AR37 January, 1987
Tkach Turns Apostle
No, we're not kidding. Joseph W. Tkach is now an apostle. Or at least, so he thinks. Worldwide Church of God (WCG) ministers increasingly refer to Tkach as "God's Apostle," and insiders say Tkach seems to like it that way.
It is now one year since WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) passed away, leaving Tkach in charge. When HWA died, many hoped that Tkach would moderate the policies of HWA. There have been changes, but as the old saying goes, "sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same."
Like his predecessor, Tkach enjoys being photographed with the rich and famous. On December 6, Tkach left Sabbath services early to fly to Washington, D.C. where the next day he attended a White House reception honoring actress-comedienne Lucille Ball, singer Ray Charles, and four other entertainers. While there in a reception line, Tkach was able to speak to Reagan for a few seconds. In recent months the "Iranscam" affair has brought the President criticism from both Congress and the press. Tkach, in an outburst of enthusiastic support for Reagan, advised the President to "give 'em hell!" At least some in the WCG have winced at the story, believing the unrequested advice was simplistic and inappropriately phrased. However, when you consider that hell, and how to give it, is something of which the WCG ministry has expertise, perhaps Tkach was really just speaking straight from the heart.
One thing that never seems to change in the WCG is the executive musical chairs routine. A few months ago, Tkach brought his son-in-law minister, Doug Horchak, into headquarters to become assistant to evangelist Larry Salyer, who heads the WCG's Church Administration Department. Things didn't work out for Horchak and Tkach sent him back into "the field." To replace Horchak under Salyer, Tkach brought in Joseph Tkach Jr. from Arizona. A lot of members believe Joe Jr. will one day leapfrog over Salyer to become the WCG's number two man and eventually will be the heir-apparent to the WCG throne.
One WCG bigwig who is now a small wig is Ellis LaRavia. This summer Tkach stripped him of his position over the Ambassador Foundation. Insiders say that Tkach was upset with LaRavia's "inability to control his wife." One day she went into a rage in the church's Hall of Administration building and then physically assaulted evangelist Larry Salyer. The police were summoned and she was physically restrained. We understand she has since been put into an institution for those with emotional problems. The Ambassador Foundation is now headed by David Hulme, one of the WCG's three broadcasters, and recently ordained an evangelist.
Sometimes it's a little hard to figure out the WCG. In The Worldwide News for Dec. 29, 1986, the "Personal From Joseph W. Tkach" column began this way:
What a year of growth this has been!
In fact, the growth has been so rapid that our field ministers, along with the rest of the Work, are at the point that they are hard pressed to support it all.
He then went on to tell the members that the church did not have the $5 million needed to purchase the building in
which the church's Mail Processing Department has been housed for years. He asked the members to contribute to a special building fund (which, of course, is separate from regular tithes and offerings). Tkach also announced in the column that there will be major cutbacks in the church's publishing operations and a ceiling put on the Plain Truth's circulation.
Yes, "what a year of growth this has been!"
There are those who do like Tkach and his style. But not everyone in the WCG is thrilled with his leadership. For instance, it is rumored that the WCG's three broadcasters are unhappy that they cannot preach extemporaneously on the air, as does Garner Ted Armstrong, but are required to read from scripts that must be approved. And former HWA aide, Aaron Dean, in a January 10, 1987 sermon, made certain oblique comments that have been interpreted to mean that he believes Tkach's reign will not be a long one and that Dean, himself, is destined to take on a much bigger role in the WCG.
From our vantage point it is clear that there is not much love in the WCG. We continue to receive letters from current members who complain that the WCG is a cold church. Many non-members make the same observation. In the letters to the editor section of The Courier (of Prescott, Arizona) on Oct. 31, 1986 there appeared the headline, "Shocking Lack of Christianity" followed by this letter:
On October 11, 1986, Boy Scout troop 330 arrived at Lake Valley School, returning 4 hours early from a camping trip that was interrupted by a severe thunderstorm and temperatures that plummeted to the mid 40's. Thirty-five boys were cold, wet and some even close to hypothermia. We were confronted by the "Worldwide Church of God" who refused to allow the boys inside Lake Valley's gym to get warm, to use the phone, or even to use the restroom! They insisted the boys stay outside in the continued rain so that they would not disturb their services which were not to begin for at least 15 minutes. This, in my opinion, shows a shocking lack of Christianity and compassion for these boys. I am upset and appalled by this "religious" organization's undeniable disregard for the safety and well being of our fellow man.
Scoutmaster, Troop 330
The McNair Versus WCG War Continues
The old proverb "justice delayed is justice denied" seems to have been forgotten in California. Those who file a lawsuit in this state must routinely wait five years to get to trial. And if the suit is won at trial, there may still be years of appeals if the opposing party is wealthy enough to be able to afford the luxury. Even famed Harvard law professor Arthur Miller has described litigation in the California state courts as "a fate worse than death."
Leona McNair's libel and slander suit against the WCG and two of its evangelists was filed in mid-1979, but the case did not get to trial until the summer of 1984 (see our September, 1984 issue). In August of that year, a unanimous jury awarded her $1.26 million, but as of January, 1987 the case is still bogged down in the courts. The WCG is presently attempting to get a reversal in the California Court of Appeal. In the meantime, the McNair versus WCG war has continued on a number of other fronts.
©1987 Ambassador Report. Published quarterly, as finances allow, as a Christian service. ISSN 0882-2123
John Trechak, Editor & Publisher Mary E. Jones, Associate Editor
Founding Publishers: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Len Zola, and Margaret Zola.
For instance, the WCG's legal team, desperate to get something on the scoreboard, came up with a bizarre plan of trying to get Antony Stuart, Leona McNair's lawyer, disqualified from the case for opening mail sent to him by a WCG employee. Not surprisingly, in September Judge Sally Disco threw out that WCG motion.
As we reported last January, Herbert W. Armstrong had originally been named as a defendant in the McNair suit, but the trial court ruled that he should not be a defendant. Stuart appealed that ruling and got it reversed, but only after the trial had ended. It therefore became necessary to plan on a second trial, at which it would be determined what damages, if any, HWA would personally have to pay in addition to what Leona had already been awarded. Unfortunately, HWA died before being brought to trial or even being deposed. This, however, has not stopped Stuart from aggressively pursuing the case against HWA's estate. Stanley Rader, who in 1979 was HWA's top aide and the WCG's chief counsel and treasurer, has been subpoenaed. Other witnesses will undoubtedly be subpoenaed before the trial, now scheduled to begin August 3. HWA's estate - left to the WCG and its size kept secret - is being represented by lawyer Marcy Byrnes, a long-time friend of WCG lawyer Allan Browne.
As we reported in April, a key witness in all this is Richard H. Sedliacik, the managing editor of the Pastor's Report in June of 1979 when the libelous statements about Leona McNair appeared in that publication. Ever since Stuart first subpoenaed him, Sedliacik agreed to cooperate and tell the truth. But the WCG, in its own special way, repeatedly made it clear it did not want him to do that.
In August, 1985 Sedliacik had his Pastor General's Report job taken from him. In November, 1985 he was stripped of his "Bible I.Q." column in the Plain Truth. In December, 1985 he was informed that he would no longer be doing the WCG's YES Bible Lesson. In March, 1986 Sedliacik's Good News "Ministudy" was dropped. Through all this, Sedliacik remained loyal to the WCG, hoped he could remain one of its employees, and was never told that his job performance was inadequate in any way. In fact, with each deprivation of duties, he was actually commended for the quality work he had performed for the church. Yet, step by step the WCG's leaders got their message across - and not very subtly. At one point, Earle Reese, of the church's legal department, told him outright, "The way you answer the questions [from Stuart] will determine what work you'll be doing for the church."
Throughout this entire period there was a stream of letters to Sedliacik from the WCG's legal department attempting to coax him into testifying only as directed. (While the WCG's lawyers tried to put a gloss on their nefarious communications, their true motives were all too obvious.) Sedliacik wrote back that he would not testify in any manner that was not 100% honest. (Among other things, the WCG lawyers wanted Sedliacik to testify that evangelist- author Roderick Meredith was "meticulous." Sedliacik disagreed. They also wanted him to testify that the Pastor's Report was produced under strict time contraints. Sedliacik disagreed.) The WCG insisted Sedliacik follow the orders of Bruce Armstrong, a pugnacious WCG-appointed lawyer. Sedliacik repeatedly refused. He also informed the WCG in writing that he did not want Bruce Armstrong to represent him. Nevertheless, twice afterwards Armstrong showed up in court attempting to represent Sedliacik. Both times the court would not allow it.
Sedliacik is an honest man, but a sensitive man with very serious health problems. One of his sons also has had serious health problems. Sedliacik repeatedly indicated to the WCG that the pressure from church ministers and lawyers was hurting both him and his family. Nevertheless, the letters, phone calls, and visits continued and took their toll. In April, however, Sedliacik and his wife complied with Stuart's subpoenas, appeared for the depositions, and told what they knew.
Ambassador Report attempted for months to get the details of Sedliacik's testimony, but neither he nor the parties to the suit will provide that information. The WCG's lawyers have somehow been able to get the court to seal key documents produced by Sedliacik. And Stuart and Leona McNair adamantly refuse to discuss them. Nevertheless, from the court records that are available, and from sources within the WCG itself, we have been able to piece together much of what Sedliacik testified and to draw some conclusions:
(1) In June of 1979 Richard H. Sedliacik may have been managing editor of the Pastor's Report, but he reported to others who had "final edit" authority. Those superiors included Herbert W. Armstrong, the publications's editor-in-chief; Aaron Dean, HWA's personal aide; and lawyer Stanley Rader, the WCG's chief counsel and a partner in the lawfirm of Rader, Helge, and Gerson.
(2) In 1979 certain WCG lawyers had important oversight responsibilities with regard to what was allowed to be printed in the Pastor's Report.
(3) Reports on the testimony of WCG witnesses at the McNair trial convinced Sedliacik that certain key facts he had relayed to WCG attorneys were not made known to the court, or were distorted in the course of the trial. For instance, in spite of Rader's relationship with the Pastor's Report in 1979, church lawyers got him excluded as a defendant in the case.
(4) As a result of the above, Sedliacik became distrustful of the WCG's lawyers and began to suspect he was being "set up" as a scapegoat. He seems to believe the documents he has held on to are crucial evidence in his own defense. (He's probably right.)
Sedliacik's problems unfortunately did not end with his deposition. A few days afterward, when he arrived for work in his only remaining church position (as Bible Correspondence Course editor), he discovered he had been locked out of his own office "for security reasons." Not long after that, the church informed him that he was being put on a leave of absence without pay "for health reasons." The WCG told him they made the leave "without pay" because they had to be "good stewards of God's tithes," but not to worry because he would be remembered in their prayers. What followed for Richard was months of continuing unemployment and stress, with more and more health problems.
Then in November, according to sources close to Joe Tkach, Larry Salyer, the WCG's current number two man, made Sedliacik an offer. As an act of "Christian charity," the WCG would give Sedliacik $1,200 per week for one year, followed by over $700 per week for an indefinite period of time. First, however, he would have to turn over the documents he has relating to the McNair case, with an admission that they belong to the WCG. Of course, it is not difficult to see how such a crudely fashioned arrangement could prove to be not only an unenforceable "contract" for lack of consideration, but could even bring against Sedliacik allegations of perjury, larceny, conversion, or extortion. Sedliacik is apparently convinced the offer was not made in good faith and has wisely refused to sign on the dotted line.
Among the papers the WCG wants from Sedliacik are: office memos from Stanley Rader, Aaron Dean, and others, showing their working relationship with Sedliacik and his subordinate position; a Worldwide News statement that the Pastor's Report was a newsletter with Herbert W. Armstrong as editor-in-chief; and the draft of a June 25, 1979 Pastor's Report article by Raymond McNair with hand-written editing by none other than Stanley R. Rader (he preferred that HWA be referred to as "Christ's Apostle," not "God's Apostle").
The Pasadena Star-News of April 12, 1986 had an article on the McNair case with this statement: "Church attorneys claim Sedliacik stole 'confidential' documents from the church. In a written statement, however, Sedliacik said the documents never would have been missed if the lawsuit had not been pursued." A few days later, however, church lawyer Ralph Helge wrote the Star-News saying the WCG never said Sedliacik stole the documents! But if that's the case, then the papers are rightfully Sedliacik's. (Then what's all the fuss about, Ralph?)
While the battle over Sedliacik was being waged, the WCG, apparently unhappy with the California courts, took the McNair war into the federal courts where Ralph ("We Never Lose") Helge and his legal team recently were handed one more defeat.
The WCG has claimed all along that the libelous statements made against Leona were made "in the context of an ecclesiastical debate," and were therefore protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The California Superior Court that tried the case rejected that argument. In 1985, the WCG sued Leona (and the California Superior Court) in U.S. District Court, claiming that the trial court in the McNair case had violated the church's constitutional rights. The U.S. District Court threw the case out on Younger abstention grounds. The WCG then appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That appeal was argued and submitted April 9, 1986 and the three-judge panel handed down a published 11-page opinion on December 5.
Judges Mary M. Schroeder, Betty B. Fletcher, and Donald S. Voorhees clarified 28 U.S.C. See. 1257 and held that the U.S. District Court, as a court of original jurisdiction, has no authority to review the final determination of a state court in judicial proceedings. The only court in which to obtain review in such situations is the United States Supreme Court. The judges affirmed the district court's decision and concluded that, although the U.S. District Court below had dismissed the WCG action for other reasons, the U.S. District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and should have dismissed the case on that basis. We don't know what overpriced legal scholar wrote Worldwide's brief, but we understand that most of Leona McNair's brief was researched and written by Christine Spagnoli, then a law student at Loyola of Los Angeles.
Incidentally, the April 9 oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court were heard in that court's new Southern California headquarters - the Vista Del Arroyo building, just one short block from Ambassador's Pasadena campus. Those who've read our earliest editions (ARs 2-4) may recall how in 1977 the U.S. government had planned to give away that multimillion dollar property (formerly a resort hotel turned veterans' hospital) to Ambassador College after it had been declared "surplus" government property. Ambassador College withdrew its application for that government handout only after a much publicized, months-long taxpayers protest (led by Ambassador Report) which resulted in higher government scrutiny of the Armstrong organization. The U.S. government later realized it really did need the property. After a major renovation, it became in 1986 a highly useful federal court and office building, complete with a fine law library (which the AR editor now enjoys using quite frequently).
On April 9 the three judge panel allocated one-half hour to each side in the McNair case to present their oral agruments. Representing Leona McNair was Antony Stuart whose presentation was calm and concise. Representing the WCG, and doing his usual Eddie Haskel imitation, was Allan Brown who attempted to teach the judges about WCG theology. For some odd reason, Judges Schroeder and Fletcher seemed more interested in legal matters and repeatedly interrupted Browne's discourse with pointed questions. To one question on the legal doctrine of collateral estoppel the best Browne could do was a smile and, "Well, it's been a while since I've been in law school, your honor...." Judge Donald Voorhees just sat quietly with a faint grin that may have indicated amusement at something or other. Ralph Helge declined the court's offer of coming to the lecturn for treatment similar to Browne's.
Outside, the sun shined brightly; the birds sang. Through the courtroom windows one could see the newly planted flowers that trim the spacious lawn. And in the court building there were some who recalled the part Ambassador Report played in the history of the Vista Del Arroyo.
At precisely the end of Browne's alloted half-hour he was summarily cutoff mid-sentence by Judge Mary Schroeder with a crisp, "Your time is UP." Observing the beautiful decorative trim near the edge of the courtroom ceiling, your editor thought, "What a nice old building," and tried not to smile too much.
The beautiful Vista Del Arroyo building in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Gary McCarthy.)
Are the U.S. and Britain the Israel of the Bible?
American and British-Israelism, or the theory that the Israel of Bible prophecy is the English-speaking nations of today, remains a major tenant of the WCG and many WCG-related sects. In our September, 1982 issue we ran a letter by N. H. MacMichael, Keeper of the Monuments at Westminster Abbey in London, who stated that the famous Coronation Stone most probably came from Perthshire, not Palestine, and, contrary to HWA's claims, was not designated by Abbey officials as "Jacob's Pillar Stone." One of our readers, who has studied the subject and saved copies of supportive documentation, took exception to MacMichael's views and wrote us:
I was raised in England and I went to a Church of England school. I well remember being taught as a young lad by my teachers in that school, being taught very matter of factually, that the stone under the Coronation Chair was by history and tradition reputed to be "Jacob's Pillar Stone" - we were even shown the scriptures in the Bible to indicate that belief. There was at that time great interest in such things in England because of the coming Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. About three years ago I was back in England and Westminster Abbey - I looked through many of their books and booklets (not those written by religious organizations) and I still found in those booklets put out by official Westminster for the tourists the statements that tradition says this stone was Jacob's Pillar Stone - the stone that he anointed.
The reply of N. H. MacMichael to the person in Australia does not surprise me at all, as it would seem that all official persons connected with the royalty are instructed to deny any connection with the throne of Britain being the throne of David.
-Pastor Keith Hunt
The Biblical Church of God (Canada)
P.O. Box 964
Oshawa, Ontario LIH-7N1
Another reader informed us:
The Covenant People's Advocates has from time to time published annotated bibliographies on British-Israelism and has given short life sketches of well-known men who adhered to this belief. The address of this publication is: Box 68, Velma, OK 73091. This group has also established a library in Oklahoma devoted exclusively to the concept of British-Israelism.
While British-Israelism and the WCG's somewhat modified version of it seem to be gaining in popularity, there are many organizations that have put out articles and books refuting the theory. One Ambassador alumnus recently wrote us:
Where Are the Lost Gentiles?
I was discussing something from the Bible recently with a woman at work, when she terminated our conversation with, "Well, you can prove anything from the Bible." I had to agree with her. I know I've heard some strange doctrines "proven" from the Bible.
How about "proving" reincarnation from Matt. 11:11-15 and Mal. 4:5-6? Malachi does say that Elijah the prophet would be sent, and Matthew quotes Christ as saying (v. 14, King James version), "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." Therefore, John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated and you'd better receive it! Or so this argument challenges.
I like the way Christ dealt with one of the strange doctrines of the Sadducees (Matt. 22:23-28). The Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection (that's why they were sad, you see), and I'm sure they could have quoted many verses from the Old Testament that would "prove" their doctrine. (Ecclesiastes must have been their favorite book.) In verse 29 Christ tells them that they don't understand the scriptures or the power of God, and then proceeds to quote one phrase that they must have known by heart (v. 32). (Could God be much of a God if He would allow the three men, whose very names He uses to identify Himself, stay dead forever?)
Another strange doctrine is British-Israelism. This one I know about, for I used to believe it. British-Israelism is a great doctrine - it appeals to our vanity. We Americans (and the British) are spoiled - we like to be on the winning team. We know we're special and if we can identify with the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel we're in. The big problem is that to do this we're going to have to get rid of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles. Have you ever read Romans? Romans 11? Romans 11:11?
Now if we compare British-Israelism with Paul's writings (Rom. 11:11) the question is (if I can formulate it): If salvation is come to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy, yet the Gentile nations who proclaim Christ are really the Lost Tribes, then they are not Gentiles, and therefore the Gentiles must be lost and we now have to identify the Lost Gentiles to know who is going to provoke Israel (who, don't forget, are the Gentiles who proclaim Christ and are prosperous, but can't provoke Israel to jealousy because they are Israel but don't know it, but still can't provoke Israel anyway, because they are Israel even if they don't know it, and.... So the provoking Gentiles are really lost! (Is that right? Have we found the Lost Ten Tribes, but lost all the eligible provoking Gentiles in the process?) Provoking isn't it!
See what I mean? Did you get lost? Are we sounding like the Sadducees? Are we serious?
All kidding aside, this doctrine has lots of problems, but its clash with Paul's ministry to the Gentiles is one of its biggest shortcomings. If we don't realize that Paul had a special commission to take the good news of God's salvation by grace to the Gentiles (the real Gentiles), that Israel's rejection of their Messiah was the open door for God to deal directly with the Gentiles, and that Paul is God's Apostle during this time of the Gentiles with a special gospel not dependent on the old covenant with Israel, we are going to miss a large part of what is called the New Testament.
It seems that Paul's special ministry has been lost in the traditions of Christianity and very few recognize the real importance of these times of the Gentiles. I discovered the significance of Paul's writings from the literature of the Concordant Publishing Concern. Concordant publishes a New Testament, numerous books and booklets on biblical subjects, and a bimonthly magazine called Unsearchable Riches. In the January, 1936 issue of this magazine is the very best article on the problems with British Israelism that I've ever come across.
Concordant has the most respectful, honest, truthseeking approach to the holy scriptures that I've ever read (II Pet. 1:20). I would really hope that you would check into the Concordant Publications for yourself. Their address is 15570 West Knochaven Drive, Canyon Country, California 91351.
Editor: If you found Clyde's comments about the "provoking Gentiles" confusing, well we did too. We asked him to clarify it for us and he said it was meant to be confusing (a touch of humor?). He adds:
The real confusion comes from the use of the term "Israel" in HWA's writings. He stated that most people mistakenly think that the Jews are Israel, but that in reality the Jews are only part of Israel which is composed of the Jews and the Lost Ten Tribes. However, he additionally claimed that the real Israel of today, both racially and nationally, are just the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Now, whichever of his definitions of Israel you choose, you can't reconcile it with Romans 11:11!
The WCG's view of the Israel-Identity theory is put forth in its free booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which has gone through a number of versions over the decades. Some can recall one version that predicted the fall of the United States in the 1970s. Now it appears that the latest edition has again modified older editions. Former WCG member Richard A. Marson, who publishes the newsletter Reality Report, wrote us:
I have taken careful note of the fact that the Worldwide Church of God has continued to strongly promote the American and British-Israel theory since the death of Herbert Armstrong and, in fact, has published a new version of the book dated 1986. Although the latest version is very close to the 1980 edition, it is interesting to compare the two and note a tendency toward becoming less emphatic about various matters: In the new book we read: "Why are the world's best minds often unseeing...." The old book did not include the word "often." In the old book we read: "They are totally unaware! Why?" This statement is left out of the new version. In the old book Armstrong talks about the ancient cities of the Bible and says: "He named every city of consequence.... And He foretold precisely what would... happen...." In the new book the word "every" was left out. There are many other examples of a similar nature, including the proclivity to push the fulfillment of prophecy into the indefinite future.
Since this American/British-Israel theory is still being strongly promoted by the church, I feel it is important to people who are still searching for truth to carefully examine the evidence. For those who would be interested, I have copies of my book on this subject available, complete with notes to the 1986 edition of their book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. The title of my book is American and British Israelism Debunked. It can be obtained by writing Reality Report, 4224 N.W. Market Street, Seattle, WA 98107. Price, $6.95.
Finally, a former WCG minister and Ambassador College professor, who now teaches history at a California college, sent us this interesting letter:
It might interest you to know that the Jan./Feb. 1986 issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review displayed a group photograph of Ambassador College student volunteers at the City of David dig on its color cover. As has been quite common with news releases about the dig, Ambassador is not mentioned by name, but the presence of a smiling Ron Kelly in the middle of the picture makes the identification pretty certain. You will be interested to notice, too, that unlike Ambassador's other dig participants of the 1970s, on whom Herbert W. Armstrong imposed a working-dress code of shirts for men and sleeved shirts or blouses for women, these volunteers of the '80s - now that all "liberal" influences have supposedly been expunged - consist of bare-chested men, and women not only displaying bare upper arms and shoulders, but attired in what one particular Ambassador preacher of righteousness once condemned as "boob tubes."
Incidentally, although the excavations in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount and in the Jewish Quarter unearthed many spectacular architectural remains, one particular early discovery of these Ambassador-supported digs has gone largely unnoticed. In the September 1975 issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review Dr. Magen Broshi of the Israel Museum published an article announcing "Part of Ten Lost Tribes Located." With all the interest in the Ten Tribes at Ambassador, and with the fact that this was one of the first studies drawing extensively on evidence unearthed by the excavations of Professor Benjamin Mazar and Professor Nachman Avigad, both of whom were receiving generous financial support from Ambassador, it is interesting that this article went rather unnoticed there. Based on a more detailed and technical paper he had published elsewhere, Dr. Broshi pointed out that according to evidence obtained from these digs, at the Assyrian conquest of the ten-tribe northern nation of Israel (721 B.C.) there was a large flight of people from these "lost tribes" to the neighboring kingdom of Judah, which was then at peace with Assyria. Broshi stresses that "substantial numbers" of the population were involved. Herbert Armstrong, of course, has insisted that these people, or their descendants, ended up in N.W. Europe. This is the only archaeological excavation I know of which has unearthed evidence so completely contradicting a major doctrine of its financial benefactor. For that matter, how many of the enthusiastic volunteers realized they were helping uncover material that put their beliefs into question?
-Gunar Freibergs, Ph.D.
Editor: For information about the Sept. 1975 edition of The Biblical Archaeological Review write: The Biblical Archaeological Review, 1317 F Street Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20004.
Yahweh Cultists Convicted of Murder
We sometimes get letters from individuals who seem convinced that Sabbath-keeping, belief in Israel identity doctrines, or knowledge of "sacred names" are sure signs of conversion or deep spirituality. We doubt, however, that that is so. Notice the following, which appeared April 18 in the Hutchinson News.
Survivalist cult leader Michael Ryan testified at his murder trial that "Yahweh" spoke to him directly, and that he could read minds. Ryan, 37, and his son, Dennis, 16, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1985 killings of James Thimm, 26, and 5-year-old Luke Stice.
"Yeah, I knew what... people were thinking.... It was weird at times," said Ryan, who denied that he was crazy despite an insanity plea entered on his behalf. He was unconcerned about his fate because "whatever happens is what [Yahweh] wants to happen."
Ryan, who, according to testimony, controlled the lives of the two dozen members of his cult, said he was often reluctant to carry out Yahweh's edicts, but he believed that if you disobeyed, Yahweh would "take it out on someone you love." Former members of his group told of being whipped and kept in chains. In killing Thimm, Ryan said he was "doing what I felt we was told to do, whether I wanted to or not."
Ryan said he began smoking marijuana, which he claimed was justified by the Bible, to soothe chronic pain resulting from a 1978 truck accident. In 1981 he converted to the racist religious tenets of James Wickstrom, former "director of insurgency" for the right-wing Posse Comitatus.
Ryan said his group stole farm animals and equipment, at Yahweh's bidding, to buy food and weapons - as much as 50,000 rounds of ammunition at a time. He said the group only stole from farmers with insurance.
Experts in non-mainstream religions are puzzled by the "talking through the arm" ritual allegedly taught to convicted murderer Michael Ryan by Posse Comitatus leader Jesse Wickstrom. "The arm stuff is used by various groups associated with the Identity Movement [British-Israelism]," said attorney Randal Rehmeier, who helped prosecute Ryan.
In the ritual, a questioner puts one hand on another person's shoulder and the other hand on that person's upraised wrist. When a question is asked, Yahweh signals an answer by forcing the person's out-stretched arm to either rise or fall; a rise means yes, a fall, no. Researchers believe that the ritual is a form of divination, but are unsure as to its origins.
In the spring of this year, the Omaha World-Herald ran a long series of articles on these "Rulo Farm murders," as they were called. Witnesses testified to the verbal abuse, beatings, drug use, polygamy, homosexuality, divination, torture and murder that engulfed the Ryan cult with its iron-fisted dictator who believed in Israel-identity and claimed to be following Yahweh's commands. Convicted along with the two Ryans was cult-member John David Andreas who was sentenced to 30 years on related charges. Andreas formerly attended WCG services in Omaha where his parents are "charter members" of that WCG congregation.
Materials of Interest
One More Sunday by John D. MacDonald is a novel about greed and exploitation in big business religion. Some who have read this novel see parallels to the WCG and the Armstrongs. In fact, they are even mentioned by name on pages 29, 30, and 245. The best seller is available in many bookstores and libraries or for $4.45 (in paperback) by writing to: Fawcett Mail Sales, Dept. TAF, 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022.
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The Bible Sabbath Association, Fairview, OK 73737 has recently published a new edition of its Directory of Sabbath-Observing Groups. Christians interested in seventh-day Sabbath observance will find this $7.00 directory a valuable source of information on Sabbatarian churches, schools and publications.
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From Sabbath to Sunday by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi is without question the most thorough historical study we've ever seen on the replacement of Sabbath keeping by Sunday observance in early Christianity. Dr. Bacchiocchi, now a Seventh-Day Adventist college professor, was the first non-Catholic to graduate from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (summa cum laude) and this work was actually published by the Pontifical Gregorian University Press in Rome (apparently causing some to speculate on whether the Vatican would some day consider the reestablishment of Sabbath-keeping among Catholic Christians).
Anyone interested in the seventh-day Sabbath or the history of the early Christian church will find this 369-page book a welcome addition to their library. A copy of From Sabbath to Sunday may be purchased for $12.95 by writing to Biblical Perspectives, 230 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, U.S.A.
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Joel Bjorling has informed us that his book The Churches of God, Seventh Day: A Bibliography should soon be off the presses. This bibliography, which includes a history of Sabbath-keeping groups in America, a study of the issues involved in the Sabbath-observance controversy, and a study of the issues involved in the "sacred names" controversy, will be over 300 pages long and will sell for $35. For more information write: Joel Bjorling, RR 2, Gilson, IL 61436.
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Giving & Sharing, 4673 Onondaga Trail, St. Charles, MO 63303-7328 (tel. 314-447-8773). This small organization, headed by former WCG member Richard C. Nickels is one we think many of our readers can benefit from. Mr. Nickels describes Giving & Sharing as "a nonprofit mail order bookstore serving the Sabbath-observing Churches of God around the world." They carry most Bibles and religious books in print, and ask for a suggested donation to cover their wholesale cost of materials. Giving & Sharing puts out a very forthright flyer on Nickels' background and beliefs. Their listings include numerous works on the history of Sabbatarian churches and a short, but interesting, biography of Herbert Armstrong. We think that Bible students, even should they disagree with Nickels' theology, will benefit from contact with Giving & Sharing as he makes available Bibles and Bible helps at well-below retail prices. Write to him for details.
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Joseph Hopkins, the author of The Armstrong Empire (1974) recently sent us Christmas greetings. We were glad to learn that he, his wife (a professional musician) and four grown children are all well and prospering. Dr. Hopkins continues to teach at Westminister College in Pennsylvania, is minister of visitation at First Presbyterian in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and is very active as an international tour guide. This year alone he traveled to Britain, Ireland Kenya, and the Sough Pacific. Dr. Hopkins continues to follow the WCG's activities and has put together a new four-page outline of WCG beliefs and history. Those interested in a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Joseph Hopkins, c/o Westminister College, New Wilmington, PA 16172.
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The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) is an organization devoted to alerting the public to the danger of destructive cults. CAN keeps tabs on hundreds of cults and reports its findings in a monthly newsletter. CAN also publishes some excellent papers giving advice to parents or relatives of those who have become ensnared in a cult. Not surprisingly, CAN considers the WCG to be a cult, and over the last few years, CAN and its 58 regional offices have often cooperated with the AR. Those interested in learning more about this organization should write to: Cult Awareness Network National Office, P.O. Box 608370, Chicago, IL 60626.
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The April-June, 1986 newsletter of the Personal Freedom Outreach carried an article by M. Kurt Goedelman called "The Plain Truth? - or - Nothing of the Truth? A Christian Look at the Worldwide Church of God." The address for Personal Freedom Outreach is P.O. Box 26062, St. Louis, MO 63136.
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Our Christian friends at Cornerstone magazine have informed us that their 1987 Directory of Cult Research Organizations will soon be coming off the press. It should be around 50 pages and will contain the names and addresses of evangelical countercult ministries and nonevangelical cult research organizations and experts. The directory sells for $4.95 and may be ordered from: Comerstone Press, 4707 N. Maiden, Chicago, IL 60640.
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Former WCG member and Ambassador alumnus Harold Hemenway has produced an eight-page booklet entitled "Rejected Knowledge!" which shows how the WCG has followed the Roman Catholic Church and adopted some of the latter's theological errors. He has also written a 14-page paper entitled "What Does the Bible Say About Obeying a Man?" which analyzes the primacy of Peter doctrine from the viewpoint of scripture. The booklet is available for 500 and the larger paper for $1.50 by writing to Harold Hemenway, Box 88401, Tukwila, WA., 98138.
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Long-time AR supporters and Ambassador alumni Des Griffin and Karen Anderson-Griffin have moved their family and their publishing operations out of the smog of Pasadena and into the clean air of rural Oregon. They report that they and their children, Dan and Karmonde, are thrilled with their new home. Their new address is Emissary Publications, 9010 S.E. St. Helens, Clackamas, OR 97015 (phone: 503-824-2050). Among the books they distribute are the Armstrong exposes by Robinson, Tuit, McNair, and Hopkins. Write to them for details.
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Steven Collins continues to turn out articles that could benefit many in the WCG. Of particular interest are "Petra: Place of Safety or Latter-Day Death Trap?" and "How Many Tithes in Tithing?" For a price list of available materials, write Steven M. Collins, 8500 101st St. Circle, Bloomington, MN 55438.
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We were totally dumbfounded to learn that a fair number of former WCG members are now embracing something called the "Serpent Seed Doctrine." Those holding to this teaching believe that Satan had sex with Eve, producing "Satan's seedline," and that the seedline is now composed of the Jews and/or the Blacks. We actually know of some who now take this teaching so seriously that they become physically shaken whenever near anyone who happens to be Jewish or Black. The "Serpent-Seed Doctrine" has been given an appropriate critique in an article recently published by the Association for Christian Development, P.O. Box 4455, Rolling Bay, WA 98061. We strongly recommend that those caught up in this new doctrine write the Association for this article and give it prayerful consideration.
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Tony Badillo of Xavier Press has discontinued his inewsletter Newsgrams because of a lack of public support. However, he continues to distribute other materials. Badillo still has copies available of his excellent book on tithing ($9.95). His 30-page article "Born Again - But When?", which completely takes apart HWA's doctrine on that subject, is available at $3.00 per copy. Those interested should write to Xavier Press, P.O. Box 11074-AR, Dallas, TX 75223.
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Restoration Fellowship, headed by former Ambassador College professor Anthony Buzzard, publishes scholarly papers on theological matters, including challenges to a number of WCG doctrines. Their paper "Elohim does not mean God in Two Persons" is one we found most interesting. Their address is Restoration Fellowship, Box 100, Oregon, IL 61061, U.S.A.; or in Europe: 91, Hughendess Rd. Marshalswick, St. Albans, Herts., England.
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The Restoration Fellowship's strict monotheistic views are not without critics. One is ex-WCG member Bill Shrewsbury who has written an open letter on the subject. He also has a paper on tithing. They are available on request by writing him at S.R. 3, Box 615, Eustis, FL 32726.
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Author Gene Justice wrote us some months back that he still has copies available of his booklet The Israel Identity Syndrome ($4) and the research paper "The Sabbath for the People of God" ($1.50). Also, he has a free brochure listing other works on biblical topics. For a copy of the brochure send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Gene Justice, P.O. Box 6801, Birmingham, AL 35210.
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The Shofar continues to shock. Publisher and editor Robert C. Williams is convinced that almost all of the WCG's doctrines are in error. For instance, in the June-July issue of his newsletter Williams argues that the Sabbath should begin at sunrise, not sunset. The address for The Shofar is P.O. Box 7399, Phoenix, AZ 85011.
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Former WCG minister Don Prunkard and his wife Jeanne write that they are no longer associated with any church organization, but do have a small publishing, taped-message, and letter-answering ministry. As they have since the mid-70s, the Prunkards maintain some strong views on the WCG. Their address is 8302 Brunswick Ave. North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443.
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Oscar Murray is a former WCG member who, since leaving that church, has produced a number of research papers on divorce and remarriage, the theology of Paul, and other biblical subjects relating to the WCG. Mr. Murray wishes to share his research with others. For a list of what he has available, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: P.O. Box 124, Millersburg, OH 44654.
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Former WCG member Harold W. Strong is blind, but that has not deterred him from being a dedicated student of the Bible. Via tape recordings, Mr. Strong has given some very sharp observations about the personality of Herbert Armstrong, the WCG's doctrinal errors, and about certain WCG policies that callously ignore the handicapped and burden government welfare programs. Mr. Strong can provide information on such topics via cassette tapes to those that are interested. For his convenience, questions to him are best put on cassette tape. His address is: Harold W. Strong, 111 East 7th Street, No. 108, Sioux Falls, SD 57102.
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In the last few years, a number of our readers have stated that they have been helped considerably by the publications of The Christian Verdict, P.O. Box 1311, Fallbrook, CA 92028-0904. One reader wrote us: "Verdict helped me initially with the Sabbath question, but later even more with their articles on biblicism. I now believe they are right in saying that, in a sense, we've made a god out of the word. We should be emphasizing and revering the Word of God, not the word of God. Even Jesus, when quoting from the Old Testament, did not always do it accurately. The Bible has its place, certainly, but it was not intended to be worshipped as we have done."
Groups of Interest
Instituto Cristao De Pesquisas
(Christian Research Institute)
Rua 24 de Maio 116, 30 Andar,
Sala 4 01041 Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
This organization is interested in following the WCG's activities in Latin America. They would like to hear from anyone with information on the WCG's activities in Spanish-speaking or Portugese-speaking countries.
Feast of Tabernacles
(Robert Hoops, coordinator)
8642 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448.
We understand that those who attended this group's convention at King's Beach this year were quite pleased to hear messages from a number of old friends including Charles Dorothy, Ken Westby, Don Smith, and Al Carrozzo. Mr. Hoops tells us that tapes of the sermons are available. Write to him for details.
First Century Church of God
(Carl M. Schaeffer, pastor)
P.O. Box 3646
Napa, CA 94558
One church that has a fair number of former WCG members is the Seventh Day Baptist Church. For information write: Seventh Day Baptist Center, P.O. Box 1678, Jonesville, WI 53547.
The Church of Israel
Rt. 1, Box 6233
Schell City, MO 64783
Universal Church of God
(Ray Lampley, minister)
315 E. College St.
Longview, TX 75601
Longview Church of God
P.O. Box 6712
Longview, TX 75608
The Church of God
(John Trescott, minister)
P.O. Box 722
Anadarko, OK 73005
Although the title "prophet" was not among the many he heaped upon himself, Herbert Armstrong saw himself performing a prophet-like function of "warning the world." In this role, Armstrong found it necessary to spend many millions of dollars in going to world leaders with his message. One former WCG member we know of also believes he has a God-given, warning message task, but he is able to accomplish his mission with only a very tiny fraction of the budget required by the WCG operation. The man's name is John Kerly. And through his "Messenger of the Covenant" ministry, he gets his message to world leaders in the most direct and economical way imaginable - he simply writes to them. In this straight-forward way, he has actually contacted more world leaders than Herbert Armstrong, himself. We've seen copies of some of his letters, and the responses, and quite frankly, we've been left almost speechless. We believe the big spenders of the WCG could learn a thing or two from messenger Kerly and suggest they write him at "White Rock," P.O. Box 1506, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
Hossca Harrison, P.O. Box 1559, Boulder, CO 80306. Years ago we knew him as WCG member Daryl Harrison of Sacramento, California. But about five years ago, while vacationing in Hawaii, Daryl was in a "drowning accident," went into a coma, and had a near-death experience. As recounted by Harrison, it was during his recovery that a celestial being named Jonah, who Harrison describes as a "master" and "teacher of righteousness," began communicating to, and through, him. Jonah has since given Harrison the name "Hossca," which supposedly means "the shining one." Hossca now tours the country giving seminars on such topics as "Atlantis - Yesterday and Today," gives private readings at $75 a visit, and has a tape program. We'd normally discount such phenomena as less than claimed. However, we did notice in a lengthy article on Hossca in the Boulder, Colorado Sunday Camera of Feb. 10, 1985 that Seattle psychotherapist David Calof says Hossca is "more psychic than psychotic" and claims he has healing powers. We have yet to see the evidence.
An Important Comment on "Groups"
Attempting to keep track of the ever increasing new WCG-offshoots, the offshoots of the offshoots, and the many other groups to which disenchanted WCG members turn is becoming increasingly difficult. We remind our readers that we do not have the resources to check into each listed group, and that mention of a group - even if accompanied by favorable comments - DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN UNEQUIVOCAL ENDORSEMENT OF EVERYTHING THEY DO OR TEACH.
For instance, in our October 1985 issue, we mentioned the Church of God, the Eternal (CGE) headed by ex-WCG minister Raymond Cole. Our comments were somewhat favorable because of glowing reports from certain current CGE members. As soon as that issue was mailed, however, we received letters from a number of former CGE members who said the leadership in that organization was extremely oppressive, uncaring, self-righteous, and hypocritical, and that we were extremely naive. Perhaps that is so, but unless we have information to the contrary, we still feel it's preferable to think the best of others and give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Richard C. Nickels of Giving & Sharing (see above) offered us this criticism:
I have been associated with a couple of WCG spinoff organizations, and am intimately aware of others. Without judging any specific group, I can truthfully say that some WCG offshoot groups are as bad or worse than the WCG. Rather than "quietly ministering to the flock," as you say, some have, like the WCG, left a wake of shattered individuals suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I know of several ex-members of offshoot groups who have given up all religion, twice burned by the same sort of thing.
The dangerous offshoots haven't gained notoriety because AR and other media haven't covered the story. There is an "Ambassador Report" but not a "WCG Offshoot Report." I continue to receive correspondence from hurt individuals of various ex-WCG groups, and do what I can to help.
I'm sick of hearing of ministers, WCG or ex-WCG, who don't practice what they preach. Isn't this really what the AR's message should be, exposing the hypocrisy of those in the WCG or ex-WCG, and not promoting a repeat of the same errors?
Mr. Nickels does have a point, but still there are many AR readers who ask that we keep them informed of new WCG-related groups and movements. We think there is a value to mentioning such organizations and we hope we can continue to do so. But please keep in mind that unlike the WCG, whose headquarters are in our own "backyard," many of these groups are located in distant states and we do not have the means or the inclination to check into all their activities. That being the case, listings should not ever be viewed as endorsements of everything these organizations do or teach.
One of the nice things about publishing Ambassador Report is being able to hear from, or about, many AC alumni we've known over the years. Unfortunately, not all that we hear is good news.
We were saddened to learn of the death of WCG Preaching Elder Mike Hechel (Big Sandy, 1966). Mike's wife, Kay (Big Sandy, 1962-66) told us he died from colitis which had developed from the stress he experienced while serving in the WCG ministry for over 19 years. She wrote us:
As of this date, five months since Mike died, not a single person from the WCG has ever called to see how my three teens and I are doing. The local pastor who replaced Mike has never called. The lack of Christianity in the church now is unbelievable. I have been around the WCG for close to 30 years and spent four years at AC. To be treated like this is very sad.... I have removed myself from their presence and I have come through this ordeal only with the help of a lot of friends. I am happier now and more at peace than I have been in years. Until recently, I did not realize how the WCG was depressing us and keeping us from being true Christians. It is very sad to know of the many lives - including my husband's - that they have destroyed with their total domination.
-Mrs. Kay Hechel
203 White Church Lane
Summerville, SC 29483
Former WCG minister Stan Suchocki (Bricket Wood, 1969) recently wrote us:
After leaving Ambassador College employment in 1980 I began working as a cost engineer at Santa Fe Braun in Alhambra, California. But in August I was laid off and Betty [nee Rupp, Pasadena, 1966] and I decided to move back to western New York and look for work here.
Spiritually speaking, Betty and I are active lay members in non-denominational Christ-centered churches wherever the Lord leads. While in the Pasadena area, we were members of Lake Avenue Congregational Church for two years after leaving the WCG and then were led to become active members in the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship pastored by Jim Johnston. I highly recommend this fellowship to anyone wishing to hear anointed messages about the good news of Jesus Christ. Every meeting is blessed and you sense the Holy Spirit's presence. Meanwhile, Betty, our two kids, and I are waiting to see what the Lord is doing in our lives in this western New York area. We are expecting a miracle.
Barbara Davisson (Big Sandy, 1965-1969), now Barbara Woodbury, recently wrote us that in 1982 her husband Vance lost his job as a ranch foreman after being severely injured in a horse accident. After the accident, Vance - whose parents had donated their family ranch to the WCG in the '60s - was able to find employment only as a janitor and bus driver for a small elementary school. To help support their four children, Barbara also started working as a school bus driver and cleaning homes between bus runs. She wrote:
At AC we were ingrained with the teaching that mothers such as myself would never have to work outside the home. And, of course, Christ was supposed to have returned five years before it was necessary for me to help make ends meet. At AC the most important thing was learning how to live, not how to make a living. I had four years of AC but I am barely qualified for any job. I am not the only one who feels this way. Even loyal WCG-member alumni I've talked to feel that an Ambassador education is not worthwhile in the world in which we live.
Many Ambassador alumni complain, with good cause, of the inadequacy of their AC education. And we've known some for whom the "Ambassador experience" played a major role in later severe depression, drug or alcohol addiction, chronic unemployment, etc. There also appears to be as many divorces among former-WCG-member alumni as among current-member alumni. Nevertheless, we've noticed that those Ambassador alumni who've been able to psychologically overcome the "Ambassador experience" and then obtain an accredited degree or marketable work skills are often quite successful both in their careers and in their personal lives.
Marvin J. Plakut (Pasadena, 1979 and Student Body President there his senior year) writes:
From 1979 to 1982 I was the student Housing Officer at AC in Pasadena. In that position I worked regularly with Raymond McNair, Rod Meredith, Dick Ames, etc. During that same time I also diligently studied philosophy, biblical scholarship, and history, and became "enlightened." Pasadena was then rapidly descending into the severe regimentation mentality of Raymond McNair's Bricket Wood and by 1982 I could no longer tolerate the "double agent" role I had to play. I was "kicked out," but by December 1984 I had my MBA from Cal. State, Los Angeles. I am now Director of Support Services for a large health organization here in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Linda Lance (Pasadena, 1971-1973) taught Home Ec.at Imperial Schools and in 1973 married Steve DuCett (Pasadena, 1973). They left Worldwide in 1974. In 1975 Steve enlisted in the Air Force, served four years as a pharmacy technician in Idaho, earned a second Bachelor's Degree (Psychology), an Associate's Degree in Pharmacy and a Master's in Counselling Psychology. He currently works for Dow Chemical selling agricultural chemicals in Iowa and is a captain in the Army Reserve. Linda teaches pre-school, and they have one daughter Laura, who is 12.
Many who attended Bricket Wood in the late '60s will remember Stan Potratz (class of 1969) for his unabiding interest in just about everything having to do with agriculture. Stan recently wrote us:
Ann [nee Morrell, Briket Wood, 1969] and I separated in 1980 and I have since married a local girl. My wife Jean and I own and operate a mail order business called Premier Sheep Supplies, Ltd. We import specialized products from England, New Zealand, and Australia for resale nationally to U.S. sheep producers. I travel regularly in the northern U.S. and overseas about every two years. The WCG left me disillusioned, but not bitter, and I would be very interested in meeting old friends again. My address is: RR 1, Box 159, Washington, Iowa 52353.
In 1974, WCG employee Andrew McCooey (Bricket Wood, 1974) and Margaret Bond (Bricket Wood, 1970) had just been married and were on their honeymoon when, "in the typically sensitive style of the WCG," Andrew's employer made him "redundant." Margaret wrote: "At the time we thought it was a disaster, but it wasn't. Andrew went into law and after studying and doing articles for five years qualified as a soliciter in 1979. He is in general practice now." Margaret writes that she still finds time for reading and painting despite being the mother of two daughters, assisting Andrew in his work as a lawyer, and pursuing her own legal studies. The McCooey's left the WCG in 1981 and now live in Sittingbourne, Kent, England.
Many of our readers will remember Jeff Calkins (Pasadena, 1973) for his decade's worth of articles in The Plain Truth magazine. Calkins was among those AC graduates who, realizing the severe limitations of an unaccredited degree, saw the value of pursuing a legitimate college education. While working for The Plain Truth, Calkins earned an M.A. in political science at Cal. State, Los Angeles in 1978. He then went on to study law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where his achievements included the Dean's Service Award, the West Publishing Co. Award for General Scholastic Proficiency, membership in the St. Thomas More Honor Society, and an editorship with the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Calkins graduated magna cum laude in 1982, is currently a member of the California Trial Lawyers Association, and is with the Santa Ana, California, lawfirm of Lemkin and Kutinsky. His wife Mary (nee Marcussen, Pasadena, 1973) remains a WCG member.
Marc D. Tollefson (Pasadena, 1976) had two years of accredited college work before coming to AC and although he comes from a family of lawyers (his father was a judge), he always wanted to be a dentist. So after Ambassador, he completed his (accredited) undergraduate work at the University of Washington and then went on to get his D.D.S. at that University's dental school. He left the WCG at that time. Marc now is in private practice in Tacoma, Washington. He and his wife Barbara have three children.
Theresa Gordon (Pasadena, 1966-1969), a CPA for some time now, recently wrote us: "This summer I received my Ph.D. from the University of Houston and accepted a position with the University of Idaho as assistant professor of accounting."
This past summer, Gary de Jager (Bricket Wood, 1970), his wife Roberta (nee Mitchell, Bricket Wood, 1972) and their three children, stopped in Pasadena for a few days on their way back to Australia from a six-month stay in Britain. Gary holds a position as tertiary lecturer in computers at Queensland Institute of Technology in Brisbane, Australia (and still maintains his interest in squash, chess, and classical music). The de Jagers left the WCG in the mid-70s.
Allan de Jager (Pasadena, 1969) and his wife Sheena (nee Kenworthy, Pasadena, 1969) live in Brisbane, Australia where Allan is director of a medium-sized computer company. They have four children.
As a WCG employee in the early '70s, Harry Eisenberg (Pasadena, 1969) "began to see the writing on the wall." He applied to Pepperdine University (one of the few accredited universities that would accept an AC undergraduate degree) and earned a Master's in history in 1973. Sheepskin in hand, Harry fled the WCG coop and wound up in Washington, D.C. where for a time he was quite successful as a Savin copier salesman. However, at that time, his marriage to Deanne (nee Cihal, Pasadena, 1968-1970) ended in divorce. (Deanne has since remarried and lives in New York.)
The divorce and a renewed interest in religion spurred Harry to emigrate with his two children to Israel where he lived for four years. But the murder of one of his close neighbors jolted him into realizing, as he puts it, "that I wasn't God's instrument to reform Israeli society and I was happy to return home."
After short stays in New York and North Carolina, Harry returned to the Los Angeles area. Having a strong desire to be a screenwriter, he enrolled in a writing seminar at UCLA where he learned of plans to revive the old Art Fleming TV game show "Jeopardy!" Harry writes:
I contacted the producers to apply for a writing job and with all the other applicants was asked to submit one "game board" within 48 hours. Wanting the job pretty badly, I submitted two. We were basically rated according to how many "good" questions we submitted, and having submitted twice the requested number, I had more acceptable questions and was hired. The show has done very well. We are presently the second-highest rated of some 200 syndicated shows and this year our writing staff was nominated for an Emmy award.
Harry lives with his two children in Saugus, California, and is now engaged to marry Debby Fleming, formerly of Houston, Texas (and never in the WCG).
Attention AC Alumni!
Since August, we've received more AC alumni comments than we have room for in this issue. But we intend to continue the Alumni News section and will include many more next time.
Aside from the fact that we enjoy hearing from, and about, old friends, we think the Alumni News section is important for two reasons. First, current Ambassador students who read the AR benefit from the experiences of alunini. Second, we think case histories help all of us to get the "Ambassador experience" in proper perspective.
Unfortunately, we are often unable to tell some very remarkable stories. All too often we hear from Ambassador alumni who have gone on to real success, but say, "Don't put it in the AR. I don't want anyone to know I was ever a part of the WCG." Frankly, we think that's a little silly. Here's why: (1) The WCG is not the only group in the world that has problems. Many people, if not most, at one time or another in their lives get involved in some less-than-perfect (or downright crazy) church, movement, political party, or government operation of which they are later embarrassed or ashamed. But that's life. We all make mistakes. Why make our involvement with Worldwide a bigger problem than it is, or was? (2) Those who read the AR understand the WCG enough so that when they read of an alumnus with problems, they understand. And when they read of success stories, they know that such success came against great odds. (3) The WCG wants you to hide your story! We know of many WCG "leaders" who regularly tell the lie that all alumni who have left the WCG are "under a curse." Of course, if you're an Ambassador student who rarely, if ever, has any contact with an exmember alumnus, it's easy to be duped by such nonsense.
So why not give the current students at AC and us a hand? If you've ever spent any time at Ambassador College as a student or faculty member, we'd like to hear from you. But please - type or print clearly, include dates of AC attendance, campus, maiden name if you're a married woman, and concisely give us a few highlights of your life since AC. Just use the above Alumni News section as a guide to the kind of news our readers would find interesting.
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Our apologies for the long delay since our last issue in August, but circumstances made it impossible to get out an edition in the last quarter of 1986. Although we published quarterly for years, in 1986, as in 1985, we were only able to get out three issues. We hope this year we'll be able to get back on our quarterly schedule, even if one or two issues must be a little shorter than usual. Our thanks to the many readers who wrote us recently, encouraging us. to keep publishing. And our special thanks to those whose generosity made this issue possible.
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