After the turmoil of the 1970s things finally seem to settle down in WCG. Although Meredith had some private disagreements with HWA, such as makeup, for instance, he was willing to follow HWA's lead. All seemed well. Any internal threat had been removed. Only loyal minions remain. In this setting this narrative now continues.
By 1981 after years of turmoil stability returned to WCG. Anyone bold enough to publicly disagree with HWA's autocracy have been kicked out or learned to be quiet. Although even Meredith had to spend several months in exile in Hawaii he came through still pretty much in the good graces of the (alleged) Apostle Herbert W. Armstrong. This narrative now continues.
1981: Before we continue I would like to revisit the makeup ban revival. In AR18 December 1981 it was revealed that Meredith opposed the makeup ban revival. He tried to get Tkach on his side but failed. So it would appear that Meredith knew that this was wrong, but still he did not leave WCG. He knew his church would now once again inflict untold harm upon women in vain, but he did not leave. He went along with it, knowing it was wrong. He chose to go along with this abuse against women rather than defending the truth. This reminds me of this fascinating account of when Gerald Flurry allowed a popular minister to teach for three years even though the minister disagreed with their so-called 'little book' Malachi's Message, and later Ron Fraser came to see that Malachi's Message did indeed have flaws in it but chose to be loyal to 'that prophet' Flurry instead of the truth. These men have acted in the same way. And now we continue.
1982: 'According to Joseph Hopkins, writing in the August 6 issue of Christianity Today, the men on HWA's council of elders each receive yearly salaries of between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. That figure is exclusive of numerous special financial benefits they also receive.' (AR21 September 1982).
However despite his return from exile it appears that HWA did not trust him as much as before. 'Evangelist Roderick Meredith, often named as a likely successor to Herbert Armstrong, appears to have again fallen out of favor with the head of his church. Friends say Armstrong has become aware of Meredith's recent disenchantment with his worldly life-style and personal morals. Not surprisingly, HWA has not granted Meredith the position of authority some church members feel he deserves.' In response he gave more positions over to Ellis LaRavia (AR21 September 1982).
1984: Roderick Meredith testifies in Leona McNair trial. His side lost and WCG was ordered by the jury to pay her $1.26 million. Even at the end of the trial he did not show any remose for his actions but insead tried to blame the situation on others (AR29 October 1984).
The article about this trial, in my opinion, is essential reading to understand what sort of man Roderick Meredith is. Knowledge cannot harm the truth. If you think he is a man worthy of your respect then you must read this article. Alas many true believers will just ignore what that article has to say carelessly assuming that Satan is behind it. Such Armstrongites are afraid of the truth. If such persons really did possess the love of the Truth why are they afraid of the truth when it shows Roderick Meredith in a bad light? (AR29 October 1984).
It was also reported that a daughter of Leona and Raymond McNair, 'when asked about [Meredith's testimony that the McNairs and Meredith had a 'close friendship' together], said she didn't believe true friendship ever really existed between Meredith and her father. She described their relationship as one that would quickly evaporate were it perceived as getting in the way of "the Work."' (AR29 October 1984). Considering what would happen later when the two parted ways during the GCG-LCG split in 1998, their reconciliation and resplit, this assertion would seem to be justified.
WCG appealed and the case would drag on until 1993 when WCG paid Leona McNair $750,000 in an out of court settlement in 1993.
Walter Martin in the 1984 edition of The Kingdom of the Cults cites Meredith who in his booklet The Inside Story of the World Tomorrow (pp. 47-8) insists HWA did not burrow ideas from Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons etc . However Martin soon proves that actually HWA is guilty of plagiarism. I, for one, after reading the relevant sections on Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism was amazed over how similar their doctrines are.
1985: January 19: In a sermon Meredith 'attacked mental health professionals, saying that such counselors liked to "play God."' This caused AR editor John Trechak to write a letter to him as these comments seem to have been made in response to widespread mental problems within WCG (AR32 June 1985).
While assessing Meredith's chances for becoming successor AR wrote the following: 'Roderick Meredith, although ambitious, has little support on the WCG board. His years of harsh rule over the WCG ministry have left him with few important supporters for any major power role. Thus his name can be eliminated.' (AR31 March 1985).
1986: HWA rejects Meredith and chooses Joseph W. Tkach as successor. 'Privately, [HWA] also told several leaders that Rod Meredith should never be in that position [leadership]. (Tkach. Jr., Tansformed by Truth, Chapter 6)'
This assertion is also supported by Aaron Dean (UCG), a close aid to HWA at the time, as recorded by Stephen Flurry (PCG). He states that HWA said to him that Meredith must never become leader of the church, and he also says this is why HWA appointed Tkach lest Meredith should take over (Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 3). Some of my thoughts on that book may be seen elsewhere. (By the way, the book says that Dean was saying all this in a 'telephone interview', if I understand correctly. Was this before or after the No Contact rule?) Even if we assume that Tkach, Dean and Flurry are just tryimng to discredit him, it cannot be denied that HWA did not choose Meredith. AR42 September 1989 also discusses the succession but Mr. Trechak here seems unaware of HWA's fear of Meredith. AR52 June 1993 also states the following: 'In fact, before HWA had even died, Meredith privately made statements to the effect that he, and not Tkach, should be Armstrong's successor.'
Meredith is then moved to teach at Big Sandy by Headquarters (AR36 August 1986).
1987: During the course of the ongoing Leona McNair suit 'the WCG lawyers wanted Sedliacik [who was the editor of the Pastor's Report that contained Meredith's controversial statements] to testify that evangelist- author Roderick Meredith was "meticulous." Sedliacik disagreed.'AR37 January 1987, 'The McNair Versus WCG War Continues'.
1988: California Court of Appeal overturns the McNair conviction. AR40 March 1988.
1990: Meredith is moved from his teaching position at Big Sandy to Pasadena in internal exile. According to his own account he becomes suspicious of Headquarters' motives and hears rumors of an immanent sacking. Near the end of the year Bernie Schnippert and Michael Feazell try to persuade him to go along with the changes. He refuses (In Transition, Issue 7 October 1995).
1991: WCG orders that Meredith 'is no longer allowed to preach or write articles for church publications.'(AR46 January 1991).
1992: WCG tried to retire some hard Armstrongite preachers such as Gerald Waterhouse and than Meredith. For awhile he was forbidden to preach from the pulpit, but in October he was allowed to give the closing prayer before a Feast of Tabernacles gathering at Palm Springs. He took a remarkable long time in his prayer. After that he was asked to retire. Meredith than had a two hour meeting with Tkach, Sr. After that he was fired and disfollowshiped. Than an anonymous letter emerged signed 'Friends from Pasadena' emerged comdemning the Changes. Some hoped this would be the start of an internal revolt. It did not happen. Even Herman Hoeh continued to remain loyal to Tkach, Sr. Meredith than announced the formation of his own church, the Global Church of God (GCG).
In asserting his legitimacy Meredith emphasized 'how he was one of the first evangelists ordained by HWA and how he knew the Armstrong family personally and intimately. He even assisted HWA in attempting to resurrect Richard Armstrong after his fatal car crash in 1958, and he was one of the few at Loma Armstrong's death bed. Using Waterhouse-like "reasoning," he points out that GCG was born 40 years after he was ordained and that at GCG's very first service there were 19 people in attendance - exactly the same number as at HWA's first service decades ago.' Some in WCG responded by saying that 'there were seven years between the WCG financial crisis of 1965 and the church crisis of 1972 when Garner Ted Armstrong was put out of the WCG [and major WCG prophecies failed]. There were then seven years until the start of the famous State of California versus WCG lawsuit in 1979, another seven years until the death of HWA in 1986, and, finally, another seven years until Meredith's great rebellion of 1993. The theory WCG numerologists are apparently promoting is that God allows Satan to attack the WCG in some major way every seven years. Meredith therefore is supposed to represent but one more Satanic attack the WCG will weather on its way to "the end."' And so the Global Church of God is born (AR52 June 1993). Articles of Incorporation are made.
And so despite all the great struggle to eliminate all dissent in WCG over the years, in which Meredith took a leading part, it all turned out to be in vain. So we see how impossible it is to fully control other people. So now Meredith must start from scratch all over again.
To be continued...
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, Part 6,
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