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"Satan's Greatest Attack on God's Work"
1974 Telex from Garner Ted to his Father
It seems evident that Garner Ted Armstrong had been discussing doctrinal reform on such far-reaching subjects as the New Testament gospel and church government, but was concerned hardliners in the administration were contacting his father about the "mutiny" of the liberal scholars. Garner Ted's response was to side with his father, but it is interesting the pains he takes to assuage Armstrong's ego and at the same time encourage him not to come down too hard on the ministry. Armstrong was known for reputationally assassinating those who he perceived as a threat.
To: Herbert W. Armstrong
22 Feb 74 Rush and Confidential
(Please give copy to Mr. Stanley Rader)
Greetings. Dad, this is an extremely important telex. I am sorry that I must send it. I am sorry that I must bring this negative report to you.
I have struggled desperately to keep the lid on the ministerial defections, mutinies, heresies, bad attitudes, discouragements, and all other shadings of human problems in between, but I must report that unless Jesus Christ of Nazareth takes a strong personal hand from heaven above, I am utterly unequipped to handle the present situation. I need you [sic] personal and immediate help.
Ken Westby and perhaps anywhere from five to twenty or more ministers in his region, Walt Sharp in the Big Sandy area, and perhaps the same number of other ministers and even perhaps many others who I do not know at the present time are rising in total mutiny, heresy, rebellion and deliberate collusion to divide and devour the church. And then, as you know there are at least two top men at headquarters whom you know very well who are perhaps sympathetic with these views.
Reports have been coming in of a continuous series of meetings of regional directors with their groups of ministers and their deacons and local elders in lower-level meetings -- meetings totally condemning yourself, church government, condemning me and exacerbating, exposing, enlarging upon and lying about either real or alleged misconduct of the past. Also included in these clandestine meetings are heresies over the doctrines of church government, tithing, holy days, and some very real questions and problems which I sincerely and humbly must say may not necessarily constitute heresies, concerning the emotionally volatile subject of divorce and remarriage. Frankly, the question of church government, whom Jesus Christ is using to run his church, is the primary motivating factor in the minds of many of the dissenters. In fact, I feel some may be using D and R as the emotional wedge to drive their fundamental thrust of criticizing and disrupting the church and Christ's own inspired method of government in order to establish their own autonomy and their own authority.
Dad, I must now urgently request you return to the United States as soon as possible, and that we and other loyal and faithful headquarters evangelists and others proceed to resolve this problem, no matter what the consequences. But primarily it is critical that you and I together the brethren must know are running God's church, as well as making it well known to the ministry. Also, I strongly suggest that Mr. Charles Hunting be brought back temporarily and for a short time from England, and that Rod Meredith, with whom I had dinner and a very thorough discussion yesterday, remain in the United States for a short period of time and that we make whatever broad and sweeping changes are required all the way to the top of the field ministry, no matter what reverberations or repercussions and completely clean house and rid ourselves of this heresy and mutiny once and for all.
I have an almost endless series of reports for you which I have been struggling to solve in almost frantic daily efforts, and I find myself increasingly unable to cope with an alarming situation which seems to defy solution.
It seems no matter what the doctrinal breakthroughs, or the growth in the church, or the letters you and I write, the bulletins, the Plain Truth, television, radio, booklets, the Good News magazine, or anything else, that there is a spirit that is rotten and corrupt almost beyond belief which has gripped the minds of many, many men and which seems to be beyond rebuke or healing.
Bob tonight spoke of Carl McNair -- He reports the ministry of the Atlanta region 95 percent loyal -- with only 2 or 3 questionable persons. What a difference in regions. It is shocking how so many men can be so quickly affected by the mutinous, divisive attitudes of so few. Even the minds of some of our loyal men can be manipulated. This will continue to spread in chain-reaction fashion, like panic selling in the stock market, if we do not act quickly and resolutely. Carl stated that a potential loss of confidence in this situation is his only fear for his region.
Dad, Satan hates this church and this work. You have said how Satan first tried to attack you, then tried to destroy me. He failed both times. But now, he seems, to at least some degree, to have influenced some at lower levels in Christ's ministry. The faster we act, united together, fully and powerfully under Christ, with the proper tact (and even strategy), the more effectively we will foil Satan's greatest attack on God's end time work.
I feel that some few may be totally beyond salvage, but also feel that the majority of the field ministry is 100% dedicated, loyal and faithful. Then, I believe there is another large group who are totally confused, discouraged, and upset over the continual bad news and rebellion they have had to listen to. The situation needs a combination of strength and compassion and delicacy -- or firm kindness -- better yet, kind firmness. Above all, we need the Holy Spirit of God and the power and the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and not any human elements of anger. If this is handled with a combination of firmness and kindness, it is quite possible that only five or more -- five to ten -- may leave. But if it is handled with anger and outrage, it is quite likely that well upwards of fifty, one hundred, or more may simply revolt -- with incalculable others severely affected. I feel that the situation is so hypersensitive that people are not thinking rationally and are thinking only with emotion. I have no doubt but that many of the ministry have almost utterly abandoned their prayer life. And I see the fruits of this in the attitudes cropping up. No one who had been on his knees before God in any regular way would be entertaining these rotten and heretical ideas and becoming party to them.
I even wonder if the prophecy of Revelation 12 is not in the process of being fulfilled.
I am terribly sorry to send you this shocking news, but I understand that Stan has kept you in close touch with the problem and that you have now read Dave's report and are fairly thoroughly informed.
Dad, no matter what comes to pass, whether you and I must go to a one-hundred watt radio station with one typewriter between us -- I am at your side -- no matter what happens.
With deep love,
P.S. I again stress that how we handle this whole situation will determine the magnitude of our success. We must do everything in our power not to antagonize the many ministers who are uncertain and to carefully de-fuse those few who now seek to divide God's work -- but we must act with caution. Timing is critical. United together God will see us through.
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