In This Case,
They Did The Right Thing
I am Trustee of a now deceased, 83 year old lady named Ruth Lee.
Ruth was an incredible person. She contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis and was on crutches from the age of four. She remained independent after her mother died in the late 1960's. She was able to do this with the help of her many friends within the Worldwide Church of God and without. She had a fighting, never-say-die spirit. She desperately wanted to maintain her independence. The fear of being put in a nursing home and losing her house, her independence, was always hovering in the background as she grew older and saw what happened to her older friends.
In order to attempt to protect her home and assets in the event of a temporary hospitalization or nursing home stay, she placed practically all she had, which wasn't much, in an Irrevocable Living Trust. The Trust then owned everything and I was named the trustee. Along with friends and relatives named in the trust, the Worldwide Church of God was also named to receive approximately 46% of all she had. The church's portion comes to about $42,000
Ruth was a member of the Worldwide Church of God for over 30 years but left it a few years ago because of the "changes". She was a devout follower of Herbert W. Armstrong and couldn't give that up. Over the last year, since her death, I have been administering the dispersal of her estate
Anyhow, I, through the help of an intermediary, was able to get the church to agree to donate their portion of the money to the Arthritis Foundation. It has only been distributed at about 75% so far until tax matters are completely cleared up.
I don't know why the Worldwide Church of God agreed to do it. Whether it was my threat to use all of the money to take them to court or whether it was the influence of the intermediary whom the church seems to respect quite a bit, or whether it was just, finally, doing the right thing, at least in this case. Regardless of the reason, I am pleased that they decided to give this lady some justice.
Credit where credit is due.
One down, thousands of ruined lives still remain to be repaired. It is a start.
PS: To those that say that I have lies on the Painful Truth: Is this a lie too? Why would I put lies on my other pages but tell the truth here? This makes the Worldwide Chruch of God look good. It looks "Christian". It may make it look like the Worldwide Chruch of God is a good place to be, but I don't think so. But it is the Truth and you have as much a right to this good "truth" as to the bad "truth" about the Worldwide Chruch of God.
The following is the text of my letter to Joe Tkach Jr. asking him to sign off on the church's portion. Note that this was just the first in a series of notes back and forth until we reached an agreement through the intermediary.
March 28, 1997Joseph Tkach
The Worldwide Church of God
300 West Green
Pasadena, California 91105
Re:Estate of Ruth E. Lee
This is to inform you that under the Ruth E. Lee Living Trust Agreement, upon the death of Ms. Lee, approximately 46% of her estate was to pass to the Worldwide Church of God. Ms. Lee died on March 14, 1997.
At the time of her death, Ruth Lee was no longer a member of The Worldwide Church of God, and in fact, was unhappy with the church. Therefore, enclosed herewith find a Disclaimer of Interest in Estate, which I ask that a representative of your organization sign, and return to my office in the envelope provided.
Here is a true case of the widow's mite. This lady was handicapped and on crutches from the age of four until she died at the age of 83. She couldn't even feed herself because of a virulent form of arthritis which made it impossible for her to even bend her arms to put food in her mouth. Other people fed her until the age of 24 when someone devised some special spoons and utensils for her to use. She taught herself how to do photo retouching on negatives and worked at home 12-18 hours a day, saving her money. She never made much but she was never on welfare. She lived independently up until January of this year when she had a stroke.
She gave faithfully to this church. I saw one receipt for a year when she only had a gross income of $10,000, which included her Social Security checks, where she gave over $2,000 to the church, besides going to the "feasts". She lived meagerly to say the least. Counting every penny. Then, because she was so steeped in the false teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, when the changes began to be made in the beliefs of the Church, she couldn't accept them. She left Worldwide over a year ago for United. You can imagine her dismay when she found that she could not change her "Irrevocable Trust" so that a church that she so desperately disagreed with would not end up with her very hard earned money, little as it is.
You say that you have changed and that now this is a truly Christian church. I ask you to prove it by signing off on the Church's portion of Ruth's estate. She did not want you to have it but couldn't change it.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please call.
Yours very truly,
Edward J. Sr.
The Certificate of Resolution of the Worldwide Church of God:
Worldwide Church of God's Letter to The Arthritis Foundation:
The Worldwide Church of God's Check to The Arthritis Foundation:
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