Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Packatolloah's Apostolic Succession

Dave Pack cannot claim that HWA appointed him his successor. Only Tkach can claim that. Therefore Pack has to find other ways to establish his legitimacy as the rightful successor to HWA.

One element of Pack's legitimizing narrative is for him to claim some sort of link with HWA himself. As part of this attempt of his to claim the mantle of leadership he has to find some link with HWA so he may bask in the halo of HWA, thus helping followers of HWA to associate the two men in their minds and accept Pack's leadership.

This is how he does it. This personal link with HWA is provided with this little story from the time of the Receivership in 1979. This story is used to legitimize Pack as HWA's successor.
The most important thought on Mr. Armstrong’s mind was the possibility that there were still liberal ministers in the Church. He knew they offered the most dangerous threat to God’s people.

The afternoon ended with a moment that Mr. Pack could never forget. As the elderly apostle rose shakily from his chair, he pointed his finger to Mr. Pack’s chest, and said, “Dave, you will never teach anything but the truth, will you? You will never teach these false doctrines, will you?”

“No, sir,” Mr. Pack promised. “I will not.” (Chapter 22.)
Immediately after this it is asserted that Pack had no idea of what would later happen. This introduces an element of modesty in how Pack is portrayed.
“I had not the faintest idea that I would some day have to keep, and demonstrate, this promise in the most profound way. I knew Mr. Armstrong was speaking from the crisis of the moment. I am sure that he also thought I would never have to keep my word in the way that I ultimately had to.”
This stands in contrast to how he portrays himself to RCG members as an Apostle and how he ordered members to hand over their assets to his organization.

This theme of HWA's "order to be faithful" story is recounted elsewhere in this work.
"Mr. Pack remembered the commitment that Mr. Armstrong had personally asked for while in his home in Tucson, Arizona, in the aftermath of the receivership in 1979. “Dave, you will never teach anything but the truth, will you? You will never teach these things—will you?” he asked. “If false leaders ever take control of the Church, I hope you won’t teach their false ideas.”" (Chapter 38)
I am not suggesting this story is not true I am simply showing how this story is used to legitimize Pack's leadership among his followers, and so to speak, discredit all other Armstrongite splinter groups and rivals to Pack.

Unlike Tkach Pack cannot claim any special mandate from HWA himself to "continue the work." He does not have Meredith's seniority and fame, or the largest group of Armstrongites following him so he needs to portray himself as legitimate. As part of this RCG has created a link of Pack with HWA. Pack uses this moment of private conversation with HWA as a substitute for HWA's authorizing him to continue spreading the message after he is gone.

More on this later.

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