The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God. The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
Partial Transcript of the "Airtalk" Interview of Joe Tkach Jr. and Larry Mantle from National Public Radio on December 4th, 1997

(I left out the beginning and a caller that was trying to promote his own religion.)

Larry Mantle: David Hulme was one of the people that we dealt with a lot here at the radio station because of the Ambassador Foundation and the Auditorium there. He is one of the leaders of a group that left, that is disaffected, that's founded in Arcadia just a couple of years ago. United church of god. And this has a number of former members of the worldwide church. And they believe that you, as well as your father from whom you took over the church after his death, have been unfaithful to Herbert Armstrong's teachings. And that people that have invested all this money through their tithes and more over the years, and that, now to take it in this direction of mainstream Evangelical Christianity isn't fair to people that have supported the church all these years. How do you respond to that?

Joe Tkach Jr: David Hulme and the United church of God represent 13,000 and maybe perhaps 17,000 people. That is hardly a majority of the church.

Larry Mantle: But that is not the only disaffected faction that started out but just the largest.

Joe Tkach Jr: In fact if you go back to Herbert Armstrong's earlier ministry and move forward in time, you will find over 100 groups that have split off from the worldwide church of god.

Larry Mantle: Matter of fact, you have the chronology right here in the book. I didn't realize there had been all these disaffected members over the years.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. And what is interesting, most of those groups, there would only be two or three, at the most, out of that list, still retain some percentage of Armstrongism, anywhere from 75 to 110 percent. When I say 110 percent I mean that they teach all that Herbert Armstrong taught plus have added 10 percent. So the United Church of God is group that split away here like you say two years ago. One of three groups that split away in the last three or four years. Another group is the Philadelphia Church of God and they have somewhere between three thousand maybe four thousand members. Another group is the Global Church of God which probably has seven or eight thousand members.

Larry Mantle: But why not leave the church for them? I understand that you've gone through almost a conversion process. I mean, you have embraced evangelical Christianity that says that you are saved by grace, not by your works. That the issue of what day the Sabbath is is not of that much importance. That there is a trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. you've embraced these things and that is fine. But why not you and the others who hold that belief going off, either joining other mainstream organizations or starting your own group and leaving for those who put all there money into this, Herbert Armstrong's church?

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, they're the minority and we are the majority, and we put all of our money into this too.

Larry Mantle: But I thought that you lost about three quarters of your membership?

Joe Tkach Jr: We've lost about, not only three quarters of our membership but three quarters of our income. They took there income and went and started their own work and ......

Larry Mantle: But they would have stayed had not your father made this Christmas Eve 1994 sermon in which he announced these changes would be made. They would have stayed.

Joe Tkach Jr: I can't say that they would have stayed because the fact is, of the total number, lets say, a universe of 150,000 people, the majority have stayed with us and embraced the changes. The minority wants to hold on to Armstrongism. There is a large group in-between that have, lets say, not joined anyone and are frustrated with the authoritarian abuses of the past. They are frustrated with not... they feel that they have not been leveled with in the past. And a lot of things have come out the way things happened.....

Larry Mantle: Okay so you are saying that certain aspects of Herbert Armstrong's spending, his lifestyle, the way he conducted himself, that there are people really ticked off about that

Joe Tkach Jr: Oh my yes.

Larry Mantle: And who left because of that, not because of where you took the church doctrinally.

Joe Tkach Jr: I think it is a mixed bag. I wouldn't say its an "either or." I'd say its a "both and" kind of reality. In my mail that I have received the last few years, I have received more mail that say I should bash Herbert Armstrong and virtually dig him up out of his grave and burn him again.

Larry Mantle: Well, its interesting in today's New Times Los Angeles, there is a cover story by Ron Russell titled "Honey I Shrunk The Church". "After renouncing founder Herbert Armstrong as a false prophet, the worldwide church of God is in upheaval. So why is new leader Joseph Tkach Jr. smiling?" And its got a painting stylized of you and a screaming cross on the cover and Ron Russell's investigative piece. And that's one of the points he makes is, you know, with all this stuff that has come out about Herbert Armstrong and his private jet and questions about whether there might have been incestuous conduct with his daughter, why you don't further distance yourself.

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, I think we've distanced ourselves as far as wee can from him and a...

Larry Mantle: But you are pretty conciliatory to him in the book, ...

Joe Tkach Jr: Oh sure...

Larry Mantle: I mean you point out areas that you think that he is theologically wrong but at the same time you say, this guy was a con artist, that he misled large numbers of people. That they gave millions of dollars to this church over the years. It was squandered. You don't make those charges.

Joe Tkach Jr: No. I don't think it is my place to make those charges. I didn't write the book to , lets say, dig him up and burn his body or examine his life. I wrote the book to tell the story of the transformation that has taken place. I don't want to stand in condemnation of Herbert Armstrong. I'll let God do that.

Station break............ ..

Larry Mantle: As Joe just said, there were a wide number of others who simply left the church and didn't affiliate anywhere because they felt that they were "had" by Herbert Armstrong and that they were giving so much of their income , up to 30 percent a year, to support doctrinal beliefs that they believe were in error. .

Caller David: Is a denomination defined by its doctrine and if so, people say "I am.. fill in the blank of the denomination.", but they don't believe in certain aspects of their doctrine then how are they defined as that denomination?

Larry Mantle: That is actually the root of this issue, and you put it very well, David. Is the Worldwide Church of God Armstrongism?

Joe Tkach Jr: I would say that at one time, it was. But if we are to be honest and examine history of what we would call Armstrongism. We would find he made doctrinal changes himself. In other words he ran a hierarchical organization in which he sat at the top and he made the doctrines and as time moved forward, he changed doctrines. He picked successors to follow him in that role and they have legitimate right to correct those errors and make changes because they now sit in that same seat as he once held.

Larry Mantle: Do you really think that Armstrong, if he were alive today, lets say that he was for whatever reason, physically unable to lead the church but was intellectually intact, do you think he would have sat by and allowed your father to do what he did?

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, first of all, if he were alive, he would never allow anyone else to take over. So it is a moot point.

Larry Mantle: I understand. Okay but lets attempt to suspend disbelief. Lets say that for whatever reason he gave up control, do you, I mean, there are a lot of people who believe that the reason he turned the church over to your father who was, by most accounts, not the charismatic individual that Herbert Armstrong had been, but a very faithful leader of the church. That what he was looking for was continuity, not someone to change it.

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, I would say that would be what someone who wants to maintain Armstrongism would argue.

Larry Mantle: You don't think it is true?

Joe Tkach Jr: No I don't. And, of course, there is no way to know for certain but I believe, looking at the record of changes that Herbert Armstrong made himself. Given enough time, he would have made more changes.

Larry Mantle: But it might have taken him another thirty years to get to that point.

Joe Tkach Jr: It very well could have but since I am a firm believer in God's grace, and that God's grace disciplines us, I believe that that would have happened. See, I believe Herbert Armstrong was sincere but as we all know sincerity is not the measure here.

Larry Mantle: You do believe he was sincere? You don't' believe that an ego driven attempt to build an empire behind his name and to have a network of adherents and a media voice in the world? That that was more what it was about than religious faith?

Joe Tkach Jr: Uhhhh.... I can't say that his ego was divorced from his work.

Larry Mantle: Right, well that is true of most religious leaders.

Joe Tkach Jr: Right, exactly but as far as.....

Larry Mantle: But how much faith do you think was really at work in what he did?

Joe Tkach Jr: Oh, I think it was a work of faith on his part. I don't doubt or second guess his sincerity but I have to say that his interpretation of scripture, even his reading of history was just in error. And so he made errors and that caused the Worldwide church of God and even before it, the Radio Church of God to always be considered to be part of, as some people call it, "the kingdom of the cults." So in another arena we would be arguing: do the minority of the members who belong to the Worldwide Church of God have a right to preserve it in the status of a cult? Or do the majority of the members have the right to move it into orthodoxy?

Larry Mantle: Okay, but of course, the people that believe in Armstrongism would say: "we are not a cult." They would deny that and take great umbrage at that term so the definition of evangelical Christians may be that the Worldwide Church of God has historically been a cult, and a heretical belief system, but certainly not the adherents. So you are putting what had been an outside judgment on the church

Joe Tkach Jr: Yeah, but I would reply with something that ends up being more negative than I would care to really use but I will use it anyway. An alcoholic doesn't always realize he is an alcoholic. They stay in denial a long time addicts have been know to deny that they are addicts. And the same thing is true with someone who believes error. You know, there is a "Flat Earth Society" here in North America that has 10,000 members and still believes that the Earth is flat despite all the scientific evidence.

Larry Mantle: Not to beat this into the ground, but you are sitting on millions of dollars of property in West Pasadena. I believe you are in the process of selling the campus in Big Sandy....

Joe Tkach Jr: And Pasadena.

Larry Mantle: Oh is that already ...

Joe Tkach Jr: The are both for...

Larry Mantle: I know its for sale. You don't actually an offer yet that you are ready to accept, do you?

Joe Tkach Jr: No, no. Grubb and Ellis is the agency, the exclusive broker for both properties and they have been marketing the property here in Pasadena for just about a year and the property in Big Sandy for a few months.

Larry Mantle: So, you are sitting on, you have this highly valuable piece of property that Herbert Armstrong really created to be the center for this church and to espouse his beliefs. I have to say, it is understandable why the disaffected members fill they were ripped off. I mean, you are talking about an awful lot of money that is going to be spent somehow when those properties are sold. That they believe belongs to the support of their doctrinal position.

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, I would say that that is a pretty sad view of what a church is all about. A church isn't some investment program. The church's commission is to spread the gospel and advance the kingdom of God., not to build up assets on this earth. So, while I am sympathetic to their feelings, after all, my sister and her husband are founding members with that group with David Hulme. While I am sympathetic to how they feel, they don't all feel that way.

Larry Mantle: Has this split your family?

Joe Tkach Jr: Aaaa, no. I'd say there were some time where the relationship was a bit strained but I think our family ties have remained strong and heave weathered that.

Larry Mantle: That's amazing given the intensity of feelings on both sides of this issue. That speaks a lot to strength of your family that you and your sister are relatively close.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. Well, I have two sisters, the other sister and her husband remained with us and pastors a church for us.


Larry Mantle: Do you have resentment toward Herbert Armstrong for the wealth that he amassed during his life, I mean given the fact that this was churchgoer's money?

Joe Tkach Jr: The only resentment that I hold is perhaps the way a certain inside group did better than others, sort of a caste system if you will. I would say that at one time, I did hold some resentment towards that but when Herbert Armstrong died, he didn't have a very big estate. He really didn't have a lot of assets personally when died. The lifestyle that he enjoyed as the president of he organization and the chairman of the board was one of pretty high quality though.

Larry Mantle: Most men who are presiding over church's of 150,000 members don't have a personal jet. I don't think you would find that many cases. In this New Times article, it says that the church will not currently divulge the salaries of the top administrators including your salary but it has been speculated that you make in the vicinity of $300,000 a year. Including the perquisites and your salary. Your opportunity to either deny that or say that's the case.

Joe Tkach Jr: No. That is totally false. Even Herbert Armstrong in his heyday, I believe the highest salary he received was $250,000. Which isn't something I'm divulging for the very first time. That has been published and gone around a lot. My dad took a salary of half that when he took the job and my salary is under $100,000. And I don't have some fancy fleet car. I don't have any planes or jets. The car I drive is a 1988 Oldsmobile.

Larry Mantle: The reason I bring this up is because we hear that the church is on the brink of bankruptcy. That unless this property is sold, that the church might well go under. And if that's the case, or if the church and all this money that's been lost with all the defection of members and the changing of tithing policy, people might question, why is the head of the church making all this money if you are in such dire striates.

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, that's a false report. We are not on the verge of bankruptcy. If fact, we have no debt at all. So the people who make those.....

Larry Mantle: But you have maintenance costs though for the property?

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, yeah. We have a large overhead on the 51 acre property here in Pasadena and the acreage in Big Sandy is closer to 2,000 but maintenance costs there is much less than it is on 51 developed acres, like it is here.

Larry Mantle: And you are able to meet those expenses?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. Yes.

Larry Mantle: Just from contributions from members. I mean, that is a lot of money to keep that up.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes, yes. I know that some people like to sensationalize this, but we get audits every year. The only we didn't publish the audit two years ago was that we were in the midst of a three way denominational split and it was hard to get everything done. But, why publish and audit that is three years old?

Larry Mantle: You have a fresh audit that is going to come out that shares where the money is going in the church?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. Coopers and Liebrant (sp?) is just about done with the audit.

Larry Mantle: And that will be published? And it will be publicly available?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. And I also want to get back to perks. The only perk I have are the normal ones that any pastor would have in terms of a parsonage.

Larry Mantle: Okay so you have housing?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yeah.

Larry Mantle: And you live on the grounds of the Pasadena property?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes, I do and I am very much looking forward to the whole property selling so I can get my own house and not......

Larry Mantle: I bet you have a nice place on that property though, I wouldn't be to quick to say that.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes.....

Caller Walter on the 101 freeway: I'm a long time resident of Pasadena and I'm wondering if the property will be sold as one whole thing or whether you will consider dividing it up into smaller parcels?

Joe Tkach Jr: Our preference is to sell it as one unit.

Larry Mantle: I'm glad to hear that. I bet you are too, Walter.

Caller Walter on the 101 freeway: Well, its hard to say. It depends on what type of organization comes in. I'd love to see it used be some kind of cultural organization or something that would enrich the community.

Joe Tkach Jr: Its an ideal setup for a graduate school.

Larry Mantle: And in fact, a college is potentially going to go in your a, is that deal still alive for the purchase the Big Sandy property?

Joe Tkach Jr: There are four parties that are interested in the property down there. One is very aggressive and that is the military school.

Larry Mantle: They want to put a military school in there.

Joe Tkach Jr: And the gentleman there has done lots of interviews on radio and television even local newspapers there but so it is just a lot of publicity and nothing really....

Larry Mantle: What are you asking for the Pasadena property?

Joe Tkach Jr: We don't have an asking price. We leave that to Grubb and Ellis to market if for us.

Larry Mantle: Okay. I'm just thinking for a graduate school to have the money to purchase that kind of prime real estate seems kind of doubtful. Seems to me a media company might be a more likely scenario.

Joe Tkach Jr: Media company would be just as well. Although it depends on what kind of University buys it. You know, I look at Harvard's endowment is one billion dollars or something like that. Some colleges have lots of money.

Larry Mantle: If the Getty (sp?) outgrows its current space, they've just opened.

Station Break

Some uninteresting stuff.

Larry Mantle: What is your speculation of why David Hulme was not chosen to be the successor, why your father was chosen instead? Any ideas on that?

Joe Tkach Jr: Boy, ahhhhhhhhh. Ahhhhh, no, I really I I ...........

Larry Mantle: I mean, if you were making book on it, at the time, and I know you probably don't gamble, but if were, wouldn't that have been the safer bet, than your father?

Joe Tkach Jr: No, I don't think so. I don't think David Hulme would have been considered one of the leading candidates.

Larry Mantle: Really, okay.

Joe Tkach Jr: David Hulme privately shared with my Dad and did so in written form in a letter too, that Herbert Armstrong had confided in him, David, that my Dad was his choice.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Caller Question: The church had claimed that it could trace its history back to the original Christians. I was wondering if that claim had been dropped?

Joe Tkach Jr: I'm glad you asked that question, its a good question. Its an illustration of something I alluded to earlier where history was misinterpreted. The chain of different groups through history, through time, that was claimed to be the true church, when you look at it, was not the same church as the one Herbert Armstrong founded and taught. And the doctrines that he taught. So if I could name some of the groups for you as you go backwards in time. And he would say the Waldensians were the true church of God. The Waldensians, if you compare everything they taught with what Herbert Armstrong taught, you would find great disparity. The Waldensians were Trinitarians and Sunday keepers although a small group did become Sabbath keepers. But going beyond the Waldensians, he would pick groups like the Bogomills and the Policians and the Ebonites. And some of the groups that he would name as the chain of the true church through history, were Gnostic Dualistic groups. They were not the true church through history.

Larry Mantle: He was not a particularly thorough scholar, is what you are pointing out? He kind of grabbed onto things.

Joe Tkach Jr: He was a very bright, very sharp man but he had no training and no discipline teaching as you would receive in a seminary. So he had no training in Epistemology or Hermeneutics or ......

Larry Mantle: So was this a function of his ego, that he would read something and even in his unclear understanding, glom onto it. If someone would bring it to his attention that it didn't make sense, he wouldn't back off from it because he was so ego involved with it?

Joe Tkach Jr: And he had a young group of students around him who were doing research who also didn't have proper training. And so I think they fed off each other's egos. I don't think that is an unfair way to describe it.

Larry Mantle: Lets talk about how you and your father and others in the church started making this dramatic change in your religious views. What was the seed of it, when did the first rumbling start?

Joe Tkach Jr: Well, it began with a near the death of Herbert Armstrong. He told my Dad that there were some things that needed to be changed. He recognized that himself. But he was not specific on all the things that needed to be changed, in fact, there were only one or two items that he specifically named needed to be changed. One in particular was the teaching about healing and going to doctors. Herbert Armstrong himself used everything the medical profession could offer the last fifteen years of his life. With his heart problem, he was taking seventeen different medications and he would even write to the membership a time when doctors don't' make house calls, he had two doctors making house calls.

Larry Mantle: And this was the same time he was holding to the doctrinal position that you shouldn't have doctors treat you?

Joe Tkach Jr: Sadly, that was still the general perception of many people. So that they would go to a doctor but just not tell anyone because they didn't want to be viewed or be labeled as being "weak in the faith." My Dad did challenge Herbert Armstrong on that and say there is something wrong with this. And he did confide in my Dad that "you need to fix this."

Larry Mantle: What was the other thing that he said needed to be changed?

Joe Tkach Jr: Off the top of my head, I don't recall. It was an illusion to something about history but again, he was not specific about.....

Larry Mantle: But nowhere near as sweeping as what your father set in motion?

Joe Tkach Jr: No, not at all.

Larry Mantle: So, was your father the first one in the church who started moving toward evangelical Christianity?

Joe Tkach Jr: Ahhhh... I'd say it was a ahhhhh a journey that was shared by several people at the same time. It wasn't as thought it was he alone that was leading the way. My Dad didn't have the collegiate kind of discipline training. He was in somewhat of the same boat as Herbert Armstrong was. But being younger, being able to read, when I say being able to read I mean that Herbert Armstrong was virtually blind the last 10 years of his life. Couldn't read and study anymore. Questions would come in and my Dad would say, "you know, I'm not really sure how to answer this. Would one of you guys look, do some research? How would you answer this?" And several people like Mike Feazell and Greg Albrecht and myself and Dr. Stavronides (sp?) was one of the other gentlemen, we'd do some research we'd write an answer and say that, you know, this doesn't square with how we used to answer things. We've got to correct the error because we see the error in the way we interpreted scripture the way we misread in history. So it was a journey that was parallel, several of us were all starting to find chinks in the armor so to speak.

Larry Mantle: So, in other words, not having the patriarch to turn to, so to speak, you know , to get these questions answered, in doing your own research, it started leading you in other directions.

Joe Tkach Jr: Absolutely.

Larry Mantle: And Azusa Pacific University played an important role in that?

Joe Tkach Jr: Ummmm...I, I, I, in a few peoples' situations, like Mike Feazel, yes. He was going to Izzuzu and taking classes there. So Izzuzu's faculty, skilled people, they were very helpful in being nonjudgmental and teaching, lets say, the truth or the correct way to interpret scripture and history. But in terms of leading our church through change, they didn't do that. But yes, they were very helpful. And since then, I have, in the last few years, enrolled in Izzuzu and I'm working on my doctorate at Izzuzu.

Larry Mantle: You used the term "correct" and I could just imagine what the followers of Herbert Armstrong are thinking: "how can you say its correct," how can you, you know, because this isn't provable. I mean, your faith has gone in a different direction but you can't prove it anymore than they can prove that Armstrongism was the way to go. Although his prophesy that the world would end in 1975 obviously has been proven false but, you know, this is really a matter of opinion. And different experiences of faith.

Joe Tkach Jr: I'd say in some measure that is true but in a larger scope, I wouldn't agree with that because, when you are dealing with facts, the facts are either correct or incorrect. The Waldensians were either all Sabbath keepers and non-Trinitarians or they were Trinitarians and .....

Larry Mantle: Yes but the views of Evangelical Christianity, the majority of them are not provable.

Joe Tkach Jr: I understand what you are saying.

Larry Mantle: They are widespread but you can't do a scientifically double blind study and prove them. It really comes down to a matter of faith.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes and no. So much of the teachings of Herbert Armstrong are based on facts that are not accurate.

Larry Mantle: Okay, so you say they are demonstrably false.

Joe Tkach Jr: Exactly.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Caller Question: What ever happened to Herbert Armstrong's son Garner Ted?

Larry Mantle: Yeah one of the great talents on any form of radio as far as I am concerned, Garner Ted. Had the looks, the voice, the presence, but he had a flaw that I'll let you describe

Joe Tkach Jr: Ha, ha, ha

Larry Mantle: He had a little problem keeping his pants on. Was this something that Herbert Armstrong tried to keep quiet for a number of years before it finally blew up.

Joe Tkach Jr: To my knowledge, yes, that's true. I don't think he was aware, lets say, of the scope of the problem.

Larry Mantle: Including women students at Ambassador College.

Joe Tkach Jr: Correct. But once he became aware of the magnitude of the problem, then he dealt with it. Garner Ted Armstrong then left the Worldwide Church of God's organization in 1978, I believe. And he moved to Tyler Texas where he founded the Church of God International. And he has a very small denomination there that, so far, is managing to survive.

Larry Mantle: What I read, once again in this New Times Story by Ron Russell, which was published today, a cover story on the Worldwide Church of God, is that Garner Ted Armstrong's church is now also declining in membership and apparently, he is involved in another allegation of sexual misconduct. And that that has led congregants in his church to leave him. And it is a very sad story, I mean, because of whatever you think about Herbert Armstrong, I mean, it was so set up for Ted to take over and run the thing. I mean, even if you think it is bogus, I mean, that was certainly the neat and tidy way that it all should have gone.

Joe Tkach Jr: Going back to the 70's as the caller had pointed out, in everyone's mind, during the 70's, he was the one to succeed his father. But by 1978, it was clear he was not going to succeed his father. And he has not had anything to do with our organization since then.

Larry Mantle: He has never tried to come back and take control of it or lobby in any way to get influence in it?

Joe Tkach Jr: No.

Larry Mantle: Does that surprise you?

Joe Tkach Jr: No. He said that he wouldn't try to be odious in that way and I think he has fairly held to his word on that.

Larry Mantle: Has he been teaching Armstrongism?

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes.

Larry Mantle: So he has continued with his father's .....

Joe Tkach Jr: Although he, there are some areas of doctrine that he disagreed on with his father. And in those areas, he's made some changes. But the best way I could characterize it is to say it is to say it is a liberal version of Armstrongism.

Larry Mantle: I do want to talk, before we conclude, about control of the church. Again, referencing this New Times story, it is stated in there that you control the board of directors of the church. So you can pick and choose who is going to be the board of the Worldwide Church of God. That board controls the church and its assets. As a result, effectively, you control the church's assets. Is that accurate?

Joe Tkach Jr: Aaaaaa, not entirely, no. First of all, I mentioned that we are currently in the process of revising our bylaws, so that the position that I hold is elected by the board.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Joe Tkach Jr: So the idea that I own all the property or ever have is absolutely preposterous.

Larry Mantle: Well, control it. I don't think anyone is alleging that you personally own it. But that, for example, if the property was sold and the church dissolved, that you would be able to dispense that money to the non-profit organizations of your choice.

Joe Tkach Jr: The way, if I recall our articles and bylaws correctly, the way that they prescribe that we would have to proceed, is that the board would determine who the assets would go to.

Larry Mantle: But if you control the board, then effectively, you control, at least as your bylaws are currently written, you do control that.

Joe Tkach Jr: Yes. But they prevent inurement.(sp?) I couldn't give them to myself. I couldn't prosper from it myself.

Larry Mantle: No, but if you had some pet, I mean, let's say, for example, you believed in UFO visitations and you decided you wanted to give all the church's assets, I mean millions of dollars to the UFO Network, there would be nothing precluding you from doing that.

Joe Tkach Jr: Ya. I would have to, if the board disagreed, under this scenario, I would have to, aaaaa, terminate everyone's responsibility on the board and do that myself.

Larry Mantle: Stuff like that has happened before.

Joe Tkach Jr: Ya. I don't think I would get away with it.

Larry Mantle: Who would stop you though? If it is in your bylaws allowing you to do it?

Joe Tkach Jr: My family would stop me.

Larry Mantle: Okay. And the bylaws are going to change that? You're not going to have that level of authority?

Joe Tkach Jr: As my book tells in the last chapter, that that is something that we have said we are going to do and that is something we are working on. Yeah, I think it is something that we will have completed this year.

Larry Mantle: Okay.

Joe Tkach Jr: When I say this year, I mean 1998.

Larry Mantle: Another question for you. You've got invaluable recordings of great musical artists that are in the archives, that were recorded live at Ambassador, video and audio tapes. There have been allegations those have not been very well cared for. That there had been some damage in the magnetic tape. Stanford University has made an offer to take these and preserve them and to take over the costs associated with that and it appeared that there was a deal and now it appears that has fallen through. Why?

Joe Tkach Jr: What you describe is not exactly the scenario that occurred. But but ummmm we have, we have those aaaaaaaa those recordings and the one who was in charge of them boxed them all up is the one who pointed out to us that they were starting to deteriorate. So any deterioration that did occur occurred on his watch. Aaaaaaaaaa and he, under our, aaaaaaaa agreement aaaaaa, started to look for an archive that we could donate them to. And the Stanford archives that looked like something might work out. In the mean time, the board decided, why give it away, why don't we have the archive ourselves. Perhaps there is some future use for it for us. And so we've put together a controlled environment room to preserve the archives and we are restoring them ourselves.

Larry Mantle: But if you gave them to Stanford archives, you could still have access to them for any kind of educational purposes you wanted as well.

Joe Tkach Jr: Ya. If we gave them to Stanford, they would pay for just the maintenance, that is, the controlled environment, but they still want us to take all the liability for them.

Larry Mantle: Oh. Okay. So, in other words, if artists came back and sued you for turning them over to Stanford. Do you think that is realistic?

Joe Tkach Jr: Its possible.

Larry Mantle: Joseph Tkach, I appreciate you being with us, speaking candidly over this hour.


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