Wednesday, June 26, 2013

John Tuit on Roderick C. Meredith

As a former follower and co-worker of Roderick C. Meredith's Living Church of God (2000-8) I am always very interested to hear about my former cultmeister. When I read about other COG cult leaders it is somewhat more remote to me because I was never as deeply under the deception of any other COG.

Recently I read John Tuit's book The Truth Shall Make You Free. Mr. Tuit was instrumental in bringing about the receivership of WCG in 1979.

He has some fascinating comments regarding Roderick C. Meredith.

In the course of this post Mr. Tuit makes several assertions about Roderick C. Meredith which it is impossible for me to verify. Nevertheless I report these things in order for people to more easily know what John Tuit has to say about Meredith. These words have long been in circulation. Personally I think other verifiable information (such as his deceptive insinuation on his TV show that "You will gain precious insights and information available nowhere else") more easily proves that Meredith could not be a man sent by God and that he is not worthy of being followed as a man of God.

(The following quotations all come from John Tuit's The Truth Shall Set You Free, as hosted on the website of Keith Hunt, a former WCG member who continues to teach many of HWA's doctrines.)

John Tuit's The Truth Shall Set You Free: Chapter 4:

This chapter spends a lot of time discussing the contents of the first issue of Ambassador Report. (All 72 Ambassador Report issues are available at the Painful Truth.)

The following is a quotation from the Ambassador Report article, Tithe Spy.
Keith M. Hunter, who was Director of the Ambassador College Data Processing Center from 1965 through 1973, told the Ambassador Review, "In early 1968, Rodrick C. Meredith, then head of the U.S. Church Ministry of the Radio Church of God, now the Worldwide Church of God, was taking a tour of the new computer facilities at 55 North Vernon. I briefed him on the system we were developing and showed him some printouts of donation information. His eyes seemed to widen as he realized the potentialities of such a system. He asked me to look up the donation records of two men who were about to be ordained as deacons. It turned out that one was tithing and one was not (according to RCM). Mr. Meredith immediately set up a policy to be administered through Dan Porter, then head of the Church Administration Department, that all ordinations and elevations in rank would be done subsequent to a tithe check. It was my feeling that this policy has been carried on to the present day."

Here John Tuit discusses his Area Coordinator, Elbert Atlas, and then suggests how Meredith really feels about African Americans:

Elbert Atlas is one of the few black ministers in the Church and the only black Area Coordinator. Unfortunately, he appears to be very sensitive to this fact and ever-mindful of the feelings of some of the top officials in the Church. He will probably never forget the statement, by Rodrick C. Meredith, a top-ranking evangelist who was later to become Director of the ministry "that one of the signs of God's displeasure with America was the fact that many blacks were ruling over us." And he called particular attention to the black mayor of Los Angeles. He further stated that no black should have authority over whites.
HWA's WCG has had a long history of not treating African Americans well, not least with HWA's ban on interracial marriage. I do not know how Meredith treats that issue today. 

John Tuit's The Truth Shall Set You Free Chapter 15:

As one of the initiators of the receivership of WCG there is a lot of discussion of how events unfolded in this turmultuous time for "God's Church" HWA's WCG.

HWA and Co. claimed the receivership was a wicked, Satanic attempt to destroy HWA's WCG and overthrow HWA. In reality the receivership was initiated by "true Christians" in a desperate attempt to combat rampant corruption and misappropriation of funds within WCG HQ. It would appear a lot of money received by HWA's WCG was used, not in proclaiming Armstrongism as they claimed, but instead was being used for the personal uses of the leaders at WCG HQ. It was to stop this corrupt and exploitative behavior that several people, devout believers in much of HWA's teachings, initiated the receivership. They did it in the hope that, if the receivership succeeded, WCG HQ would become more supportive of congregations, instead of squandering tithe money for the personal uses of WCG leaders. There is a lot of misunderstanding within the COGs about this event. 

At first HWA was willing to be more cooperative with the receivership and in pursuit of this path, after a meeting at Tucson, Arizona, HWA appointed C. Wayne Cole as his second in command to execute this policy. Cole was very nervous about this grave responsibility that had been suddenly placed upon him, not least because this would make him a rival against HWA's favorite and virtual second in command, Stanley Rader.

But once he returned to Pasadena HWA changed his mind and supported Rader and decided to resist the receivership as much as possible. HWA betrayed C. Wayne Cole and appointed Roderick C. Meredith in his place, apparently at Rader's urging.

Here Tuit discusses how this internal coup unfolded in a dramatic anti-receivership, pro-HWA, pro-Rader demonstration at Ambassador Auditorium.
Finally, [C. Wayne] Cole and his group were successful in entering the auditorium and attended the meeting. Rodrick Meredith, another evangelist sharing [Raymond] McNair's opportunistic ways, spoke to the group. He announced that Cole had been relieved of his duties, and that he was replacing Cole. A statement from Herbert Armstrong was then read confirming Meredith's announcement. This was the first official announcement anyone, including Cole, had heard regarding Cole's removal. Meredith explained that the Attorney General's action violated the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion....

Near the close of the meeting, Cole mounted the stage and approached the podium to tell his side of the story and also to announce that if this was the latest decision from Herbert Armstrong he would abide by it. Before fifteen hundred people on the stage of Armstrong's monument to his own great ego, several men prevented Cole from speaking. Loud music immediately began playing and the microphone was quickly dismantled. Meredith and others then escorted Cole off the stage with Meredith threatening to call the police if Cole didn't leave. Cole and his group left the auditorium as several of them hurled charges of "outrage" and "travesty." These charges were surely an understatement in describing the conduct of the men now firmly in charge of the Worldwide Church of God. Now in charge of the Church as puppets of Rader were Rodrick Meredith and Raymond McNair. Meredith, the new head of the ministry, has always been noted for his self-righteous attitude and harsh demands that loyalty to God required loyalty to Herbert Armstrong.

After this Tuit alleges the following about Meredith:
The true nature of the man can better be understood, however, by other characteristics which are not as widely known. In a sermon he once went to great lengths to explain how people should spank their children. He was proud of the fact that he spanked his teenage daughter on her bare backside at least once a week whether she needed it or not, just to keep her in line. His penchant for X-rated movies and adult book stores has been explained by him as a necessary part of his research in order that he may speak out properly against such sins in his sermons. This line of logic, then, would require one to commit murder in order to speak out against such a crime.
And this is partly why Roderick Meredith is very often referred to as Spanky among those who know the truth about HWA, WCG and its splinter groups.

John Tuit's The Truth Shall Set You Free Chapter 16:

Here Tuit discusses how Meredith called upon WCG members to rally against the receivership in order to protect HWA and Rader, and then notes how earlier Meredith had condemned protests and civil disobedience as sinful and forbidden for "true Christians" WCG members.

The following day, on January 6th, a most unusual Sabbath service took place at the Ambassador Auditorium. For three and a half hours, the Church members were subjected to the rantings and ravings of Ellis LaRavia, Rodrick Meredith, Rader and Rader's law partner Ralph Helge.

Meredith said, "We are in a war. Let's see if we are faithful warriors." He must have forgotten what he had written in the September 1964 issue of The Plain Truth regarding civil disobedience. [The article may be read on PDF pp. 47-50.] He said that a Christian's obligation to civil power was in accordance with the statements in the 13th Chapter of Romans as quoted only a couple of days earlier by Wayne Cole in his statement to Church employees. Meredith went on to state in his article, "Those who resist the civil power shall receive to themselves DAMNATION! They are resisting GOD HIMSELF who allows that authority! Your Bible proves government authority and power are ORDAINED OF GOD! - Yes, your Bible reveals that it is God who has ordained human officers of government and those officers must be RESPECTED."

Meredith is condemned by his very own words. The fact that he made that statement in 1964 makes it quite plain that he knew he was wrong now. In 1979, he was calling the Church members to be warriors against civil authority. At the end of his sermon Meredith then announced that Wayne Cole, David Antion, Robert Kuhn and Ben Chapman were all being disfellowshipped. He claimed that all of these men were part of a satanic conspiracy to destroy the Church and overthrow Herbert Armstrong.
It is also worth noting that the cover of the issue has a picture of "RACE RIOTS in New York". The caption below the cover photo says "RACE RIOTS in New York--Negro men yell and wave during civil disturbances in Rochester, New York. Read, in this issue, the truth about the race crisis".

Sadly during the great struggle by African Americans against racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s HWA's WCG chose to remain neutral, saying Christ would soon return in 1975 and solve all these problems anyway.

John Tuit's The Truth Shall Set You Free Chapter 17:

Although Meredith was eagerly collaborating with HWA and Rader's attempt to retain control of WCG he, apparently, was still determined to try to undermine Rader. He did not do very well. 
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. 
So this would appear to be the reason why HWA cast Meredith into (paid) exile in Hawai'i for six months. That was when HWA sent his infamous letter to Roderick C. Meredith. Meredith tried to cut Rader down to size and seize power. He failed miserably.

Later, around 1981, HWA overthrew Rader but had to pay him a generous retirement package which was faithfully paid until his death in 2002. Nevertheless HWA chose to keep Meredith at arms length for the rest of his life and chose Tkach to run WCG after his death. Meredith has no right to claim that HWA would have supported him taking over control of WCG after his death. 

So there you have it. That is what John Tuit, one of the initiators of the receivership has to say about Roderick C. Meredith.

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