Against the Gates of Hell
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Against the Gates of Hell

Chapter 7:

Fighting the Yoke

Hammer blow

   The conspiracy aborted, we were able to concentrate on the task at hand, saving the Church.
   On Monday morning, January 8, I came to my office for the first time since the takeover. At the entrance to the building I ran a gauntlet of media people who had been keeping a day and night vigil outside. Trucks filled with electronic gear filled our parking lot; long black cables snaked across our lawn and walks; reporters with microphones, tape recorders, and just old-fashioned pads and pencils were massed near the doors. "The Church," I told them, "will not permit any activities of a government agency that violate our Constitutional rights or duties to our brethren."
   Once inside, I discovered, to my amazement, that despite Judge Foster's order, the receiver and his men were still holding the premises. My office had been sealed off. About a dozen armed guards and off duty policemen, hired by Judge Weisman, stood menacingly at the door, forbidding me to enter.
   I was outraged. "This is unconstitutional," I told a string of newspersons who had followed me. Ralph Helge, who was with me, added: "In the annals of the Constitution, these are days of infamy. There have been no blacker days in history."
   After several hours of discussion with Judge Weisman, who didn't seem to realize that his powers had been sharply curtailed, we all returned in mid afternoon to court, where Judge Foster affirmed the receiver's custodian role. Back at headquarters, a much-chastened Weisman was moved out of my office and into smaller quarters down the hall. I agreed to allow him to place documents from my office under separate lock and key. He could scrutinize them to his heart's content; they were in order, businesslike, and irreproachable.
   The drama was heightening, for this was but prologue to the major scene: the hearing on whether or not the receiver should be booted out of our Church or affirmed and a permanent clamp placed on our assets, records, and transactions.
   More days were devoted to intense preparation and, on the following Wednesday morning, January 10, the climactic bearing opened before Superior Court Judge Julius M. Title. The moment I saw him, my heart sank. Judge Title, to put it charitably, is not one of California's more astute jurists. Neither was I comforted by Judge Title's remark from the bench that he was a longtime personal friend of Steven Weisman.
   Barely had the hearing begun when Judge Title, responding to a motion for dismissal by Allan Browne, ruled that the receivership does not violate any Constitutional right of religious freedom. Newspapers noted that all during the hearings, I held a Bible in my hand. When Judge Title delivered this judgment, I clutched it so tightly my knuckles whitened.
   In the three days of hearings that followed, we testified that the takeover was threatening the Church and all of its great works with total destruction. We could not meet our payroll. We could not borrow a cent for operating expenses. "We are in a crippled condition," Willis John Bicket, Our accounting manager, told the court.
   Were we "shredding" important documents? Virginia Kineston, under oath, snapped out a firm denial. "Of course I've used the shredder," she replied to a question by Hillel Chodos. "But to get rid of trivia." Once she shredded some pornographic mail someone had sent to the office. Virginia testified that Weisman had fired her without asking where her loyalties lay, and that the receiver had told her that both Herbert Armstrong and I "were out" too.
   In the end, Judge Title found no evidence of specific wrongdoing on the part of any of us and, furthermore, held that the state had not proved its charges of document shredding fraudulent liquidation of Church owned property.
   Nonetheless, he ruled that the allegations produced what he termed a "suspicion," and because this suspicion existed he dealt the Church a hammer blow: an unbelievable statement from a Superior Court judge. He ordered Judge Weisman to "take possession and control" of our Church as a temporary receiver, and as such to assume all administrative functions over everything built up over almost fifty years over Ambassador College, over the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, over the Worldwide Church of God itself.
   Weisman was empowered to hire a complete staff to assist him and to discharge any employee who, in his sole view, sought to put roadblocks in the path of his receivership. He could not summarily dismiss Herbert Armstrong or me, but if he felt our ouster was advisable or necessary he could apply to the court for permission to fire us too. Our financial compensation was made subject to Weisman's discretion. The only restriction placed on the power of the receiver was an injunction not to interfere in matters of faith, doctrine, clerical promotion, or other ecclesiastical matters. In all other things, Steven Weisman was, by this new judicial order, truly the "boss."
   Judge Title called his decision a "hard and drastic remedy." It was worse. It was a body blow. Browne immediately announced that the order would be appealed in the state as well as federal courts. "In my view," he stated, "this is a total abrogation of the First Amendment. We'll take this to the highest court in the land." I was too stunned and saddened to comment.
   For his part, Hillel Chodos was gleeful. "We won today," he announced to all who would listen. "We accomplished what we set out to do."
   They had so far.

The Wrecker

   The harm inflicted upon the Church by the harsh remedy of receivership was nothing short of catastrophic.
   To begin, the very word receivership is equated in the public mind with financial failure. Even an arrest of an individual on a charge of murder can arouse the thought that perhaps he or she may not be guilty. But when the state moves in and takes over without any notice or hearing, surely something quite dreadful must be going on insolvency, bankruptcy, or worse.
   This natural, and wholly wrong, inference was not helped by the extensive media coverage. Most of the information beamed out by television and radio and published in newspapers and newsmagazines was fragmented, the thrust of the stories placing the Church in a most unfavorable light. The coverage reflected the accusatory aspect of the story; rarely were the accounts balanced by the impeccable record of the Church, by its work and primary mission worldwide, and by background material, easily obtained, demonstrating that the charges that resulted in imposition of the receivership were entirely unfounded.
   The flawless credit worthiness that the Church had worked years to build, brick by brick, was destroyed in a single afternoon. Judge Weisman was hardly inside our building when he swung the wrecking ball that brought it down. Using the powers granted him under the ex parte order, he instructed the United California Bank, with which the Church had a $4 million line of credit, to stop payment on all checks that were outstanding.
   The effects were swift and terrible. That same day the bank withdrew its credit it cancelled a $1 million loan that had been promised and, considering the Church's spotless financial record, almost certainly would have been granted. As a final blow, the bank called in an outstanding demand loan it had made to us on our credit line, which totaled $1.3 million.
   Like any other properly run public or private business or institution, including the United States government itself, our Church has income and expenditures. Money is needed to meet current operating expenses and so we borrow. Then, with funds obtained through income, we repay the loans. In these days of complex institutional and corporate financing, not even the largest corporations can operate for one month without credit. Like most, the Church has low income times and high income times; credit is essential to keep us going during lows until we can replenish our accounts during the highs.
   We were, at the time, in a traditionally low period. And so the calling of the demand loan and cancellation of the $1 million new loan, which would have been repaid when the high came along during the Holy days several months hence, created a severe cash flow problem that resulted in unprecedented chaos.
   There was some cash in our accounts but not nearly enough to cover all the checks that had to be sent.
   Poor families, including widows with young children, who depended on welfare payments for part of their subsistence, were told their checks were worthless. Our teachers, ministers, and many hundreds of other employees were unable to cash their salary checks. The bank refused to honor the checks sent to television and radio stations, publications, and other advertising media. The payments, which had always been made promptly and regularly on leased equipment, on installment loans, and on credit card purchases, were returned. The fees given to musicians, singers, and other artists, and to artist management agencies, for performances at the Ambassador auditorium, were not honored by the bank, to our deep embarrassment.
   Because the Church's credit was all but totally destroyed, so too were the personal credit standings of its employees. They were refused loans for all sorts of things from home repair to buying automobiles. , Charge accounts and credit cards were cancelled. The college was unable to obtain even food for the cafeteria unless we paid by cash or certified check and in advance. Even though all bills had been paid fully and promptly over the years, the major credit card companies revoked the cards they had issued to officials.
   Like falling dominoes, everything began to topple or become unstuck. The Church had in effect been insuring itself under the workmen's compensation law. Whatever claims might arise would be paid by the institution. This self insured status was now thrown into question. Before long, we heard that the title company, apparently frightened off by the receivership action, had refused to issue a policy covering Ambassador College's former campus in Big Sandy. Then came word that the prospective buyer of the property had backed out of the deal. Thus the Church lost a substantial profit and, worse, was forced to continue maintaining the unused acreage, a $1.8 million annual burden.
   As for our membership, there is not a shred of doubt that had the Church been located primarily in California, it could not have survived. A memorandum prepared by the Emergency Committee for the Defense of Religious Freedom, an ad hoc, voluntary association of lay church members, makes this clear: "The sensational character of the charges and the systematic, well publicized vilification of Church officials by the Attorney General's representatives ' both in and out of court, produced a chilling effect on the membership and a consequent drop in the Church's normal revenues." That it continued to live and to fight back against the assault of the State was due solely to one fact: Although its headquarters were in California, fully 90 percent of its membership lives elsewhere in the other states and in other countries of the world and is therefore beyond the reach of the strangling arms of the California attorney general and the California courts.
   These were hurtful enough, yet we had to contend with even more the long, luxurious ride the receiver and his aides took on the gravy train at the Church's expense.
   We had been ordered by Judge Title to pay all the costs of the receivership pending trial. Steven Weisman, taking the judge at his word, spent lavishly whatever funds remained in our account. Judge Title had authorized Weisman to hire anyone he needed, including "lawyers, accountants, appraisers, business consultants, computer experts, security guards, secretarial and clerical help and employees of all sorts."
   So on January 8, Weisman asked Virginia to transfer $150,000 in Church funds to his account. She did. A few weeks later, he said lie needed another $100,000. He got that too.
   Where did it all go? Let me note without comment the following from the receiver's own accounting to the court:
   Item: In that six week period, Judge Weisman claimed that he put in 313 hours at his appointed task. His fee: $150 Per hour, he requested $51,000. Let us do some simple arithmetic. A $150 hourly fee totes up to $7,825 per week or are readers ready for this? $406,900 a year! When Steven Weisman was a Superior Court judge, he earned one tenth of that amount.
   Item: Clambering aboard the gravy train, the Chodos brothers and their associates also presented a bill for their "services." Their fees for whatever they did totaled more than $ 100,000. Hillel Chodos informed the court that he "refrains" from keeping time records but estimated that he had worked more than 300 hours in the diligent pursuit of his mission and asked for compensation at the rate of $200 per hour, or $75,000. (I know of few attorneys, even at the nation's most prestigious law firms, who bill their clients at those prices.) Another little exercise in arithmetic will show that this compensation is at the annual rate of over $450,000, an income earned by rock stars and major corporate executives but hardly by private attorney "deputies" appointed by an attorney general.
   Item: The receiver employed not one but two sets of attorneys (one for "ordinary" matters and one for litigation matters), whose combined bills totaled just under $60,000. These counsel billed their services at rates comparable to those charged by the receiver for himself. One of these also billed time for his daughter, also an attorney. This particular attorney (who, coincidentally, shares professional offices with Judge Weisman), billed over 200 hours over the six week period and submitted a bill for $31,200, approximately $5,000 a week or an annual rate of $250,000 per year.
   Item: Guard services for six weeks billed a total of just under $60,000, or approximately $ 10,000 per week.
   Item: Peat, Marwick & Mitchell, the national auditing firm retained by the receiver, submitted bills totaling $32,300.
   Item: Two "operating officers" retained by the receiver at varying periods submitted bills for, respectively, $15,100 and $19,300. The fees billed by one of these totaled $12,400 for an eleven day period (during which he claimed to have expended 155 hours, or approximately 14 hours per day), which was "discounted" to $11,160, or approximately $1,000 per day (an annual rate of something in excess of $300,000 per year). This individual also included bills for time put in by a relative. The rate billed by the other was $640 per them or an annual rate of $160,000 per year.
   Both of these operating officers, it should be noted, were for some reason imported to Pasadena from the San Francisco Bay area, and their statements reflected, in addition to handsome fees, healthy sums for air transportation, cab fares, auto rentals, hotels, and meals.

   Two weeks went by, weeks in which we worked even longer and harder than before on the case we would present to over-throw the receivership order.
   We obtained a short breathing spell by filing a notice of appeal in the state Court of Appeals for an immediate stay of Judge Title's order. It was denied. Then, on the ground that the Church's right of religious freedom under the First Amendment to the Constitution was being violated, we asked for relief in the United States District Court.
   Before our case could be heard, the receiver thwarted an effort we made to raise money for our defense. From Tucson, Herbert Armstrong had sent a letter to Church members asking them to send funds directly to Arizona. "Satan," he wrote, "has struck his master blow to destroy God's Church. We must now fight as never before knowing God will fight our battles for us. The State has seized and tied up all our Church funds, so send a special offering to me, personally, for the defense of God's work
   The appeal for contributions was processed at the Pasadena headquarters and 60,000 copies were deposited for mailing at the city's post office. Judge Weisman quickly ordered an em¬bargo placed on the letters, throttling our efforts to seek legal redress. He did it quite thoroughly, in fact, withholding not only this mail but all first class letters sent by the Church.
   Hillel Chodos, commenting on the action, delivered himself of this gem: "It [mailing of the letters] certainly isn't cooperation.
   It has always been our belief that the members of the Church are fine people and law abiding and that they would be eager to see the affairs of the Church brought into proper order and that all rumors that aren't true are finally quashed. We would hope that members will be eager to cooperate. But we can't protect people from their own foolishness."
   It was a Catch 22 position for us. Waging legal battle to prove that the rumors were nonsense is costly. But the receiver had full control over the Church's funds, and was certainly not about to release any of them to help us fight him in court. So when our members were asked to support that legal fight to prove, once and for all, that the state's case was threadbare, they were called "foolish."
   After the letters were impounded, thousands of these same "foolish" people signed a petition affirming their support of Mr. Armstrong. It was a stirring document:
   No other person receiver, referee or otherwise is entitled to determine, supervise or influence how God's tithes are spent.
   Any attempt to do so is against God's will.
   I fervently believe that God has commissioned Herbert W. Armstrong to spread the gospel of the Kingdom of God where, when, how, through whom, and through what means Mr. Armstrong in his sole and absolute authority determines, and that Mr. Armstrong is accountable only to God for his decisions, both spiritual and temporal.
   On January 18, six days after Judge Title's order, we were rebuffed again in the United States District Court when Federal Judge Robert Firth refused to intervene. "There is a very substantial question on whether the plaintiffs will prevail on the merits of this case," Judge Firth announced in the packed courtroom. He also said: "I just don't have quite the degree of ego to interfere. It is very delicate as to whether we should intrude at all." He didn't, and that was the bad news.
   Our attorneys argued that Judge Weisman's embargo on the letters sent to members, which had been upheld by Judge Title, was a violation of Herbert Armstrong's right to communicate with his flock. Judge Firth still could not bring himself to intervene without fuller arguments, and didn't.
   We left the courtroom with heavy hearts. Our string was running out....
   Despite the setback and other intermittent ones, one light never failed. It emerged from the Church members themselves it is an eternal light and I will tell you about it here. It still brings a lump to my throat.
   One of the most thrilling experiences of my life was observing the brethren as they reacted to the assaults of the attorney general and his agents.
   In my quarter century of worldwide travel doing God's work, I have met thousands of those brethren. They are almost a race apart, yet consisting of all races and backgrounds and poised for action in every corner of the world. I have repeated, for years, that I have never met one of them that I didn't like. They are a unique breed that has undergone a training process involving years of private study on their own, before even becoming Church members. The Church does not proselytize, so the members feel very firmly that they have been called by God to do His work. By the very nature of their individual training over a long period, and their continual renewal in that training process, they emerge as a highly articulate, sensitive, action oriented group.
   That is why, as I said on January 3, that the corrupt agents of the state may do as they will with so called corporate entities. They may use threats, force of arms, imprisonment, and even murder. But God's people doing His work are assured by God's word, the Holy Bible, that they will prevail not only against a puny state government, but also against "the gates of hell." They are promised that despite temporary "successes," all attempts to suppress God's work must fail.
   The machinations of the various governments including the state attorney general's office are outlined quite eloquently in Psalm 2. Read carefully; this is a picture of exactly what is happening now to the Church and a clear warning to the corrupt rulers of exactly what will happen in the very near future. The
   One who made their feeble minds roars with laughter at their antics. As the state action began to develop against our Church, we have also been learning to laugh.
Psalm 2
   1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
   2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
   3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
   4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
   5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
   6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
   7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
   8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
   9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
   10 Be wise now therefore, 0 ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
   11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
   12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
   My assistant, John Kineston, was recently reminding me of some of his reactions on January 3, which he described as "the blackest day in my life." He had received an early morning call at his home that he was not to come to work, that the offices had been locked and sealed. So he spent the day on another project, entirely cut off except for a few bits of phone information he acquired. At five o'clock he finally entered the executive office to find armed agents swarming about. One overbearing person was goose stepping throughout the premises hurling guttural Commands. Virginia Kineston, my executive secretary, was gathering her possessions amidst tears of rage. John Kineston then found out that his wife had been fired, the other employees all put on probation. Virginia and John Kineston were ordered to pick up their possessions and get off "the property of the state of California." As they left the building, those bitter beings who had long sought both overtly and covertly to destroy the Church, were now confidently circling the property. The Kinestons then picked up my wife and sped to Beverly Hills. John dropped the others at the law offices and put our overnight bags in our place of exile, a local hotel. Then he raced to the law offices, was ushered into a solemn assemblage of lawyers, all stern faced with one exception; I was laughing heartily. John could not imagine why until he began to listen. I was explaining to our lawyers not only what God would do for us, and what Herbert Armstrong would do, but what those Church brethren from around the world would do. Here were 70,000 people who have been training, and more important, waiting, waiting, for just this time. Now the day of battle had dawned, and they were ready. But the trumpet must sound. They must be informed of the attack.
   So I was laughing at the very clear picture that I had of the reactions that would come automatically, of which the predators had no inkling. They had been infected with false information and were already gnawing on what they thought was carrion.
   Now I stopped laughing. The problem lay in informing the worldwide network of God's people. To prevent this, the state pulled out all stops, even audaciously proclaiming, via telegram, to all ministers, that all the money from all the members worldwide must be sent to the ample pockets of Judge Weisman and his two hundred dollar per hour deputy, Hillel Chodos.
   When Herbert Armstrong wrote a letter to the Church, the state's Gestapo, in conjunction with collaborating enemy agents within the organization, stopped the mails.
   But every oppressive action of the state worked against it. It didn't help their cause when one of its more callow agents threatened an eight months pregnant Church receptionist with a gun when she denied him entry to her office. When this thug, posing as an angel of light saving the Church from the likes of Herbert Armstrong and Stanley Rader, made his threat, Pat Holbrooks thrust her expanded stomach into the doorway arid said, "So shoot me!" Thankfully, he barely restrained himself.
   I insisted, from the beginning on January 3, that as many Church brethren as possible be urged to attend the meetings in the law offices, and to be in attendance at the various court hearings.
   An outstanding example of the kind of man the Church produces appeared at the law offices the very first night of the attack, and throughout the early days of the crisis, and provided much of the direct communication with God's people worldwide. Joe Kotora, a supposedly disabled man from Pittsburgh, in his middle fifties, who has traveled all over the United States visiting the various churches, was able, by staying up often twenty four and more hours at a time, to contact members everywhere with a blow by blow eyewitness view of the events at the law office base where Herbert Armstrong's directions poured in from Tucson.
   Interestingly, six months later, Joe Kotora was still working and without pay, as were, ultimately, hundreds and thousands of others. Moved to tears, Mr. Armstrong has said he can never thank these people "of whom the world is not worthy
   Thank you, thank you, thank you."
   Later, Kotora was assaulted by one of the state's so called relators," the 300 pound Dave Morgan, who cursed the 140pound man and bashed his head to a bloody pulp over a police car. Another original touch was added when the police emerged on the scene; Morgan hastily backed away from his poundings while screaming accusations against the bloody, dazed Kotora.
   These dedicated Church members packed every courtroom, lining up at dawn outside the courts. One couple from New Zealand, Neville and Elaine Morgan, postponed a globe girdling trip to be in attendance at all the sessions. The people alternately roared with laughter and groaned as a snarling individual characterized them as stupid sheep brainwashed into following a mesmerizing cultist leader." He persistently lied about them, their leaders, and their hard earned beliefs. All the while he claimed to be defending the interests of the Church people and begged the Court, like a seal begging food, for $100,000 in legal fees from the Church. He didn't get the money!
   For the past fifty years Herbert Armstrong has taught, following Christ's example, respect for constituted authority, while recognizing that the Bible also teaches that in these "last days" our government leaders, judges, and bureaucrats would be "unjust" and corrupt. Our once respectful people saw firsthand the ugliness of naked government power. They were astonished, both visibly and audibly, when they heard Judge Firth solemnly state that he could not bother to take the trouble to read the papers in the case. They laughed as the man, supposedly in charge of the case, could not even articulate its basic facts. As he stammered incoherently, Chodos patted him gently to his seat, unctuously purring to the Judge that Mr. Tapper's inarticulate muttering was caused by the fact that he, counselor Chodos, had prepared the "theory" of this case. Apparently Tapper learned slowly; the Los Angeles Times revealed that he ranked close to the bottom in his law school class.
   The people sat stunned as the attorney general of the most populous and powerful state in the nation paraded perjured testimony before them, and then turned around to slander the Church's only witnesses as perjurers.
   Church employees Virginia and John Kineston and Bill Whitman were accused of shredding, destroying, and removing Church documents and records from Church property. As this perjured testimony was presented, Church members in the courtroom were raging and begging to take the witness stand to expose the tainted testimony and the coarsely unethical accusations by the state's attorneys. These people were, after all, the very ones who had custody of all the records. They knew intimately the absurdity of the charge that the three accused individuals could possibly have taken records stored in sophisticated data banks, and in the IBM 370 computer located in a building that I had never entered, and which Herbert Armstrong had not entered for years. They further knew that what was in the records had nothing to do with the state's charges. They also knew that a cordon of armed guards had surrounded the building day and night since January 3, denying entry to all. Further, the Church itself had its guards guarding the guards. These people who listened in the courtroom skilled, capable, highly trained were actually the ones responsible for all the money, both in its receipt and its expenditure. The attorney general, by his employment of the Big Lie, had lost his case on Day One, when the Church people were informed of the charges in the complaint and heard the nonsense spouted in court.
   On one occasion, the attorney general stated in court "we have evidence of records being taken out through the roof in a Cadillac limousine." Headlines trumpeted the blatant lies of a so called "agent" of "the honorable Judge Weisman." According to him, a limousine, heavy with gold bullion, had sped from the basement of the Hall of Administration. The people in all the Church's sensitive positions recognized this as nonsense.
   When the Kinestons and Bill Whitman were accused of perjury and burglary, the insiders rushed to their aid. Beside the impossibility of the record destruction and other acts at the time of "the crime," John Kineston was enjoying a hearty meal in the midst of a crowded restaurant with a table full of witnesses, and Bill Whitman was 130 miles way in the presence of another army of witnesses. The press trumpeted a story of two eyewitnesses who testified to the theft of records, but utterly ignored the sheaves of written court declarations affirming and swearing to the contrary. Even the security officer in charge of the attorney general filed a declaration on behalf of Kineston and Whitman. Not one bit of evidence was produced to show that Virginia Kineston had ever shredded a Church document; shreds were produced, but they were not of such documents.
   Thus the evidence overwhelmingly reveals that the state used false testimony.
   The district attorney's investigator spent two days at Church headquarters, and countless hours investigating the case. The facts were clear and overwhelming in a matter that a criminal attorney called "the most compelling case for perjury I have ever seen." Yet no action has ever been taken beyond the investigation. Could the district attorney be afraid of the attorney general? As one of our most experienced lawyers has stated from the outset, "They will never prosecute for perjury because perjury has become a Constitutional right."
   For years, as a trained member of the legal establishment, I encouraged Herbert Armstrong to have faith in our system, and that justice would prevail. Mr. Armstrong consistently resisted my advice. Now I know why and must apologize to him, and to the Church brethren. They knew something I didn't know.
   The Big Lie worked in those gullible courts where all were too impressed by the attorney general. They were bending over backwards to be misled.
   But the scheme crumbled when used against intelligent and informed individuals who have been raised up at this most crucial time to trumpet God's last message of hope. It's one thing to tell a "Judge" Pacht that we are a bowl of spiders. It's quite another to say it to Church people; they know better.
   During the hysteria of the daily headlines last January, a television reporter asked a member of the Church if he was concerned by what happened to his tithes. He said, "Yes, I am concerned.." and then he paused dramatically and continued, "That's why I send all my tithes to Mr. Armstrong."
   Another telecaster from CBS, obviously in open sympathy with the Church people, wept in their presence when she saw state officers, armed with axes and automatic weapons, assembled in an assault force by the hundreds to storm and overthrow peaceful people joined together in worship of their God. This reporter was taken off the story she was too sympathetic to the Church.
   So I pay tribute, along with Herbert Armstrong, to those who have been called and trained with him to carry Christ's Gospel to this world. They are an incredible international group; they have been promised, in God's Word, that they will prevail.
   Recently I was giving my deposition in the attorney general's office in Los Angeles. With me was a friend whose presence was questioned, When asked very harshly to identify himself, he replied politely that he represented the interests of Ambassador College. The attorney general asked him in what capacity. He calmly replied, "I'm a painter." The ensuing silence was classic.
   Corrupt government officials eager to make headlines try to dupe the press. Pliant courts may paint Herbert Armstrong and the Work of the Church and me in any denigrating fashion. But the painters, the farmers, the executives, the scientists, the teachers, and all who comprise the body of this Work know the truth. This is only one reason why the state will not prevail.


Tales More Fearsome Than Fanciful — 2

The Fine Art of Appointing Judges in California

   The governor leaned back in his executive chair. Suddenly a stabbing pain shot through the big muscle he was sitting on. Leaping to his feet, he whirled about to face his unseen attacker. A little dart tumbled softly from the back of his trousers into the fluffy rug.
   "Gray, get in here!" bellowed Jerry. "We've got to do something about Mike. He has been sitting in my chair again while I was back in Washington testifying on the feasibility of build windmills on the hills overlooking all centers of political rhetoric. Only this time he has been playing with my darts. He promised not to do that."
   Gray looked around the room. "Oh, oh," he murmured as he paced quickly over to the dartboard on the far wall of the office opposite the desk. "I'm afraid we have more trouble than that. There is a dart already stuck in the board. Mike has discovered how you make judicial appointments and has already made one of his own."
   The governor sprinted over. Sure enough, there in one of the slots marked for appeals judges was a dart with the name of a Republican on it.
   "I wonder how he managed to hit the board with so little practice," Jerry fumed. "It takes me a long time to get the darts into the open slots on the board. Most of them end lip in the wall. I've even heard some of my appointments described as 'off the wall.' But people who criticize me for being slow in making appointments just don't realize all that is involved the co-ordination of eye and arm that is necessary.
   "And we are supposed to use only the darts that come Packaged from the bar committee with names of qualified judges already on them. My predecessor started that bit of red tape, claiming that judicial appointments should be based on merit, not politics. Now they send over a box of Republican darts and Democratic darts. I just toss them at the empty spots on the appointment board and whoever hits an empty slot is appointed. Of course, I haven't been able to hit the board very often with a Republican dart! But what does that matter to the people as long as they get good Democrats!
   "We have got to get Mike in here and make him agree to leave my darts alone," grumped Jerry. "I'm leaving the state again next week to address the legislature in New Hampshire, and I don't want to come back and find more darts in the board or in my chair. He just wants to be governor and doesn't want to wait his turn. He can sit in my chair and count the paper clips while I'm gone. But he mustn't play with the darts. Call him up and make an agreement on that."
   "Just to be on the safe side, governor, shouldn't you try to fill the vacancies before you leave?" advised Gray.
   "I'll try," Jerry moaned. "But that board is harder to hit than you think. It will take me all weekend."
   As it turned out, the governor was only able to hit seventeen of the thirty five openings on the board before he left, exhausted, for more important business in New Hampshire.
   "All in all, I believe the interests of the people of California were admirably served," stated the governor in a news conference upon his return. "After all, the first presidential primary this year is in New Hampshire."
   "Pardon me," asked an obviously novice capital reporter. "But how does that fact interest the citizens of California?"
   "I can tell that you are new around here," snapped Jerry. "Why, as long as I'm perceived as a presidential contender, I keep getting my name in the headlines. Since I'm governor of California, for the time being anyway, that can't help but be important to our great state and its fine citizens. Why, I may even go to Africa in another week or so to celebrate my birthday, promote the interests of California's citizens, conserve their tax dollars, and bring about world peace. I believe Gray told me the other day that some folks think going to Africa would be the best thing I could do for California."

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Publication Date: 1980
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