Letters By Aaron Dean To David Hulme
David Hulme's Responses
These were private letters that have since made it into the newsgroups and are now public.
Introduction from Aaron:
Good to hear from you. I think it may be good for you to have a little background from me...vis a vis David Hulme. Feel free to use this if it will help. I always point out that this was written long before DH was removed as president with the intent to help him because I saw him spinning information as I had in the past. Anything I would write now could be characterized more party line than objective, or more of a salvage operation since I am now part of the COE. With this information being written before Passover in April '97 that cannot be said and I have no "executive session" violations to worry about..
Below are David's only two responses to the letter and my answer. He never talked to me or answered the questions in my final post. I find it interesting that my letter was never "leaked" by the council members who are accused of breech of ethics, wrong conduct, etc. even though they received a copy few weeks after I sent it to David. Everything "pro David Hulme" gets leaked, but other materials doesn't - makes you curious to who really was "leaking".
P.S.: The letter is attached. Below are David's two short responses to my letter and then my reply to his response. You may wish to read the letter first.
[COMMENT: NOTE THAT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CORRESPONDENCE TOOK PLACE LAST YEAR, IN 1997 !!] April 3, 1997
It is with sorrow that I feel compelled to write this letter. Yet it is the Passover season, and perhaps the best time to bring up any issue. I have learned to hate controversy, having been through so many spiritual wars in God's church, witnessing personal agendas from evil men and zealots who see their appointed role by physical men as an edict from God. Mr. Armstrong would not ordain Mr. Tkach as an apostle because he said it was not his title to give. If after some years the fruits show God is using him in that manner, God would give it to him. Considering how readily Herbert W. Armstrong ordained others, this was almost out of character for him, and to me was inspired by God since the ungodly fruits are readily apparent.
You speak of a Godly community of humility but the actions speak of politics and power and personal desires. Perhaps these actions are circumstantial, and I have defended many of them in the last couple of years for the sake of unity and the sake of peace. You, as well as many others, know how much emotional wrath I took for defending people before Mr. Armstrong usually because of bad information he had been given. It was my position to give my honest information regardless of the consequences, so "being fired" was a way of life.
I considered it an honor that Mr. Armstrong in his final days thanked me for being the only one in whom he had placed personal trust and had not been betrayed. I had not even stood up for my own brother when others told him I would, e.g. Mr. Tkach's "Blood is thicker than water". That obviously proved true for Mr. Tkach. I was not so honored by Herbert W. Armstrong's request that if I saw something wrong in the church that I would speak up. I begged him not to ask this of me, but he said I had "proven my loyalty to God " and so he made me promise. I was placed in the difficult position of having to judge my superior. Would God judge me more for judging, or more if I didn't speak up?
This last request proved painful as I privately pointed out the orders given by Mr. Armstrong that were summarily dismissed. Within one year, with each broken promise pointed out, I was removed one by one from the council of elders, the boards, and the vice presidency. It was not appropriate to go public with these broken promises. To me it became obvious that I would be fighting God's purpose. Just as God allowed Mr. Tkach to take the position for his purpose, it soon became clear God was doing something that would fulfill his purpose in testing his people. Herbert W. Armstrong's final preoccupation with "preparing the bride of Christ" was to be carried out (and still is) after his death by challenging members at the very grass root level of their beliefs. He apparently has purposely given his people many choices of corporate umbrellas in which to fellowship by using the personalities of people who want to be in charge. What he really wants is a Godly people who fear him, and tremble at his word. The uncertainty and the mistrust are making God's people continually search the scriptures. I humanly dislike the method, but appreciate the results and being able to appreciate how God does it. This wisdom of God is beyond any of us. John is right when he says trials bring patience and faith.
I do not know that Mr. Armstrong's request of me continues beyond the Worldwide Church of God corporation on to the spiritual organism. If it does, I am duty bound to write this. If it does not, then I am allowed, if not required by the bylaws of United to speak. I also have the biblical requirement to go to my brother. Since this is a church matter it may be best going before the council, but I have chosen first to write to you. I seek nothing other than the protection of God's people and true humility towards each other.
David, I have known you for years and came to know you best when you traveled on several occasions with Mr. Armstrong in various parts of the world. I have watched your career grow and recognized your psychological and educational capabilities and presentation skills. I have also heard many of your sermons in times past and more so currently. I do not doubt you feel on a divine mission. It is precisely this that I feel is causing you some blind spots.
You have always told stories about how God put you next to some executive in an airplane or in some situation where God was giving you favor. Mr. Armstrong was even impressed with this for a time. Of course he was as well with Mr. Waterhouse's stories, and with Mr. Rader's praising himself. Mr. Armstrong had a trust of people who tooted their own horns, and often a slow willingness to see them for what they were. He finally began asking me "how much are we paying for these 'open doors'." These stories are very inspiring -- I tell them too. We all must: 1) use it only to God's glory for the help of his people; 2) be careful not to read more into it than is there; 3) not assume some divine role for ourselves other than that of any other member; 4) and not let the people who come up to us convince us that we are more than we are. My wife continually tells me, "Remember, Aaron, you are only hearing from one side of the people who support you. You can learn much more from people who do not come up or do not agree. You will learn more from them if you are not so dogmatic and making them feel they are disagreeing with God to disagree with you.."
Your good friend and mine, (Name removed), had an approach similar to what your actions seem to indicate. He felt divinely appointed (and since Herbert W. Armstrong made it, it seemed plausible - just as Mr. Tkach's appointment). He caused a lot of stress for others in Pasadena by his heavy handed style and what he described as "his ability to look into a department and see what needs to be done." He saw himself as the "assistant apostle" instead of the apostle's assistant. He did not realize he was taking responsibility that was not his, and giving incomplete input to Mr. Armstrong to get his way. Since he saw it as God who put him there, he did not see it as "his way", but as God's way.
It took nine months before Herbert W. Armstrong recognized the mistake and removed the difficulty, much to my personal chagrin. I love Xxx and his wife. Those 9 months were the only months in 12 years where Michelle and I actually got to travel together, eat meals alone together, and have a "working honeymoon". It is to Xxx's's credit that he has hung on. His heart was well meaning, and he has had to see himself in a way few of us get to.
Why do I say this? You seem to think you know best where the work should be, where it should go, and who should do it and how it should be done. I know most all of your office staff. In talking with them, I see zealous personal loyalty in some, and fear for job and censorship in others who do not see it the way you do.
I know the council members are aware of your preference on where the home office should be. Are they aware that you let the HO staff know, weeks before the conference, that God wants the office in California, that it is his will? Is this a bit arrogant and psychologically damaging to any who would vote another way? Why was it that the elders forum contained only comments from HO staff in strong support of LA, to the point of stretching the truth. It is not "only an hours" drive to Orange county where you could all commute. Nor is Ventura County just a few miles up the road with good schools and affordable housing. Where they border LA county is not cheap, not close --especially in rush hour-- and not smog free. Office staff would have to buy on the fringes of these counties to get cheaper housing and would commute a long distance.
In the first study, is it any wonder LA came out on top? The HO gave the parameters. The parameters were more important than the reports - yet we were not given them. If I asked for a study on a boating business, I would hardly expect Denver to rate very high. Why did the council's study come up different? Why was the first report held up as professional and the second (from God's elders)to scrutiny? Why did others in the HO who wanted another location not get on the forum? I know of one that made an attempt, and wished to be anonymous out of fear. Why did he/she feel this way? Is this the humble Godly community you so eloquently describe in your sermons? Are the humble Godly people only the ones who support your views, since you already know God's will?
It should be obvious from the vote for Cincinnati that your feeling of God's will as to the HO location was in error, unless the GCE is wrong and God is not working with them. In this case, how can we assume the elections were anything more than a group of men who had to choose some form of structure and some people to run it. Although I think these are Godly men, trying to seek God's will, I do not see this as an edict from God. If so, Ray Wooten would still be there. Samuel was a Godly man, but he didn't pick King David. Godly men can pick for the wrong reasons...the fruits alone will speak for or deny the choice.
One supporter in your staff in trying to say you need more power to get things done, made the comment that the Golden Calf was by consensus. Was not your appointment also by consensus? This is similar to Mr. Tkach, who made the error of believing Mr. Armstrong was wrong about everything -- except the Tkach appointment. I knew you were down in Mr. Tkach's area a lot in last few months of Herbert W. Armstrong's life, and that you disagreed with Mr. Armstrong on a number of things. Your rise in Worldwide Church of God under Mr. Tkach certainly appeared to be a reward for your support of Mr. Tkach. Indeed, if those who sat at the "board room luncheons" have any credibility, you made very little if any waves during your tenure under Mr. Tkach to challenge things. I understand you did get a bit of rebuff early on from the suggestion of the BBDO's report that Worldwide Church of God should have one telecaster and that it should be you. (Do you still feel you should be the only telecaster? Did the council decide if we should be on TV and that it should be you?) Your position, your salary, your house on Orange Grove were very nice. Many paid a much dearer price when they expressed disagreement. It is interesting that you chose not to give it up until a new group was forming. The other groups already had leadership and telecasters.
I wanted to believe so badly that you really didn't want to be in charge when you came to Indianapolis. I was very hurt to see your resignation letter plastered all over the internet just prior to the conference. In this highly charged emotional environment, it became a political billboard. You have studied psychology and can hardly deny the effect of such a message. I realize you didn't put in on the net, but "mailing it to 12 of my closest personal friends" virtually assured that it would be and I believe the person who did it probably had your consent. I sent letters to Mr. Tkach, and I am sure others did as well, but they did not "somehow" appear on the internet. I told people who saw mine not to. Did you? If you wanted it known, why so quickly and just before the conference.
Unfortunately, this can be perceived as a political move, or an act of God. Only God knows the truth. I always told Mr. Armstrong that the right answer is usually the same for the "good guys" and the "bad guys". If you want to be in charge you must say "I don't want to be in charge". If you don't want to be in charge you say "I don't want to be in charge". We are left to judge by the fruits over time.
I have for two years tried to give the benefit of the doubt. Look at some of the "coincidences", beginning with your internet resignation which I have just addressed. Some may seem petty, but I wish to lay many of the cards on the table. These are uncomfortable to bring up, but they show a trend, that left unchecked will harm United. If they are coincidental then you need seek advice on how your actions will appear in this time of mistrust. Sermons sent out from the home office seem to be selected. (This is not to pass judgment on the content.) Most of them were your tapes, about 3 to 1, and then of those people who support you. There are some on the council I have never even heard...or seen, and they seem to be those in opposition to positions you support. I do see that recently some of this has been corrected, thank you, but would it have been except for the pressure brought to bear by others? Even at this conference it was interesting who was in plain view and who wasn't. I cannot speak for the last afternoon session, since the long drive forced four of us on the use your own vacation time plan had to leave at noon Monday. (Some, I understand felt it was very judgmental, similar to your close friend YYY's [name removed] "Moses and Korah" statements with the ballots - which I considered inappropriate - Moses was definitely appointed by God.) Anyway, at the conference I never saw some of the council members. Is this lobbying for some and not for others considering impending elections? I pray not.
The feast tape. Again some council members were noticeably absent. Why was there so much script written for you and so little for the Chairman? You seem to enjoy and want center stage. Since we are in an environment characterized by lack of trust, a carefully presented production should have been able to balance much of this.
Why the push so hard for TV? I know you are very comfortable with this medium and seem to like the celebrity it brings. Is this a personal agenda or a consensus from the council? Why is this the one area that you constantly refer to, tell stories about, and have hired staff to produce -- even though you apparently did not have prior approval. Was it "faith" and an "open door" in hiring media personnel for TV, or "hope" because that is what you wanted to see and do. None of us are immune to this, but the blind refuse to see it. You are more than willing to address the cost per response of Radio, but seem in denial of it with TV when compared to publishing and ads.
Look at your sermon in Louisville: Your reference to the diary of Duane Abler implied that God was protecting you and wanted you there because these soldiers were apparently risking their lives. Your statement about BBDO; "one of the top five agencies working for us for free, yet we have to postpone broadcast". The implication is that you know God wants us on TV ad it is the ministry or members fault that we don't do God's will. Your impassioned pleas hit the mark, at least with some like Steve Elliot who suggested we should do what God wants and give up conference money to air these test programs. It will do the same to members if you make them feel guilty. Is this creating a groundswell of opinion within the ministry and members to push the council into a decision they may not wish to make because they may see better uses of the money? Will this sway the elections next year. Does doing TV also promote your visibility and make you more indispensable in your own eyes? Do you see yourself as the ONLY telecaster since Mr. A picked you, even though you were not his only choice, and indeed if there had only been one, would probably not have been it. The use of the pulpit to push personal desires puts the council, which has already covered for you, in a difficult position.
Regarding BBDO, you were an vocal promoter of them to Mr. Armstrong, especially when other agencies were brought up by others in the work. Yes, they were better than Rader and Cornwall's agency, but they enjoyed a lot of success with us. I forget the exact numbers, but they saw us grow incredibly and spend over $100 million dollars through them. They are businessmen. Yes, they may be personal friends, but have a rich history with the church. It is in their best interest to help us in case we "take off" the way Herbert W. Armstrong did so they can make many more millions. I see nothing "miraculous" in this at all, as your sermon implied, and indeed emotionally misleading. I found your sermon comments motivational if the council wants to do the TV, but if not, they constitute a rather personal agenda. These are the same type of stories you had with your media job under Mr. Armstrong, and also in the beginning of Mr. Tkach's administration. I pray you believe these are all acts of God and these comments do not spring from personal motivation. If television ever works, it will be because of the message, and not the messenger. I know I was never talented enough to do what I was asked to do for Mr. Armstrong. The Tkach's diminish the involvement of God when they say Herbert W. Armstrong bought meetings and was only autograph hunting. This gives me credit for setting up things on my own which I know I was powerless to do, and for which I would fear to take credit.
Your letter of apology: Why not just say "I am sorry, I did some things that seemed right but were not approved". Why tell the ministry they are selfish for not wanting to help the brethren? Or as was said in Gladewater, "that had you been there you would have done the same thing." That is very judgmental and condescending. Yes, It would have been right and good to help the members in Africa and the foreign work. No, with the budget and reserves where they were, it seems imprudent to have gone to Israel. Regardless, a budget -- albeit quickly put together -- was still a budget. The council was in the uncomfortable position in Gladewater of having to cover for you when they were asked if you had approval to film in Israel. The answer was a bit of a waffle, a "we knew about it", then a "yes we voted", which had to be corrected later. Your apology was for not communicating what You decided to do. Nowhere did you mention that you may have been wrong or that things were done without authorization. This reads again of "I know God's will and you don't" and is seen as an implication that you have been divinely appointed pastor general. Where is the humility you preach?
Your letter attached to the budget. Why not just give the facts? Your provision that you need to give us some facts so we can properly interpret the expenditures, may be valid, but reminds me of captain Black's "give Herbert W. Armstrong the right information and he will make the right decision." My answer was always the same, "Give him all the information and he'll make the right decision. Otherwise he makes your decision." I watched too many people "moderate" the facts over the years, almost always to justify, hide, or push their own agenda. I have never seen Mr. Armstrong make a bad decision when he had all the facts, I saw scores of them with bad or filtered information. It appears now we are occasionally given "filtered" information with which to use as the basis making a Godly decision at conferences.
Your recent sermon about the ordinations in Africa. You spoke of you being the one who had to ordain them. That they expected you to do it. I found your choice of words curious. If we wanted to save money, why not send someone closer like Peter Nathan. Or with the amount of work load on the council why not send someone like Less McCullough who has international experience and is sitting in retirement with little to do. Or passing these assignments out to seasoned ministers who have never had the opportunity. It would greatly help their effectiveness and give them credibility and stories to inspire their congregations. Why did you feel it had to be you? Are you saying you have more of God's spirit than other elders or council members? Are we afraid to give other elders any visibility? If you feel the highest in authority needs to do the ordination, I suggest that this has not always been the case. Mr. Armstrong had Mr. Tkach and Mr. Rader ordain me a local elder in 1979 in his home, just after he himself had ordained another man. Mr. Armstrong later ordained me a Pastor in Singapore. Who does it, doesn't really matter, unless you are looking for publicity.
Why the strong opposition to the local men who have been offered TV on a silver platter with virtually no cost? This to me sounds much more like an open door from God than paying $200,000+ to buy time from a station. Why not help them be better and learn from them how to help others do the same? Share your talent and education in TV with the others. Isn't that what the team concept and empowerment are about?
I teach empowerment in my business classes, but I have seen little of it. I know we can say we are concerned about content and lawsuits and.... But what do we own to lose? What can we be sued for? What about faith and Gods word saying "do not fear what you shall say..." Does this only apply to you, or the council, or the elders? Could it not even apply to a deacon or member? Do I recall a deacon named Stephen? Would anyone choose to censure him? The open doors I see are the stories in the autobiography - getting offered TV time for free. Then given a severely discounted price and still going with half the money. Or later, when Queen Ashwarya's request in 1985 for us to send our students into Nepal when the government was asking all other church groups to leave the country. Anyone can buy "open doors". I pray we do not use a battering ram or money to help God open doors because we want them open.
It is interesting that the question even has to come up, "Do you see yourself as Pastor General"? If your actions didn't imply this, the question would be a moot point. You deny it in direct questions, but I have not seen you try to dispel this notion held by many in the membership. It seems you wish you did have the power to do as you please, and have back doored your choice of direction where you could not get permission. The membership is a joy. They may not all be eloquent, and some are gruff at times. Yet with God's spirit comes an ability to stand up to apostasy. Whether the ministry and government structure holds fast to the truth or not, the membership continues to believe in God and his commands. They are willing to follow provided they know the leadership is coming from God. Many are very reticent to give that trust so freely, while others will believe anything they are told is of God and the pure truth. One elder this weekend cited your stories as the reason he felt God wanted us to "preach the gospel on TV." It is up to you to give complete information without an unproved emotional spin and earn that trust. As one person put it, put down the rod and start carrying the footwashing pans.
Those who want power like Mr. Tkach live in all sorts of fear. I learned from Dean May that he feared I would take his title, even though he knew Mr. Armstrong tried to give me the title of Pastor General three weeks before he died. He knew I refused. I guess his fear was that I was saying no for the same reason he was, because to say yes, is the "wrong" answer.
Events have proved to me he did want the chief seat, and he paid a deadly price. God was gracious to me that Herbert W. Armstrong didn't force me, and allowed me to defer to several other older men and my desire to have a family and a life. Although I know it was not in his or my hands, I do fear of God's eventual judgment of those who have been destroyed in pursuit of power.
I pray that you did not seek the chief seat. I pray that money and power do not corrupt you. I find it interesting that your wife works when you make twice what you cut me to shortly after Herbert W. Armstrong's death. Is the money and power that attractive to you? I shall never forget Mr. Armstrong finally giving me a raise two years before his death. "Young men your age don't make this kind of money. I haven't raised you because I didn't want to ruin you like so many others", and even then it was $30,000 less than most other managers and council members who worked half the hours I did. Yes, it was difficult making less than Herbert W. Armstrong's chauffeur and maid for 10 years while trying to "dress the part". But he was right; many have been ruined by money and power. It is interesting that we look at "comparable salaries' in the world to decide ours. It would be a good faith gesture for those of you at the top to take cuts more than the men at the bottom.
After all, it was your choices that caused the problems. I never did feel Herbert W. Armstrong had the job of appointing his successor, but God controlled events to his purpose, so it was God's choice after all. David, please yield yourself to God's agenda and not your own. I personally do not believe you have been appointed by God, but by Godly men. God may endorse their choice if you truly allow God to lead you. Or it may be God is allowing the church to further disintegrate. You are politically astute, and your personality leans toward wanting leadership and personal loyalty from those under you. This is a blind spot for you. Personal loyalty will not give you honest criticism and will feed your tendencies. If you see your own appointment as more than it is, you will push your own agenda and break apart the people of God. If you do not wait for God to show the fruits before you assume control beyond the scope of the constitution, then you, and all of us, will fail as a corporation. The spiritual organism will never fail, but it may be scattered.
I realized my years of service to Herbert W. Armstrong have made me a "white elephant". The biggest problem Rader had in his slander campaign was trying to find things I had done wrong. Fortunately God kept me too busy doing his work to have time to make too many character assassinating mistakes. Rader finally reverted to asking people to lie. Mr. Tkach did similar things, but reverted to lying himself more than asking others to do so. I commend him for that, although others lied on their own. It is unfortunate that some people will lie, either under pressure, for position, or because the end justifies the means. That is what scared me about some of the comments about LA and the home office move.
Being a "white elephant" does make me unique. I wish to help, but only in service to God and his glory. I get requests to support those who would make you pastor general and think everyone else is a "dissident". I tell them that neither God nor the constitution have given you that kind of power. Others complain to me because they see personal agendas and a "pray and pay" attitude. Some feel they can't say anything for fear of retaliation, and as one person told me, "you aren't paid by them, and you have been fired and thrown out of the church before, yet God has been with you, so I'll leave this information in your hands. You will know what to do with it". No, I don't, but I pray and I try. Their attitude is for the most part, not wrong, nor their complaints without merit.
The HO seems to see them as trouble makers and dissidents who are trying to cause disunity. Your actions and attitude, spread through the loyalists on your staff, have caused much of the problem. I have been a friend to nearly everyone on the staff. I am one of the few who publicly defended Steve Andrews. I like Edwin Stepp, although why you needed to hire him when we have so little going on in media, and no money, is a question for me. He is however, very much a loyalist to you. It hurts me to see them and others become so polarized.
I can support men only if they honor and support God. I will respect all those in authority, as I respect the office of president and those on the council whether I agree or not. I have never been a "yes man" during the input stage of a decision. You should not ask such until a decision is made. You should not expect it if a decision is made in an improper manner. The council is there for a purpose, and for you to wield authority over them is not in the best interest of United. Maybe my forty years in the church have made me an expert in politics or paranoid to the hilt. That can be debated. But I know God brings about his plans, not ours.
I don't want to leave this as criticism without suggestions. The mixed vote at Cincinnati should tell you how much rebuilding work is needed. There are a lot more people hurt than you may believe, and it is not just the ministry. Steve wrote me recently stating that he feels the membership is more solid than the ministry. I am not so sure from the dozen churches I have visited, four of which are well out Texas, an area you see as "a problem".
Here are some suggestions. I will not be so vain as to say they are from God, but they are from me, based on many years of training in the ways of God and the fires of Satan where I saw so many fail.
1. Instead of doing everything in the limelight, spread the work around. You have the council and even some very experienced retired men that can be used. Let them do some of the travel. Let others share in the cause. The best result of our overseas projects was the ability to bring the cause back to the other students at AU. Just as we used to let a few ministers each year go to Israel which magnified their effectiveness upon their return, let as many as possible do something special now. This would be more important for those you see as "disagreeing" with you. The symbolic effect of you doing this for others would be unbelievable.
2. Appreciate the work local pastors are doing and thank them instead of criticizing and trying to control them. Help them be better, whether it be TV, Radio, or publishing and pass their successes on to other elders. You could find great satisfaction in teaching others how to do a broadcast when they get free or minimal cost air time, truly God opening a door. You could perhaps use excerpts from the documentary in their programs through a prepared script. Earn their trust with Godly behavior and perhaps God will help them respond in kind. Those PBS stations may even want to air the whole documentary.
3. Immediately stop the office staff from criticizing anyone who does anything different. Calling people "intelligent" or "with it" for agreeing with you, and "stupid" or "inane" for people who do not has to cease. You cannot preach a "Godly community" and have such ungodly behavior on your staff. Remove the "we" and "they" attitude and the fear it creates.
4. Look at what God is really blessing and go that directions. Please leave your personal desires at home. If God sends the money for a large TV work, and if he wants you to do it, it will be done. Don't force it. Be aware, Herbert W. Armstrong may have been right. The gospel as a witness may have been done. When I see the weakness of the effort made by all the splinter groups who each try to duplicate Herbert W. Armstrong for there own ends, it makes me tend to agree with him. I do feel a cause beyond ourselves is very helpful for spiritual growth for the members, but don't be foolish with the money and cause us to face more layoffs and cutbacks. Let's not believe our own rhetoric. Yes, God has blessed us in some ways, but cutbacks and loss of membership in the US does not speak of blessing. We can each point the finger at ourselves for the blame. I feel our last fast became more "let everyone else see my point of view" rather than "let me understand others", and most of all to understand God.
5. Please show humility. Your sermons and articles are not biblically wrong, although sometimes a bit I-centered. Until your actions are truly humble your words only seem to mean humility toward you, not toward God. This advice is true for all ministers, and I preach to myself. We do need humility at all levels, but it has to start at the top. You have to be humble and build trust before you can expect it in return. It will take time and considerable effort. Don't see yourself as appointed by God unless or until God lays the mantle on his choice, if indeed he has one before the two witnesses.
Regarding the difficulties that are present with some on the home office staff, I suggest that you give an open invitation to anyone on the staff who has felt hurt or offended or intimidated by your words or actions, to come to your office and talk, in private, one on one, with no fear of recrimination. They may not come since the fear is real. Regardless, you should sincerely offer and seek reconciliation with every single member of the staff. There may be only a few. Part of the problem may be theirs, but part may be yours. You are a very strong personality, and as president wield a much bigger club. Pray and seek for true reconciliation and forgiveness, where it is called for. God will honor and bless this sort of Godly leadership and modeling. I do not suggest that this is easy, but that it is Godly, and would have a tremendously healing effect, especially at the Passover season.
I would hope that these will help. Paul was not afraid to be in the minority, or to speak up to Peter. I don't know that Peter and Paul were ever friends, yet both were of God. I have tried to be respectful yet not mince words. I am not a Peter or Paul, nor do I feel sent by God as Nathan the prophet to king David. I do know God has blessed me richly and has worked with me while in my service to him. I pray that this fulfills anything he would expect of me and forgiveness from him if I speak out of turn. I have asked some of our common friends whether I should send this letter. You should probably know that their answer was that you do not take criticism well and that I should expect a very cold shoulder, and even retaliation. Those who have crossed you do not believe you represent the Godly humble community of which you speak. I will take that risk in fulfilling my commitment to God's people in the hopes of bringing better unity.
My prayer is for the success of the spiritual organism who are the sheep of God, the return of our savior and the fulfillment of the kingdom under God the Father. Hopefully that can be under the United corporate name. I pray your future actions demonstrate true humility, and that the council learns how to take a more visible role so members don't get caught up in a personality where they can be hurt. For now I return to anonymity and the joy of my family, a gift God has given me, for whom I know I am responsible.
In Christian love and concern,
Aaron K. Dean
FIRST LETTER BY DAVID HULME IN RESPONSE TO AARON DEAN
Hello Aaron, 4-23-97
I just returned from David House's funeral in England, and read your April 3rd letter yesterday. Thanks for putting your thoughts on paper.
Needless to say, I was surprised by many of the things you wrote. I will consider all of it and respond after my return from a church visit which begins tomorrow. I hope the Holy Days are going well where you are.
SECOND LETTER BY DAVID HULME IN RESPONSE TO AARON DEAN
Hello again Aaron,
I promised that I would get back to you on your letter. In general I would respond by saying that there are many misunderstandings and misperceptions in your letter. You say often that you hope that things are not as you perceive. In this you are correct, they are not. It is a common mistake in making assessments that we draw conclusions from what appears to be the case. When we wear a certain pair of glasses everything seems to confirm our preconception. A example is the ordaining of men in Africa. Others can testify and I could probably find the letters to prove it, that M. Andrist insisted that I be present to ordain those people, otherwise he said their role would not be so well accepted. It is part of the culture. He also asked that Steve and I go to give some training in order to get things off to a good start. In the years to come it may be increasingly difficult for Caucasians to visit that part of the world. My point is that many of the things you wonder about are in this category.
Many other items in your letter I will be happy to discuss with you in person. I would prefer that since we know each other well. We all have our faults and I am not immune from making mistakes. When I am next in Texas I will call to see if we can get together.
In closing I need to tell you that I had a call a couple of weeks ago complaining that you were criticizing me to another on one of your church visits. If you are doing this, know that it is often not well received by the hearers, and that in the spirit of our beliefs I ask you to desist. (My note, this was in reference to a private conversation with an elder in Texas...not the membership. This elder virtually stated DH was Pastor General.) With kind regards,
AARON DEAN'S RESPONSE TO DAVID HULME'S REPLIES
Below is my cc back to David on May 27, 1997
Thank you for your reply. If you dispel the notion that you are divinely placed in your position by God to the church it will be much easier to give full hearted support. Do you wish to have people believe you are God's gift to the church? As one man put it, "God gave us Moses, Joshua, ..., Herbert W. Armstrong, and now David Hulme." One man got agitated when I suggested that you should have to abide by the constitution. I do not believe trying to protect these people from placing a man above God is wrong. If it is considered criticisms and not well received then perhaps you should ask why they feel this way in the first place rather than asking those who point out mistakes to be silent.
I do not criticize from the pulpit but do give my opinions in a balanced way when asked privately, and with some emphasis and questions when they are off in a ditch. In this time of preparing the bride, no one should be blindly following any human.
I wrote my letter to you since I see a church being POLARIZED around an individual. You are that individual, and it is up to you to stop the polarity, if that is still possible. Since United was not formed around a single individual you must stop making it so. These people you refer to are not just forgiving mistakes, but defending and commending you for them. This is wrong, and they will eventually be hurt, just as United is being divided. I cannot blame them totally since the council's silence on actions imply permission and direction.
In your current response, are you saying that ONLY YOU and Steve could get the African work off to a good start? Do you decide this or the council? Should Herbert W. Armstrong have set up these countries himself? God can't work through others? By whose might and spirit are we working? If Bernard Andrist asked you to step down from the Presidency to help the church would you also do that? I understand cultures and protocols.
Are you picking and choosing for United's gain or for your own, or do you see them as one and the same?
The polarity and distrust of, and in, the home office itself shows that something is wrong. Are you blind to this because you see yourself as divinely appointed? ___yes ____no. I ask this bluntly to get a straight answer. I am more than willing to discus this, but it is something you need to show to a very large contingent of members and ministers.
I wrote my letter to help you understand what people see. If it is only perception - perception is reality to those who see it that way. Your actions must change this perception. I started out in full support of the council and you as President of United, but it is hard to believe that so many independent actions that point the same way are coincidental.
Something that is "not well received" is not the criteria for truth. We cannot seek to be United by silencing those who would protect their flocks from a man. United should not be a "Global" or "PCG" by default, even though I am realizing many in the church seem to want to give you the power of Herbert W. Armstrong. You however, are bound by the constitution and should not be encouraging them. If God wanted this he could have kept Worldwide Church of God in line. He could have placed you over Worldwide Church of God had he chose...you were not an unknown by Herbert W. Armstrong, he made you a telecaster but never considered you for the top job because he did know you.
You are talented, but it is God's work. Don't sell yourself unless God reveals his desire so all the sheep can see it. If it is obvious we will all get in line. We had best define "the work" and not try to recreate what God already did with Herbert W. Armstrong. Our efforts are obviously falling well short.
In Christian concern,
Note: David never came to see me or responded in any way to this memo or other issues since.
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