Sunday, 23 October 2011

Spanky's 83 minute Swansong?

Gary over on his blog has recently pointed out that Roderick C. Meredith, "Presiding Evangelist" over the Living Church of God, has produced an in-house doco about... himself, to be aired at his church's annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration.  Shades of Colonel Gaddafi?

To put this in context, Meredith is a schismatic senior minister from Herbert Armstrong's failed movement.  He once boasted being number three in the divine chain of command ("the government of God"), but then formed his own sect and became number one.

The trouble was that his tame ministers knew his foibles only too well and tried to set up a more collaborative structure. Meredith went ballistic, blamed Satan for the attempt, screamed about disloyalty, abandoned his own newly created sect (the now defunct Global Church of God) and restarted. The result was the Living Church of God (LCG), and this time, you may be sure, there was no doubt about everyone knowing their proper place. Meredith constantly harps on about 'top-down church government'. Any concept of voting is anathema in his sect. Nevertheless Meredith portrays himself (with, you have to say, some pride) as a humble man - and it seems he has much to be humble about!

Gary asks some pertinent questions about the Meredith PR film.
I wonder if it talked about how Meredith claims he has never committed a major sin since baptism. Or how he made the membership and ministers' lives miserable when he was over the ministry.  Did they include Meredith standing up in Tuscon [and publicly] bad mouthing Leona McNair [former wife of fellow evangelist Raymond McNair] causing him and the WCG to get sued?  Did it include film of Rod screaming and throwing a fit in the Auditorium during the receivership [including a public shoving match with fellow evangelist Wayne Cole that was reported in the Los Angeles Times]?  Did it include film of HWA removing him from office and banishing him from Pasadena for a year?  Did they include film of him planning to form a splinter cult while the WCG was defending him in court for his loud mouth [over the McNair case]?  Did they include film when he refused to reimburse hundreds of thousands of dollars that  members loaned him to start Global Church of God after he jumped ship to form Living Church of God?  Did they include film of Raymond and Eve McNair on their knees in front of him asking for forgiveness "with trembling lips?"
Well, having tied myself to a chair and viewed the whole 83 minutes, I can confirm all of Gary's doubts. Nor did they include the story of how, at a time the Armstrong movement shunned medical intervention, Rod was given special dispensation to undergo eye surgery because he was just too important not to. Others, of less exalted stature, simply died as a result of the 'healing doctrine'.

I get the feeling that this whole, long monologue of self-justification (introduced by Rod's brother-in-law and anointed heir Dick Ames) is more than just an embarrasing "auto-hagiography".  Meredith, as he comes to the close, confirms Ames as his worthy successor, and warns against rival pretenders. The passing on of the torch may not be too far distant.

You'll need a great deal of patience to watch this entire film. If you're in to the history of Armstrongism you may enjoy the photographs that have been pulled out of the Meredith/Ames shoe boxes from long years past, but be prepared for long, rambling reminisces that retell history to show Rod in the best possible light. Garner Ted Armstrong gets three passing references, the receivership crisis one, Flurry one, and Stan Rader none. Joe Jr. is referred to only obliquely as "the bearded one."

Those with time on their hands, and an appreciation for unintended humour, can view the whole sheebang here:
Living Church of God: Sermon - Feast of Tabernacles 2011: Behind the Work


  1. "The Work"...that's pretty funny too, considering that 2,000 years ago the self-appointed apostle, Paul, said that it was a short work (Rom. 9:28.

    Of course, Jesus said the same thing but it seems that Xians don't know the definitions of short, shortly, at hand and stuff like that. Short work means long work and shortly means a long time and at hand means thousands of years to the Xian mind.

    But, not to the doomsayers like HWA and RCM - it means, 5 or 10 years. Of course, it was 5 or 10 years about 70 or 80 years ago too but they make adjustments for that.

    Wouldn't you like to give "the work" a great big "push" right now? I know I would.

  2. Well at least you made it all the way through! I shut it off after 45 minutes. It was stomach turning for me. The longer I watched it the more agitated I became.

    I watched this man in action in Pasadena for years. Hell would have to freeze over before I would ever follow the man!

  3. And I suppose too, that it was never mentioned that Meredith as being over the ministry in the United States ever said or did one thing to stop the date rape of Ambassador College Coeds by Garner Ted Armstrong?

    Incompetent to know what was going on, a gutless wonder who was too fearful to correct the evil before him or was he just plain complicit and therefore DID commit major sin after his baptism -- made worse because he was supposedly in a position of authority do something about it?

    And the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace... no wait! He exhibits only the works of the flesh, near as anyone can tell. II Timothy 3: works well in this situation, speaking to the heady, high minded, boasters... "from such turn away", it concludes.

    But here we are, people embacing the #2 False Prophet of British Israelism instead of "beware of false prophets". Fifty years is a long time to be a false prophet -- it's sort of like the Energizer Bunny.

  4. I believe the eye surgery was to repair a detached retina. One justification for it was that this surgery was "corrective", so it was allowable. Isn't all surgery "corrective"? Does anyone have surgery for recreational purposes? Many in the church were angry because others (less important to the work) did not have such surgery and suffered. How many suffered and died because of RCM's false teachings? Did his first wife die from cancer without any treatment, curative or palliative? What hypocracy!

  5. The picture of Roddie with Herbie in the background is very telling.
    Both, in old age, look amazingly similar.

    I found one of the comments in the John Tuit book Gary published over on his website to be very salient. In a discussion amongst themselves, the Tuits noted that the verbiage of HWA's own autobiography exceeds all that is written in the Bible about Jesus Christ. That's an example just about all of HWA's proteges have pretty much fallen into lock step with. Without even getting into doctrine, you can almost tell what ministers have been part of the leadership of the Armstrong movement by the titles they give to themselves and how much they write about themselves!

    BTW, I watched exactly 0 minutes of Rod's opus. It was bad enough having to listen to him every day in AC Bible class back in the '60s!
    However, I am curious about one thing. Is he still preoccupied with the topic of masturbation?


  6. Dick looks a lot like a 1960s version of HWA these days. Probably eating too many salty potato chips.

    Funny how Rod gives the same sermon each time, Greco-Roman wrestling with his boy friend, boxing, long distance running, and the same old stream of consciousness of his 4 years of AC.

  7. >>I believe the eye surgery was to repair a detached retina. One justification for it was that this surgery was "corrective", so it was allowable. Isn't all surgery "corrective"?<<

    Yes, and that was the approach the Canadian Church took, between the years of 1976, and 1987, the bulk of which I spent in and out of hospital. I knew friends, young and old, all races, ages, and economic statuses in the congregation, who used medical intervention, or even worked in the medical field (again, PRIOR to the changes).

    So, anyone that says Senior "changed the healing doctrine in 1988" continues to promote an egregious falsehood, in my direct experience of the Church a decade before this alleged "change" took place.

  8. Heh, this got me thinking, though --- I remember the year in Victoria when we had Spanky and Waterhouse for the Feast.

    Those were some pretty looooong days, let me tell you; that was the same year the Baptists picketed us, yelling at us that we were all "going to hell." Charming, what?