Friday, March 28, 2014

David Robinson on Roderick C. Meredith

For my 800th post here is a discussion of some of what David Robinson had to say about Roderick C. Meredith in his book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.


On pages 22-3 David Robinson discusses deaths caused by HWA's medicine ban. He then mentions how, in 1970, Roderick C. Meredith had medical surgery to fix (heal) a detached retina. This was spuriously justified WCG's leaders as "repair surgery," not surgery and therefore allowed. One WCG minister was outraged by this because he knew one WCG member who had the exact same problem as Meredith and, because of HWA's medicine ban, did not see a doctor for it and lost his eye.

Concerning this matter David Robinson was moved to say...
Ministers in the church still, ten years later, rankle over Rod's requiring one thing from the people and doing another himself. (Chapter 1, p. 23) 


Garner Ted Armstrong reports that Roderick C. Meredith was envious of his lifestyle. (p. 43.) Even if this is true it is too easy to believe this was said out of spite therefore I regard this assertion as not worthy of use in discussing Meredith. I have mentioned it here but have no plans to use it regularly. More well documented failing of Meredith are known elsewhere.


Roderick C. Meredith learned of Garner Ted Armstrong's infidelities in 1965. He reported it to HWA who was already aware of them and said he had been forgiven. Robinson believed that his knowledge of Garner Ted Armstrong's infidelities gave him great power within WCG. (Chapter 12, p. 138.)


David Robinson portrays Roderick C. Meredith as being very powerful, but despite his strengths he possessed weaknesses that insured he was unable to be in a position to be HWA's successor.
Rod was very powerful and may have been in many ways number two. But he never had control of, nor did he understand, money. (Chapter 12, p. 138.)
Of course he does not understand money. He just gets it from devoted WCG members who pay three tithes and then lives off of that and use to sustain a COG group in order to continue persuading people to pay him and his collaborators the three tithes and extra offerings.


Robinson says Roderick C. Meredith tried to de-emphasize HWA and Hoeh's 1972-5 prophecy but was rebuked by HWA for doing so and ordered him to not contradict WCG teaching of the 1972 prophecy. From this incident Robinson believed HWA honestly believed the 1972-5 prophecy as late as 1970. (Chapter 12, pp. 142-3.)


Roderick C. Meredith admitted to Robinson that he did not believe the Petrine doctrine that HWA and Rader were teaching at the time. Meredith also stated that he wished there was a greater emphasis on the Ezekiel message (which is based on the inaccurate dogma of British Israelism) and that it had not yet been properly delivered to the people of the US and the world. (Chapter 13, p. 167.)

In the September-October 2006 issue of LCG's recruitment magazine Tomorrow's World Douglas Winnail wrote a little article condemning the primacy of Peter. There is not the slightest thought given to the fact that during the Stanley Rader era this doctrine was vehemently taught by HWA.

If HWA could be wrong on a matter so important what else could he be wrong about?


HWA did not have the most flattering view of Roderick C. Meredith. Robinson reports that HWA viewed him as being so righteous he was unrighteous.
Mr. Armstrong has himself been widely quoted as saying of you [Meredith] that you were so righteous that you were so "righteous you were unrighteous." (Chapter 16, p. 207.)
Later events would further prove Robinson correct on this matter.


David Robinson also reveals that Roderick C. Meredith tried to orchestrate a coup within WCG in 1977. However this was somehow never enacted. (Chapter 19, p. 257.)


David Robinson was bitterly disappointed that, during the receivership crisis of 1979, Roderick C. Meredith decided to ally himself with Rader to oppose the enforcement of the receivership. In fact many WCG ministers were hopeful the receivership would bring order and stability to WCG. They also thought that as (Armstrongite) Christians it was their duty to submit to the authority of the State of California in this particular matter. But Roderick C. Meredith chose Rader and fought against the receivership, thus protecting HWA and Rader from any potential legal troubles the receivership would give them.
Very likely there not another man in the whole church who could have saved the day for the financial faction [Rader and his allies] -- the unordained element -- except Rod Meredith. Many had long known his burning ambition to again have control of the ministry. During his twelve years in power before, he had regularly referred to himself as the "number three man". (Chapter 14, p. 178.)

Roderick C. Meredith was persuaded to work with HWA and Rader to resist the receivership. It was obvious to informed observers within WCG that he would not last long in this new role. They were right. (Chapter 14, pp. 180-1.)

If Meredith was so smart why could he not perceive this?


Very soon after deposing C. Wayne Cole Roderick C. Meredith tried to assume control over WCG but Rader's clique would not be pushed around by him and by March it was widely suspected Meredith would be deposed before Passover. (Chapter 14, p. 184.)

One way Rader and his clique were able to discredit Meredith was to simply wait for him to blunder into disgrace.
With time it could be made to appear that Rod had done it to himself. Rod could be made to appear what his enemies already claimed; namely, that Rod was a person without compassion or the slightest concern for anyone but himself. (Chapter 14, p. 184.)

On January 22, 1979 a ministerial conference was held. According to Robinson this was a show of strength to see if Rader's clique had succeeded in subduing and co-opting the ministry thus completing the coup which began with the overthrow of C. Wayne Cole. The ministers who opposed Rader's takeover were disorganized. Most WCG ministers loathed Rader's seizure of power and could not see how it was fit and proper to let the then unordained Rader be granted so much power over the ministry.

In response to Rader's seizure of power an anonymously written letter was made and circulated among dissatisfied WCG ministers. It appears on pages 188-193 of David Robinson's book.

The letter is fairly similar to how John Tuit described the receivership.

The letter argues that WCG should cooperate with the State of California's receivership. The letter said the receivership was investigating how WCG used its money and that there is no scripturally justified reason to defy this order. It stated that the receiver had assured WCG's leaders that WCG's freedom of religion would be respected. There would be no attempt to change doctrine. WCG members were free to assemble. The receivership was concerned with finances, not doctrine. It said that WCG's defiance towards the receivership indicated that WCG's leaders were trying to hide something.

So we see that HWA's paranoid claim that this was somehow an attempt to destroy or nationalize WCG is not true. It was about finances, not religion.

Later WCG's leaders published an Arthur Andersen audit to claim they were innocent of illegal acts. But in fact this audit did not have the power to determine if anything was illegal. It did not have the power to vindicate WCG's leaders.

Eventually Stanley Rader was able to lobby the State of California into passing a law that made it impossible for a receivership of this sort to be imposed upon a church. WCG was not proven innocent, they just got the law changed.


In Chapter 15 Robinson reports he had a meeting with Roderick C. Meredith and Raymond McNair. They assured him that Rader would not be able to take over WCG.

Robinson was convinced they completely underestimated Rader and so were doomed.

At one point Robinson points out that Roderick C. Meredith was mentally smarter then Raymond McNair, but Stanley Rader was much more smarter than Roderick C.Meredith. Robinson came to this conclusion based on his conversations and meetings with the three. This is one reason why it was no surprise to him that Rader deposed Meredith

Meredith chose to collaborate with Rader in opposing the receivership and casting out C. Wayne Cole. This collaboration crippled Meredith's standing among the ministry and made it impossible for Meredith to build a power base to oppose Rader. So when Stanley Rader struck Roderick C. Meredith could not prevail and was dismissed and sent to temporary exile in Hawai'i. (Chapter 15, p. 198.)

During this exile HWA sent Meredith a most scathing letter condemning him as unworthy of succeeding him. It is clear, whatever Rader's influence was at the time, that HWA viewed Meredith as unworthy of the succession till the day he died.


David Robinson's conversation with Meredith and Raymond McNair later took a dramatic and severe turn for him. In this discussion Meredith suddenly ordered Robinson to leave his congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma and train at Ambassador College. (Chapter 15, pp. 201-2.)

Meredith assured him he would have his friendship to help out. Robinson was suspicious and, he persuasively argues, he was correct in being skeptical as so soon afterwards they had been deposed by Rader. Meredith's would then have been useless and quite likely a liability.

In Chapter 16 Robinson gives with a heavy heart his assessment of what sort of man Roderick C. Meredith had been in a letter he wrote to him. Although I have mentioned this in a previous post it is worth mentioning again here. This letter was written after Rader had removed him from power, as Robinson accurately foresaw.
During the ten years I have been an employee of the Worldwide Church, you have been poorly spoken of by most of the ministers and employees I have known. I vividly remember the absolute unbounded glee that was openly expressed by a good number of respected men in the church when you were first "shanghaied." [In 1972.] I could begin by naming names, which I am sure would shock you. I was one of the few who stood, where possible, for you. Your tenure as superintendent of ministers, as I believe the office was then called, was looked on as nightmarish. While you held office during the years of growth, most of those whom I know gave you very little credit for that growth. Almost everyone whom I know, whether they be former friends of yours, or continuing foes, recalls insensitive and terrible things you have done. Without exception, at least among my acquaintances, they all credit you with an unbridled lust for power and list you as one who is willing to pay the price of gaining that power, no matter what. I have, through many of the last few years, believed you had principles you would not violate. Many a man of experience in the church assured me of my error. Events have proven me wrong and them right.
Perhaps it would be enlightening to see what Roderick C. Meredith said about David Robinson when he disfellowshipped him shortly before Rader threw him out of power.
However, because of very serious wrong attitudes and wrong accusations he made, Mr. David Robinson, the former pastor there, has been terminated from God's ministry. ...

And I am very sorry to report that David Robinson whom we worked with personally for many, many hours on his problems, has had to be terminated and now disfellowshipped because of gross disloyalty to Mr. Armstrong and this Work.  
Meredith always claimed to be sorry when he shunned WCG ministers who resisted HWA's tyranny.

Shortly after Meredith disfellowshipped Robinson he was dumped by HWA and Rader. It was after his fall from power that Robinson wrote his letter to him.


So now we see some of what David Robinson had to say about Roderick C. Meredith. A man who chose to betray the interests of WCG ministers in order to gain power from Rader. (He hoped he would depose Rader but he was hopelessly outmatched and miserably failed.) A man who chose to shun men he had long known and worked with in order to advance himself within WCG's pecking order. A man who healed his detached retina with doctors while WCG were suffering and brainwashed in refusing such help.

Why would anyone chose to follow a man like that if they knew the truth.

[Update: March 29, 2014: You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it. It is well worth reading.]

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