|HWA & Rader|
Successors were named - and then replaced - on a kind of 'flavor of the month' basis. Among those so designated for a while was, apparently, Herman Hoeh. Nine days before his death Joseph Tkach's turn came up. The rest, as they say, is history.
David Barrett identifies Trinitarianism as the first significant doctrinal issue that the new leadership cabal confronted "in response to a Roman Catholic priest challenging an anti-Trinitarian letter in Plain Truth." (p.89) The other major domino to fall was British-Israelism. The process Barrett labels denominalization was to become unstoppable, and breakup inevitable.
The about face has been described as a five stage process (p.95)
- Change? What change?
- We haven't changed any doctrines; we're simply clarifying the language in which we describe them.
- Mr. Armstrong, on his deathbed, asked Mr. Tkach to look into precisely this area/to correct the errors in this book. We're doing exactly what he wanted us to do.
- Although well-intentioned, Mr. Armstrong sometimes got a little carried away in his enthusiasm.
- Mr. Armstrong was wrong.
If something is wrong for you, then leave it. Don't destroy it and drive many to despair, skepticism and, in some few cases, literal suicide.
Instead you made everyone else leave. Now that's power: stupid, self-serving and egocentric power.Barrett maintains that, from their perspective, the Tkach leadership "had found the Truth, and had seen the error of their (and their church's) ways, and had an absolute duty to bring their church out of darkness into light."
(My personal assessment is less sunny than this. Rhetoric is one thing; underlying motives are always more complex than any justifications offered, especially with leaders who seem to take pride in being non-reflective in their practice.)
There is discussion of the extent of membership loss, and the enigma of Herman Hoeh who, contrary to his convictions, lent his name and reputation to bolster the new regime.