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. [And was removed August 3, 1979, and replaced by Joseph Tkach, but this is not mentioned. It was in an earlier edition.] 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.Ogwyn notes that the receivership happened and it was temporary. (An earlier edition of this booklet did not even state that the receivership ended.) But there is no mention about why it happened, when and how it ended, or whether WCG was vindicated or not.
Ogwyn's booklet hides the fact that WCG was not vindicated in the receivership. WCG got California to change the law making it impossible to prosecute WCG in that way. Many of those who were resisting the receivership were doing so at the behest of Stanley Rader (he who must not be named).
In reality the receivership was initiated by people who still passionately believed most of HWA's doctrines. The receivership was their attempt to save WCG by stopping corruption within WCG HQ and lavish expenses of tithe money for personal uses made at the expense of the welfare of WCG members and local congregations. All this is clearly revealed in John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Set You Free.
On a visit to the offices of Cohn and Lifland, I decided to discuss our idea with Pearlman and Herrmann. I said, "If we actually file this lawsuit it could hurt and perhaps even destroy the Church when our real desire is to save the Church from the corrupt leadership.Here some of the relators who initiated the lawsuit suggest that before the suit is filed they approach Stanley Rader and announce that unless he resigned immediately they would initiate the lawsuit.
What sort of "conspiracy" is this? The initiators were willing to throw it all away if only the fear of the lawsuit could be used to scare Rader into resigning from WCG.
The lawyers wisely disregarded this idea. Rader did all he could to resist the receivership.
The following words are of Robert Kuhn, who had learned that the receivership was coming, warning C. Wayne Cole just before the receivership that a lawsuit of some nature was afoot. He could not reveal the exact nature of the lawsuit.
I know that out of your loyalty to Mr.Armstrong, that you'll feel obligated to inform him. Then he'll immediately call Stan, and then the action may run into problems. All I can tell you is that the people behind it want to save the Church. They aren't dissidents, but feel that strong action must be taken to clean this place out."After this Kuhn wished for reassurance from John Tuit that the intent of the lawsuit was a desire to save the church.
As Jack had asked, I phoned Kuhn a few days after Jack had informed me of what he now called his private diplomatic mission. Kuhn's main concern was to be fully assured that we were not out to destroy the Church, but rather were sincere in our desire to save the Church. I assured him that this was the feeling of all those involved.The words below further reveal the reforming impulse behind the receivership. They wished to reform the church and put an end to authoritarian behavior, not destroy it.
While the officials of the court were busy attempting to do their job, I had a phone conversation with Robert Kuhn and told him, if it was at all possible, to get Wayne Cole and others of the leading ministers on some sort of a conference call that I would be able to explain what was happening.Chapter 15:
I said, "If I could only talk to these men, I am sure that I could show them that the real purpose here is to save the Church and not to destroy it, which is what I am sure we'll be accused of doing. I know of no way to reach Herbert Armstrong directly other than perhaps through the leading ministers. Maybe after our discussion they may be able to get to Mr.Armstrong with the facts on this situation and hopefully the whole thing could be cut short."
I outlined the entire reason for the suit and emphasized the fact that this was an attempt to save the Church and that the receiver was being placed in charge in order to protect the assets of the Church. I told them that the Attorney General's office has no right to interfere with the ecclesiastical affairs of the Church and in fact has no interest in those areas. I made it plain that this action had been in the planning stages for quite some time and that it would be pursued aggressively to a conclusion.(No wonder Rader worked so hard to stop the receivership.)
After explaining the entire background and purpose of the lawsuit, I said, "Our interest here as relators is obviously one more broad than that of the Attorney General's office. We want to clean up the financial improprieties and also see the Church relieved of the autocratic, dictatorial rule that has been imposed, plunging the Church into a state of complete fear. The Attorney General has determined from his investigation that there are adequate grounds to proceed with this lawsuit, and their interest is to see those responsible for wrongdoing are removed and caused to make full restitution to the Church
HWA lied and shrilly claimed the receivership was an attempt to destroy the church. HWA and Rader were fighting to protect their dirty secrets of corruption hidden.
Notice how HWA falsely insinuates that WCG would have been dissolved if the receivership were allowed to fulfill its course in Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6.
a court had secretly appointed a receiver to TAKE OVER, RUN AND OPERATE the Church of the living GOD! ... And the OPERATION OF THE CHURCH CONTINUED! [Falsely implying that the operation of the church was ever in danger.](And that is not the only lie in HWA's book.)
Furthermore WCG was not vindicated in this crisis. WCG's Arthur Andersen audit could not prove that nothing illegal had occurred.
Instead WCG was lobbied enough politicians in California to get them to pass a law that made it impossible for such a lawsuit to be enacted. That is how WCG overcame the receivership crisis. They got the State of California to change the rules in their favor.
While the legal battles continued, Rader succeeded in enlisting the support of many California politicians to his cause. ...As Tuit feared once the bill became law the State of California gave up trying to enforce this lawsuit.
With the added support of many church leaders of various denominations, some deceived by him, and others fearful of themselves being exposed, a bill was introduced to the California legislature by Senator Nicholas Petris. The bill states. "Except as the Attorney General is empowered to act in the enforcement of the criminal laws of this state . . . (he) . . . shall have no power with respect to religious corporations."
In effect, the bill, if it becomes law, will prohibit the Attorney General from acting on behalf of a church in an action against leaders who are suspected of misappropriating funds. The Attorney General would no longer be able to seek recovery of monies for a church. The only avenue would be criminal prosecution, a much more difficult task.
In May, the Senate passed the bill and in August it was passed by the Assembly.
Incidently, this 'victory' for WCG also allowed other cults to get off the hook from the State of California. (I have made a minor alteration of the font in this next quote for stylistic purposes.)
On October 14, 1980, California Attorney General George Deukmejian announced that he was dropping any further action against the leaders of the WCG. His announcement was a result of the signing of the Petris bill by Governor Edmund G. Brown on September 30. Deukmejian also dropped any further investigations of eleven other groups, including Synanon, the drug rehabilitation organization which had become a religious cult. (Postscript.)WCG was not vindicated at all, contrary to what HWA told WCG members.
More on this topic may be seen in a previous post.
If the receivership went through its course it is likely more money would have been used for lowly WCG members. It was very sad to see how John Tuit described how deprived WCG congregations, unable even to receive money from higher up to build up a Sabbath school. In contrast the leaders of WCG lived in the lap of luxury, often using legally dubious ways. No wonder so many WCG congregations and members were deprived.
HWA had complete control over many WCG members. HWA could communicate with every WCG member through the Pastor's Report, his co-worker letters, his sermons, etc. But the lawsuit was prepared in secret. Many of those inclined to question HWA's line had already left WCG or learned to keep silent.
Many doctrines within WCG encouraged WCG members to view the receivership as a Satanic attack, a test of faith requiring unstinting loyalty to HWA (and he who must not be named, Rader). For years WCG members had been indoctrinated to view the world and WCG in this way. When HWA rallied his followers the years of propaganda and brainwashing now paid off and HWA used all this to fight the receivership through every twist and turn.
It is shameful, considering these facts, that HWA sectarians such as LCG's John Ogwyn, continue to breathe life into HWA's self serving and false assurances that he and WCG were innocent and that the receivership was conducted under false pretenses.
LCG's John Ogwyn's evasive treatment of this topic continue to hold LCG members in bondage to a system of oppression designed to exploit them, not least by insisting they pay three tithes and extra offerings to the leaders of LCG.