Saturday, April 25, 2015

Roderick C. Meredith's Cruel Purge of WCG Ministers (1979)

In January 1979 during the receivership crisis HWA appointed Roderick C. Meredith as head of the ministry. Roderick Meredith was only in this role until August 1979 when he was replaced by Joseph Tkach (it seems at the behest of Stanley Rader) but even in that small space of time he proceeded to go on a rampage disfellowshiping and marking WCG ministers who he viewed as not sufficiently conforming to HWA's rule.

The previous year HWA had cast out his own son, Garner Ted Armstrong, out of WCG  as part of a bitter power struggle. HWA then proceeded to reassert his authority among WCG members. The rules became more stern. HWA's makeup ban was reimposed.

Roderick Meredith was a part of this and he was appointed head of the ministry in January 1979 and he worked towards HWA's reassertion of authority. Many WCG members and ministers did not support what was going on. Knowing this Roderick Meredith proceeded to disfellowship several WCG ministers on the pages of the Pastor's Report as part of HWA's campaign to crush any potential dissidence within WCG. The purpose of all this was to intimidate and horrify the WCG members into submit to WCG's authority regardless of their personal feelings. Only the victims truly know how terrible all this was.

The following is a compilation of several posts I had made looking at Roderick Meredith's time as head of the ministry. People deserve to know the truth about Roderick Meredith and what he did at this time. The original posts may be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.


While reading John Tuit's book I found the April 23, 1979, Pastor's Report, which contains Roderick Meredith announcing that he had disfellowshipped two WCG ministers.
One unhappy note was the situation in Hawaii. We had to switch our previously announced plans and send Mr. Dennis Luker to Hawaii because our minister there, John Ouvrier, had been carefully "programming" our brethren against God's Work and against His apostle, Mr. Armstrong. In spite of Dennis' best efforts, it looks like 2/3 of the Honolulu church has defected to John Ouvrier and his disloyal, heinous, back stabbing tactics.

It is my sad duty, therefore, to announce that John Ouvrier is out of God's ministry and has been officially disfellowshipped from God's church. I am here marking him as one who has caused GREAT division and confusion in the area of Christ's ministry over which he was responsible. I feel it is necessary to mark him here so that all of you ministers can warn any of your brethren going to and from Hawaii about this situation. (pp. 7-8.)
The Painful Truth has an article, The "Plain Truth" about Hawaii that describes this courageous mass liberation of WCG members in Hawaii from HWA's tyranny.

The following is Meredith's announcement of his disfellowshipping of Mr. Richard Prince.
Another sad situation that has just come up is that of Mr. Richard Prince -- former pastor of our church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Prince "vomited" on the St. Joseph church a week ago Sabbath -- spilling out to Christ's "little ones" all of his frustrations, misunderstandings, and personal animosities about Mr. Armstrong and those assisting him and his upsets over all manner of programs and policies with which he personally disagreed. The area coordinator, Mr. Ray Wooten, reports that Mr. Prince has also "programmed" the church so that we may lose quite a number of brethren from the St. Joseph church.

Therefore, it is my sad duty also to mark Mr. Richard Prince as one who has been aggressively causing DIVISION and great hurt within God's Church. I have had to ex-communicate him from the body of Christ for his reprehensible conduct and he, too, must be avoided by those who are loyal to Jesus Christ. (p. 8.)
Those two ministers are heroes for standing up against HWA's tyranny. Despite the great fear they must have had they still dared to resist HWA's tyranny.

This serves as a remainder of the terrible dictatorial abuses that Meredith unleashed upon WCG during those dark and terrible days.


Found this from pages 3-4 of the May 14, 1979 Pastor's Report.

Here Roderick C. Meredith demonizes C. Wayne Cole and Dave Antion for joining Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God International.
One bit of sad news to report is that Garner Ted Armstrong held a publicly advertized meeting of his dissident church out here in Arcadia just east of Pasadena this Sabbath, and was joined at the podium by both Wayne Cole and Dave Antion. Hurt feelings and rebellion make strange bedfellows. As all of you know, these two men continually proclaimed that they would NEVER join Ted and told many of us privately including myself that they were appalled at Ted's wretched immorality and hypocrisy over so many many years that they did not feel he was fit to be a minister of God. Yet here there are, frisking up by his side in the hope, perhaps, that his personality and human charisma and following may somehow work to give them a following and sense of "respectability" after their dastardly attack on the Church of the Living God this last January. ...

They are directly or indirectly attacking the authority of Jesus Christ and his chosen apostle, Mr. Herbert Armstrong. They are attacking or undermining the peace and unity of the body Jesus Christ has used all these years to do His Work. ... they have decided to take matters into their own hands and REBEL against the one they have ALL acknowledged as the specially chosen leader of God's Church in this time--Herbert W. Armstrong. ...

But when reality comes, God's dedicated apostle--who has never tried to hurt or kill or unjustly humiliate anyone--was finally forced by increasing evidence of rebellion and immorality to ask his son to go on a leave of abscene. The result?

WHERE ARE all those "yes sirs" and responsive attitudes? And where are they in the lives of David Antion and Wayne Cole who honored Mr. Armstrong up until so recently, while at the same time proclaiming their disgust and distaste of Garner Ted Armstrong?          
What Meredith wrote is really disgusting and untrue.

It is disgusting the way these Armstrongite "leaders" pretend that any challenge against their rule is an attack on Christ. 

What happened to C. Wayne Cole was very tragic. As a result of the Receivership in January 1979, at first HWA decided to cooperate and appointed C. Wayne Cole as his second in command. This is how John Tuit described C. Wayne Cole's reaction to his appointment to this important position.
At this point Cole was nervous and upset to the point of being physically ill, realizing the magnitude of Armstrong's decision. He had not sought such prominence and now was finding himself thrust into the position of being temporarily in charge of the Church. He realized that this could bring conflicts between himself and Rader, such as he had not had in the past. He said, "Gentlemen, I'm not feeling too well, I'm nervous over this whole thing. I'm going to go out for some fresh air." 
 While Armstrong typed his press release, Cole took a lengthy walk around the neighborhood, as he tried to adjust to his new responsibilities. He wondered what Rader's reaction would be. He realized that while Armstrong had just only that very morning discussed with him the removal of Rader from certain positions, he was now concerned about a deteriorating relationship with Rader. Cole now found himself in the most prominent position in the Church, next to that of Armstrong's position as head of the Church.
But shortly afterwards HWA stabbed him in the back and had him fired and shunned from WCG. HWA changed his mind and decided to resist the Receivership as much as possible.

But despite all this Meredith viciously accused him of committing a "dastardly attack on the Church of the Living God" and tried to demonize him. In reality C. Wayne Cole merely tried to do what HWA said he wanted and was betrayed by him.

After reading this it is all too easy to see how Meredith could later libel Leona McNair and cause WCG to be embroiled in her lawsuit that forced them to pay her $750,000 after a thirteen year court case. As far as I am concerned the untrue accusation Meredith made against C. Wayne Cole are just as libelous as his accusations against Leona McNair.

I am under the impression that Meredith yearned to be HWA's number two man. C. Wayne Cole was a threat to his position and this explains why Meredith chose to be so vicious in demonizing him even though he was then no threat to Meredith's position of responsibility under HWA.

As it turned out C. Wayne Cole soon left the Church of God International.
Mr. Cole, with his wife, Doris, found himself sucked into the usual black hole of obscurity reserved for disfellowshipped WCG members. Known to hardly anyone but close family members was their move to Texas and their joining up with the new Church of God International ministry of Garner Ted Armstrong.

But their career with the CGI was short-lived, only about six months. Beginning in 1980 the Coles dropped out of sight even of the CGI and reemerged in the parallel universe of the non-Church of God . They began successful careers brokering real estate in the Tyler area, not returning to formal Sabbath-service attendance until 1995....

The Coles in June 1995 began attending Sabbath and feast-day services of the Church of God Big Sandy and have continued to attend with that fellowship.
It is good to know that despite the terrible betrayal he endured he was still able to rise above that terrible adversity.


This is from the May 21, 1979 Pastor's Report, pages 1-2.

In these words Meredith, in his "wisdom," underlined the word 'disfellowship' twice. ...
Mr. Armstrong has reminded us again that we are to disfellowship any members who attend GTA's [Garner Ted Armstrong's] campaigns, church services or other meetings. Some of our weaker members apparently do not realize that this man is in direct rebellion against God and His government! We must not allow them, or ourselves, to rationalize about this matter, to try to "help the underdog," or in any other way lend support to one whose gross immorality, whose long standing "play acting" and hypocrisy, and whose direct insubordination to the Government of God has long been and is now a source of confusion and DIVISION among God's people. So, as per Mr. Armstrong's instruction, I charge and exhort every one of you faithful ministers of the living Christ to explain this in no uncertain terms to your members, to warn them about this cause of division and then to disfellowship any who consort with GTA or any of his fellows. 
What a disgusting order! Look at these words!
We must not allow them, or ourselves, to rationalize about this matter, to try to "help the underdog," or in any other way lend support to [Garner Ted Armstrong.]
This is particularly repugnant. Let me explain why I feel this way.

As far as I understand it post-traumatic stress disorder can occur when a person does something nasty to another, for instance murder. When a person murders another it can, surprisingly, be traumatic and distressing to the perpetrator as well. This is usually because when you see something like that happen you cannot help but imagine that happening to yourself as well.

Surely being ordered to disfellowship someone must also be traumatic, at least at first. I cannot help but think that enforcing such an order must also be traumatic to the perpetrator. (I am NOT saying we should feel sorry for the disfellowshipping ministers or "blame the victim," I am simply explaining why Meredith wrote the words above.)

It seems to me that some good hearted WCG ministers were reluctant to enforce such draconian policies.

But here HWA and Meredith are laying down the law and ordering WCG ministers to disregard any natural affection and feelings of sympathy for the victim and simply cast them out.

Don't let your conscience be your guide, HWA and Meredith are saying here to WCG ministers, do what we tell you. Don't let your body's natural warning systems trying to tell you that you shouldn't do that, or that you will feel terrible and traumatized about this. Just do what we tell you and cast them out.

One can only speculate how much misery and strife these words inflicted upon WCG members.

One can only speculate how much misery and trauma "loyal" WCG ministers inflicted upon themselves trying to fulfill HWA's and Meredith's orders here.

I find Meredith's words particularly disgusting because some good hearted WCG ministers were reluctant to enforce this draconian order because of their own consciences and HWA and Meredith are here ordering them to disregard their consciences and inflict traumatic disfellowshipping upon WCG members and to traumatize themselves as well.

Let me emphasize again, I am NOT saying we should sorry for those who disfellowshipped WCG members at this time. Rather I am explaining why I find Meredith's words above particularly disgusting and explaining how Meredith gave license to WCG ministers to be heartless and cruel towards WCG members.

Also note how vague this order is:
Mr. Armstrong has reminded us again that we are to disfellowship any members who attend GTA's [Garner Ted Armstrong's] campaigns, church services or other meetings.... disfellowship any who consort with GTA or any of his fellows. 
"GTA's [Garner Ted Armstrong's] campaigns, church services or other meetings". What "other meetings"? Here WCG members are not just forbidden from "campaigns [or] church services" but even "other meetings". This insures that WCG members will have to be able do anything that could be considered "disloyal" to HWA's WCG. They will have to viciously watch themselves in fear that they could be accused and consequently disfellowshipped.

"disfellowship any who consort with GTA or any of his fellows." "Or any of his fellows"? What does that mean? The potential for abuse of these orders is so vast. It does not appear that Meredith is worried about any innocent victim getting cast out for false reasons. He wants any challenge to HWA and his authority viciously removed. 

It is ironic that at the same time WCG was fighting the State of California's forced receivership claiming it violated their freedom of religion, HWA and Meredith were violating the freedom of religion of WCG members who attended any meeting associated with Garner Ted Armstrong or his organization, the Church of God International. What hypocrites HWA and Meredith are!

And right after the disgusting paragraph reported above Meredith reports the following:
On a more happy note, I am glad to report that Mr. Gerald Waterhouse has so far reached 68 churches on his tour across the U.S. He reports positive and encouraging response from ministers and members alike.
What a fantasyland HWA, Meredith and Co. were living in at this time! Today many people remember Gerald Waterhouse's long winded sermons with loathing. It is strange to see how Meredith at the time seems to think all is well with Gerald Waterhouse. How wrong they are. When many WCG members moved beyond Armstrongism they remembered his sermons with disgust. He is now remembered as a sign of so much that was wrong in the authoritarian Worldwide Church of God cult.


Here is Roderick C. Meredith once again demonizing C. Wayne Cole, this time for trying to get his side of the story told to people within WCG. Roderick C. Meredith viewed him as a rival for access to HWA and accused him of collaborating with the State of California's receivership when in fact Cole was only doing what HWA ordered and HWA changed his mind and betrayed him, casting him out of the church.

These words of Meredith may be seen in the June 11, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 2.
Of a far more ominous nature is the news -- which many of you know -- that Wayne Cole and the dissidents have been "dredging up" from the past all kinds of old reports, letters and memos which they can find which in any way make the Work look "bad," appear to be contradictory, etc. This, coupled with various reasonings and accusations based on this out-dated information, is being sent out to many of you ministers.

I am sure that most of you are intelligent and mature enough to see through the twisted fabric of various bits and pieces of truth mixed with half-truth, lies mixed with speculation which are woven together in a distorted manner to make Mr. Armstrong and God's Work look bad. If any of you have sincere questions about this material -- not only for your own sake but to be able to answer others -- please drop me a line about the specific point and I will try to see that we make a genuine answer to you and we will NOT try to judge you or hold this inquiry against you in any way.
I wonder how many ask questions of Meredith? Did he judge them for it? Of course it is impossible for me to know the answers to such questions, but based on what I know of him I would not have trusted his assurances that "we will NOT try to judge you or hold this inquiry against you in any way" if this publication was sent to me.


Roderick C. Meredith's words regarding WCG's legal defense against the State of California's receivership on page 5 of the June 25, 1979 Pastor's Report are fascinating in that they reveal that Stanley Rader was second in power even though he was then still just a lay member.

Note how Meredith, the head of the ministry, makes sure to flatter Rader and compliment him.
All of us ministers should be more grateful than we have been for the fine work done by Mr. Rader, Mr. Helge and the excellent legal team they have put together. Many of you out there do not realize the tremendous job they have done under adverse circumstances, and the massive amount of work and long hours they have had to put in -- often working FAR INTO THE NIGHT -- in order that we can have the kind of "peace" in God's Work now...
Meredith does this because Rader was more powerful than him. He is showing deference to his superior, who happens to be simply a lay member. 

However in truth Meredith viewed Rader as a rival he needed to overthrow so that he could become the number two man within WCG. Meredith had already tried to destroy the reputation and dignity of the betrayed C. Wayne Cole. He did this repeatedly.

He had thrown C. Wayne Cole under the bus, so to speak. Meredith tried to do the same to Rader, as John Tuit notes in Chapter 17 of The Truth Shall Make You Free.
Rodrick Meredith, however, decided to use the conference as an opportunity to undermine Rader. His purpose was not that altruistic, as he felt that he was the one who should be in charge of the Church next to Armstrong, and he was anxious to make a move. There had been a rumor regarding Rader that had not yet been too widely spread. In order to make sure everyone knew the rumor, Meredith decided to publicly deny the rumor. He then announced to the entire assembled group of ministers that all of the allegations regarding Rader's homosexual conduct with Cornwall were false. Now everyone knew the story. And while Rader remained totally silent on the subject, he would have the final word on Meredith.

A few months later, Rader was to have Meredith removed by convincing Armstrong to eliminate the position of head of the ministry and take it to himself. 
Later Meredith was even sent to paid exile in Hawai'i for six months and was given a scathing letter by HWA stating he was not qualified to succeed him as leader of "God's Church." When he tried to take on Rader he failed miserably.
John Tuit has more to say about Roderick C. Meredith.


... And now let us continue reading the June 25, 1979 Pastor's Report.

This report is notorious as, on page 6, it contains Meredith's infamous libel against Leona McNair. This libel plunged WCG into a thirteen year court case which forced it to pay her $750,000 in an out of court settlement.

Reading this Pastor's Report, at first I completely missed his vicious and false accusations against Leona McNair.

But now looking at it, and remembering the instrumental and vital role Roderick C. Meredith played in destroying families to impose HWA's divorce and remarriage doctrine I find it most fitting that Meredith should stumble into this costly and humiliating blunder by talking about WCG's policy on divorce and remarriage.

Meredith felt that WCG members and ministers were divorcing and remarrying too much and wanted to tell them that they could only divorce for "legitimate reasons," the few exceptions WCG allowed marriages to dissolve.

Now he knew WCG members and ministers could dismiss his words by saying, "But Raymond McNair got a divorce, and he did not have a "legitimate reason" to do so. Your words are hypocritical, so I will ignore them."

Meredith is trying to get around this objection by saying Raymond McNair's divorce was legitimate within "God's Church" and met his exceptions for allowing divorce.

But he did this by demonizing Leona McNair, saying untrue things about her.

These are Meredith's words on page 6.
Now, fellow ministers, I would like to discuss something that is becoming an increasingly critical problem within the ministry and within God's Church as a whole -- especially here in the United States. Increasing numbers of our church members are beginning to divorce their mates for, it seems, almost ANY conceivable reason! What's more, they then expect to "remain in the church" and probably REMARRY someone else in the Church -- perhaps their former friend's wife who has, by now, divorced him, and is also "still in the Church."

We are going to have long doctrinal and theological discussions with Mr. Herbert Armstrong to cover and thoroughly understand any legitimate reasons for divorce and remarriage. However, as of this writing, there are only THREE that God's Church has officially recognized as legitimate:...

(III) Desertion -- by the unconverted mate -- although this was accepted and taught by the Church long before his action, a classic example of this would be Mr. Raymond McNair's situation. His wife refused to be a wife to him for over two years -- to sleep with him, cook for him, or even civilly communicate with him in a decent manner. Rather, she had left God's Church and was actively FIGHTING God's Church and Mr. McNair, turning his children against him and literally cursing him to his face. Finally, upon advice of Mr. Armstrong and Ted Armstrong, he was finally forced to make legal the already existing FACT that she had deserted him and was no longer his wife in any way whatsoever.   
Of course, as it turned out, what Meredith said was very misleading and inaccurate.

And later, when Leona McNair read about Meredith's words she was very upset and traumatized that he said such untrue things to the many people who knew her and that she knew within WCG.
A $70 million libel suit against the Armstrong organization was filed in July [1979] by Leona A. McNair. ... 
contacted Mrs. McNair requesting details of the suit but was told that she has been deeply hurt by the allegedly libelous statements made against her and does not wish to give the matter further publicity. (Ambassador Report 10)
On 23 August 1984 a Pasadena jury awarded her $1,260,000 in damages for Meredith's libel. The whole topic is extensively covered in Ambassador Report 29, hosted on the Painful Truth website. This issue contains much valuable information regarding Roderick C. Meredith and Raymond McNair.

This is how the divorce really happened.
What the McNairs discovered when they arrived [at Pasadena in 1973] was a church headquarters fraught with doctrinal divisions, political infighting, and sex scandals.
To all of this, Raymond turned a blind eye, remaining faithful to his mentor, church founder Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA). Leona's patience with the church's leadership, however, rapidly waned. Her high intelligence (Dr. McKelligott would later testify that her 143 IQ is equaled by only three in a thousand) and strong religious values conflicted with the role she was expected to play. She told Raymond she could no longer continue to support him in what she viewed as the perpetration of a giant fraud. She stopped attending Worldwide Church of God (WCG) services in 1974 and occasionally attended lectures given by such ex-WCG ministers as Dr. Ernest L. Martin.

Leona's disillusionment with Herbert Armstrong and her desire for religious freedom were intolerable to Raymond, and he made his feelings known. According to testimony by Leona, in 1975 her husband told her, "I am going to crush you until you are totally dependent on me!" (In court Raymond denied ever making this threat. However, third parties have confirmed hearing Raymond say the equivalent.) Raymond cut Leona off from access to their joint bank accounts, badgered her into giving back jewelry he had given her and then sold them, refused to give her adequate money for groceries, and moved into separate sleeping quarters. Leona also soon began to notice that many WCG friends would no longer have anything to do with her.

Communication between Leona and Raymond became increasingly strained. But in spite of this, Leona - concerned for the welfare of her children - put aside all thought of divorce or separation. Raymond, on the other hand, had different ideas. According to Leona's court testimony, and corroborated by her daughter, on a number of occasions Raymond took her to the door, opened it and yelled, "You're not paying the bills here. Get out!" The reason for this behavior was inexplicable to Leona until later when she realized that, although the WCG had for four decades prohibited all divorce, around 1974 church leaders began to discuss the possibility of allowing divorce for members deserted by nonmembers. Leona's suspicions were confirmed when Mrs. Nancy Tate, one of her close friends, told her how the wife of one WCG evangelist had confided, "If we could just get Leona to leave the house, we could get her on desertion." Before long, Raymond made his intentions perfectly clear. He flat out told her he would divorce her when the time was right.

The relationship was now a traumatic one, but Leona still had no intention of deserting her family. Nor was she lingering on for (what Allan Browne would later claim in court) a "free ride." She started attending college again in 1974 to reestablish her nursing credentials. And when those were obtained in 1975 she found work at a local hospital. But then, a few weeks later in June, Raymond McNair did something no WCG evangelist had ever done. He filed for divorce. 
It is terrible to think that Meredith simply lied and claimed the divorce was all Leona McNair's fault.

The issue of Ambassador Report also note how Meredith once, in 1960, gave Leona McNair a humiliating four hour shouting session at her that adversely affected her health.
Meredith's testimony, less rambling than Raymond McNair's - but equally self-justifying - was particularly remarkable in its portrayal of the WCG as one big happy family. Meredith went to some length in describing the close friendship that had supposedly once existed between the McNairs and himself. But Ruth McNair-Knasin, when asked about the matter, 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." ...

The WCG may be one big happy family to Meredith, but Leona on the stand recalled how one evening in 1960 Raymond let Meredith into their home and announced, to her astonishment, that he had been invited in to "counsel" her. What followed, according to Leona, was four-and-one-half hours of railing accusation, authoritative preaching, sex-life interrogation, and high-decibel, humiliating verbal abuse from Meredith. Her problem? She was not a submissive enough wife and two ministers (unnamed) had found fault with her. She needed to obey his dictates because he (Meredith) was "God's number three man on earth" and would very likely remain in authority over her for all eternity! She needed to learn true submission! (Those who have seen Bryon Forbes' movie "The Stepford Wives" - referred to by Ruth McNair-Knasin in her testimony - will understand what Meredith was apparently aiming at.)

The 4= hours of harangue left Leona - then 2= months pregnant - in utter shock. She began shaking and hyperventilating. While Raymond slept well that night, she sobbed all night. The next morning found her still trembling. According to her court testimony, it was then that her nervous disorders began. In court Raymond claimed that Leona never had any emotional problems during their years in England. But a letter he wrote to her in 1975 specifically referred to her "emotional hangups." And Ruth testified how around 1970 her father had asked for her support in the event that he would find it necessary to have her mother committed.
On the stand, Meredith gave a very different picture of what happened. He described the 4=-hour session as nothing more than a friendly discussion lasting about an hour or so. Meredith's benevolent persona, however, stands in stark contrast to his reputation as a psychologically intimidating and harsh authoritarian in the performance of ministerial duties.  
 The Ambassador Report also notes other instances of Meredith's authoritarian behavior. Here is one.
Another former WCG minister told us that after a Meredith "counseling" session with his wife, she became so totally depressed he emphatically ordered her never to discuss anything privately with Meredith again. He explained, "Rod has the ability to somehow dig into a person's mind in such a way as to make them feel utterly guilt ridden and despondent. He seems to revel in this strange power to bring someone down psychologically." The same man also told us how once on a walk with Meredith, Roderick turned to him and said, "You may not realize it, but in all the universe, I'm number five, and you're number such and such." To us, at least, Leona's testimony was quite credible.
No wonder the jury awarded her $1,260,000 in damages for Meredith vicious libel against her.

WCG appealed and the case dragged on until 1992 when WCG paid $750,000 in an out of court settlement because of Meredith's libel. 
Mrs. Leona McNair's libel lawsuit against the Worldwide Church of God, Roderick C. Meredith, and her ex-husband Raymond McNair, was finally ended in December when the suit was settled out of court for $750,000 (Pasadena Star-News, 11/21/92). ... the WCG still refused to admit any wrongdoing, ... The victory by Leona was no small accomplishment...
 Leona McNair says she intends to get back to her career in nursing very soon. In the meantime, she is working on a book about tithing which she believes is a false doctrine that has cursed many Christians. Whether or not the book ever gets done, she has already written a short, but thought provoking, paper on the subject and she is distributing it to friends.

The best thing about her lawsuit coming to an end seems to be that, because she is no longer perceived as fighting against "God's Work," her two WCG-member sons are once again able to talk to their mother. Ironically, because Leona's ex-husband, Raymond McNair, recently left the WCG for Rod Meredith's Global Church of God, Leona's two sons are not supposed to talk to their father now because he has become "an enemy of God's Church." (Ambassador Report 52.)
Because Meredith left WCG shortly after this case was settled it is often asserted that Meredith stayed in WCG because of the libel lawsuit. Once the lawsuit was over he got out of WCG, which shielded him by paying the out of court settlement and paying to defend him and WCG from her libel suit, and started up his own COG offshoot group.

What a terrible legacy of shattered dreams and shattered lives this Roderick Meredith has left behind in his wake.  

How can anyone choose to follow a man who done such terrible things?


Here is Roderick C. Meredith announcing the disfellowshipment of David Robinson in the July 16, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 1:
Mr. Herbert Armstrong just returned from a very helpful and profitable trip to visit the church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our minister there, Mr. Don Mason, reported that Mr. Armstrong gave a very warm and loving sermon which encouraged the brethren a great deal. 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.
Meredith discusses David Robinson again in the July 23, 1979 Pastor's Report. These are Meredith's words on pages 1-2.
Now for the perennial BAD news. ...

So here goes.

Dennis Pyle refused to come in on sabbatical and has resigned from the ministry. Jim Redus also refused to come in for his sabbatical and has resigned. Dennis Adams has been terminated from the ministry as he wants to pursue a secular vocation.

On a much more serious note, Daryll Watson has been terminated and disfellowshipped for disloyalty to God's Work. He is already actively cooperating with the enemies of Christ's Work. Jack Martin has also been terminated and disfellowshipped. He, too, was found actively assisting the enemies of this Work. 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.  
Later David Robinson wrote the book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web. WCG's lawyers unsuccessfully tried to block its publication. That book also first revealed to the public that Herbert Armstrong committed incest with his daughter, Dorothy for ten years, around 1933-43.


In the July 30, 1979 Pastor's Report Roderick C. Meredith writes the following:
On the sad side, it is my duty to inform you that Mr. Jack Pyle and Mr. Bronson James have both been disfellowshipped from God's Church. They are to be marked in all areas of their activity, as both consorting with and helping the enemies of the Work of God.
Somehow I can't believe Meredith when he pretend that he regrets disfellowshipping people. He seems perfectly willing to hunt out and viciously cast out anyone threatening his, and HWA's, rule over WCG members. If he just fired them, maybe it would be so much of a problem, but HWA and Meredith ordered WCG members to shun and avoid contact with people disfellowshipped by WCG's leadership, tearing apart peoples' lives simply to maintain their rule and authority over WCG members in order to exploit them more effectively by getting them to pay three tithes and more to them.


On August 3, 1979 Herbert W. Armstrong removed Roderick C. Meredith as head of the Office of Ministerial Services.

This announcement was published in the August 6, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 3.

Worldwide Church of God

World Headquarters
Pasadena, California   91123

Herbert W. Armstrong
President and Pastor

August 3, 1979


I am hereby installing Mr. Joseph W. Tkach in charge of the Office of Ministerial Services, with Dr. William Kessler as assistant.

Mr. Ted Herlofsen is too be transferred to a ministerial post in the field. This directive is to be effective immediately.

[Signature] Herbert W. Armstrong
Pastor General
HWA talks about his decision on this matter in page 13. He seems to me quite mad at Meredith here.
In the emergency [the receivership crisis], I set Roderick C. Meredith as head of the ministry until I could decide how to eliminate this POWER BLOC by having a man as "head of the ministry"-- which is virtually the same as being head of the Church and the entire Work. Such an office simply does not belong in God's Church.

Therefore I am ABOLISHING that office entirely. Christ's Apostle is the human head over the ministry, and MUST NOT BE CUT OFF FROM THE MINISTERS! Mr. Meredith is being transferred back as Dean of the Faculty of Ambassador College. 
(My word! HWA is referring to himself in the third person.)

Tkach does not speak for himself in this issue.

In the August 21, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 7, Joseph Tkach writes his first article in the Pastor's Report. (For some reason that is upside down.) Here we get a strong indication of what really happened and why Meredith was removed.

Notice how Tkach calls for WCG ministers to pray for HWA and Stanley Rader.
Stay close to God and remember always to pray for Mr. Armstrong. As the China trip draws near, pray even more earnestly for his health, success, and protection. Pray for God's guidance and protection for Mr. Rader as he makes advance preparations for these extremely important meetings with top officials of the Chinese government.

Your servant in Christ,
Joe Tkach.
Notice how Tkach ask WCG ministers to pray for HWA and then Stanley Rader. This shows quite clearly that at this point in time it was Stanley Rader who was the number two man in WCG, even though he was then only a lay member.

Maybe that was another reason why HWA removed Meredith? In some of the previous issues of Pastor's Report Meredith announced that non-career ministers (essentially retired ministers who continued to minister part time with reduced pay) would be abolished. Meredith emphasized that any such man from now on is to regarded as only a laymember.

Perhaps Rader was suspicious of Meredith's call for ex-ministers in good standing with WCG to be regarded only as lay members and interpreted this as an attack on his position of authority within WCG.

In a previous post we also saw how Meredith attempted to undermine Rader by spreading a rumor that had not been spread that widely before he publicly denied it, thus causing everyone to know of it.

Rader lashed out at Meredith and got HWA to remove him. Leaving him as Dean of the Faculty was not enough and he was later sent to paid exile in Hawai'i for six months. It was while Meredith was in Hawai'i that HWA sent Roderick C. Meredith a letter that harshly criticized him and among other things said that Meredith had no ability to run the church after HWA's death even though Meredith viewed things differently.

Stanley Rader also proceeded to take care of the problem that he was only a lay member.

Meredith's removal was the first move in a sequence of moves to strengthen Rader's power, culminating in Rader's ordination as an Evangelist by HWA and heir apparent.
The big news was really not much of a surprise. We predicted it in 1976, in our very first issue: Stan Rader was ordained an evangelist. The well-executed sequence of events went as follows:
First Roderick C. Meredith was removed as director of the WCG's ministry. Then all WCG evangelists were stripped of their rank. The hierarchical structure of the ministry was reorganized with Joseph Tkach, a preaching elder, and Kevin Dean, formerly a steward on the church airplane, elevated to top positions under HWA. (Both Tkach and Dean are proven Rader loyalists.) The board of trustees was purged of anti-Rader trustees (Meredith and Luker). (Raymond McNair remained, as he is now in the Rader camp.)

In his September 20 co-worker letter, Herbert Armstrong hinted that his life might soon be coming to an end (an amazing admission for HWA). Within days, it was announced that Rader had been ordained an evangelist along with Joseph Tkach ...
As we go to press, we have learned that Roderick Meredith has been given a six month "leave of absence" in Hawaii. Few believe he will ever return to any significant position in the WCG. Perhaps he will not return at all. (Ambassador Report 10.) 
Meredith tried to remove Rader from power and failed miserably. That is why he got removed as head of the ministry in 1979.


What a shameful record of oppression and cruelty Roderick Meredith showed at this time. And LCG members tithes go to support an organization led by the person who did these oppressive things.

People deserve to know the truth about Roderick Meredith and what he did at this time.

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