11 Accusations and Truthful Responses about Roderick Meredith
Most who once claimed to believe the teachings of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) have scattered into various groups, dropped out, or consider themselves 'independent'. For years, there have been various accusations many have heard regarding Roderick C. Meredith.
The purpose of this article is to bring up several of those accusations and provide responses so that those who really do want the truth can get it.
1. Accusation Roderick Meredith has a history of supporting false prophecies and should not be listened to.
Response While it is true that Dr. Meredith at one time believed that Christ would probably return by 1975, the following quotes are quite instructive:
As 1972 drew closer, however, some began to question the time line set forth by Mr. Armstrong and Herman L. Hoeh, the chief architect of the church's teachings on government and prophetic understanding. The first high-profile minister to do so was Roderick C. Meredith, then head of the WCG ministers and now presiding evangelist and founder of the Global Church of God. In the late 1960s Mr. Meredith wrote in a letter to the ministry that he felt there was "more time left than we had expected." To his credit, Mr. Meredith tackled the issue head on and began to influence members to rethink the issue" (Robinson John. WCG governmental history traced up to Tkach era. In Transition. January 31, 1997).
Dr. Meredith informed me that this letter was sent to all the ministers in WCG in 1969.
Furthermore, here is what Leroy Neff (who is a UCG, not an LCG, member) said on the subject of Christ returning in 1975,
Rod Meredith preached strongly around 1970 that it was very unlikely (Warren, John. Third Ambassador campus came to Texas in 1964. The Journal. September 30, 2002).
Let's look at one of Dr. Meredith's later end-time comments. In his 10/23/01 Co-worker letter, LCG's Dr. Meredith reported,
"In every way, dear brethren, we need to increase the power of this Work. For now, more than ever, this world desperately needs what we have to give. It may be helpful to review some of the specific warnings I have given you in the last couple of yearslong before the events of September 11, 2001:
"December 24, 1999, co-worker letter: "Even as I write, Americans are being warned of potential terrorist attacks right here in the United States. A powerful European Empire is in the makingsoon to replace America as the worlds leading power."
"From my February 24, 2000 co-worker letter: "God predicts that alternate drought and floods, fires and famine, disease epidemics and increasing earthquakes will come upon us, plus many kinds of terrorsprobably including terrorist threats and attacks."
"From the co-worker letter of October 26, 2000: "Greetings from San Diego! A holy war coming up in the Middle East? American ships and troops being involved? An escalation of anti-American hatred throughout the Arab world? A cut-off of Arab oil and terrorist attacks right here on American soil? All of these things and more are now distinct possibilities!"
"Notice this powerful quote from my March 12, 2001 co-worker letter: "Also, the Arab terrorist organization Hamas has proclaimed that they are going to welcome new Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a wave of terrorist attacks. So these could begin soonand will eventually involve terrorism not only in the Middle East but in Great Britain and right here in the United States."
So we have beenalmost alonetelling you brethren and co-workers exactly what was going to happen! And as long as we obey Him, the great God whom we serve will continue to use us as His instruments to warn our people of what lies ahead. What an opportunity and what a challenge God has set before us! "
Perhaps I should add something else. In his 8/04/01 sermon (five weeks before the World Trade Center attack and around 8 weeks before anthrax was detected), Dr. Meredith warned that terrorists may bomb the World Trade Center and that biological weapons, specifically including anthrax, could be released in the U.S. at any time (Prophetic Prophecies on the Edge, San Diego, August 4, 2001).
And we can expect to see more and more such disasters like 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which caused dozens of deaths and $25 billion in damage in Florida and Louisiana, and the great midwest flood of 1993, the costliest flood in United States history, which killed dozens and caused $18 billion in damage. We will see more and more human tragedies even surpassing the great Galveston hurricane of 1900, which killed an estimated 8,000 people. As our national sins increase, God’s Word tells us that His wrath will also increase (Meredith RC. Who Controls the Weather. LCG Booklet, 2003).
On other matters, the December 26, 2004 tsunami brought this response from a COG critic,
"Amos 3:7 reads, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."...I have an open question (possibly the ultimate acid test) for all COG members: Was your apostle, local minister, pastor-general, or rabbi over there sounding a warning to these people? Or, is he now simply jumping on it "after the fact", and milking it for all it's worth? Byker Bob" (Ambassador Watch. 1/8/05).
Well, since he asked here is what LCG's R.C. Meredith wrote in his Personal for the Jan-Feb 2005 issue of Tomorrow's World magazine (which he wrote and had printed before the recent tsunami), bolding mine,
Events prophesied in your Bible are now beginning to occur with increasing frequency. In this Work of the living God, we are able to warn you about what is going to happen soon. We are not talking about decades in the future. We are talking about Bible prophecies that will intensify within the next five to 15 years of your life! Please understand. We are not "scaremongers." We love our fellow man. So it is our responsibility to warn our peoplesahead of timeto prepare for the future. Most of our advice is spiritual in nature. However, in this editorial I want to give you some common sense advice involving your physical survival and your financial well-being...So we must each examine our own situation to determine what action we should take. Are we living in a low-lying coastal area where we may be in danger at a time of increasing hurricanes, tsunamis or similar natural disasters?
Here is what he wrote in his 7/20/05 Co-worker letter,
As Tomorrow’s World has warned for years, the United States and its British-descended allies are headed for disaster unless we genuinely turn to the true God and His ways. Frankly, God is determined to get our attention one way or another! From now on, you will see a "pattern" in this slow but sure decline of American power and prestige. Of course, there will be ups and downs along the way. But the continual "breaking" of our national pride because of disaster after disaster in the Middle East and elsewhere, the repeated pounding by drought, wildfires in some areas and alternate hurricanes and floods in others, serious earthquakes and the growing specter of disease epidemics—all of these tragedies will begin to bring our people to their knees unless they genuinely repent!
Now, I do not believe that RC Meredith believes that he personally was foretelling the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, the Fall of 2001 anthrax incidents, the 12/26/04 tsunami, the 07/07/05 terrorist bombings in London, nor Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 (I suspect, based upon my earlier conversations with him, that he simply believes he is teaching what the Bible says he should teach in light of the current situations).
The future? Here is another statement from that same article by RC Meredith,
I also want to strongly encourage our subscribersespecially the Americansto prepare for a financial emergency that may strike our nation within a very few years. Although I am certainly not a financial expert, I do have access to many very reliable news sources. Right now, more and more news reports are warning of an impending financial collapse that may devastate the United States within the next several years!
He was correct about that as the USA was hit with a major one in late 2008 that is still not over. And ultimately that will probably affect the US more than the tsunami affected the coastal regions of southern Asia. Why? Because it would be part of the beginnings of the time of 'Jacob's trouble'. Jeremiah 30:7 states, "Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble."
On March 23, 2012 Dr. Meredith stated that he felt Israel would attack Iran by November 2012. And while he was not correct about that, he was not prophesying per se, just giving an opinion that ended up not be correct.
2. Accusation In the 1960s, Dr. Meredith was too hard on the field ministry and others.
Response Dr. Meredith said he inherited a system designed by former military people that he was expected to administer. He did what he knew how to at the time (and was about 1/2 his current age). Dr. Meredith has stated that in some areas he feels that he was too hard on some, he also feels that some under him were overly zealous and implied he supported certain actions that he did not support. He has normally (though not always) tended to take a softer approach since.
Semi-Accusation (not really accusations, but questions about my responses above) Why did so many ministers and bretheren who were familiar with Rod Meredith, and his softer approach as you state, not join Global and formed United? If he was the man you say then why did they not come? All mistaken of their experiences with him? Unjustified in disagreement with him?
Response The ministers who went with UCG, partially went because Roderick Meredith had a reputation for being too harsh, especially in the 1960s. I said that Dr. Meredith agreed with that assessment. I also think Dr. Meredith went too far, and even crossed the line, before the GCG split to overly soften his position--I disagreed when he did that--I also told him that personally. Many COG leaders/ministers distrust him.
Are all mistaken about their experiences with Dr. Meredith? Probably not, but all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
3. Accusation Roderick Meredith is highly involved with pornography.
Response According to Dr. Meredith, this is completely false, though often repeated by those who have not checked the facts. For example, some have cited Ambassador Report #10, November 19, 1979: "WCG evangelist's porno collection" as proof that Dr. Meredith is involved with pornography. However, here is a quote about it from a Dr. Meredith critic, "Steve from ESN advises us however that the evangelist concerned was not Meredith" (emphasis his). Thus this so-called 'proof' has been shown to be false.
In a book written by John Tuit titled The Truth Shall Make You Free, Tuit claims that Dr. Meredith has viewed X-rated movies and been to adult bookstores (1981, p.208). Tuit then states this alleged practice, "has been explained by him as a necessary part of his research in order that he may speak out properly against such sins in his sermons." Dr. Meredith told me that he has never viewed an x-rated movie or been in any x-rated bookstores (thus, it is logical to conclude that he never made that so-called explanation). Tuit possibly could have asked Dr. Meredith about this, but did not--instead he provides no source for his allegations--which suggests that he was passing on rumors which he never tried to actually verify (see also Leviticus 19:16).
4. Accusation "He was proud of the fact that he spanked his teenage daughter on her bare backside at least once a week whether she needed it or not, just to keep her in line."
Response This false statement is also from John Tuit's The Truth Shall Make You Free (1981, p.208). I called both of Dr. Meredith's daughters individually (11/20/01). They both told me that this was absolutely false (as well as the accusations about Dr. Meredith and pornography). One said she was never spanked as a teen; the other said she was spanked only one time as a teen, her bottom was not bare, she deserved the one spanking, and that her mother told her father to spank her. If Tuit would have bothered to contact Dr. Meredith's daughters, he could have easily found out that this 'fact' as he put it, was totally false.
Tuit hints that this spanking statement was 'in a sermon' (the closest he seems to come to providing any source for his allegations). He never says when, he never says where. He never said he actually heard the sermon in question either. Now if this alleged remark was actually made by Dr. Meredith 'in a sermon,' then there would have been sermon tapes. At least one of these tapes should be in the custody of the WCG. Is it not logical that if such a sermon existed, that at least one individual at WCG might get this tape released to discredit Dr. Meredith? And of course, since the statement never was made, such a sermon has never been released.
Although at least one anti-COG website says that the Tuit reports were "common knowledge," the truth is that many of the reports are not true. Long-time evangelist Dibar Apartian first started teaching at Ambassador College in the 1950's (he died in late 2010). After I read him the Tuit material on 11/28/01 he stated, "Never heard those things, not aware of those things happening. Its absurd." Unless they are claiming that Mr. Apartian is also lying, the idea of this being true "common knowledge" appears to be false (though of course among those who pass rumors without checking them out, inaccurate "common knowledge" is still inaccurate).
5. Accusation Herbert Armstrong banished Roderick Meredith to Hawaii and wrote some negative things about him.
Response This is true, however it should be noted that Herbert Armstrong moved Dr. Meredith back to the mainland and back into a leadership position after this occurred. Actually, HWA had a 2 1/4 private meeting with Dr. Meredith when he arrived back from Hawaii and spent most of that meeting explaining in a somewhat apologetic manner for sending him there.
On 1/04/99, Ron Laughlin sent out the following email on this subject,
In response to your questions about the letter from Mr. Armstrong to Dr. Meredith let me fill you in on what I know about the situation. It is a shame that the church of God has to have gossip, rumor and destruction of character as it's main method of dealing with each other. I have experienced over the years how people trying to get something use the destruction of anothers character to further their own ambitions. I was in Pasadena in 1979 when Dr. Meredith was director of the ministry. At that time Joe Tkach and Kevin Dean were attempting to become the power brokers for the church. GTA had been eliminated. Dr. Meredith was the next natural enemy that was in the way of them running the church under Mr. Armstrong. I was approached by Kevin Dean to start a campaign and write a letter against Dr. Meredith so that he would be removed and Mr. Tkach would be put in his place. That is the way the church operated at that time. Politics was the guide for the operation of the church of God. Mr. Armstongs letter was based on false information feed (sic) to him by these men. I feel that anything he wrote was what he thought was truth and therefore, as he always said, "if you start with a false premise you will not have the truth".
On 12/28/99, the now late Carl McNair sent an email to someone on this matter, which he later sent to me:
Mr. Helge affirmed in a response to my question, "why was Rod Meredith sent to Hawaii" that "he was lied on". You have heard, I presume, Mr. Meredith's statement of his visit with Mr. Armstrong after his re-instatement. Since his apology was not in writing and his rebuke to Rod is left bare. And one can believe or dis-believe according to his personal animous. I believe it is evil to use what was written as an evaluation twenty years ago by a man who has been dead for twelve years and cannot respond. Those persons who went through Mr. Armstrong's personal files and culled out one negative letter and published it have somewhat to answer for. And those who allow themselves to make judgments based upon this letter will themselves be judged according to their judgment of Rod. I suggest you think carefully about that.
Now some further background information might be helpful. The late Richard Nickels (not an LCG member) wrote,
Tkach was elevated to an evangelist for his role during the receivership crisis in 1979, and headed the Ministerial Service's Department from the dismissal of Rod Meredith, who was exiled in Hawaii in 1979" (Nickels, Richard. Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1996. p.219)
Meredith's refusal to ordain Joseph Tkach and Stanley Radar as evangelists ultimately led to his departure in 1992" (p. 217).
It is interesting to notice that Dr. Meredith himself headed up Ministerial Services until J. Tkach somehow got that job, that Dr. Meredith refused to ordain J. Tkach prior to that as an evangelist, and that Dr. Meredith was 'lied on' (per Ralph Helge who is also not an LCG member) and sent to Hawaii. Of course recall that Herbert Armstrong had Dr. Meredith sent back to the mainland and placed him on the Council of Elders.
Those who believe they have insider information that Dr. Meredith was sent to Hawaii because to sent a letter to the ministry so that he would be placed in charge instead of Stanley Radar in the event of HWA's death appear to be in error. That never happened and no letter was ever sent (nor any copy ever produced).
Dr. Meredith was sent to Hawaii mainly because people wanted to eliminate him--the fact that HWA had been misled by some of them is sad. It is also sad that HWA appointed J. Tkach (one who proved unfaithful) as Pastor General.
Perhaps it should be noted that HWA admitted that loyal ministers had been sent away at times. Notice what he wrote:
Much of what they did was carefully kept from me. Those of higher rank, but subject to day to day executive administration at Pasadena, who were stedfastly loyal to the Church and its true teachings, were suppressed or gradually removed from Pasadena (Armstrong HW. Recent History of the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God. Worldwide News. June 24, 1985).
The above account includes what happened to R.C. Meredith when he objected to various aspects of GTA's behavior in the earlier 1970s.
6. Accusation Dr. Meredith made statements prior to the takeover by the GCG board which indicated there were no real problems.
Response This is correct. I personally believe that Dr. Meredith should not have made several of the statements that he did, and told him when I had the opportunity. Dr. Meredith has publicly apologized for making them. Dr. Meredith was striving too hard for unity within GCG and simply believed the board when its members told him they did not want to takeover, but only that he should share more of the governance--they told him that there was really no problem and that is what he excessively conveyed. He has also made statements since that he either should not have or should have taken more action to confirm his promises.
I disagreed with Dr. Meredith's decisions at the time of the GCG crisis to share more of the governance. Dr. Meredith, sadly, had to learn about some of this the hard way.
7.a. Accusation Roderick Meredith attempted to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars and was stopped by the board of the Global Church of God.
Response This is a preposterous tale perpetuated by those who supported the takeover of the Global Church of God. The truth is that Dr. Meredith did not embezzle, nor did he receive any money.
GCG had a practice of repaying loans on demand to individual members if they asked to be paid back early. Dr. Meredith honored that practice, yet the board stopped payment on those checks. Though the board said they would pay the loans back later, the sad truth is that after spending all the money that was in GCG's bank account on their salaries and other expenses, the board declared a type of bankruptcy, and did not pay back the lenders. For those with any doubts, it is interesting to note that a court later concluded that the loans Dr. Meredith attempted to repay upon demand were indeed due and payable (Donald Davis v. Global Church of God, Superior Court of San Diego, Case No. GIC 734248). Therefore, it was the Board of Global that acted improperly by stopping a bona fide repayment of those loans.
7.b.Accusation Dr. Meredith co-signed one or more checks after knowing that Don Davis no longer had check signing authority.
(I call this 7.b. because this was sent to me by someone in response to what I am now referring to as 7.a.)
Response Let's look at the facts. First, it is true that the board decided to remove Don Davis's signature authority. Second, it is true that Dr. Meredith was aware of this. However, he was not certain as to when this removal was to be effective. He had Don check with the controller (Fred Dattolo) to be sure that he still had signature authority. He was told he still had it. The checks were signed. I personally talked with Dattolo, Davis, and Meredith to verify this.
Also, I should add that I have had signature authority in four California corporations, and in two of them, the effective date was an issue at some time. Thus this was not that unusual. So there is no way that I believe Dr. Meredith was involved in any kind of embezzlement. I believe the embezzlement issue was a smokescreen, which sadly too many believed.
7.c.Accusation Did Rod Meredith not create the $1 million debt to go on television? Is this responsible stewardship?
(I call this 7.c. because this was sent to me by someone in response to what I am now referring to as 7.a.)
Response No, Dr. Meredith did not, though he bore some initial responsibility. Dr. Meredith made the decisions he did based upon information he was provided by his staff. A leading staff member erred with some of the information he provided to Dr. Meredith. Fred Dattalo told me that when he discovered this, he went to Dr. Meredith and advised him of the problem. Dr. Meredith immediately embarked on a cost cutting program and began to reduce the debt (this debt-reduction program was mentioned in a letter to the membership). The cost-cutting program was so successful, that the debt was in the process of being retired at a faster than anticipated pace.
Furthermore, in the final GCG board meeting that Dr. Meredith attended, he essentially stated to the board they were about to remove him, "So you understand that doing this makes you responsible for all the Global assets and debts?" The board said yes and removed him anyway. By removing Dr. Meredith from the board, the board absolved him of debt responsibility and took it upon itself. The other pertainent facts to consider are that GCG had about $500,000 in the bank at the time of the takeover, but instead of using it to pay off debt, the GCG board stopped payment on 2-3 debt repayment checks, did not repay any significant amount of the debt, spent the money on itself, and then left by declaring a form of bankruptcy. It was the GCG board, and not Dr. Meredith, who in my opinion, did not practice responsible stewardship.
8. Accusation The majority of GCG Council Members removed Dr. Meredith from his position in GCG.
Response It is amazing that some associated with the GCG takeover have continued to publish this type of statement even after they bankrupted GCG. The fact is that there were originally 12 members of the Council of Elders. Ten of which agreed to expel David Pack (two abstained), which left eleven (since David Pack was expelled). Then Colin Adair died, leaving ten. Six Council of Elders members supported Dr. Meredith. They were Roderick C. Meredith, Carl McNair, Richard Ames, Dibar Apartian, Charles Bryce, and John Ogwyn. All of whom were in LCG (until Carl McNair and John Ogwyn died)--hence Dr. Meredith's opponents never had a majority of GCG Council Members who truly opposed him. All of this information is included in An Open Letter from the Council of Elders Dated: 12/4/98.
I should probably add that at least one member of the board said that Dibar Apartian and Colin Adair supported them. I personally called Dibar Apartian in the end of November of 1998 and he told me that no, that he did not support the board--he remained in LCG until he died. Regarding Colin Adair, it is somewhat presumptuous to say what he would have actually done, nor does it matter since he was deceased prior to the takeover. The truth is that Colin Adair and I met in September of 1998 and discussed the doctrinal differences between UCG and GCG--he told me that he supported my work in this area and thus indicated that he did not agree with UCG. He also, according to Dr. Meredith, told Dr. Meredith around this time that he would never support his removal. Thus to conclude that he would have broke his word, based on what his wife ultimately did, seems presumptuous.
9. Accusation In 1957, Dr. Meredith pressured Suzanne Black to be a 'special lady' for Herbert Armstrong for the purposes of providing sex and claimed that this was acceptable because HWA and GTA were 'above the law'.
Response This totally absurd, illogical, and potentially libelous, report was in Bernard Kelly's Bible Expositor 10/19/01. In the same report Mrs. Black states, "I had been reared in a strict moral background". Thus if this allegation was in fact true, which it isn't, why did she remain a WCG member until 1975, around 18 years after this alleged incident? And why would her husband teach at Imperial Schools in Big Sandy and later at Ambassador College if this was so? Not only did Dr. Meredith flatly deny this when I asked him about it (11/27/01), he suggested that I contact some ministers who had been around a long time and knew Dr. Meredith's true approach regarding GTA's sexual promiscuity.
Dr. Meredith did not tell anyone that any human was 'above God's law' and allowed to intentionally violate it. Paul taught the same thing in Hebrews 10:26-27 and Galatians 1:8, as did Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23).
On 11/28/01 I spoke with Wilbur Berg, who was Dr. Meredith's administrative assistant in the late 1950s and early 60s (and is currently a UCG minister) and read him both the Black and Tuit reports. Wilbur Berg then said,
This was preposterous, he (Dr. Meredith) would not have said that to that woman. At that time, he of all people would be the one to flush out immorality at headquarters. The (Black and Tuit) reports are foolishness. Rod Meredith is a morally honest man and I never saw any inkling of any of that kind of behavior in his personal life or what he taught. In fact if there was anything that was morally wrong on the campus, it was he that would ferret it out.
Dibar Apartian (also on 11/28/01) said the whole Black story was absurd.
When I mentioned to Wilbur Berg, that I heard that Dr. Meredith had gotten into some hot water for complaining about GTA's sexual behavior, he responded by saying,
That is true. It was hard for HWA to acknowledge GTA's behavior at first; he did not want to believe it." So instead of condoning illicit sexual behavior, the truth is that Dr. Meredith vigorously opposed it and got in hot water for doing so!
I should also add I was told on 11/27/01 by an independent COG publisher, who is NOT in LCG, that he had major doubts about the reliability of many things that Bernard Kelly publishes. A non-LCG minister told me that "Kelly has no credibility whatsoever" (I also found a statement on another non-LCG website, where another concluded the same thing about Kelly in late Spring 2002--and then advised others to discount Kelly's report from the Black's). I do not doubt that Kelly received the 'notarized statements' which he calls 'certified accurate', but I did wonder how Bernard Kelly verified the allegations to insure they were true (since they clearly are not).
This same report from Mrs. Black suggests that as punishment for her not having sex with Herbert Armstrong,
Loma Armstrong...commanded that I clean the UNFLUSHED TOILET that she had left...and she informed me that I was NOT to use the toilet brush (and took it from me), but that I was to USE MY HANDS, to get down into the toilet and scrub it!!" (Black, Suzanne. Notarized Statement 10/18/2001, page 3; as reported in The Bible Expositor, 10/19/01). Well...in conclusion, I would like to say...that, I SUFFERED GREATLY at the hands of HWA...mentally, physically, financially and spiritually" (p.8).
Now what possible motivation might Suzanne Black have for writing these statements? Well she and her husband give some possible clues in their 'notarized statements.' First, she mentions that she was called into a meeting with HWA, Dr. Meredith, Herman Hoeh, etc. and was "informed that I had 'lied' on my application...as to all the extensive 'music background' that I had" (p.4). She then states, "HWA had given the voice instructor, Mr. Ettinger, to NEVER let me perform...Herbert was worried, as at that time, his very amateur-singer daughter Beverly, was singing in church services, and sometimes on the World Tomorrow broadcast, and that HWA was enraged with jealousy, afraid that I (my voice) would outshine Beverly's...about three weeks later, I came to my dorm room, in Mayfair after class, one day, and the scrapbook that I had since my youth was missing. This scrapbook was of GREAT VALUE to me...Mr. Elliot had come in and gotten the scrapbook and DESTROYED IT!!! I was truly devastated. I was then determined to leave" (p.4). She did not, however, and so some time later, "When, I asked Mr. Meredith WHY he wouldn't have the laying on of hands for me, he...said that he would NEVER have the laying on of hands for me, because I was a worldly and evil woman, and that I had never been TRULY (???) converted!!!" (p.5.) .
Why would she want to counsel and be baptized as a member of the Church (which, she claims to have then thought of as a cult) if she was treated as she said she was and that she was determined to leave? Why did she stay until 1975?
"I was called in by the head cook, in the kitchen, Mrs. Horn, and told they were taking my .35 cent an hour, salary away...that I was too vain to receive a salary, and that that was God's way of knocking the vanity OUT of me!" (p.5). She then reports that her husband Wiley, "was next to****THE LOWEST PAID TEACHER ON STAFF" (p.5).
Her husband Wiley Black wrote,
Even though my professional credentials were impeccable, I was expected to work extra long hours at manual labor projects...with no extra compensation...my wife and I were given the opportunity to enjoy a trip away from Big Sandy like most Imperial employees did. I was always given a local Deacon's duties to perform without added compensation. My wife worked continually to supplement my pitifully small and infrequent salary. I say this for my shame of being so stupid and to shame the leaders of Imperial Schools and to the leading evangelist executives of the Radio (now Worldwide) Church of God (Black, Wiley. Notarized Statement 10/18/2001, page 2; as reported in The Bible Expositor, 10/19/01).
Thus Mr. Black writes that his statements were intended to shame evangelists because he felt he was so underpaid. He also claims he was cheated out of additional compensation by Les McCullough (who was the president of the United Church of God when Black signed his statement) and two of McCullough's subordinates (Lynn Torrance and Charles Dorothy) (p.2). His statement also claimed:
About the year 1975...there was 'gross' fiscal and moral corruption among the leaders of the Worldwide Church of God at the highest executive level! As a result of what was truly reported to us, my wife and I decided to quietly withdraw our membership from the Worldwide Church of God...My financial losses over the many years I worked for the Worldwide Church of God and the suffering and hardship it caused in our children and in my personal relationship with my wife, is incalculable...My financial losses over the many years...can be easily calculated...$66,390.00 plus 7% compound interest! The amount of interest...would be $146,400...a Grand Total amount of $212,790.00 (pp.3,4).
So, around 18 years after the alleged incident with Dr. Meredith, they left because of reports occurring in 1975 about financial and moral problems with WCG. If Dr. Meredith had done what Mrs. Black wrote, would not there have been moral outrage about something they supposedly had first-hand knowledge of instead of second hand reports? If Mr. Black was so underpaid, then he apparently did not stay with WCG because of financial ties; if he and his wife felt that the leadership was immoral in 1957, why would they wait until 1975 to leave WCG? Also, if WCG was punishing him financially, why would it grant him a pension at age 53 while Dibar Apartian for example, was still working (but now for LCG) until he died at age 94 and not drawing a pension?
After discussing his military career, most of Mr. Black's complaints in his 'notarized statement' seem to have to do with money, such as:
Early in 1976, I received a letter from Church officials stating my pension was being stopped because I and my family no longer adhered to the doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God (p.3).
It should be noted that Mr. Black makes no claim that he and his family still adhered to those doctrines.
Mr. Black claimed his supervisor Guy Carnes told him:
...that there was always plenty of money in the budget for teachers at Imperial and that I should have always received my full paycheck on time -- except for one thing! Carnes said that Big Sandy was a sort of 'vacation spot' for Ted Armstrong and his 'cronies' and they often flocked to the large executive homes on Lake Loma where funds budgeted for the Imperial faculty salaries were often 'squandered' on depraved orgies!" (p.3). This contradicts Black's claim at the end of his statement, "I would like to say that it is obvious to me why Herbert W. Armstrong purposely allowed the swindling of my wages and pension. Because I eventually married Suzanne...the very girl he couldn't force to be one of his 'Special Ladies'...he continually and viciously, with malice and aforethought, exercised bitter retaliations against both me and my wife Suzanne, unabated for 16 years! His final immoral and dissolute act was to use a fake counterfeit theological excuse to ultimately swindle me out of my hard earned but very modest pension! (p.4).
This of course contradicts the reason he reported that his supervisor told him. And it seems to contradict the reason he reported he left in 1975--statements others (not his wife) had told him and his wife. It also defies common sense that he and his wife remain members of WCG for nearly 18 years after the alleged incident was to have occurred.
It may be of interest to note that after the two notarized statements, comes a request in The Bible Expositor to send the Black's money to help them pay off their $27,000 mortgage (with that small a mortgage they obviously do not live in California :-)):
...please put as large amount of money you can spare in the same envelope for her and designate on your check that you hope she'll use it to pay off her mortgage (Kelly, Bernard. Unsung Heroes of Imperial Schools. The Bible Expositor, 10/19/01).
Post Script: One anti-COG type reportedly talked with Wiley Black about his and his wife's statements. Wiley, according to this report, admits they stayed in WCG for years after the alleged incident. Here is a quote from the old missing dimensions website:
"Wiley informed me they are not angry or upset anymore and had never even thought about doing anything like this at all but Bernard [Kelly] called Wiley and Suzanne for over a year begging them to please tell their story that it needed to be told - they decided after much discussion that yes they would and probably should have done this years ago when things first happened. They had absolutely NO IDEA that Bernard was going to ask people to send them money - They were MORTIFIED when they read that.
Now if Wiley was not upset or angry anymore, then why did he write this in his statement, "I say this for my shame of being so stupid and to shame the leaders of Imperial Schools and to the leading evangelist executives"--if he was not angry anymore, one would presume that he would not have written his statement to shame evangelists. But he did write it. One cannot read both statements by he and his wife and not come to the conclusion that they were not still angry about money. They simply write about lack of money too often for this to be believed.
Now I received an email from Bernard Kelly on 12/16/10 that denies part of the above (the following was copied directly from the email):
At no time did I initiate the conversation with the Black's regarding their voluntary testimony. Mrs. Black called me -- I didn't initiially call her.
Anyway, as I said before, I accept that Bernard Kelly received signed statements, but Wiley Black would not truly support the accusations in them when I questioned him in 2001.
I should also add that I was told 12/07/01, by one close to the Blacks, that Mrs. Black, after not being made the pastor of a Methodist congregation some time ago, got quite upset and wrote many things about the Methodists that the Methodists denied occured as well. I simply do not consider the Blacks to be credible, and as mentioned above, neither do individuals who were around at the time of the alleged incident.
Now why would Bernard Kelly be so interested in this? Here are some quotes from two of his letters,
The Bible Expositor's project in Arcadia, California...All we want to do is 'convict' the present leadership of the WCG...If legal action is the only possible remedy, we will need people with 'standing' to initiate court action...We set the stage in our last three issues of the Bible Expositor with the one last issue to come which should impress upon the present leaders of the WCG to acknowledge their responsibility in this matter (Servant's News, May/June 2001, pp. 19,20).
That next issue was the issue with the two statements from the Blacks. Kelly continues,
The concept would be to pay 'reparations'...What we would ask you and others is to 'funnel' names of people you know who might be candidates for reparations...Our mission is not to have Tithes & Offerings returned! It is rather to have biblically sanctioned reparations exacted upon a corrupt church in the same way that reparations were exacted on a corrupt Japanese government and an act of the US Government (p. 20).
Amazing! Kelly apparently wanted people to get together for a lawsuit so that they all can get money.
Futhermore, for the Blacks' stories to be believed, one also has to believe that Loma Armstrong, Roderick Meredith, Herman Hoeh, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Ettinger, Mrs. Horn, Lynn Torrance, Charles Dorothy, Les McCullough, and probably others all participated in Herbert Armstrong's 'punishment' and that Wilbur Berg and Dibar Apartian were still trying to cover it up decades later.
Suffice it to say that when I personally discussed many of the Black's accusations with Wiley Black (in 12/01), that I was not convinced their statements were truthful. Also, he admitted to me that there were many illogical and inconsistent statements in their stories (enough so I felt that he was trying to indicate to me that they should not be relied on but that since he signed them that he would not publicly renounce them). As absurd as all this is, there are some anti-COGr's who want to believe lies instead of the truth.
10. Accusation WCG Leadership is/was a pawn of the 'New World Order' (NWO).
Response This, of course, is totally false.
A non-LCG leader wrote the following:
I can completely assure you that Rod Meredith is not working for the NWO. I was there when he got started and he did not have any outside help or money to do itand he really could have used help. He was obviously concerned that his work might not survive. He did not know the computer/mailing aspect of running his work well at all. He openly admitted that he could not have started it without me in several sermon tapes. To his credit, I would also say that Rod Meredith was not the kind of skilled liar that a person needs to be in order to do a deceptive, NWO-style workhe would often 'give himself away' and say what he was really thinking when he meant to be discreet (Edwards, Norman. WCG Not A Big New World Order Conspiracy. Servants' News. May/June 2002).
11. Accusation Dr. Meredith is not an apostle, thus has no right to try to proclaim the Gospel.
Response While it is true that Dr. Meredith does not claim to be an apostle, those who say this need to re-read the Bible and some of Herbert Armstrong's writings. The Bible clearly shows that deacons, evangelists, prophets, and others proclaimed the Gospel. Jesus sent non-apostles out to heal the sick and preach about the Kingdom of God (Luke 10:1-12), and they even cast out demons (Luke 10:17). God used a deacon (Stephen), one who was only supposed to serve tables, to get His message out and even get a vision from God (Acts 6-7).
"As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:3-4), those everywhere preaching were not just apostles. Interestingly, Paul started preaching (Acts 9:19-20) BEFORE he was made an apostle (Acts 13:2). Timothy was an evangelist (II Tim 4:5) and not an apostle (II Cor 2:1), yet Paul wrote, "Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do" (I Cor 16:10). There simply is no biblical restriction that preaching the Gospel must be limited to apostles. Herbert Armstrong concurred as well (for more documentation, please read Should the Church's Top Priority be Proclaiming the Gospel or did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority?).
Throughout the entire Bible, we learn about the faults and sins of nearly everyone that God called. Paul taught we are to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13:5); Jesus concurred (Matthew 7:1-5). I first met Dr. Meredith in 1990 and believe I am aware of some of his personal problems, most of which I have brought to his attention (like issues he says he will resolve, but does not, etc.).
Paul taught, "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses" (I Timothy 5:19); and even so-called witnesses have been known to give false testimony (including against Jesus, Matthew 26:59-61), though not all said against Dr. Meredith is not true.
However, even one of his critics once had to admit that Dr. Meredith "had no personal scandal in his background." And another one who was actually disfellowshiped from the Global Church of God while Dr. Meredith was there, wrote and published the following,
I agree that Dr. Meredith has a personally clean reputation and has worked diligently all of his life to 'do the Work' as he understands it. (Edwards, Norman. Servants' News. Answers to Hierarchical Leader Letter. Sept/Oct 2001).
Norman Edwards may still feel the same way today.
B. Thiel, 2001/2002/2005/2006/2010/2012 1218
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