Aaron Dean comments on Roderick Meredith, etc.

Aaron Dean and Roderick C. Meredith


A reader (not part of CCOG or LCG) sent me the following tonight:

from Aaron Dean: Hello All,

A bit of history…My mom came into contact with the church in 1953, the year after I was born and with my Dad’s death a couple years later was told to move to Big Sandy to be with “the widows”.  So I knew all the Hammers and Armstrongs and others as “Uncles and Aunts” though not blood relatives. In 1960 my mom moved to Pasadena where I finished Imperial with all the evangelists kids (Huntings, Portunes, etc) in or around my age, often spending the night in their homes.

I started AC in BIg Sandy then unusual events made me transfer to Pasadena after 1 1/2 years where I graduated. I was asked by HWA to fly on the G-2 on graduation day and we flew to Bricket wood 2 weeks ahead of their graduation. (I had been there the year before when going to the “dig” and knew many of those there. Paul Hunting had been in my class in Pasadena before they moved to England.  So I already knew the ‘players’ on all the campuses which was of a great help with my job. 

I became HWA’s aide and VP for the last 5 years and member of the Council of Elders (ACE at the time) but kept a low profile seeing others rise and fall with positon often going to one’s head.  So I worked with HWA for the last 12 years of his life, and HWA made me promise to be Mr. Tkach’s aid after I talked him out of making me Pastor General right before he named JWT. He made a number of promises to HWA, all of which he broke over the next few years.

It was awkward for him and me both as HWA made me promise to “tell JWT when he is wrong”.

from Aaron Dean:

You asked about Rod Meredith. I have a little time so I will answer. It may be a bit long…but a short answer is difficult.

RCM always saw things in a vertical line. He set much of the culture of strong control of people lives in the church.  Whether he ever got over his need for power or not I don’t know. God is the judge. I never disliked him, and hoped he would come to see all as team players and not as status in a vertical hierarchy.  I even sent some people to Global when their individual pastors went over the edge early in the 90’s. After that, when UCG started I would ask people “who in your area still keeps the Sabbath and Holy Days” without regard to the corporation. I wanted them to go to a Pastor I felt would help them rather than a corporation. (After all, we are in the salvation business pointing to God, not the corporate business collecting numbers.)

Anyway, I always enjoyed HWA discussing the early years of the college. Many of the students were like the early disciples, vying for position.  When HWA decided to have a church administration director in the ’50s, he told me of a considerable argument between Raymond Cole and RCM who both wanted the positions.  HWA said Raymond was more qualified, but he was up in Eugene Oregon pastoring so he put RCM in since he was at the college. (Interesting both these men ended up over their own churches.)  RCM was always concerned with position and always would give everyone his history as credentials for why he should be near the top before HWA’s death…or at the top after his death. 

Sadly, RCM always did investigation of people who got between him and the top. He smarted when he was made 2nd vice president. (GTA being first)  The two main ones he went after were GTA and SRR.  He was right on both of them as to the problems, but his way of going about it was wrong.  HWA did put him back over Church Admin at the receivership because he said “I know Rod will be loyal to ME.” Interesting the way he said it.  It wasn’t “loyal to God”, but “loyal to me.”

He knew RCM was a loyalist and demanded personal loyalty from those under him and gave it upward even when he didn’t like it. Sadly that made him susceptible to flattery. HWA put him back over the ministry because of his vertical nature and personal loyalty since HWA was kept away from Pasadena most of the 70’s – travelling or heart attack – and with the receivership didn’t know where each of the old guard was as information with the ’79 receivership crisis was sketchy and he was in Tucson. 

I was steward during these years and helped HWA by reading and helping him with his writing and heard a lot about everything as HWA was quite open to those around him, but sort of like Hogan’s heroes Sergeant Shultz “I heard NOTHING”. 🙂  It wasn’t my place to talk so I treated it all as confidential. 

Within six months of the ’79 receivership and being named in the positon, HWA was getting messages from ministers who were being asked by RCM “Who are you going to follow if HWA dies, me or Stan Rader.”  HWA asked, “What right does he have to even make himself a candidate let alone ask this question of the ministry”. He saw it would be divisive and also the same problem RCM had always had wanting authority.  RCM was sent to Hawaii to hopefuly come to see himself.  After receiving letters justifying himself HWA responding, HWA finally wrote a stong letter to RCM and stated in no uncertain terms that he should he never be over the church. This letter in his big type is on the web. While some accused me of putting this on the web, it was the Tkach administration that did this…people only asked me if it was true.  

To show what I mean by the vertical thinking, in 1980 when I was made HWA’s aide I was allowed to go to faculty dining.  I seldom did as HWA often left late and I had work.  One day he left early and I decided to go over.  There were 4 or 5 tables of 16 in the room. 15 people were seated with the one end chair open. The other tables were empty.  I didn’t know there was any protocol, and I didn’t want to sit by myself so I sat down at the end. A hush fell over the room and everyone looked directly at RCM. I said “is something wrong”.  After a long pause RCM finally spoke. “Well, that chair was always reserved for HWA, but he hasn’t been here for over a decade.  You have been named HWA’s assistant and Vice President and put on the Council of Elders so I guess that qualifies you to sit in that chair.  Now, the ranking person decides who opens with prayer to start the lunch.”  I replied, “I’m just here to eat, you can decide who prays.”   It was obvious RCM had to somehow justify in his mind how I was qualified to sit in that chair.  To me I was having lunch, and always tried to see everyone as a team – not who was over who.

Interesting that later HWA gave RCM another chance as vice chancellor in Big Sandy.  Some issues came up concerning RCM decisions and statements that were brought to HWA’s attention and he decided again that RCM should be removed from influencing students, but HWA saw his health was failing and rather than hurt RCM’s feelings he decided to close the Big Sandy campus (which he announced in 1985 but JWT kept it open after HWA’s death on Jan 16, 1986.) There would be no reason to announce RCM’s removal since with the college closing as it would be a moot point. HWA had told me during his illness that after he died “the church would quit keeping the Sabbath, the income would drop, the foundation and college would close, but the church would go on”.

Since JWT was over church administration he was in the hat to be in named as successor. Even HWA knew JWT was the least qualified, but the Council was to decide all doctrine issues instead of one man, to hold the church steady. Of course JWT took ownership of all this a bit later (with SRR’s help interestingly – remember SRR made sort of a hero of JWT in his book). He did this after I was removed from the Council and JWT had the men on the Council sign away their control – something I would not have done and others should not have – but we were hierarchical and it happened.

A few months before Global started RCM took my wife and me to dinner. Even though later he said Global just started somewhat spontaneously, he already had members and a budget when we had dinner. Since I had faithfully served HWA, he wanted me to join him (as have others – I felt like David’s last wife whom Adonijah asked Solomon through Bathsheba to be his wife – as a billboard as if my being with them as their aid somehow made them the credible successor to HWA).  I told RCM it was premature and that he was pushing to be put out so he could start a church and be in charge. I reminded him of HWA’s letter to him. (Also HWA had made me promise to not follow RCM as he knew Rod would try to get in charge – why he decided to name someone instead of letting the Council of Elders decide. HWA said “Raymond and Dibar and….and named all those who did go with RCM and said “they might vote him in”, and “Rod should never be in charge of the church”.  A vocal repetition of his letter 6 years before. So HWA decided to name someone… and that changed several time the last few moths of his life.)

Shortly after Global started WCG did start pushing the heresy but it was not so blatant or public before Global started and many thought JWT might stand up to Joe Jr and Mike Feazel as they were the ones changing things, not JWT. 

JWT and RCM had a history and very much disliked each other and RCM could not stand being under JWT who he saw as a nobody. HWA’s naming Tkach fueled what was already a very strained relationship.  After Globel started, Jr. and Feazel decided to push the heresy in WCG more directly and  pastors got pushed at different times, often depending on their individual regional pastor’s agreeing or disagreeing with heresy.  When it became blatant is when UCG formed, and men had already worked under RCM and didn’t want his form of control so they chose to start over since God had not placed one man in control.  To me it was a time when God was seeing who had chosen Christ as their king and not a man – although still willing to be under authority – just not absolute authority of a man.

It was sad that Global split when RCM felt he wasn’t in charge.  That is another sad commentary (although all groups have some sad events).  When Denny Luker took some UCG office staff to visit Living it was interesting that RCM asked each person their job and “you should sit with him, and you with him…” all very much in the hierarchical style of his past.

I do believe RCM may have softened somewhat in the “who is in charge” mentality as he saw he would not be alive till Christ returned – so it would no longer be him.  However I found it interesting in a letter in his last year he resold himself as God’s appointed and stated “I knew Mr Armstrong better than any man alive today”.  I had people jokingly asked if I was still alive since I was with him most of the last 12 years of his life and on a 365 days a year basis the last 5 years before his death.  RCM had very little contact during those 12 years and exaggerated his personal contact as HWA was close to many of the early graduates.

I never disliked RCM (or anyone for that matter as I learned both good and bad from everyone) but I did know his peculiarities and his need for power, and hope he did come to a more humble position before his death. He was not alone in his desire to be in charge.  A number have started their own churches and even those who left UCG in the splits wanted power for themselves, and when they lost it, their lack of humility showed and they started their own groups to continue in power.  

It is not unusual for men to use their own talent or stories to be in charge.  Korah was with “men of renown, 250 princes of Israel” and the next day they accused Moses of killing their friends…they didn’t say “thank you for getting rid of those evil people.”   Absalom was well spoke, the most beautiful eloquent man in the kingdom. He stood at the gate and blogged “If I were only king I would give justice…” and stole the hearts of Israel from David – who slew Goliath and was anointed by Samuel.  John the Apostle wrote of “Diotrephes who seeks preeminence” and was able to throw out people sent by John who was with Christ. He had to have a great personality to have taken over the church.  

So this history is 2000 years old as God sorts out who is his.  Interesting that HWA said “The next thing is God purifying the bride”.  I believe he was right.  Everyone has had to choose what they believe and who they will follow. We will each be judged individually by God for our choices of belief of what his word says. May He show mercy on all of us.

As regular readers are aware, I knew the late Roderick Meredith and worked with him on many matters (he once appointed me as an advisor to the LCG evangelists on matters of doctrine and prophecy).

My issues with Dr. Meredith did not revolve so much about his desire for power (though he showed unbiblical tendencies there), but his feeling that he was above keeping promises.

I have known Aaron Dean for a long time and we still communicate often–but he did not send me what I posted here as it came from some forum he posted at. He is with the United Church of God.

He and I have shared common related experiences. One of which was that Dr. Meredith forced me to promise to tell him when he was making certain types of errors–I did not want to do that, but did. This made him a bit resentful, but I kept my word. Aaron Dean tried to do the same with Joe Tkach.

So, he ended up leaving WCG and I LCG as those leaders did not appreciate us trying to keep our promises.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God Several have speculated reasons, but here is the truth. (En el idioma español: ¿Por qué Bob Thiel dejó la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?)
The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch There are various ones that oppose the Church of God, but they will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). This is an article about some anti-Church of God tactics.
Journal Report on Continuing Church of God Leader Bob Thiel Bob Thiel was interviewed by The Journal News of the Churches of God related to him being a prophet, the proclamation goals of the Continuing Church of God, and why he left LCG.
Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012 In violation of Matthew 18, Dr. Meredith publicly sent out a letter that forced Dr. Thiel to conclude that the Continuing Church of God must be formed. Here is that letter and some of Bob Thiel’s comments about it. Here is a version in the Spanish language Respuesta a una carta del Dr. Roderick C. Meredith fechada el 28 de diciembre, 2012.
What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? This article explains some information and doctrines of the Living Church of God as led by Roderick C. Meredith and some concerns about them. (En el idioma español: ¿Qué hay acerca de la Iglesia de Dios Viviente? ¿Hay diferencias doctrinales con la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios?)
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

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