitutional rights!


   Mr. Roderick C. Meredith announced to the ministers in the Pastor's Report that "we are now moving ahead with plans for evangelistic campaigns in chief cities this spring and early summer! We will plan to run the full-page ads giving our side of the story of this recent attack and include a mention of campaigns in these ads, as well as running smaller special ads besides, announcing the campaigns with times and places. Since we are getting more media attention at this time anyway, we hope to use this to the advantage of God's Work to get out the gospel. So please PRAY for God's guidance on our efforts and for the success of these evangelistic campaigns!"

Back To Top

Pastor General's ReportMarch 19, 1979Vol 3 No. 9