Worldwide Church of God,
A World View
The first ever worldwide look at the "Old" and "New" Worldwide Church of God.
A look at the history of the Worldwide Church of God and its splinter groups.
A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES FROM 1984 TO 2001.
2.. My background
3.. Herbert Armstrong
4.. Spiritual life, fellowshipping, Doctrines of "Old" and "New" Worldwide Church of God
5.. False beliefs, unfulfilled statements, misunderstood beliefs, misinterpretations
Page 2 6.. Influence on life's decisions / styles, Control over life (style)
7.. Personal experiences, various
8.. Ministers and Evangelists
9.. Strange comments of ministers
10.. Spiritual materialism (Health Wealth Gospel)
11.. Economical matters of Worldwide Church of God
12.. Statistics (membership-figures, income, publishing activities, media etc.), Charts
13.. Worldwide Church of God and her splinter groups
14.. Youth in Church
15.. Future, General thoughts
6. Ministers and Evangelists:
They said: "We have to serve God". That's why most ministers did too much. They said, it was their job to serve God's people. Often they would counsel people on evenings and late into the nights, especially during Feast of Tabernacles. The consequence would be lack of sleep. But most of the time they said: "God gives us the strength, energy" During recent years in the Worldwide Church of God it has appeared, that many ministers became sick, suffer from "burnout". In an article by a Psychology professor at Fuller Seminar it is stated, that 75 % of ministers quit their "calling". The stress levels often caused by: intensity of counseling Church members (length of time and emotional), travels to Church members living elsewhere, long conversations, preparation of sermons, partaking in Church socials, attending ministers' conferences etc.
If one analyzes that closely he can see, that the "control" of the minister over the "Church member" was enormous, time wise, talk wise, activity wise, involvement wise. One could also say: Stress level was high, because pressure to control Church members was high as well, or the opinion of "having to be involved with the Church" was very much put into practice. In the end of the Christian life, the conducting of funerals was not to be forgotten.
The minister would walk in when we sang the opening hymns and walked out when we started the final hymn. Back then we had compassion for him, how much he worked and was stressed, what he did for us. Today I would say, it was a very strange Church-culture. Counseling:
I asked the minister, whether I could take lessons of acting. He would say, that I would have to portray "bad characteristics" and added, that his daughter also takes lessons. He strongly advised against it, though. Some of the leaders and ministers of the Worldwide Church of God were partly like chased humans. Not at all they made the impression of "being lead by a quiet spirit of God", but chased by the spirit of success, a higher circulation of the Plain Truth, of more TV-stations to carry the telecast, better airing hours, more members, higher Holy day-offerings, bigger feast sites, more feast sites worldwide etc.
Evangelist Roderick Meredith told us during a weekend trip in California, how Mr. Armstrong almost permanently was walking in a "running speed", to do the "Work". He also said, that Mr. Armstrong didn't want to see any biblical movies, that came out of Hollywood, like "The Ten Commandments". Sometimes the students in the 1950's wanted to go with him to see a movie and he replied: "Would it help me to do the work of God any better"? Yet in the end of the booklet "The Plain Truth about Healing" he states to have turned on the Television just happening to run across a "doctor-movie" in order to wind down from the intensive writing. Chased by the spirit of success which was combined with the "Health-Wealth" gospel, leaning on the materialistic "blessing"-examples of various figures of the Old Testament, the leaders and ministers live their lives, giving the members an example.
7. EXAMPLES OF "STRANGE" COMMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Minister in Venezuela in approx. 1989:
Minister should have a house like an "example of a house in the World Tomorrow." That's why, for example, the minister in Caracas, Venezuela lived in the most expensive area of the capital, or the minister in Northwestern Chicago (Michael Swagerty) lived in Highland Park, one of the most prestigious suburbs of Chicago, or the Director of the South African work lived in the same street as Bishop Desmond Tutu, not exactly the cheapest area of Cape Town .
An Evangelist said in a sermon: "When I meet the Apostle Paul in the first resurrection, I will spend 20 years asking him all kind of questions." I thought that to be a strange statement. After all we were the true Church and we knew most of the truth, didn't we ?
Development aid was looked down upon, because "it was a bottomless pit" so far in recent history. Line of argumentation: People need spiritual food, the real solution is only the Kingdom of God, therefore the preaching of the Kingdom of God is more important than physical food. We really had to hurry, to get the message through before people died of famine or due to illnesses contracted through dirty water.
Some minister had the following opinion about what salvation would be like:
Orgasm of a woman. The moment of that is so short, because no woman could take it longer, the absolute feeling of joy, which a woman encounters. The female orgasm was portrayed as a symbol for eternal life. A friend of mine, also a single guy, told me weeks afterwards, that he couldn't do much with that comment and found it a very strange analogy to "eternal life". What could he as a man do with the feeling that a woman encounters during orgasm, secondly: Was eternal life that physical after all ? Mind-boggling, as Herbie would say !
I really was thinking that the plainest Truth on the face of the earth was bubbling out of Southern California, the headquarters of approximately 400 Christian denominations (out of a total of 450 denominations altogether nationwide) according to the "handbook of today's religions" about Churches. If one believed HWA and the Worldwide Church of God ministry, Satan put them all there, in order to increase the religious confusion exactly where the headquarters of the only true Church (Worldwide Church of God) was located. The other day I was drinking two glasses of Paul Masson wine along with my vegetarian Pizza. Guys, I almost thought, the true wine also came out of Northern California (Napa Valley) where Paul Masson has its headquarters..
8. Anglo-Americanism, Anglo-Saxon culture in the Worldwide Church of God:
When I watched the latest release from Hollywood, I was not sure whether I really was in a movie or at a Festival in Pasadena, California in the Church's Ambassador Auditorium: Success, looks, style, white teeth, nice cars, big houses, status, beautiful women, incredibly happy people, American Music ("America the Beautiful" and "God bless America"). Besides that the American flag was always visible.
That's why the Church is somehow non-applicable in other parts of the world, especially in parts that are not Anglo-Saxon, not English speaking (with the exception of the Philippines, which have as their official language English and have been under the long influence from the USA, therefore being counted as "English-speaking-culture-influenced" or "Anglo-American-influenced".
The Church says: "God is the same everywhere, God calls people from everywhere".
I will say: "Yes, but the way the message is presented, the Church is lead, the style of worship, the kind of music, everything "plays in", has an effect.
Even though the magazines and articles are slightly different today in the various regions of the world (sometimes the regions even do carry their own articles), the "trunk", which is Anglo-American, still remains the same. Doctrines, main magazine, Worldwide News, only US-American leaders in headquarters, where are the "worldwide" representatives of the Worldwide Church of God in headquarters ? Yet at the same time the international areas should be independent, culturally sensitive, the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God says.
The application of Anglo-Saxon standards is not possible in Europe (neither for adults nor for young people). After all the Worldwide Church of God is an Anglo-American organization with ..% (80 ?) of members in the Anglo-Saxon area of the world, certain concepts therefore do not appeal to me and many others. I resist them emotionally, mentally, culturally. They are: Promise keepers, Thanksgiving, Reconciliation ministry, Teens for Christ, baptism of young teens, women's ministry, reconciliation ministry etc.
In Europe Christianity is associated with modesty, people who don't possess much are looked at with respect. They are not in need of the "world" around them, like houses, cars, big vacations, good incomes, very career oriented etc. Therefore every religious organization that comes from abroad, is viewed with great skepticism, especially if the group is from the USA. If the representatives of that Church travel in their own jet-plane (which is of the most expensive brand) or travel First or Business class, they are looked upon even with more suspicion. Religion is considered rather a private matter, you "don't hang it on the big bell", as we say in German. You don't speak about discipleship, a subject, that the Regional Director for the German-speaking countries was quoted in talking about in the Church's magazine, saying: "Make your goals for the coming year (he was speaking about the year 2001) regarding discipleship in the German-speaking areas".
A member in Pasadena, who also was employed by one European office of the "work" (part of the Church) told me, that I should change my hairstyle, which was quite untreated and sloppy by the Church’s' standard and he suggested, that I should wear more elegant cloths. This guy was convinced, he had "a mission, a job to do" within the Church. Later he married a German girl, for their wedding he rented a Rolls Royce. After some years and having three children, his wife accused him of various matters. He lost his employment during the serious financial crises in the whole Church (during 1995) and according to his wife whom I had known before they got married he did not make an effort to find a new job. He told me in that year, that he never would have believed to loose a job in "God's Work" (God's Church) and was very perplexed about his new reality. By now (year 2001) they are still fighting over custody of the three children. The poor guy had a nice haircut, a nice tailor-made suit, along with it expensive tie and a wedding with a rented Rolls Royce. The rest was of second priority.
Even though Church members were not "fit" towards each other, they tried hard to get along according to the motto "we are God's chosen ones, we have to learn to get along today, in order to be given the reward of ruling in The World Tomorrow, where we will all be Kings and Priests".
Mr. R. Dick, program director in Jerusalem, told us, that God started the six Day war in order to avoid airing the "World Tomorrow" TV-program in 1967. Mr. B, a Canadian minister serving in Europe between 1987 and 1992 commented: "I do not believe, that God would start a was in order to avoid the start of airing "The World Tomorrow" program in the Holy Land. But both were inspired men of God ?
9. INFLUENCES OVER LIFE'S DECISIONS / lifestyle, Control over lifestyle:
Children's behavior and Ministers comments:
People would be complimented by a minister, when our (the Church member's) children behaved "well" (certainly according to the minister's standard of "well", subject to his interpretation). They sat still. But, maybe they were fearful ? Afraid of being hit by the parents at home ? Did the parents threaten them before ? These children later on would leave the Worldwide Church of God, out of "over pressurization within the Church". There are examples of Church-children in Europe and the U.S.
Different behavior would not be accepted as different personality, different kind of people (other members) would be very judgmental (those who would not agree with how certain parents "rebuked" their children or did not rebuke them, not admonish them, warn them, slap them, scream at them). I myself have been witness of a top evangelist hitting his 3 year old in front of at least other 5 members Ambassador students in a frightening way, having wished not to be that man's son ("God's" man, an evangelist, who was once considered to succeed Herbie A. as Pastor General) in 1985. Our local Elder in Europe had 2 children. Their family doctor told them, that their son (7 years old then) suffers from stomach problems, because of the pressure that the father exerts on him. By today the two children have left the Church, the elder himself left as well.
Before I got married, I would rather have no children. I reasoned, I could not have children, because of the responsibility, our life pace, the time that I was aware that one has to spent/ do things with a child, the school-related problems, homework, different languages, social problems of children.
After a lot of discussion with my wife, it was "the price to be paid" so to say. She said, if I do not want to have children in the future, then no marriage. Then she did convincing work, saying things like, "it will not be so difficult" and "children go along, they grow up and things come into routine" and "when we cook for more people in the house, than it is not that much more expensive" and "it is fun to do things together". So we agreed to have one child. We had our first child.
When our first son was four years old we saw, that he felt "alone" and thought it would not be good for him socially to stay alone, also we thought, that we would have too much attention on this one child of ours. So we decided for a second child.
Church-related thinking in that:
I thought, if I want to build "good character, I must not be selfish, so having children was an opportunity to be "selfless". So I should "sacrifice" and learn to get away from my self and have children. Besides that it is a joy for the women to have children.
But deep inside I really did not feel up to the task, I did not want children and due to all the related problems with growing up, family background and way of life or much more mobility and restlessness nowadays and especially in my profession. I thought it better to stay without children. Besides that I have reached a certain level of economic security, that allowed me to have a good standard of living, without worrying about "childish matters" or children’s' matters.
In the Catholic Church there was the "conscience", which we in the Worldwide Church of God somehow despised, looked negatively upon, with the argument, that God's law, God's word is our guideline, our "conscience".
So the consciousness , being the inner "moral guide line" was somehow connected with my intuition. For example the intuition, that I did not want to be with children, but being aware of the "badness", the deceitfulness of the human heart (the conscience, intuition), I denied it. Because I was supposed to build character, I neglected, denied, suppressed my real feelings. I was supposed to give, be unselfish.
So I gave in to my future wife's demand, after she had said she would not marry me, if I did not want children. After all based on the teaching s of Church "character building" I reasoned, that it would be "a way of giving" decision, therefore unselfish.
Today I realize, that it was a decision totally against my individual conviction, my intuitive feeling. Therefore negating my individuality ? I am nevertheless trying to learn my new responsibilities with children, since they are sweeter than expected.
The non-feeling, not to much emotional etc. was part of the "Church-family-structure", that was also to be "based on the law" (commandments, on strictness, since the heart/mind of man was wicked. Certain life patterns in that structure, were "hierarchical, absolute, theocratic, lawful, at times harsh, emotions negating, at least interpreted often as not godly" or even satanic and therefore negative, therefore necessary to "substitute", to "delete", not allow them to exist.
Why did I go to Dance-school (with daughter of other Church-members) ? Not because I enjoyed it, I liked it, the structured dancing according to 10 different dances on 3 levels. Because I was supposed to be a "cultured individual", at the Feasts and some activities during the year there were official events called "Dance evenings" where we "had to dance" (the European, classical way). In reality I hated it, did not like tie, suit, elegant jackets etc.
But: it "came with the package". Paradoxically, in being so "spiritual" on one side, the Church incorporated many "worldly" cultural things into its "culture", thereby forcing people who may not have been that way before (for example more easygoing, simple or alternative people), had to "convert" to the worldly parts, which were of the Church, as crazy as it sounds. It was "cultured" in the worldly sense of the American Church leadership at that time.
Too many areas of our life were "involvement with the Church", therefore not leaving room for individuality (time wise as well as economically through tithing), even the vacation (through Feasts, which was a de facto obligation), we had to take between 10 to 14 vacation days including travel time (out of a total of 25 vacation days per year, which we have in most European countries) a year for Church's Holy days.
10. ECONOMIC MATTERS:
Why bring up the economic matters concerning the Church ? Because they are an inseparable part of the Worldwide Church of God. Money has ever since been seen as a reflection of spirituality, as strange as it sounds. A proof of God's blessing on his Church. The level of giving was equaled with the level of members' conversion.
A look at the past and explaining the statistics can give us an understanding, a clearer picture of the present economic situation of the Church, maybe even a look into the future.
As far as I remember from Worldwide News articles, the Church started to have its accounting books audited by independent auditors in the end of the seventies, right after the court battle over the receivership through the Attorney General of the State of California has ended.
In 1986 I went to the Accounting Department in Pasadena and I was told, that all the reports are locked away in the drawers. I didn't mind and accepted it "as the package" of the "true Church of God", didn't continue to be inquisitive.
The first time that I have heard of the annual income, was in 1987, when Mr. Tkach (Sr.) came to visit Germany. One employee of the "Work" told me, that the Church had an income of 155 Million US-Dollars in 1986.
Since approximately 1987 or 1988 the Worldwide Church of God has been open in publishing the financial statements in the "Worldwide News", the official Church Newspaper for members only, back then. I vaguely remember having seen some in a "Worldwide News" of the early nineteen eighties during my visits to Ambassador College.
About 1996 they started to change the presentation of the annual financial reports. No longer was it as detailed as it used to be up to that time. The picture became somehow unclear.
In reality it was avoiding to show the real amounts for: discretionary assistance, salaries of ministers and employees, administrative costs etc. The percentage of the salaries for ministers and other employees and discretionary program seems to be more than 70 or even 80 % of the income. In a future article I will go into more detail in that matter.
In a Worldwide News article approximately in the year 2000 it said: 98 % of the income is used for expenditures that include all salaries, discretionary program, taxes, hall rentals for congregations etc.)
Mr. Joe Tkach wrote in his book "Transformed by Truth": "Those who lived lavish lifestyles are gone", but those who still stay, even though they don't live lavish lifestyles, they might still be above the average Church-members' income.
That's where I think the "profiting" starts. There is no degree of modesty, no "physical humility", so to say. In European Culture, those religious leaders who lead modest lifestyles whether they are Catholic or Lutheran are looked upon highly by the rest of population.
In terms of per member donation income I dare to claim, that the Worldwide Church of God was one of the richest religious groups in the USA, including the average giving of Jews to the "United Jewish Appeal", a collection made with American Jews for the support of Israel.
Mr. Tkach Sr. once said during a sermon in the early 1990's, that some members criticize the Church of being "rich", and he mentioned, that the Mormons or some other Churches are even richer. Yet, he did not consider, that those other Churches had memberships going into the millions (approx. 9 million the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints = Mormons). A small calculation:
Worldwide Church of God: approximately 100.000 members = $ 210.000.000,income.
If we had had 10 million members, the income would have been a staggering $ 21.000.000.000,(21 billion US-Dollars).
If one looks at such a comparison with open eyes, he has to admit, that the Church was one of the richest Churches in the USA (calculated on per member giving) or even in the whole world. Statistical information on other Christian Church and other religions would be very welcome on this site to confirm that statement. Please let me know by E-Mail if you do have this information or come across to it through newspaper articles or the Internet. It should be a valuable addition to that site.
I will show some examples, why the Church was "spiritually materialistic", meaning having a spirituality, yet being very much materialistically minded leaning on the Old Testament examples of "physical blessings".
At times over the years I have heard Church-members say, that a "minister does not go into the Ministry because of making a good living".
I do not agree with that and will show examples, that contradict that statement.
Examples, of how important finances were/ are:
Evangelist Mr. Walker said in 1995 that income would decline soon, because the Church does not oblige the members to tithe anymore, he suggested to the minister of the Spanish-speaking areas in Europe to leave the Worldwide Church of God and join him with UCG (United Church of God) just shortly before the third big split occurred ("United") in spring of 1995.
Pension fund (since approximately 1994 discussion about):
The Church has neither in the past, nor presently published the salaries of its employees (including ministers). It has given a very long explanation in an edition of the Worldwide News (I think in 1998/1999, I don't remember), of how the Church determines the salaries, and said, that it would not "be wise" to publish details.
You can find just a few hints, like in Mr. Tkach's book "Transformed by Truth" there is one paragraph, that says: "Everyone in the Church's payroll earns less than 100.000 US-Dollars". This implies, that there are certainly some, even today, who earn that amount or nearly that amount, for example 80.000, 90.000 or even 97.000 US-Dollars per year, just to stay below the 100.000 Dollars limit given in the book.). Not to mention the other benefits like private health insurance or free lodging, gasoline, expenses and travel reimbursements, which are not detailed much in any financial report of the last few years.
Stanley Rader, the former treasurer and lawyer of the Church until approximately 1981, wrote the book "Against the Gates of Hell" in 1980. We find some more hints about salaries.
He was asked in the TV-program "60 minutes" and replied: I make $ 300.000,-, justifying that with the appropriate pay for professional lawyers. Mr. Armstrong makes $ 200.000,per year".
In 1989, when Mr. Flurry started the "Philadelphia Church of God", he wrote in a letter, that the Worldwide Church of God did not give him any compensation after his resignation from the Ministry. Through a friend, who has since 1990 been with PCG (Philadelphia Church of God), I have learned that Mr. Flurry's salary in the Worldwide Church of God (as a preaching elder or pastor rank minister) was 63.000,US-Dollars annually by the time of his leaving the Worldwide Church of God.
Ministerial trainees would start with approx. 25.000,US-Dollars (as told by members in the New York City area).
The responsible "Director" of an Ambassador Foundation project in Jordan (Ministerial trainee and project Director or program Director) supposedly had $ 25.000 to 30.000 during four years, which amounts to 100.000 120.000 US-Dollars.
Equivalent to the amount needed to purchase an average 90 m2 apartment in some European capital, for which most average citizens had to pay back 20 to 25 years of mortgage during their lifetime (700,$ each month).
The following days he told us, that he could save all of his compensation (salary) because the Ambassador Foundation (thereby Church-finances) paid the rent of his apartment, in which his office was located as well), the car, gasoline, insurance, his food (since often times he had guests, some students or Church members who visited from the states or elsewhere) and medical insurance. He drove an old Fiat, 1979 model. I'm sorry, it was a Mercedes-Benz 190, build in the late 1980's in the heart of Germany. The car of the Beast ?.
Mr. David Albert, an evangelist and former presenter of "The World Tomorrow" television program, said in one sermon, which I heard in the early 1990's, that Mr. Armstrong gave certain men in headquarters, who had management positions the "big houses and the big salaries". More he did not say.
Yet the Church claims, that all financial matters and records are checked by a big auditing company (Price Waterhouse Coopers presently, until a few years ago Arthur Anderson), and therefore everything is O.K.
Organization as a "self purpose":
Actually we were unspiritual up to a high degree, worrying about statistics, Budgets, plans (5 year plan in the late eighties) not considering the mental, spiritual peace, the meditative form, which would bring inner peace, rest. We were constantly talking scriptures in long sermons (a friend and I called it Scripture-marathon).
Since approximately 1993 the Worldwide Church of God has been talking about the creation of a pension fund (see WWN ....) yet a discretionary program (payments to former employees of the Church that have reached pension age and certain employees that were laid off) has been running already for a couple of years, see various Worldwide News, more than 200 recipients during the year 2000) if not longer.
The Worldwide Church of God in effect is paying out the discretionary assistance, EVEN THOUGH they don't have a pension fund, taking it therefore from the day to day income (tithes and offerings of members).
The last two years or even longer, the Church is constantly taking funds from the "reserves, in order to be able to cover the salaries and discretionary program". They do exactly the opposite of what was written for years in various booklets like "Ending your financial worries". Living within your means, not having debts, except for housing or car etc. In 1993 I decided to go to a South American country for the Feast of Tabernacles.
2nd tithe, a rule, which bounded us to spend it on Festivals, so I said to myself, Chile, 4.800 US$ in 1993, just 1.900 US-Dollars ) more than our total 2nd tithe budget. Because we went there for the Feast. And vacations (Festivals) in the USA were also possible, because we were "forced", we forced ourselves to spend it.
In the meantime the ministers got their second tithe from the Church every year (in case they gave at least 2 Sermons or Sermonettes at a Feast, which most of them did). Interestingly, this Festival tithe came partly out of the account of "third tithe".
On our visit to Pasadena, a friend of mine and I asked regarding that in the Financial Department. The Accounting Director Mr. Steven Andrews in 1990, confirmed us that fact. The line of argumentation was, that the traveling ministers, the preaching ministers serve the members, thereby this money is in fact "coming back" to the members.
But it seems, not only to the poor ones, who were supposed to receive the "Third tithe".
In reality the Worldwide Church of God worries about "permanent costs / day to day expenses" self administration, maintenance of property, salaries and future pension fund for ministers and employees.
When the former Ambassador University campus in Big Sandy was sold (approximately in 2000 or 1999 ?), my mother in law who is a Church member thought, that the approximately 10 Million US-Dollars of revenue would be used for the pension fund. But it turned out, that this sum was not enough. It was announced, that it will be used for "local congregations", as well as avoiding further personnel cutbacks. Some of it probably went into the "reserve fund".
With the sale of the Pasadena Headquarters facility (expected to finally happen in the year 2003) finally the pension fund will be set up, rest of the proceeds will be used for "local congregations, new projects" as explained in some Worldwide News during 1998 1999.
The sale will probably earn between 80 million and 150 million, no one knows exactly, the Church does not give any figures in any of their publications. Most probably not the estimated 250 million US-Dollars, as stated sometimes by splinter groups who would love to get a piece of the cake, seeing themselves as legal heirs or Armstrong's "right" doctrine and therefore of his "life's work", the Headquarters facility.
Until January 2001 the Worldwide Church of God itself has not published any exact or even approximate amount, that might proceed from the sale.
Thoughts about growth, decline, future development:
I am amazed to have seen such a strong decline, where even the enemies of the Church (some split groups) have prognosticated a probable growth to about half a million (500.000) members, because they thought that the liberalization of doctrines ("watering down" as they called it) would attract more "worldly" people. Interestingly the opposite has happened.
11. ECONOMIC FUTURE:
The Worldwide Church of God has been quite open and honest, yet they have not said it all, as I have shown.
Who exactly in the future will benefit from the pension fund ?
Why should ministers not have been able to finance their own private pension plan, if they had received a "fair compensation" in the past ?
What percentage of the proceeds of the Headquarters-facility sale will go to the pension fund ?
Which percentage will go directly to other projects (congregational, evangelistic, media.)
One has to ask himself, whether it is fair, that few leading ministers, the board of directors of the "Worldwide Church of God" has the legal right to decide about the 80 150 million US$ pension fund (depending on the part of the sale-figure, that will go directly to the pension fund).
How will that be distributed ? Ministers who stayed in the Church accepting the new teachings, yet being "low key" in their performance, or being reserved in appearances will receive the same as former Church employees who have left ?
Will those ministers who have left to one of the splinter groups partly because of their conviction not be included in that new pension fund, because they are considered "dissidents" in the eyes of the present Worldwide Church of God-leadership ?
It has to be said, that a few men decide about a huge amount of wealth that really has been accumulated between the late 1940's and approximately 1990 the period during which most Church-property was purchased. Since then a few buildings and other assets have been sold (like the Gulfstream Jet for approx. 10 to 12 Mio. $, see financial report in WWN, and Ambassador University campus in Big Sandy, approximately 10 million US-Dollars. With all respect to the changes within the Worldwide Church of God, this matter is quite complicated legally and will probably still let tempers rise in the future.
Travel expenses in 1987 (see WWNews) was 7 million US-Dollar. This constitutes an unbelievable amount for a relative small organization (especially for money-saving mentality of people in Europe, but probably also for Americans).
The irony: nowadays you will find nowhere in the financial statements, how much goes directly to travel, discretionary assistance, salaries, health-insurances, car fleet etc. As I said earlier, the total sum of those expenses may well reach 80 or even 90 percent. The Worldwide Church of God would probably feel embarrassed to admit, that only 10 20 percent go directly to "preaching the gospel". Although, at the same time they say, "those expenses are part of preaching the gospel. However it is been interpreted. Those who want to believe them, do. Those who are open-minded and dare to reason for themselves, see how manipulative they are.
In a South American country, 80 % if not all members received a subsidy from the Church in order to be able to attend the Festival of Tabernacles, while their minister was traveling half around the world with his family of 6, spending approximately $7,000 US-Dollars for airplane tickets alone !!
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