THE CONFERENCE CALL
John O.. Ex-WCG pastor
The following is a probable scenario. Legally, we cannot say that this actually happened, but, please let the reader discern the known facts and judge for themselves. The time of this happening and the organizations involved - although fictional - may indeed apply to an existing situation. The "plain truth" of this scenario will eventually be in the future hands of time, and ALL can then decide for themselves if "these truths are self evident."
SCENE: Los Angeles. Two conference rooms. In one location - a church organization's boardroom in Pasadena - are two of the church's top management. They are called ministers by the laity. In the other - a large downtown legal firm - are two seasoned lawyers. They represent a large group of standard churches. Both conference rooms are hooked together on a conference call and speakerphones. This is their conversation.
LAWYER #2: Gentlemen, is your scrambler on?
GREG: Yes, the scrambler is on.
LAWYER #1: Good, then let's talk. As this is number four in our series of phone meetings, Joe, why don't you go ahead and speak first?
JOE: Sure. As you know, fellas, I've inherited this job from my late father, who was given it by our founder who died several years ago.
LAWYER #1: Yes, we know of the situation. We've heard it all before. I take it that you and Greg are now in a position to speak for your corporation?
GREG: Yes. We are in that controlling position because we both can stop or approve any activity on the sale of this college campus. Any and all inquiries and business deals must go through us . . . both of us.
LAWYER #2: Good. Then we're still talking to the right people. Please continue.
JOE: Since our church has been swallowed up under the auspices of that Foundation, we've seen the need for a lot more income. Since the founder died, the offerings have slowed, some members have left, and we now see a need to rid ourselves of . . .
GREG: Excess overhead. You know what we mean? Extra things and property . . .
LAWYER #1: Like your wealthy college campus?
LAWYER #2: And, we take it, that you would like to move this property - in whole or in parts - in a quiet, discrete fashion. Correct?
GREG: Yes, that's correct.
LAWYER #1: Hmmmm! How many would be involved in this transaction?
GREG: There are a few of us that are involved and who can make those decisions.
LAWYER #2: Including the transfer of funds? Are your few people authorized to sell that campus and receive funds from its sale?
JOE: We are the board, and we will vote in such a measure. Yes. And we two, me and Greg, can control the board. It will all be arranged . . . if we can get the transaction details straightened out in this conversation.
LAWYER #2: What about your membership people?
JOE: They don't count.
LAWYER #1: Are you saying that your membership will get nothing whatsoever from the sale of this campus?
GREG: Right . . . nothing. They're not even involved.
JOE: That's right. Our board will make all the decisions, and as voting members, we will be the only ones to receive all the funds from the sale. The membership won't even know anything about this deal.
LAWYER #2: Until the sale is final?
JOE & GREG: Until that sale is final . . . .yes . . .
JOE: And the escrow is closed.
LAWYER #1: Good then . . . let's get down to details.
LAWYER #2: Gentlemen, please understand that we don't care who gets what from the funds of this sale. That's your problem. And all this is nothing but a business deal to us and our clients.
JOE: That's the way we feel too . . .
LAWYER #2: But we also understand that you wish the money from this sale to given to both of you? And we understand that you two alone will personally distribute the profits to your board? Your board, we take it, will approve of this method?
GREG: Yes. That is what the board must be told. They must be told that we, me and Greg alone, will receive the funds of the sale, with our intent and purpose to distribute those funds equally to all of them. Remember, without the approval of the two of us, and unless we get that sale done in our own specific way, then this whole deal dies here and now. Ok? And so, if you fellas really want this campus, it's absolutely imperative that this edict come from your people, that this sale will not go through if the funds are distributed in any other manner. Then, we can have our board's confidence, that this whole method of business is actually your idea and how you always deal in these matters. It won't matter to you what happens to the money after the sale is done, or how it's distributed. And, in this way, we can be assured of our boards' confidence and garner their votes for the sale.
LAWYER #1: But what do you really want us to do with those funds?
JOE: We actually want those funds split ninety percent and ten percent. We'll take care of the rest of the board members with the ten percent.
LAWYER #2: And the ninety percent . . . ?
JOE: Will be equally divided between me and Greg. We'll leave the board members with the tithe.
LAWYER #1: Do you want this money kept locally?
GREG: God, no! We want all that money placed into foreign, off-shore accounts, that are interest bearing, and untouchable.
LAWYER #2: (Nodding) That can be arranged.
JOE: This should leave a couple of hundred million for each of us after escrow closes.
LAWYER #1: Sorry. It will be more like only one hundred million for each of you. You're forgetting our fees don't come cheaply.
GREG: That's a lot of fees to come out of our pockets.
LAWYER #2: Plus, you're forgetting what we have to pay the leaders of those other regular churches to go along with this sale and accept the terms. It will cost. These board members of other churches will have to be bought off. They all want a piece of the action. And these clients of ours don't come cheap. But, don't worry, you'll easily finish up with about one hundred million apiece in each of your off-shore accounts.
There's a long silence as Joe and Greg think about the deal.
JOE: Well, I guess we'll have to settle with that.
GREG: We thought we'd get more money, but . . .
LAWYER #1: We can assure you, gentlemen, that you won't be sorry.
JOE: In previous conversations, we gathered that you can possibly arrange for us to leave the country immediately after the escrow closes?
LAWYER #2: That's correct.
GREG: To a foreign country with no extradition?
LAWYER #2: That can be arranged.
JOE: We understand that Brazil is a good choice.
LAWYER #1: Yes. We can have you in Brazil with a mansion and all the trimmings.
GREG: How much?
LAWYER #2: It will cost you about ten million apiece from your hundred or so.
JOE: That's a lot of money for us to pay.
LAWYER #1: Can you get a better offer?
GREG: But if we give you ten million dollars of our money each, can we then have those super quality mansions, you know, on those mountain side areas . . . ?
JOE: Yes, overlooking the ocean, and among classy, white people, of course . . . ?
LAWYER #2: (Nodding) That can be arranged.
There's another long silence as Joe and Greg think.
JOE: Ok. We have no choice but to agree. What about the location there?
LAWYER #1: How does Rio de Janeiro sound?
GREG: Rio? Wow! Ipanema Beach?
LAWYER #2: Right. With all those topless gals and thong bikinis . . .
There's laughter from all round.
LAWYER #1: It can be arranged.
LAWYER #2: Certainly. We can arrange one way transport for you and your wives to Rio . . .
LAWYER #2: Ah, yes. You ARE taking your wives . . .? Yes?
LAWYER #1: Moving right along gentlemen, we have a couple of other items on our agenda.
LAWYER #2: Yes. I have a question, gentlemen. What about any lawsuits against your corporation, or against any of the other staff who were once with your group?
JOE: By the time we finish with this deal, no one will have any liens on this property. It will be free and clear. We have ways of handling that.
LAWYER #1: But most of your membership will be angry with what you've done.
GREG: So? . . . Let 'em come to Brazil.
Laughs all around.
LAWYER #1: Very well, gentlemen. You know the situation with our clients. We represent a specific group of church organizations, and we've covered all this in phone meetings before. First, they would all like to have this college campus in its entirety, and are collectively willing to pay for it. They are willing to negotiate a fair price, but want no hassle later on from any of your members.
JOE: We understand. Some of those members think that the money they gave is still theirs and that the campus is owned by them.
LAWYER #2: That's true. Most gullible people think that. Legally, if someone gives money to a corporation and get their tax deduction, they've given it willingly and there's no recourse to getting their money back.
GREG: That's the way I see it too.
LAWYER #1: And if the membership people would simply stop taking Stupid Pills, then they wouldn't be whining about all the money they've lost, because they'd know better than to give their money to any such religious group in the first place.
LAWYER #2: I'd have to agree. We've worked with many of these religions for years now, and we're always amazed at how people can give money to such nonsense.
JOE: So, you agree? We have nothing to worry about from our membership?
LAWYER #1: Nothing . . . as I see it.
GREG: So, what do we do now?
LAWYER #1: First, in order to convince our clients that you're willing to move on this deal, they would like to see a more mainstream religion on this campus . . . for a start. None of our clients can see themselves moving to purchase property from a cult. Unless, of course, the cult changes and becomes a standard Christian church.
GREG: So, you want us to change our doctrines?
LAWYER #2: Not all of them Just the silly, Jewish stuff.
JOE: And become more like a standard, Sunday keeping church?
LAWYER #1: Certainly. That would be a good start.
JOE: But, we'll lose membership.
LAWYER #2: Not many. Convince your people that you were wrong and that you made mistakes over the years. Tell that you're now willing to correct these errors at last. Most will understand because they don't think for themselves anyhow. Tell them that your original pastor and founder was in error. You know the routine. Tell them that you're now doctrinally correct. You've seen the light . . . whatever that means. Most of your ministers will stay with you because they can't do anything else. You may lose some, but you can ordain a few more to fill in the gaps. You've already doctrinally brainwashed your membership with the biggest pile of church rubbish we've ever heard. You've done it already by convincing those simple folks about your weird doctrines and ideas . . . so, gentlemen . . . simply go out and do it all over again.
JOE: Ok. We'll work on it.
LAWYER #1: Then, we'd really like to see some social contact between your board and other traditional groups . . . our clients. We'd like to see you all get together. You know? Have prayer meetings . . . or whatever you people do. Make it look like you're friends. Build a relationship over the next few years. Understand?
GREG: Yes. And all this activity will happen just so it will appear that your clients are buying the college campus from a standard, organized religion?
LAWYER #1: Exactly. We can't have anything weird here. We want all this to look good from their point of view, and something their congregations would gladly accept.
LAWYER #2: Yes, we don't want to have our clients' income altered in any way.
JOE: Except . . . up.
Again, laughs all round.
LAWYER #1: Good then, gentlemen. I see we have reached agreements so far. Therefore, what do you say we meet tomorrow somewhere downtown? We have some clients, prominent ministers and church board members that we'd like you to meet.
JOE: Excellent idea. Shall we all do lunch?
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