Friday, July 26, 2013

How LCG's John Ogwyn Discusses the Stanley Rader Era

LCG obliquely discusses what happened under Stanley Rader in John Ogwyn's booklet, God's Church through the Ages.
In January 1972, the Church was shaken by the removal of Garner Ted Armstrong from his responsibilities. Four months later he was reinstated. The 1970s saw in the Church, as in America as a whole, the emergence of an increasingly liberal, permissive spirit. A number of ministers and members left the Church in 1974; increasing doctrinal confusion, coupled with accusations of scandal, assaulted the Work. After beginning recovery from massive heart failure in 1977, Mr. Armstrong finally removed his son from his responsibilities in the spring of 1978 and disfellowshipped him in June.
In January 1979, the Church was temporarily hit by a receivership imposed by the State of California. Mr. Armstrong, from Tucson, Arizona (where he was still recovering from heart trouble), named Dr. Meredith to his old job as director of the ministry, seeking to restore stability to the Church and the ministry during this troubled time. At the same time, Mr. Armstrong sought to "set the Church back on track" doctrinally after the liberal, watered-down doctrinal approach of the 1970s. By the time of his death in January 1986, The Plain Truth had a circulation of more than eight million copies printed in seven languages. Attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles approached 150,000 worldwide.
When Joseph Tkach took the helm of the Worldwide Church of God upon the death of Mr. Armstrong in January 1986, the Church was a seemingly unified body. It appeared focused on the Work of God that lay ahead and committed to the Truth. There were problems beneath the surface, however. They became increasingly obvious, at first faintly and then more clearly.
There is no mention of Rader, Gotoh or AICF and the controversy that swirled around them.

Ogwyn mentions Garner Ted Armstrong's suspension in 1972 but the fact it was over his adulterous activities is not mentioned. Also no link of that event is made towards the mass defection of 1974, which was partly caused by dissatisfaction that he was returned to his posts after just six months despite the shame of scandal surrounding him.

Ogwyn also mentions Garner Ted Armstrong's expulsion in 1978. He implies that Garner Ted Armstrong caused the problems. Ogwyn may not intend to do so, but any reader unaware of what happened would be left with this impression. No mention is made about why he was cast out: that it was part of a vicious power struggle with he who not be named: Stanley Rader.

Ogwyn states that HWA tried to get the church back on track. How he did this is not explained.

Ogwyn makes no mention that HWA reimposed his nonsensical ban on makeup for women during this time. HWA even wrote an astoundingly stupid and hateful article claiming that allowing women to wear makeup was the beginning of the "Liberals"' attempt to seize control of the church. LCG allows women to wear makeup and Ogwyn hides this embarrassing doctrinal confusion LCG inherited from HWA.

An earlier edition of this booklet that I had access to mentions how Meredith was removed as head of the ministry in June 1979 and replaced by Joseph Tkach. He mentioned that it was done during a highly political and tense time. Translation: Rader removed Meredith. However even this fact is now simply blotted out. The unsuspecting reader unschooled in COG history would not even know that Meredith was removed from his post as head of the ministry in mid-1979 and shortly afterwards was sent to paid exile in Hawai'i for six months, during which HWA sent Roderick C. Meredith a letter declaring that he was not qualified to lead the church.

In Ogwyn's new account of events Meredith is simply appointed head of the ministry and his dismissal is now not even mentioned, thus only further confusing uninformed readers.

Some may say that HWA did not understand what he was doing when he removed Meredith and that he was then under Rader's influence. But it is clear that it was not just Rader who made HWA turn against Meredith. HWA ousted Rader in late 1981. HWA had four years to reappoint Meredith as head of the ministry and replace Tkach. In all that time he chose not to do so. HWA had his own reservations about Meredith.

Therefore Meredith today has no right to portray himself as the man HWA would or should have chosen as his successor. HWA made his choice and it was Tkach.

There is no mention of Meredith's libel against Leona McNair, the former wife of Raymond McNair, in 1979, which sparked a thirteen year court case which forced WCG to pay $750,000. WCG was forced to pay for his vicious and untrue accusations against her.

John Ogwyn parrots HWA's claim that the Plain Truth had eight million issues in circulation in the 1980s. Actually, according to WCG now, it was never higher then "slightly over six million." (Larry Nichols and George Mather, Discovering the Plain Truth, p. 39)

Ogwyn speaks of "the liberal, watered-down doctrinal approach of the 1970s" but he never explains what it actually was. How oblique can you get?

It is sad to see how HWA sectarians, like LCG, continue to portray HWA and the turbulent events of WCG in a deceptive and highly distorted manner in order to keep people, such as LCG members, in bondage to an oppression of HWA's self serving doctrines, such as giving him three tithes and extra offerings.

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