The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
Why Us?
By Dana
(Also see:
John O.'s account of the Recievership)

Dear Ed,

I read with interest John's article about the State of California vs. World Wide. Actually, Dukemajin was more than the Attorney General for Los Angeles County. George Dukemajin was, at that time, the Attorney General for the entire State of California. The amount of criminal conduct they were overseeing would stagger the imagination.

During the ruckus down in Pasadena my husband Mike, and I, were living in the small town of El Verano which is situated next to the picturesque and historic Sonoma, California. Before his conversion to worldwide, my husband was a correctional officer for the State of California Dept. of Corrections serving at a facility known as San Quentin. Many of your readers will recognize that name. Because of my husband's large stature, Mike was assigned to the maximum security unit, then known as the "Adjustment Center." It was not pleasant. (But it might provide some level of satisfaction for some of your readers to know that Charles Manson had (has) to be kept in an isolation cell to protect him from being constantly raped by men who loathe him for the sadistic acts he committed while free. His whining for protection is truly disgusting!) San Quentin housed some of the most dangerous criminals to be corralled in one place on the West Coast. Mike, and his best friend, Ken (the best man at our wedding who suffered six stab wounds at the hand of an inmate being escorted to a psychological evaluation) were both hired after a series of prison riots when the prison system was hiring and training dozens of new officers at the same time. Anyway, during a normal day of chaos and mayhem, my husband spotted from the gun rail an inmate "creeping" on a fellow inmate. ("Creeping" is a prison term for meandering through a crowd toward an unsuspecting victim with intent to kill, or do severe personal harm.) Mike issued a verbal command for Inmate A to stand down and return to the group of men he normally fellowshipped with. Inmate A refused to stand down and confronted the now-aware-of-the-situation Inmate B. Inmate A then produced a stabbing implement he had been hiding either between his shoulder blades (what those inmates can hide between those well developed muscles would boggle your mind!) or his rectum and proceeded to brandish it at the soon to be deceased Inmate B. From the gun rail Mike issued his final warning to Inmate A to stand down and to the crowd in general to disperse, and then proceeded to fire. My husband's bullets did not kill Inmate A or Inmate B, but Inmate B did die as a direct result of puncture wounds from Inmate A. It was a hideous, bloody mess of flesh, squirting blood, bullets and concrete dust.

So anyway, years pass. We are now in the church. And lo, I receive a phone call from the office of the State Attorney General. Inmate B's family is suing the State of California for the wrongful and negligent death of their beloved and much missed son. The state is sending an investigator, Norm Gard, to our home to interview Mike to get the details of the incident from his perspective. Mike is supposed to be there, but gets stuck on a job two hours out. So I tried to entertain Mr. Gard myself while waiting for Mike.

Norm Gard seemed to be a pleasant and personable guy with a job to do, so I saw no reason to not offer him coffee and other refreshments. Our conversation quickly turned to the lawsuit started by his boss, George Dukemajin against the World Wide Church of God. Although Gard was very guarded (no pun) about what he was willing to say about all the nonsense at Pasadena, he did share some thoughts with me. He was trying to explain to me in terms he hoped I could understand was that what was going on with my church and the state should by no means be considered an attack on the free expression of religion. He tried to explain to me that tax payers should not be forced to underwrite the financial activities of churches.

At that time I did not have one clue as to what he could possibly be talking about. I did not know that "my" church had already amassed vast amounts of real estate holdings that was being held untaxed "in trust" by a non-taxable church until it would be sold to high ranking ministers for enormous personal profit to the privileged few. I did not know that our so-called "third tithes" were financing the antics of our ministry far above and beyond their paychecks, with only a tiny percentage being (reluctantly) used for its stated purpose. I did not know anything, and was very defensive for "my" church, so I interpreted his information very differently then than I do today.

"Our" church was also facing the dilemma that Jim Jones had just committed his atrocities in Guyana and now the State had an excuse to step in to try to get churches under some sort of control. "That's just an excuse," I argued, "so you can start taxing our efforts. That's just not fair. We pay our taxes when we work. When we do our ecclesiastical work, we do it as one body, with money that has already been taxed on, as if by one person. What you are suggesting is double taxation." What a simpleton! If "my" church ever really considered me part of their body, I would be in line for a financial inheritance and retirement, just like the paid ministry. But just as Norm Gard knew, but I then refused to consider, was that "my" church was merely a cash producing enterprise, like every other business in our state, and should be taxed like one. He knew that "my" church was sucking my life blood and would return little or nothing in the days of need ahead. "But," said Gard, "We ARE concerned for your safety! Mr. Dukemajin wants to enact sweeping laws across the United States that would allow the military to respond to another Guyana type situation and bring our citizens of the United States back to the safety of our country, by force, if necessary." Wow! My brain went numb! I was picturing the Book of Revelation, and here was the beast sending his hoards (the army) after the Body of Christ (misguidingly trying to rescue us, but really pulling us back into the soon-to-arrive GREAT TRIBULATION!!!) trying to prevent us from fleeing into the wilderness because they believe we are being misled by some religious lunatic! Oh no! Prophesy will come about and be fulfilled as a gross misunderstanding! I thought. Then.

Finally, I asked, "Why us? There are so many churches out there to chose from if your goal is to break the autonomy of the churches." He said, "We looked at several. But we had to chose the one where we would have the best chance of winning. It had to small, and it had to have weaknesses. And not to be unkind, but your church does have some significant weaknesses." Of course, Mr. Armstrong had already trained me to believe that Jesus Christ's return had been delayed because I wasn't ready for the responsibility of rulership. So when Mr. Gard spoke of weaknesses I had only myself to blame for that too.

As we know, the state did not accomplish their goal of overcoming the churches. Maybe, just maybe, God let it continue to rain tax-exempt blessings on the unjust for the sake of the just whomever they might be. That's history, for the time being. And, frankly, the laity of "our" church was not it weakness, but rather, its only spiritual strength.

Warmest Greetings!

Dana Messmer



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