Sunday, February 15, 2009

Roderick C. Meredith: A Biographical Sketch--Part 1

First of all I would like to say thanks again to all my readers. Your comments are greatly appreciated and inspires me to keep going with this blog. Thank you again.

Now I have been working on a little biographical sketch of my former cultmeister, Roderick C. Meredith which I will now begin posting. Now I have no special insider information. The vast majority of this information is easily accessible on the Internet and is often linked in my little biographical sketch. And now let us begin.

Roderick C. Meredith-A Biographical Sketch:
Part 1 Rise to the Ministry

1930: born in Joplin, Missouri to, according to Wikipedia's article on Roderick C. Meredith, H. Carl Meredith and Mildred Kohane Meredith (born 1902). He would later have two sisters, Kathryn who is the wife of Richard Ames and Patty who never accepted Armstrongism. The Merediths are Methodist.

In his teenage years he came to learn of Herbert W. Armstrong through his uncle C. Paul Meredith. He gives this account of how he became involved in Armstrongism in his 1962 booklet The Inside Story of the World Tomorrow (my comments are in italics):
'A little over fifteen years ago, I was highly impressed by Mr. Armstrong's understanding of the Bible and of prophecy in particular, but I wasn't by any means sure that this was the very work of God. But I desperately wanted to know. I first became interested in the Work and broadcast through the encouragement of my uncle Dr. C. Paul Meredith--now Director of The Ambassador Colege Correspondence Course. He had already been listening to the broadcast for many years--since about 1943. He had always been a student, and he took careful notes on Mr. Armstrong's prophetic sermons. As time went on, he compared these notes to the events that were taking place--and to what other preachers had said--and soon came to realize that Mr. Armstrong was the only one who actually knew what was going to happen BEFORE it happened! [What about HWA's prediction that Christ will return in 1936? What about HWA's identification of Mussolini as the 'Beast'? What about his later identification of Hitler as 'the Beast'?] When I was a junior in high school, my uncle and I began listening to the program together somewhat regularly. I could see that it made sense [Does failed prophecies make sense? Ironically on p. 51 of this very booklet he has the cover of the June-July 1934 Plain Truth which on p.3 contain's HWA's famous chart showing that 1936 will be the 'end of days'.], and that I actually learned more about the Bible through each broadcast than I would have in six months in the large Protestant church our family attended. [That's because the only way HWA could gain people's allegiance is to convince them that his doctrines are the truth. In Meredith's former church it would appear that there was not such a great emphasis on doctrine as many churches do not need to go into the minute details of doctrine to maintain membership. HWA needed to convince people of his doctrines to gain followers. Explaining doctrine does not mean it is the 'true' church.] But at the same time, I was leading an active, busy life as a high school student and athlete. I was on the football and track teams, and boxed in the Golden Gloves tournaments. Since running the mile was my specialty, I hoped to win a track scholarship to the state university by that means. (The Inside Story of the World Tomorrow Broadcast, 1962, pp. 12-13.)
1949: Goes to Junior College, Joplin.
'I spent a summer "stewing" over what to do. Then I studied this world's "philosophy" at a college for a year--becoming more thoroughly convinced than ever that I needed to understand the PURPOSE of life. So I decided that I would go to Pasadena and meet this Mr. Armstrong face to face. I would get to really know him, if possible. And I would "check up" on him! He was not going to pull the wool over MY eyes. I came to Pasadena, and enrolled in Ambassador College in September, 1949.' (The Inside Story of the World Tomorrow Broadcast, 1962, p. 13.)
I am sorry to say this but HWA did pull the wool over his eyes. How can he say that HWA made sense despite the many false prophesies he made even by this time. In light of what God says in Deuteronomy 18:22 (When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass [remember 1975?], that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him) it is impossible to give any credence to HWA and remain true to the Bible.

1951: Junior. Transferred from Junior College, Joplin. President of Student Council (2ed semester, 1951) (1951 Envoy, p. 13). While at Ambassador College he is a roommate with Herman Hoeh.

1952: President of Student Body and Senior Class 51-2. Sports editor. The Good News. Interested in lawn and table tennis. (1952 Envoy, p. 11). Gradually accepts ’call’ to ministry (PT June 1960, p.4. ).

December, Herman Hoeh, Raymond Cole, Richard David Armstrong, C. Paul Meredith and Roderick C. Meredith are ordained as Evangelists in that order. (Worldwide News, January 2, 1978, ' Evangelists Honored on 25th Anniversary', p. 1).

LCG often emphasizes that Meredith was one of the first ordained Evangelists in order to assert his legitimacy as successor to HWA. See their 'about us' page on the LCG website ('Roderick C. Meredith...was one of the original evangelists ordained by the late Herbert W. Armstrong in December 1952'). How can seniority of ordination be a valid principle of succession? If it was then we should have followed Herman Hoeh, who accepted the Tkachite changes, or Raymond Cole who left over the doctrinal changes of 1974. Seniority of ordination does not prove that one has the right to exercise leadership over believers. The fact that Meredith relies on such a weak argument to prove his legitimacy proves how desperate he is in maintaining his authority.

To be continued...

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6


  1. Good biographical sketch! Very thorough. Hope all the old guard sees this and recognizes that they have been in a flawed system.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Mary,

    They know the religion is flawed but what can they do? Chuck it in the garbage and get a real job? And what would they be qualified to do? Work at a car wash, push a broom or just sit back and do the world a favor and die?

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