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Ambassador Watch  A weekly E-zine 

Ambassador Watch is part of the Missing Dimension web site - www.missingdimension.com . It is published online each Friday.  The contact address is: missingdimension@ihug.co.nz
Dateline Pasadena can be reached at datelinepasadena@yahoo.com
In This Issue: Deordaining with Den, Joe's promises, Flurry's Pet Rock, Whistler's Six Pack, Ambassador Garden and Doctor Dankenbring's Keys to Radiant Blood Clots
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Whistler's 6-pack. Our monthly columnist looks into legalism (NEW)
MD Quick Links

Herbert W. Armstrong (WCG)
Garner Ted Armstrong (ICG)
Gerald Flurry (PCG)
Roderick Meredith (LCG)
United Church of God AIA

Letter of the Week:

Hello from Los Angeles!

Thanks for the free publicity for my "Should Christians Fight?" article.  Many who would never deign to pick up a copy of "The Plain Truth" will now read it.  It is my personal view that pacifism and nonresistance are immoral, being tantamount to an unconditional surrender to evil, though I respect the rights of sincere persons to hold other views.  I hope my article causes some to re-think the subject.

Just to set the record straight, I have not been employed by the Worldwide Church of God for nearly 5 years, nor have I attended a WCG church service during that time.  I researched and wrote "Should Christians Fight?" entirely on my own, with no input from "Joe & Co."  (I haven't spoken with Joe in years.)   I submitted the article to The Plain Truth on a freelance basis and was, in fact, uncertain whether it would be published, in view of its strong leanings toward the "just war" and "preventive war" theories.  As it turned out, it was published verbatim.

Also (in case you're interested), my personal view is that Herbert Armstrong was completely disqualified from any kind of Christian ministry in view of the indisputable fact of his perpetration of child rape and incest over many years, the documented plagiarism of many of his alleged "new truths" from previously published sources, and the blatant hypocrisy of his debauched and corrupt personal lifestyle as compared to his public teachings.  His views on the Bible were comparable to a blind man's opinion of Picasso.  He was a small man with a small mind, a gatherer of second-hand theories and opinions long-ago discarded by men of intelligence and spiritual discernment.  His only real genius was for self-promotion.

Herbert Armstrong's life was proof of the adage that age does not necessarily bring wisdom; often it merely changes simple stupidity into arrogant conceit.

Those who cling to the absurdities of his teachings can't see because they don't wish to see.  They're living in a meticulously constructed fantasy world, the tragic victims of their own illusions.  But there's always hope.  I thank God that I and many others have found liberation from the spiritual slavery of those toxic, legalistic beliefs.

Today I make my living as a writer and editor, though not primarily in the religious arena.  To quote one of my favorite authors, sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, "With just a touch more self confidence and a liberal helping of ignorance, I could have been a famous evangelist."      : )

Thanks again for linking to my article!

Keith W. Stump

Issue Eight - June 14, 2002

WCG Bigwigs Back Pelley's Pasadena Purges: Inside sources in Old Town Pasadena reported to Dateline Pasadena last week that Dennis Pelley, Dan Rogers, Curtis May and Joe Tkach were seen in a certain restaurant eating lunch.  This week we heard the results of that meeting. 

A couple of months ago Dennis Pelley went on a disfellowshipment craze, kicking out members who had celebrated Passover in their homes. Pelley also went after WCG members who were not in agreement with the changes in the church and who had been vocal in expressing their views publicly.  With other WCG members he threatened to revoke their ordinations because they disagreed with Pasadena. 

One of the people Pelley threatened was Earl Reese (an employee in the Legal Office.)  Sources report that Mrs. Reese told Pelley that he had no authority to remove Earl's ordination (Elder).  She told Pelley that 'deordination' could only come from those above him.  This reportedly ticked Pelley off. He was loosing control.  Well, Pelley got his wish today.  Earl Reese was called into Tkach's office and told that his ordination had been removed.  Not only does this have a future impact upon Earl's severance package/retirement, it will also have an immediate effect on his income since he will no longer be able to deduct ministerial allowances.  The Bernardo has been throwing around the catch phrase that the retirement program will be made available to all employees in good standing and are loyal with the church.  Now, technically, Earl is NOT in good standing and The Bernardo can refuse retirement.  Other sources are reporting that Pelley is next going after Gene Hogberg and Bill Kubon to have their ordinations removed.

Pasadena members that were attending Dennis Pelley's congregation are now flocking in droves out to the Glendora WCG church.  Neil Earl's congregation is now the fastest growing in Southern CA. Is it any wonder?  Who in their right mind would want to stay and financially support someone who could turn on them at the slightest whim?  God forbid if you had several people over to study the Bible!  Pelley is only cutting his own throat.  When the new financial model gets in place (If the Pasadena property ever sells) and the Pasadena members are the sole support for Pelley's salary, what's he going to do when there is no income coming in?  Perhaps that is already partially known... Dennis Pelley's wife reportedly received a very large inheritance several years ago, so they are financially secure. Dateline Pasadena

(MD comment: Mr. Reese's ordination was footnoted in issue 42 of Ambassador Report, September 1989. It was noteworthy in that Reese was ordained ahead of his boss, Ralph Helge. John Trechak wrote "This obvious snub of Helge has led some to speculate that Tkach's [Joe Senior] confidence in Helge is waning and that Reese will eventually be the WCG's chief counsel." More recently Mr. Reese has spoken on behalf of the WCG regarding litigation with the PCG over Mystery of the Ages.)

Keeping his word? Way back in 1997 Joseph Tkach appeared on a National Public Radio "Airtalk" interview with Larry Mantle. Unlike most journalists who deal with the "Pastor General", Mantle did his research. A partial transcript is available on the Painful Truth website (thanks Ed!). One part of that interview bears revisiting:

Larry Mantle: I do want to talk, before we conclude, about control of the church. Again, referencing this New Times story, it is stated in there that you control the board of directors of the church. So you can pick and choose who is going to be the board of the Worldwide Church of God. That board controls the church and its assets. As a result, effectively, you control the church's assets. Is that accurate?

Joe Tkach Jr: Aaaaaa, not entirely, no. First of all, I mentioned that we are currently in the process of revising our bylaws, so that the position that I hold is elected by the board.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Joe Tkach Jr: So the idea that I own all the property or ever have is absolutely preposterous.

Larry Mantle: Well, control it. I don't think anyone is alleging that you personally own it. But that, for example, if the property was sold and the church dissolved, that you would be able to dispense that money to the non-profit organizations of your choice.

Joe Tkach Jr: The way, if I recall our articles and bylaws correctly, the way that they prescribe that we would have to proceed, is that the board would determine who the assets would go to.

Larry Mantle: But if you control the board, then effectively, you control, at least as your bylaws are currently written, you do control that.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. But they prevent immurement. I couldn't give them to myself. I couldn't prosper from it myself.

Larry Mantle: No, but if you had some pet, I mean, let's say, for example, you believed in UFO visitations and you decided you wanted to give all the church's assets, I mean millions of dollars to the UFO Network, there would be nothing precluding you from doing that.

Joe Tkach Jr: Ya. I would have to, if the board disagreed, under this scenario, I would have to, aaaaa, terminate everyone's responsibility on the board and do that myself.

Larry Mantle: Stuff like that has happened before.

Joe Tkach Jr: Ya. I don't think I would get away with it.

Larry Mantle: Who would stop you though? If it is in your bylaws allowing you to do it?

Joe Tkach Jr: My family would stop me.

Larry Mantle: Okay. And the bylaws are going to change that? You're not going to have that level of authority?

Joe Tkach Jr: As my book tells in the last chapter, that that is something that we have said we are going to do and that is something we are working on. Yeah, I think it is something that we will have completed this year.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Joe Tkach Jr: When I say this year, I mean 1998.

Okay. So it's now 2002. Did the Board ever complete the "process of revising our bylaws"? Has the Board (which Joe selects and Greg Albrecht concedes is a "rubberstamp") ever voted Joe into his position? And if it had, would it mean anything considering these guys are all handpicked (nobody elects them) for their "loyalty"?

So does Joe still control the Board? Have the bylaws been changed? Not that we're aware of. The road to hell, it seems, is still paved with good intentions.

Here's what Joe wrote in his book "Transformed by Truth":

Our denominational governance is yet another major change we are in the process of making. The hierarchy of church structure is being modified to feature a board vested with authority both to appoint and to remove the president/pastor general. We also plan to limit the length of the pastor general’s term to a specified number of years. Until now, the office of pastor general has been a lifetime appointment made by the previous pastor general.

Uh, that was even earlier than the NPR interview. And the current (2002) "term" of the Pastor General is... ?

So was Joe just making it up on the spot? Does he really think it's good enough to respond with "my family would stop me"? Why has nothing happened?

Will anything ever happen?

June 12, 2002

{Community Leader}

Dear :

I am sending this letter to a very select few community leaders in Pasadena to announce that the Worldwide Church of God is keeping its promise to the community to create a showcase residential development on our Ambassador Campus. 

I am delighted to inform you that, today, the Worldwide Church of God submitted its project description to the City of Pasadena, continuing the vision of an entirely residential project, while seeking to retain the Ambassador Auditorium through a retooled Community Facilities District, and preserve the gardens and historic homes.

We have worked diligently for over 50 years to create a beautiful campus here, and have spent the last five years working with Pasadena to create a new project that brings together all of the elements that have come to define Pasadena as a unique, inclusive and well-planned community.  The working name for our project is: 'Ambassador Garden.'

In order to take advantage of the essential underlying prior work done for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR), and to provide for the generous mitigation of impacts by using an intentionally high theoretical maximum figure, the description includes the same 1,942-unit count as did the prior SEIR.  This is a study number and not the final unit count, which will be arrived at over time and with the input of the City Staff and neighborhood groups during our listening phase as discussed below.  In addition, the proposal calls for an approximately 6% allocation to affordable housing.  We also seek to retain the Ambassador Auditorium through a retooled Community Facilities District, and preserve the gardens and
historic homes. 

But this is only a beginning step in a path we intend to take together with Pasadena.  We will soon select our master developer and consulting architect, and begin a 'listening' phase with key stakeholders and community groups.  Once we have completed our listening phase, we will then present a refined vision.  We will also reexamine the traffic mitigation plan to meet all of Pasadena's needs. 

I am anxious to schedule a meeting with you as soon as we announce our new development team.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (626) 304-4011.  I am excited for our new journey together.


Bernard W. Schnippert , Ph.D., Esq.
Director of Finance & Planning
Chief Financial Officer

Hocking Off Ambassador - Plan F:  Bernie Schnippert (PhD, Esq.) sends a cordial message to the community.

Attached please find a copy of the press release and a letter being sent to community neighbors about the Church's proposed development of the Ambassador campus.

Bernie Schnippert

Dateline Pasadena provided us with our very own copy (see box on right).

Two articles on what may be the most tedious real estate deal in living memory have appeared recently. One by Stephanie Chavez in the LA Times gushes about the campus. Another, by the excellent PSN writer Elizabeth Lee, cuts to the nitty-gritty of the WCG's latest proposal. Both stories have been posted to the Missing Dimension group on Yahoo! 

Back to the Stone Age:  The Fred Flintstone of COG leaders, Gerry Flurry, has been showing an unexpected interest in inanimate objects lately. The following posting appeared recently on Henrik Blunck's PCG forum.

I nearly fell over backwards when someone showed me the May/June edition of the PCG magazine Royal Vision, showing a photograph of Dave Todd and Gerald Flurry standing next to the "prayer rock".  I believe HWA used to pray near this rock in his younger days.  In the article it says "God's work through Mr. Armstrong generally started at that rock" 

How deeply meaningful. The writer concludes:

I wonder if they will dig it up and take it back to PCG headquarters and bow down before it.  Seems to me the PCG is (again) following the wrong rock.

Which just goes to show: Gerry Rocks!  We've been casting about for some time for an appropriate term of endearment for Gerry, akin to the respectful honorific "Spanky" which has been deservedly bestowed on Rod Meredith. Now it seems we may at last have one. Rocky.

Willie Well:  William F. Dankenbring, founder of Triumph Prophetic Ministries and inspiration behind much of Whistler's humor, has given a personal account of his recent hospitalization. If you're short of reading material, and have already finished the telephone directory and the Korean VCR manual, why not give this riveting report - cleverly entitled "Personal Report -- William F. Dankenbring of Triumph Prophetic Ministries Spends 5 Days in Hospital Due to Blood Clots in Leg and Lung!" the once over.

So much for all that good advice Willie gave the world in his 1974 book The Keys to Radiant Health. This writer pulled out a copy that has been gathering dust for years - and was unsurprised to notice the pages of gratuitous counsel Mr. Dankenbring - who has no formal qualifications in the field - gave on such matters as heart disease, organic foods and high blood pressure. Hmm.  A case, perhaps, of "physician heal thyself"?

Whistler's Six Pack:  The latest Whistler article has arrived. It may be the best yet. Too bad the "New Covenant Nazis" at cult HQ don't have the grace and gentle humor of our columnist, who this month vigorously shakes up the legalist's "6-pack of misused scriptures" then pulls the tabs. Prepare for a soaking!

email MD: editor@ambassadorwatch.co.nz email Dateline Pasadena: dp@ambassadorwatch.co.nz 


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