Pastor's Report Staff  

On May 8th, at Mr. Armstrong's request, Mr. Rader, Mr. Helge and Mr. LaRavia spoke to the sabbatical ministers and a few other students about the key issues relevant to the Church's legal battle with the State of California, and the attitudes of some regarding those issues. Following is the transcript of that lecture session which should be of special interest to all the ministry.

Mr. Rader's Comments

I believe it was some time last fall that arrangements were made for me to have lunch and to speak with the ministers who were here on their sabbatical training period. That was before events that have transpired since January third.

I thought that this would be a fitting and proper occasion to speak with you again before you departed for other places, particularly in light of the fact that Mr. Armstrong and I, Mr. LaRavia and others who are in positions of some responsibility in the Church, have been given information over some considerable period of time about unfortunate comments that have been made at various times and in various places, to the sabbatical ministers meeting here. These were made by persons in the ministry and other persons also delegated responsibility to not only state the truth, but also to teach — comments that have not been in the best interests of the Work, and not been in the best interests of Mr. Armstrong. Rather than let those comments go unrebutted or, rather than let you go back out into the field without knowledge that Mr. Armstrong and others have been aware of the comments that have been made — we think it is better that we address ourselves, at least in part, to that situation today.

Now on January 4, 1979, Mr. Armstrong entrusted to five people a very awesome responsibility. And he entrusted those five people with that awesome responsibility in the most certain terms. What he said left nothing to the imagination. He ordered and commanded in the name of the Living God, as Christ's Apostle, that Mr. Meredith, Mr. McNair, Mr. LaRavia, Mr. Helge, and I should do everything — in our power to protect the Work of the Living God, and to keep him, Christ's Apostle, in office. That document was served with due notice and in the proper fashion of the world.

I serve notice on any of you here today that I will do everything in my power to protect Mr. Herbert Armstrong and the Work of the Living God. He has commanded me to do it. And with the help of the Living God and Mr. Armstrong's inspired leadership, and the massive and instant support from the brethren of this Church, and with financial resources that are available to only a few institutions, we have stopped the State of California and a handful of people from doing their will.

Now what did they want to do? We don't even have to speculate on it. All we have to do is read what they've said and look at what they did. We don't have to speculate about it. We don't need a Mr. ____________ to "speculate" about it. All we have to do is read what they've said, and it's all a part of the court record!

Let's be absolutely certain about that. We're not talking about speculation now; we're talking about hard fact. They wanted to seize and confiscate the property of the Worldwide Church of God, Ambassador College, and the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. They wanted to remove Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder and pastor general of this Church, and the rest of the "so-called management," as they described it.

They wanted to pilfer and siphon off millions of dollars for their own benefit. Now we don't have to speculate upon it. The first thing they did is appoint a receiver. And we don't have to speculate what his position was. He said he owns everything. He has control over everything. The property belongs to him, and he's backed up by the State of California! And some of you were in the room when he said it. We have the recorded transcript.

The second thing they did is fire Mr. Herbert Armstrong, fire me, and they were prepared to fire anybody else that got in their way. Ask Mr. Raymond McNair if that's not the truth.

The third thing they did is begin to rip this Work off for millions of dollars every year — they were planning on it. Three hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars is what they wanted for the first six weeks. Figure it out. Get a calculator. It comes out to three million dollars a year. But that didn't satisfy them.

They also claimed that Mr. Armstrong and I were thieves: that we were about to sell a $30 million piece of property for $10 million. We were about to pocket the proceeds. Then what did they do? They went to court, they got the sale confirmed at 10.5 million, and tried to get the 10.5 million put into their own bank account. Now, is that plain to everybody, or is there something left unsaid? Do any of you think that Mr. ____________ is right when he has said Mr. Armstrong is wrong — that we should not do what Mr. Armstrong suggested the Bible teaches us, that we "obey God and not man" if there's a conflict? Does anybody think that Mr. Armstrong has been wrong? Let him speak up now.

Student: Yes, sir.

Rader: Where is Mr. Armstrong wrong?

Student: Well, where it says don't resist the parties that have rule over us.

Rader: How have we resisted them?

Student: By saying we would do things when we wouldn't do them.

Rader: We what?

Student: Saying we would do things when we wouldn't do them.

Rader: Do what things?

Student: When you said you would cooperate with the court order.

Rader: I said I would cooperate with Judge Title. Don't ever misquote me or Mr. Armstrong. That's a part of the problems in this Church. You are constantly misquoting me and Mr. Armstrong.

Student: Did you cooperate?

Rader: I said I would cooperate personally with Judge Title. I never said anything more than that.

Student: Did you cooperate with him?

Rader: Yes, I did.

Student: Okay, well certain ones have a difference of opinion.

Rader: Well, that's too bad, but my opinion and the opinion of all the people that have been loyal in this Church has been a correct opinion. And for you to analyze my statement that I would cooperate with Judge Title to mean that I will obey an invalid court order, is either a sign of extreme disloyalty or a sign that you don't understand the problem at all.

Student: Sir, if I may ask a question? [Rader: Yes] Who determines the validity of court orders?

Rader: Higher courts.

Student: But until they determine it, what stands?

Rader: What stands? We appealed it.

Student: Right, but until the appeal is heard?

Rader: What difference does it make? Those are our rights. Are you suggesting that we should not abide by our rights? [Student: No.] Are you suggesting that we should let the State of California come in with what we consider to be an illegal, unlawfu1 court order and not exercise our right of appeal? What do you say:

Student: If it is the judge who determines what is legal and illegal, then, if we pursue it in the courts, that would be one thing, but to resist outside.

Rader: How did we resist outside?

Student: Demonstrations.

Rader: There's nothing against the law.

Student: There was a court order that said...

Rader: There's nothing against the law. Believe me, if there was anything against the law, they would have found a way to hold me or Mr. Armstrong in contempt. They never did.

Student: They had the court order, sir.

Rader: They had a court order, fine, why didn't they knock down the doors?

Student: I guess, in wisdom.

Rader: In wisdom?

Student: It would have been bad publicity, but they had the right, sir.

Rader: We had our rights, also. And you have heard from Christ's.

Apostle, and he said that I Corinthians 10 obtains, and he said prove all things to yourself before you come into the Church. But once you're in the Church, that's not the time to decide for yourself whether Mr. Armstrong, as Christ's Apostle, can lead this Work or not.

Now, this is the time to clear up these misapprehensions. There were people inside this organization who were cooperating before January 2nd with the attorney general, with an attorney in Beverly Hills, with a conniving judge (without realizing it). And those people assured these other people there would be nobody unhappy about the receiver coming in, about Mr. Armstrong leaving. They suggested to these people there would be a mass uprising of the people. They would welcome Garner Ted Armstrong back. So they never even asked themselves whether it was right or wrong, legal or illegal. They just said, "Can we get away with it?" And, based upon the information that they had, that is what they decided to do — to get away with it.

And, but for those four factors that I outlined, they would have had it; they would have won the game. Mr. Armstrong had been put out, they thought. They sent Wayne Cole down to Tucson with some other people. But what they didn't know is that Mr. Armstrong was in constant communication all during that day with Pasadena. That was what they didn't know.

Mr. Armstrong had to let the rope out. He had to let the rope out so some of those people would reveal their hands, who they were. How many of you know that Ben Chapman went and talked to Chomos two weeks before the event, in addition to signing his affidavit which attempted to paint Mr. Armstrong as so incompetent? He told them there were no sales of property below market value: there was no siphoning of any funds, or pilfering of any funds: there was nothing wrong with Mr. Armstrong's trips. How did he know that? - He took the first trip [with Mr. Armstrong]. He took a six-week trip — first trip on the Falcon abroad, six weeks with his wife and others. How many know that? Only a few know it. The whole world will soon know it!

But he told all of that to the attorney who brought the lawsuit. Did that deter him from making those outrageous statements? No. Why? Because he and others wanted to make the statements; they wanted to achieve their purpose.

Now the reason that I'm upset is that we have people still in our midst... I can't give a litmus paper test. Mr. LaRavia can't do it, Mr. McNair can't do it. We can't tell who's loyal and who's disloyal. But Mr. Armstrong has commissioned us to protect him and protect the Work.

And we have people who would not want to protect the Work, or have their different ideas about how the Work could best be protected.

How many people in this room believe or would be willing to admit, here and now, that they believe the allegations or any part of the amended complaint? Someone want to speak out about it? Statements have been made in class that Mr. Armstrong had made a mistake in taking the position that we have much to protect, but nothing to hide. Why don't we let them in? But people have expressed a willingness to back Mr. Armstrong up and back Mr. Helge up on the position that's been taken.

Do you all realize what is at issue here today? Do any of you have a clouded idea of what the issue is all about? The First Amendment is very important; so is the Fifth Amendment; so is the Fourth Amendment. We can't get our job done if we don't have political freedom. We can't write what we want to write, say what we want to say, assemble when we want to assemble.

John____________ thought we were doing something illegal to assemble in our own building! Amazing. Illegal? Why aren't we all in jail? Did you ever figure that out? If it were illegal, don't you think they would have dragged us off? If Mr. Armstrong and I had stolen money, don't you think they would have put handcuffs on us and taken us out of here? Did you ever ask yourself, why didn't they?

We [supposedly] pilfered millions of dollars every year! I get good tables in restaurants where I've never been before because people think maybe I'll drop something there, larger than an ordinary tip; like some of these Arabs have come over here and didn't know the value of our money, or didn't care about it. Seventy million dollars I heard in court. ABC reported $45 million on national television. Those are high crimes, almost treason. Why weren't we carried off from here? Because it wasn't true and because they knew it wasn't true.

What's more, at the time they brought the lawsuit, they didn't even CARE that it wasn't true. They didn't make the charges for the purpose of proving the charges. They made the charges for the purpose of doing three things: 1) seizing the property, 2) getting rid of Mr. Armstrong and others who were in control (and rightfully so), and 3) to put themselves in the position to rip off millions of dollars themselves each year.

Anybody have any doubts what a receivership is all about? Anybody know? Mr. Kotora, is he here today? Tell these people about a receivership. You were involved, I think, in some kind of a court action.

Kotora: Yes, I had some stock in a company that was worth somewhere around $170 million. In the interim they had one portion of the account (just a small portion of the company) make bogus insurance policies and sell them to individuals. The policies were worthless. Now in the process of being audited this was picked up. So the whole company (I think the bogus policies amounted to somewhere around $30 million) with $170 million in assets was put into receivership. That was in 1974.

Now, since that time I've received approximately seven or eight different statements, and in them was outlined exactly what the receiver and trustees, the auditors and all have done. And up to this point now (that's from '74 to '79) the stockholders have not received one cent of what we had invested in that company. They have, to this point now, used up about $110 million of that company's assets. So that's what a receiver does in five years' time.

Now by the time it's finished, the company will have nothing. If we get a penny on a dollar, we will be lucky. So that's what a receiver and trustees and, accountants will do to a company if they get their hands on it. And that's exactly what they wanted to do here.

Student: In 1976 my brother had an oil company in Bakersfield. It started from nothing two years before that. A receiver came in (it was in '76) and in three days took over his company that had 366 investors. While my brother was running the company, he never missed one payment to any of his investors. It's been two years now, almost three years, and not one person has received a penny from that receiver. So this type of thing is going on all over the whole country. This is real. When I saw this happening to our Church, immediately I knew what was happening. I just want to make it known that it's not the only thing that's happening. It's happening to other businesses.

Rader: Now this particular case, it has made me, it's made Mr. Helge, it's made all of our lawyers that we're working with, for the first time begin to lose a little faith (which Mr. Helge and I really shouldn't have anyway) in the legal system. I told Michael Jackson the other day on ABC (anyone hear that program?) ... He asked if it had changed me in any way, and I said, "Yes, in one important respect. Prior to this experience, being a lawyer and member of the profession, member of the bar, and former law professor, I thought Mr. Armstrong was taking too immoderate or too severe a position over the years when he said, 'The legal profession is bad. There is no justice in this world. We'll have to wait until the World Tomorrow is ushered in. There are nothing but unjust judges.' And I would try to get him to moderate those views because I really believed that he was wrong. And, by the same token, being a lawyer, and a member of the profession, and law profession, didn't want to be included in the same group."

And I have found that he is 100% right, as has Mr. Helge. And our other boys are beginning to wonder whether there is any such thing as real justice. But we will win the lawsuit. It is a mopping up operation. It'll take time, like any other mopping up job. Any other plaintiff would have fled the scene by now. The relators are already gone. The state, they don't care about time and money, but eventually it'll drop by the wayside.

But we will capitalize (as Mr. Armstrong said just yesterday to me) on the publicity that we've had because it has catapulted us to the front pages around the world. You can't go anywhere in this world now without people knowing the Worldwide Church of God. And people begin to ask who are we, what we are doing. And they're not concerned any more. If you can "steal" $45 million and the business is still here — the Church is still here — [they realize] it's got to have something going for it. How do you get $45 million or $70 million out of an operation that is still here? We're bigger than Oral Roberts and Billy Graham combined. People are wondering about us now, so we'll capitalize on it.

But he [Mr. Armstrong] knows that there will be in the minds of some people thoughts that maybe he was a little dishonest. We will win the lawsuit, but you can't wipe out the impression. I used to explain it by talking about a blackboard. You put something on the blackboard and you take the eraser and erase it, but you still have part of the image remain there. It's kind of a subliminal effect in the minds of people around the world.

Here is a man that's given everything that he could to the Work of the Living God. He doesn't deserve to have that kind of reproach. And we're going to have to work — those of us who can and have been entrusted with this responsibility — to do everything in our power to protect him and to enhance his reputation. We've got to speak — one mind. We've got to be together in this situation.

When Mr. Armstrong spoke to those gathered here in the sit-in, and he read from the Scriptures, someone with a better mind than I is going to have to explain to me how any member or any minster could publicly take issue with him after that. I cannot understand that — it is incomprehensible to me. Even if one were absolutely convinced to a contrary point of view, how one could take public exception, and continue to take money from the Work of the Living God after that, is something I will never understand — never. You'll never be able to explain it to me. You'll never really be able to explain it to Mr. Armstrong, either.

He went "on the air," so to speak [via telephone hook-up with Pasadena], he was speaking live in Tucson, before the ministers. Did any minister jump up at that moment? You were there Mr. McNair. Did anyone jump up and say, "You're wrong, Mr. Armstrong!" Anyone say that? Why not? That would take guts, wouldn't it? Courage, conviction — no one did it. That was the time to do it, wasn't it? He did it again the next day, I believe, or did he do it from home? There was a board meeting that morning, wasn't there, Mr. McNair, in his house? Had you arrived when he called again on the phone? He used the telephone line from his house because your afternoon meeting was going to take place.

McNair: Then he came in, you remember, and he spoke again later too.

Rader: Oh yes, but I mean, were you there when he called in the morning about eight o'clock or eight-thirty here, nine o'clock in the morning on the third day of the sit-in? And again, I told him the pressure that we were getting, that maybe we should disperse to avoid conflict. [McNair: Yes] And he said, "Obey God, not man." Did anyone then in the afternoon jump up and shout him down saying, "Mr. Armstrong, you're wrong?" No one did, did they?

And yet in an insidious way it was being done. Maybe you can explain that kind of conduct to me. Maybe you can explain it to Mr. Armstrong. Anyone who's responsible for it is going to have to explain it to the Living God someday. That's for sure. But I will never understand it.

What should be said should be said at the proper time and in the proper place and in the proper manner. But even if it's wrong, at least it was said at the proper time and in the proper place. So I just wanted to make myself available today — if there are any questions, this is the time to ask them. I've given forums all through this sensitive period and I thought that everybody who was interested would be there. (Mr. LaRavia and I have tried to make it plain that everyone's invited.) I have never ducked any question, no matter how hard or how personal it's been. I've answered every single question, knowing that it was going to be published.

Are there any questions today? Anyone want to ask a question about any of the events of the past four months? Because all get to be in a position to pass it on to your brethren if you're in the field, and your friends. Is there any question that was left uncovered? We've worked very hard to try to disseminate the information, to disseminate in the broadest possible way, to back it up with the facts so they would not be dealing with speculation.

How many of you read the Aide Memoire that appeared in the Worldwide News? There's not a single inaccuracy, in terms of the legal aspects of this case. It can all be backed up by another package, which is the "bare bones" package, which in turn can be backed up by the court transcripts. We're beyond the stage of speculation. It's all there. You should want to know what was said.

The attorney general's sorry now he said, "We own the church, we own the property, the church has no rights, the church can't [doesn't have the right to] - defend itself." He sounds like an idiot! That's what he said — again, and again, and again. Now, in the fight for credibility, he wants to say, "All we ever wanted was an examination." He never asked for the examination. He hasn't asked for one since. He's asking for an accounting, not an examination — something altogether different.

We follow the laws if they're accurate and they're honest, and if they're legal. There's no law that says you have to give an accounting to anybody. We do, but there's no law that says we have to. Do any of you believe in doing what he shouldn't have to do? You must submit sometimes to higher authority. We all understand that much. But obedience and submission are two different things.

But we have abided by the law, and we have been law-abiding citizens. And we've had a reputation 46 years. Anybody see the CBS program that was on Friday? Very interesting. You know who the Internal Revenue agent was that was interviewed? The guy was here 18 months on our campus! he left [us] a clean bill of health. But CBS didn't know that, so they weren't able to ask him an "intelligent" question, If they had known that it would have made the program. rather interesting, wouldn't it? "Mr. Corsey," they might have said, "You were the agent out there for 18 months. What are they [the state] crying about?" He would have had to answer, "I don't know. After 18-months, I found nothing." They didn't know that vital bit of information. They didn't know that he had spent 18 months. He knows as much about us as anybody else possibly could coming from the outside. You don't live with a situation 18 months without becoming pretty conversant with it.

If we were ripping off millions of dollars here and doing all these things we're charged with, what do you think would happen to his career — 24 years of service, big reputation? What do you think would happen to him? They'd take a good look at him from then on when he hands in reports. Maybe we bribed him. Maybe that's the next allegation.

Once there was word out a couple years ago that we bribed TIME magazine, paid them a million dollars not to write an article. That's the type of preposterous rumor we've had to fight in the field. Mr. Helge can tell you in a few minutes some of the other preposterous rumors that were handed out last fall from Mr. Cole. Mr. Helge called him to lunch and he told them how preposterous the rumors were and what could be done about it. And he said, "We don't want your advice, Mr. Helge. We just want to tell you what the rumors are." Very revealing, isn't it?

We've put all the pieces together in the last six, seven, eight months. We've done a lot of tracking of telephone calls. Some of the people calling one another, using college and Church phones to do it. Spending Church money entertaining one another while they were conspiring. You get into one of these things and it gets messy after a while. These people thought they were going to just come out of this thing lilly white and pure. They were going to smear Mr. Armstrong, smear Mr. Rader, smear Mr. Helge. They were going to just come out lilly white. It doesn't work that way. It just doesn't.

Mr. Chapman showed up at deposition the first day saying, "Oh, I don't need a lawyer." He must have thought it was a little game that was going to be played. And then they started asking some questions under oath. All of a sudden, he couldn't answer, couldn't remember his name, practically. "Heard a rumor? I don't remember who I heard the rumor from. I heard a rumor about that, but I don't remember." And on and on, and then suddenly he realized he was in deep water and he asked for a lawyer.

This same man never told Mr. Armstrong what he'd done, never told Mr. Helge, never told me — signed an affidavit, continued to take Church funds. That's the kind of situation that obtained, and it's about time we put it all behind us. I don't see why people who have feelings of malevolence toward the organization just don't leave. Can someone explain that to me? Just leave: It's not a prison. All they have to do is leave.

I'm not saying anybody here is of that mind, but I just know there have been people who have not done the work of a servant; have certainly not helped Mr. McNair, Mr. LaRavia, myself, Mr. Meredith, and Mr. Helge keep this Work together under Mr. Armstrong during the last four months. I don't understand why these people still stay here. They want Mr. Armstrong out? Is that it? Why don't they say so, and tell the rest of us who don't - [want Mr. Armstrong out] - why they should prevail?

Here's a letter. It's a letter to Mr. Armstrong from a person who's attending classes in the sabbatical program. He says, "I could go on and on about all the inferences and innuendos that they and ministers in a certain area passed around. They've all inferred in one way or another that their opinions are correct and the Apostle's are wrong. They say that the Church would be better off without Mr. Rader — when he's gone our problems will be solved. Also they say that, we may not be guilty of all the charges, but we are guilty." I don't even know what that means.

Anyone of that opinion — that the Church would be better off when I'm gone? Anyone here believe that, and if so, why? Nobody wants to comment. Not a comment in here. These remarks are ascribed to a minister. "He said that he knew that gold and art objects had disappeared and 'I know so many things I can't tell you that you don't know about.'" Gold and art objects had disappeared — incredible! Absolutely incredible.

With that kind of comment going on, Mr. Helge and I are no longer surprised when a declared enemy, an open declared enemy of the Work, tells the newspaper that he's wondering about the gold buillion. How can we hold a declared enemy to a higher standard than we can hold our own ministry or other people who profess to be members of the Church? Gold and art objects — anyone know anything about it? Let's try to get them back.

They "know" they're gone. At least now we know that we can't blame the whole thing on Mr. Atkinson [the receiver's assistant]. I thought he made the whole thing up out of whole cloth. Do you follow me? That this was just one more wild rumor about gold buillion and gold objects. And I was willing to condemn him totally (you follow?) for making up the entire thing out of whole cloth.

Now I have to say to myself, "Well, suppose someone told him that there were gold objects and art objects?" You see, I have to temper my feelings about him a little bit. He was here for no good purpose, by the way, but nonetheless I can't blame him 100%, can I, any more — not after reading this? How would he know that there was no substance to it? If someone said, "Oh, Yeah, but I can tell you so many things you don't know about." That's what we were confronted with. Thank God that we had the support of the Living God and Mr. Armstrong and the members during this struggle.

Mr. Helge and I and the others, Mr. McNair and Mr. Laliavia and our lawyers, did not do that much to bring this thing into shape. It was the Living God who wanted it done, as I've said before, and it was Mr. Armstrong's inspired leadership — strong, powerful, firm leadership — that's what, coupled with our resources that God gave us over a period of 46 years, plus the brethren and the ministers who were leading those brethren. That instant support, that's what did it.

But now we're going into a period where, to a certain extent (as Mr. Armstrong said himself yesterday) it's going to be a little bit on the back burner, so to speak. The problem is still there. The fight still goes on. But the state has been stopped. It has been thwarted. It has been frustrated. Any other plaintiff would have left the field. They would have dismissed, and hoped that they were dismissed without being responsible for damages.

The state came to us, as I said, and they wanted to settle out of court if they could, but they didn't want to be "emasculated." That was their own expression. We can't let them lift themselves up by their bootstraps. And this is a war. It's a war between God and the Work of the Living God on one hand and (if you want to couch it in those terms) the anti-Christ on the other. And it's a war we can't lose; we can't afford to lose it. That's not why we've been called. We haven't been called to lose this battle. We will win it.

And it's not what I would consider as a distraction or a preoccupation. It now makes everything that we're doing relevant. Mr. Armstrong's latest copy for his latest ads have very powerful headlines — ARE WE LOSING OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES? (I think he says) and JUST WHAT IS THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD? And now he's beginning to preach the Gospel in the ads. In other words, he's building. He has the public's attention. Not only about the case but about us, and now he's getting the Gospel message right into it. So it's not a preoccupation. It is not a distraction. It's THE THING — it's all part of getting the Work done

Now we have peoples' attention at long last. Everything we say out there has some relevance to some people. So the job is now getting done as never before. The costs of the litigation are another way of getting out the Gospel. We've paid millions of dollars every year for broadcasts that very few people were heeding, very few people were listening. Now we have their attention. And if we follow those programs up with more effort in the field, you are going to see the Work start to grow in a vertical curve again.

Mr. Armstrong said, "We will capitalize on this." I've never doubted it from the beginning, nor has he. I admit I wouldn't have been able to sit down and write this scenario. It would have been much too dangerous because the timing was very exquisite. God simply provided that certain things would happen in a miraculous way. If I had been in my office that day it all started, it would have been much worse. But I played tennis for the first time in four or five months, and I was about to leave from the house. I played tennis from seven to eight. By the time I got back and showered and prepared, Virginia called me. So I wasn't trapped in my office. She was a hostage.

Mr. Helge was out of his office, and he was coming back from Tucson. We were able together to start marshalling the forces from the outside. Every hour on the hour. Mr. LaRavia — we sent a lawyer right out to him, and he fought and Virginia fought, and every hour we gave the same advice, "Don't let them in. Throw them out, don't let them in," while we were marshalling our forces.

Many of us slept in a hotel several nights so we could be close to the lawyers and work around the clock. Church brethren came in [to the law offices] to do their share. But the fact that I wasn't there [in my office] that day helped. It helped a great deal. It freed me up to be able to get all the people working. The fact that Mr. Helge was as free was helpful. And Mr. LaRavia was on tap. Even that I could get Mr. Gettler [an attorney] out there in 45 minutes without notice. Judge Weisman is still wondering where he came from. He wasn't on the list. Everybody else fought it, came out and fired Virginia, took care of Mr. LaRavia a couple of days later, but they didn't know who Gettler was. Weisman kept asking, "Who do you represent?" He didn't know where he came from, they'd never seen him before, never heard his name. All of a sudden he was right there at Mr. LaRavia's side. I think at one time he [Mr. Gettler] said, If anyone goes to jail, he would go to jail, didn't he? "Don't you worry, I'll go to jail. What you're doing is right."

So January 3rd is just a couple of days after New Years; why, the people could have been out of town. Even our lawyers could have been unavailable. I mean, the fact that we were able to get to Mr. [Allan] Browne - [our attorney] as quickly as we did is very important because he knew about us already. He had a file on us. He had been working with Mr. Helge for some considerable period of time on another piece of litigation.

Suppose we had to go to a strange lawyer? You'd spend a whole day telling him who you are. They'd spend another day before deciding whether they wanted to do business with you. Do you follow? And these lawyers are busy, and they're often out of town. That was a crucial time of year. So there are certain aspects of it that I think were too providential to just be purely chance.

They were available and they dropped everything for us. They turned their offices over to us. You ask the brethren here. They literally turned over a whole floor of Beverly Hills law offices, and let our people, whom they trusted, run rampant through there. Isn't that correct? How many of you were down there? How many other law firms would have done that for us? Practically none. Just turned over the offices. We used the xerox machine, telephones — everything — just took it over — conference rooms, secretarys' offices, private offices. It didn't make any difference — all night. So all of that was working together, to pull us together.

Well, I hope that I've cleared up the air a little bit. I hope that you understand where we are, what our concerns are. I want you to understand whatever I have had to do during these four months, I have done under express instructions from Mr. Herbert Armstrong. Mr. McNair knows that, Mr. LaRavia knows that, Mr. Helge knows that. There have been no misunderstandings. There has been no failure to confer with Mr. Armstrong as to what our position should be, and what our legal moves should be, and how we should go about it and so on. And he has had, during the entire time, his firm hand on the tiller, I guess you call it.

They actually thought they were doing business with an 86-year-old man. And they had some picture in their head of what an 86-year-old man ought to be. They just didn't reckon they were getting involved with Herbert W. Armstrong.

I think it's kind of cute, as I was telling some people. Weisman was seen on the street by one of my old colleagues (I used to try some cases with him — he's a well-known lawyer in town, represents a lot of sports celebrities), and he knows me very well because we've tried cases together. And so this fellow saw Weisman and he said, "Say, what happened to you?" (He gave him a needle because no one likes Weisman, anyway.) So Weisman says, "Well, I didn't think we'd have any problem with the state behind us..." He went through the whole story. He had a real sinecure. He was going to be around just collecting money. And this fellow said, "Well, you didn't know Stan Rader, before you got into this, did you?" He said, "No, but I do now." He didn't know Mr. Armstrong, either!

They were given a false impression of the people that were going to play a role in this thing. And I think they believed the stories that Mr. Armstrong was confined to a hospital bed, you know — just confined there — and didn't even know where he was, all doped up, takes 24 different medicines every day. They found out differently, and they're finding out differently every single day.

Those letters that Mr. Armstrong wrote just simply destroyed the state, simply destroyed the state. Weisman, he is "soooo clever." The first letter that Mr. Armstrong wrote about sending the special offering — he was toying with whether to send the letter requesting a "special offering" or "tithes," one or the other. He opted finally for "special offering," deliberately putting the sting in. Weisman fell for it; He stopped the letter — thought he stopped it. They never did [really] stop it; they were too late [the message still got out].

Then what did Mr. Armstrong do? Then he said, "Send it ALL to Tucson." The battle was over — no battle any more. From that point on it was a mopping up operation. Once the money is taken away from the receiver, how could he rip this Work off? We tied his hands in Texas [go money from the Big Sandy sale could not be transfered to the receiver's account] so when there was no more money coming in here — that was it.

And Mr. Armstrong was pounding that typewriter every day. They thought he couldn't travel — just went to Japan and back. While he was gone he wrote six articles — six. Some 86-year-old foe!

Anyway, Ralph do you have something that you'd like to add because you've been in the middle of it, and Mr. LaRavia has, also.

Helge: I have a few words.

Rader: Yes, I want you to take over.

I've appreciated the opportunity. But I don't want anyone to feel that I was looking at them as though they might be the people that we referred to. I'm just telling you the reports that have been circulated. I never comment to Mr. Armstrong about anybody except in a positive way, as almost anyone who's been involved knows. I usually tell Mr. Armstrong the most "preposterous" things about people that he finds out later aren't true, but they were always nice things that I said. I've always put a little too much faith in people and what they've said, and I don't know them that well. But this has been a big concern, and I wanted you to know the five people, if you've forgotten, that he - [Mr. Armstrong] - trusted.

Mr. Helge's Comments

I appreciate having the second "hour" here, and the chance to speak. I realize you all want to get to lunch, but I do want to just make one comment. There are certain questions that constantly keep coming across my desk. And the one that I just got yesterday from a very good friend of mine out in the field was typical. There was a certain dissident minister there who left. But before he left he instilled in the brethren the question of "Why don't we just let the receiver in, let the state in, and give them everything?"

You know, that kind of reasoning really gets to a point where it really begins to rub me the wrong way. Let me just give you one more approach to the whole thing. The state has said, "Look, we own, not only the property, but all the books and records." We have picked that statement out of three or four places in the court transcripts where they said it in court. But now just this last time, they put it right in the complaint They laid it right out — "The church has no proprietary interest in any of its property, its books, or records."

You see, at this point, simply to say, "Yes, here are the books and records," would mean we are conceding to that fact. We would be saying, "Yes, you are right. You are the owner. Here are your books and records, state. May we please have your books and records back when you feel free that you want to give them to us. And may we please have permission to use the Auditorium next week?"

Do you see what I'm getting at? They have now made a statement — these are their books and records. To concede to that, we would be acknowledging it. Hence, there is no way even under that theory that we can give it to them.

You know, it's like the difference if I were to come to you and say, "May I please borrow your car?" And you would say, "Well yes, that's OK. I'm not going to use it. Here are the keys." But, wouldn't it be different if I said, "Look, that is my car. That car belongs to me, not to you, and I'm going to take it. I'm not going to give it back to you until I'm good and ready." Now, would you give, the keys to me under those circumstances? Would you say, "Yes, okay, here are the keys. Fine. Thank you, Ralph. Good-bye." Obviously you would have to draw a line there. You would have no option. You would have no other way to go other than to stand fast.

So I want to just bring that point home to you. But there is another point to help explain to people why we can't. It comes down to the point to where the state is saying that they are in control of all church property. They are virtually saying that they can control all churches, that we're a charitable trust, that the people of the State of California own the property, and they are going to dictate and supervise everything the church does. They say, "Oh, not the ecclesiastical; only all the money." Well, tell me one thing that we can do ecclesiastically, virtually, without money." What pays for the PT? What pays for the booklets? What pays the ministerial salaries? What pays the hall rents?

Obviously, if they are going to control the money, they are going to control the church! Hence it really comes down to a very fundamental principle: Either we're going to stand as free men under Christ, or we're going to bow our knees as slaves, and we are going to become a slave to the state. And the Bible tells me that I'm a free man, and that I should not become a slave. And that's one reason why we're fighting so hard — to keep from becoming a slave to the state.

Permit me to explain a few other scriptures. Some talk about turning the other cheek. I know one minister that once turned the other cheek. He got blasted right in the mouth, and he got knocked down. He stood up and he turned the other cheek and he got blasted in the other cheek till he was deaf in his ear. Now is that what that scripture literally means? Or aren't we then really violators of the scripture that says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should keep it whole and sound?

Mr. Armstrong has said for years we're not to be a floor mat, we're not to be a slave. And that's the only thing we're trying to do here is just preserve our liberties, not to try to wreak vengeance. We're not trying to take Vengeance on anybody. So we're not violating that scripture. They talk about "love," but you know, isn't it fundamental that love by itself has no meaning? How do the dissidents apply the one word, "love"? They decide which way they want to go and they say that's "love." Right? That's the way love is. "We don't take tithes because that's not love." They don't want to pay tithes — hence it's not love.

And they ask: "'Is that what Christ would do?" Of course, what would Christ do in their minds? Whatever they want to do. If they want to do it this way, that's what Christ would do. Hence, if you don't do that too, you're not of Christ and you're not showing "love."

As Mr. Armstrong says, the fundamental fallacy in that is they didn't look back into the Bible to find out what Christ did. There are certain ways that dissidents misconstrue Scripture. But to me there's one scripture that they cannot misconstrue and that's the act of Christ when He was in the temple. He used force and He used power to overturn the money changers' tables and everything else — to run the men out, and to run the cattle out. Now you can't just say, "Well, that's not love."

I tell you, there are many dissident people in the Church today that really would have condemned Christ. And how about Paul? I've got a beautiful book. It's called A Harmony of Paul's Travels. And when you consider the persecution that Paul was under — I wonder how many people today would have followed him? You know, he was accused (if you take all those scriptures) of sedition and every type of wrong — probably thievery and everything else — and locked up in prison and chained! Of course, many people didn't follow him because of that. Right? He said "So-and-so left, so-and-so left, etc." So what this comes down to in my mind is that this is true persecution that we're under today.

So many years people would say, "Well, here I went ahead and told this guy he was a bum and not Christian and so on, and he fired me, and therefore I'm being persecuted.'' That wasn't persecution. This — is persecution! And it's by the state. Let's go back and look at history and you'll find that all persecution from the very outset was by the state. The religions went to the state and they got the state's power to back them, and that's what we've got here.

So I just want to say, in my mind, what we have got. I think it's good to bring home to God's people that we have a pure and simple test of faith. When we were baptized we put our hands to the plow, we made a commitment not to turn back. What is anyone's excuse at this point for turning back? What is it? I'll say there is none.

I really feel that you men really have an obligation out there on the firing line to shut the mouths of the gainsayers, to stop their mouths. Frankly, I feel you are held to a different standard. Mr. Armstrong preaches the Gospel to the unconverted — to the world as a witness. And if they don't listen, well God didn't call them — but he's done his job.

But it seems to me the local pastor is duty bound to another standard. He has got to snatch the person in his care from the hands of Satan. If he doesn't do it, if the gainsayer obtains that person (part of his flock), then the scripture says the fire has come and it's like wood, hay and stubble. It's burned and it's gone.

On the other hand, if you really work with them and train them and teach them, and they stand, then you've got your "go1d" and your "precious gems." So unless you can persuade your members to stand fast, I really feel you lose some of your reward. But if you can do it, if you can stop the mouths of the gainsayers at this time of persecution when under fire, then you increase your reward.

I'm glad for this chance to bring that home, and I appreciate the chance to talk to you.

Mr. LaRavia's Comments

You know, this has been an experience to end all experiences in one sense. And yet I know we've got a lot of experiences ahead of us. Some of them are going to be tough; some of them are going to be delightful.

As Mr. Rader said earlier, apparently they had totally convinced these [outside] people that were involved — the receiver, the judge, the lawyer, etc. because of what I heard several times from Atkinson [the Receiver's assistant]. At that point in time, I thought, "Oh well, they're just throwing these comments out because it's going to have some impact." For example, he said, "You don't know where we have all our sources coming from. You don't know the ground swell of public opinion in this church against Mr. Armstrong and against Mr. Rader. They're providing all of this input to us, and they're going to surge behind us."

Now this is what, apparently, Ben Chapman and others had convinced them of. And at that time, I didn't know what he really meant by that. I thought, "Well, they're just saying this because they're trying to panic us. They're trying to say, 'Well, you might as well fall apart because you're done in anyway. Now we know they were getting this kind of input from a few dissenters.

I remember when I was busy one Friday evening at Mr. Helge's office and it was getting kind of late, toward sundown. I got a call and they said that the receiver had decided that his staff was going to work right on through the Sabbath, and they wanted to use our copy machines and they wanted some help, and so forth.

Well, I was able to get in touch with Mr. McNair and he went in and stood in the gap there. But they were assuming things because they were getting reports internally. I mean, there was substance to some of their beliefs. These were things that I didn't know about, and I guess Mr. Rader or Mr. Helge didn't know about at that point in time. We didn't know how many people were involved in this conspiracy. And I'm not sure we yet know of everyone, necessarily. Maybe there are still others.

But of all of these things they were promulgating as fact, there was some substance to it, even though there wasn't any substance to it [in the largest sense]. They thought there was substance to it. And we didn't know where it was coming from.

But I think through all of this — and it's been a nightmare of gigantic proportions in many respects — I think time after time and in dealing with them and in talking with people that we've had to terminate, let go, and others who have been salvaged back out of the fire (as Mr. Helge was mentioning) you know, it all comes down to one basic issue as far as we're concerned, as far as the Church is concerned: Is GOD in charge and has He appointed Mr. Armstrong to lead this church?

When you get rid of all of the issues that you can talk about, and all of the things that tend to confuse; when you get right down to it, its that basic issue. And I think that every church member and every minister has to come to the point where they have decided(something we all should have decided a long time ago) that God is in charge, that God called us, that God has appointed Mr. Armstrong, and caused all doctrines to flow through and come from him. I don't know of any other way that God can accomplish that purpose because He doesn't go around revealing to each one of us, "Well, this is my doctrine on tithing," or, "This is my doctrine on the keeping of the Sabbath," "This is my doctrine.." He doesn't do it that way. God has never worked that way.

But God has worked through Mr. Armstrong in a powerful way. And He does reveal doctrines through Mr. Armstrong and always has. But again, this has been a very basic issue and some have questioned whether Mr. Armstrong has a right to make the pronouncement about the sit-in. I mean, they want to question if he is right or is he wrong.

Well, there's another startling thing that he has mentioned to me several times lately. He says, "God revealed certain things to me." Now God didn't literally speak to him — he didn't say that. He said God has put things in his mind. There are those who would gainsay and say, "Aw, hogwash. That's ridiculous." Well no, it's not ridiculous. I think it's either true or else there isn't a God because God has worked that way for centuries.

I think what is difficult maybe for us to see is that "a prophet is without honor in his own country." You know, it's very difficult to realize this about Mr. Armstrong, whom most of us have come to know in various degrees of intimacy. Yes, he is a man. He has problems and frailties lust like all of us. But I think the thing we miss is that God can still use a man and use him powerfully, and can reveal things to him — and does indeed reveal things to him — things that He wants for His church, for the benefit of His church.

I think until we come to that understanding, deeply and sincerely, then all these things are always going to bother us. And if it's not a sit-in, or it's not a demonstration, or if it's not tithing, or if it's not how you keep the Sabbath, or whatever it is — these things are always going to bother us. There is always going to be some other issue. You can be assured of that! There will always be another issue. It's just moments away, or hours away, or a day away. But something else is going to come.

We must be willing and able in our own minds to come to the deep understanding that God IS — the "I am that I am," the Eternal: the Ever-existing One who does stand forth and speak and reveal, and make known to the one whom He has chosen what it is He wants done.

That's it. To me, that's what it gets down to, and that's what the great test on the church is. It gets down to that basic issue. Because, like I say, once the receivership is gone, once the demonstrations are over — I hope they don't have to happen again. I didn't like them. Mr. Rader didn't like them. Who liked them? Nobody liked them, (It was a matter of stepping in and doing something, based upon Mr. Armstrong's total and wholehearted approval of it, and saying that it was right for we did need to protect our property.) But there's always going to be something else. There just will be. And we have to remember that that's going to be the case.

When it comes down to it, we have to know where God is working, and if we know that and through whom He's working, then everything else fits into place. Then you've got the stability, you've got the foundation, and it will all fit. It will not fit any other way. It just won't fit any other way. Now you can force it. You can try to make it fit another way. You can strive with it, you can wrestle with it, you can talk about it with your fellow ministers. You can talk about it with all the pastors or evangelists or whatever — but nothing else will work. It just won't work!

There is currently a minister who has brought a complaint against the Church regarding severance pay and retirement benefits. I've talked to this person individually. What this person is saying is, "I cannot get a fair hearing or justice or fair judgment from the Church."

Now, when you've done that, how can you be a minister of the Church? How can you even be a lay member of the Church?

Now he doesn't see it that way, I don't think — that's my opinion. But when you divorce yourself from the fact that God is on His throne and is working through the Church and through Mr. Armstrong and through all of us individually in the various responsibilities He gives us, then we have no hope. I mean, we've lost the foundation, we've lost the stability. There is none because we've forgotten where Church authority is, what Church government is, who God is.

Our image of God must be such that we know that God is all-powerful, that God is on His throne that God is the Creator, the Law-giver, that He's the One who has called us, He's the One who has extended mercy to us, He's the One who has sent His own Son and is able and willing to give everything that we have need of. Otherwise we take to ourselves (you know, it gets back to the same old problem of what is right and what is wrong) opinions, making judgements ourselves, and it always involves judging God and the apostle whom He has appointed. That's what it always is, when you get down to it. It's making judgments upon God.

It's nice to be with you, and I hope that our comments have all been helpful because anyone can get off course. But either we get back on course, as Mr. Armstrong has tried to do in every area: the college, the church, the publishing arm — everything — or else we steer off course and we're gone. That's inevitable, too. So I think it's imperative that all of us, and particularly the ministers who will be going out, keep the church congregations on course.

You've all heard Mr. Luker's report on Hawaii. Frankly, I would hate to have the burden of that minister for that congregation. And that's where it lies. I don't see that it lies primarily with the congregation. I feel it lies with the minister. And that's why God says there shouldn't be many teachers or preachers or ministers among you because that is a tremendous burden, a tremendous responsibility. But when you forsake that and draw people to yourself rather than God, that's the most fearful thing that I can consider that anyone could ever do. So it's most important, I think, that we as ministers understand that and learn that lesson, and focus the membership toward God and toward the one whom He has appointed.

Whether or not we agree with every decision (and you probably will never agree with every decision that any man makes) doesn't have anything to do with it. But when Mr. Armstrong says "God revealed something to me," I kind of quiver in my boots because that's frightening. You know, that's an awesome concept, even though that shouldn't be frightening or unusual because God has revealed things to all of us.

Where did He reveal to you that His Church is? How did He reveal to you certain truths? You know, that's all no less miraculous, frankly. But it's a basic concept I've been talking about. Anyhow, I won't go on. It's time for lunch. So the best to all of you.

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Pastor General's ReportMay 14, 1979Vol 3 No. 17