Fred R. Coulter

pdficon small - PDF | Audio | [Up]

Track 1 or Download
Track 1 or Download

What we need to do is realize that God sees the whole picture. For us to see the whole picture as God sees it, we need to draw close to God and learn from the lessons that we go through. The lessons that you go through and the trials that you experience are not the ones that you thought of in your mind, that you kind of have a preplanned battle document ready to fight it. You can say in your mind, 'Well, if this trial comes, I'm prepared for this trial.' That's not the one you will get.

When we left Worldwide, we started Biblical Church of God and that lasted three years. The constitution and bylaws that we developed with that one was almost like United Church of God—when I saw United's—it was deja vu! A committee here, a committee there, a committee everywhere. What I had to learn—and this is how I learned that God doesn't want a hierarchy—was that committees with carnal men only create multiple power bases.

That got so bad and hateful that we had to leave. Our exit from Worldwide was very pleasant, compared to the exit from Biblical, which was hateful, mean and nasty! To have someone you consider a close friend turn on you…

Like the psalm on page 28 in the hymnal—'was not a foe that did deride, but friend and my guide.' His words were smooth and butter and his knife slipped in under the fifth rib. It was a very disillusioning time. Age 49, four kids, no income, no vacation, no severance, no nothing! I won't fill you in on all the details, but we started out a couple weeks later—and I didn't know what to do or where to go—and Esther Grisinger called me and I didn't want to talk to her or anybody. I was mean and nasty, but she was patient and persistent. She called back and said, 'Don't hang up!' She said that there were seven of us here and that they would like me to come up on Sabbath and bring us a Bible study. That's how Christian Biblical Church of God. Biblical didn't have very much Christianity in it.

The first lesson I learned was that you don't run down the road and say that this is the work of God and since it's the work of God, by the way, 'God, You better bless it because 'I say it's the work of God.' It took me a long time to really understand what God was doing, though I knew he was doing something. What it was I didn't know. I got so low that I remember just kind of driving around out north of Hollister, out in the country. Here's this little hill. I got out of the car and just climbed up to the top of the hill and got on my knees and asked God to 'heal my soul.'

You're so wounded with everything that takes place that you just don't feel as though you have any soul or heart left. That's all I could say. Tears streaming down and so forth, and God heard and answered that prayer.

It was some time later that I began to understand about a hierarchy. It wasn't until God put us through that trial. It was difficult on me, on my wife, on my children; they suffer, as well. But through that I've learned that you don't need a hierarchy. What you need is love and cooperation and structure only for what you need for the physical needs, and do what you need to do.

Then you can have peace and cooperation, because you're all loving each other and loving God. That way you're not striving as to who is in charge. If someone comes up with a good idea of doing things, do it. If someone has a question or something where they understand some Truth in the Bible and bring it out, if it's Truth, it's Truth! As I said through the years, fully 50% of my sermons have come from questions that the brethren have had.

We stayed at that seven for a long, long time. That's when I first began to sit down and teach. Because wouldn't it be stupid to stand up at a pulpit and browbeat seven people? That's when we decided that regardless of what happens, we're going to just keep our noses in the Bible and study the Word of God and let God do the calling and the adding. We had seven in the congregation and three on the mailing list and that was it.

I learned to do real estate loans. I had a job that I hated—being a loan broker—but I had to do, and I made pretty good money at it, and became quite proficient in it. I ended up learning so much that I always had to tell the title company how to run their business. That got me irritated as can be, but nevertheless… Then my other job was being a minister, which the world hates! So, when someone asked me, 'What do you do?' I said, 'I have two occupation that are despised: one is a loan broker and the other is a minister.

But at age 49 with four kids, that's the only thing I could learn where I could make decent enough money. I started out as a loan officer and from Nov. to Aug. I earned $1400. Then I got my Calif. CFL broker license, which is a consumer finance lender license, and from Aug. to Dec. I made $14,000. There were times when I grossed $110,000; something like that.

But it was all commission. I didn't get a thing until I closed the loan. It really became quite challenging. I'd have to get out and drive around, leave my rate sheets, talk to real estate people. They can always tell a new loan person walking in. They have their rate sheet in hand, 'Hello!' It's almost like a big sign: New Loan Broker in Town!

All the real estate agents—and they are snitty people indeed—throw you the worst crumbs to try and get a loan with defunct credit and defunct property, etc. Actually, I specialized in that! I made some pretty good money at it. Then I got in contact with a private investor in town; just by happenstance. I didn't know it but he was a big mucky-muck in town.

He keeps a pretty low profile because he builds and sells houses, and he had some money that he wanted to loan out and earn more than he could by just making a loan to someone without security, or having to take a second. So then, I began to specialize in construction loans, which are short-term loans. He would fund the money; we would put it into a trust account, they would earn interest on the trust account, and then we would draw down according to the construction schedule upon phase completion.

He would earn a point and I would earn a point, and I would get some fees, plus the inspection fees, then I would earn a point on the rollover to the final loan. This worked real well. He made lots of money; I make lots of money. I suppose that we funded pretty close to $10-million worth of loans on a rollover basis. We would fund one and close it out with a permanent loan. Fund another one, and that worked quiet well.

But my heart was really never in it, though I could do it well. That's where God began teaching me a lot of things. I was not around anyone except the little congregation.

I would drive 60,000 miles a year just taking care of business, going to church and all that sort of thing. My mind would always be on the Scriptures. I remember one day driving down the road where I just felt really muddled! I remember just crying out to God, 'O God, I'm so stupid! I really got zonked in on this thing with Biblical and I let people take me down the garden path and I don't know how to think. Please help me to think; help me to understand.' God has helped me a great deal!

All the things that we went through in that has not only been of benefit to us, but a benefit to the people of God. Of course, in that condition, how many people would follow us? Not very many! So, we got our noses in the Bible and instead of every year getting up and repeating the same thing. Like in Worldwide I had my stack of sermon notes that I would go through every four years.

We decided to just get our noses in the Bible and go through verse-by-verse and word-by-word, not have any set schedule, just stick with it until we're done. First thing we did was a series in Romans, which we lost the tapes, but we did a better series in Romans later.

Then we did the whole Gospel of John, verse-by-verse. It took us 2-1/2 years to do that. We had 26 sermons in the major part of it, then 26 sermons in the sub-series. That's where we have the series on grace, sanctification, Holiness and so forth.

It was during the series in John that I was studying the Greek. What I would do is every night when I would get home I would study the Greek. Dr. Dorothy said to study, study, study; memorize, memorize, memorize. Greek is very difficult. If I hadn't had German before, it would have been much harder for me to learn. But I had the equivalent of two years of Dr. Dorothy tutoring, and then I was on my own.

I would come home and study the Greek and when we went through the book of John… Let me explain to you:

John 5:24: "Truly, truly…" All through the book of John I would remind everyone that means truly, truly; because in the King James it says verily, verily.

"…I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him Who sent Me has everlasting life..." (v 24). The 'eth' in the King James in the Greek it means it's a participle. I would always say that.

So, by the time we got done with the series on John, I was very tired of telling people the Greek says this, the Greek says that; so were the brethren! That's how ministers hold the intellectual edge over people, by making it sound very complicated. Well, 'I know the Greek, and all of you are a bunch of stupid lay people.'

So, we decided to go through a study of the seven general epistles. Instead of going through and telling you what the Greek says, I'll translate it. So, that was my first attempt at translating: James; 1st, 2nd Peter; 1st, 2nd, 3rd John and Jude. Now we've got the Seven General Epistles book, and we have many sermons to go with it.

As we got done with that I began translating in earnest the book of Romans. That's how the translation of the New Testament started out. It started out just to make it simple and easy for the brethren to understand; that's all. I haven't set myself up to say, 'Fred, are you not important? Thou art a Greekist scholar!' Which some people have accused me of. Some people accuse me of being the only one who knows anything that's in the Bible. NO! God is the only One Who knows everything that's in the Bible.

What we know, we know, but there's a whole lot more for us to learn. But I tell you one thing, I'm not going to stand still for false doctrine! If it's really damaging, like what John Rittenbaugh did with Pentecost, I named the person. And some sensitive politicians say, 'You shouldn't name the person.'

Well, I did the sermon, I sent the booklet and the audio tape with a letter to John Rittenbaugh, and I said, 'John, I love you, I care for you, but in this you're just completely wrong! I'm sending this to you in time so that you can recover before Pentecost comes.' I also sent it to John Reed, one of his close associates.

Anyway, that's how I got started translating the New Testament. Then I thought, well, I will do the rest of the Epistles of Paul; then we were running low on A Harmony of the Gospels so I said that we needed a precise translation for the next edition rather than a paraphrase.

Lo and behold we were pretty close to doing the whole New Testament, so I said, 'Okay, why not do the whole New Testament.' Not that I think I'm a better scholar than anybody else and know more than they do. But all of these New Age Bible versions are just leading people astray. So, that's how it came about!

God has blessed us all with a lot of understanding. There is still so much there for us to learn. Anyway, that's the long and short of where we are today.

Question from audience: What are some of the things that I got myself in trouble with Pasadena? And why I was marked as such a miserable mean person?

It goes back quite a long ways. It wasn't that I was rebellious, it was that I thought that the Truth was over everybody. Is it? or Is it not? Is that a right thought? or A wrong thought?

When I came to Ambassador College I knew that I was going to be a minister in my own heart; although they said, 'Don't you dare think that you're going to be a minister.' Okay, if God doesn't want me to be, I won't be. But nevertheless, if God does then I will be.

I approached everything at Ambassador College—I went in 1961 and graduated in 1964; I went three years, because I had 3-1/2 years of college before—and applied myself to the Scriptures and studied the Scriptures. I did something, which I very rarely even mention lest someone think I'm bragging—I'm not, I'm just going to state a fact. Herbert Armstrong said that he studied the Bible on his knees, so I thought that if I'm going to learn the Bible, I better study the Bible on my knees.

Where we were they had these prayer booths. When we were going to college a prayer booth were used all the time; all the students were praying. When I went back in 1972, they're all stuffed as storage bins.

Nevertheless, I found a prayer booth downstairs. To the right there was a furnace and three prayer booths. At the third prayer booth just up on the wall was an outlet. So, I got an extension cord and took my little table top desk lamp and I plugged it in and took it into the prayer booth with me and I studied. That's where I studied! What they said at the time was that your Bible study had nothing to do with your classes; that's separate. I was never political! Still not to this day and never will be! Thank You, God!

So, I did well in class. In my second year they didn't quite know what to do with me job wise, because I had studied German and was quite proficient in German at that time, so they thought maybe they could put me in the German work. But then Frank Schnee was there and whoever else, so that took care of that.

For work they put me up in letter-reading. I would always when someone wrote in for the first time, I would make sure they would get Why Were You Born and some other basic booklets to help them.

Meanwhile we took all the classes: the speech class, the Bible class, Dr. Hoeh's history class. The only way you learn in Dr. Hoeh's class is to sit up in the front row and look him right in the eyes so you can be alert and stay awake. Because if you sit in the back, all the dumb-dumbs sit in the back, and he knows it. They get straight Ds.

Carl and I would always sit up in the front of Dr. Hoeh's world history class, and he would make this long chart going through Compendium I, II and all of that. The students at that time were dedicated. They were praying and studying. There was a whole different spirit there until Mrs. Loma Armstrong died in 1967.

Anyway, it came senior year and, lo and behold, when then called out the assignments for ministerial assistants, my name came up and everyone was shocked when my name came up: Fred Coulter to Eugene to assist Dale Hampton. Gasp!

I wasn't political; no one knew too much about me, except the different teachers and so forth. I went up there and I assisted Dale Hampton the best I could. He had a very unfortunate situation. He had a son that was a complete paraplegic. Nothing but just a bag of bones. Had to be diapered, fed; very sad, very tragic.

The assistants would mow the lawn and do all the errands and things like this. So, I did all of that, and I was very happy to do it. But I remember one real moment that I had was when I was helping Dale Hampton getting ready for the Feast. They couldn't take Ricky to the Feast, so they always left him with a woman who would watch over him. I remember that I had to pick him up and carry him out to the car. That was really quite an experience. Dale Hampton really had a burden with that. Unfortunately, he just became a complete alcoholic; very sad.

When they decided that I could go out and visit on my own, they sent me with Otis Cole, one of the sweetest men in the world. We would talk. He's a very, what you might say, shy and unassuming man. We became very close friends. He did almost all the talking once he got warmed up.

He told me about the 'old days' at the school in Jefferson where Mr. Armstrong started. He told me something else that really flabbergasted me: He said, that he was in the Church of God Seventh Day, born into it. His father was an elder in the Church of God Seventh Day, and that in 1917 his father brought to Dugger and Dodd the Truth of Israel and the Holy Days—ten years before Herbert Armstrong ever found out about the Church of God.

I also found out that Mrs. Rhemcorn was a member of the Church of God Seventh Day. So, there's a little fudging in the autobiography as you go along. But nevertheless, when Herbert Armstrong in 1931 brought up about Israel and the Holy Days, guess what? Dugger and Dodd had already been through it.

Then in January 1965 Delores and I got married, came back to Eugene, and then April for the Feast of Unleavened Bread—at that time we had the whole district thing where everyone would come into Portland—and Herbert Armstrong came in and stayed the whole week; he and his wife Loma. We had services every day, and they scheduled me to bring a sermonette. I brought a sermonette on 1-Chron. 28—serve God with a willing heart and keep His commandments. That's what David told Solomon. My wife—who was close friend of Loma—was sitting right there and Herbert was right there and she says to Herbert, 'You better ordain that man.' I guess they already had plans to ordain me, because it was the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1965 I was ordained by Herbert W. Armstrong, personally. I never really had any problems with Herbert W. Armstrong.

What they did is send me over to Boise to pastor in Boise. When Delores and I were married we packed up everything in our Fury III Plymouth four-door. We had the trunk and the backseat full. When we packed up to go to Boise we had the backseat, the trunk and a U-Haul trailer. So, we went on over to Boise. We relieved Fred Kellers over there. Fred Kellers has never liked me to this day, because I took over where he thought he should have stayed. I was ordained before him, even though he graduated the year before me. So, here's all this political stuff going on and I'm not even aware of it.

We get over to Boise and everything is going along fine, and lo and behold, one day here's a man who shows up for services that I never saw before. I go over and introduce myself and he introduces himself as Ray Beknight, minister of the Church of God Seventh Day.

This is the one that Herbert Armstrong knew personally. He said, 'Why don't you come by and visit me. I live in Nappa.' I said I would be happy to. I came by to visit him one day and we're sitting there talking and then he starts against Herbert Armstrong and tells me how vain he was and so forth. When he got done I said, 'Well, isn't it a shame that God had to use Herbert Armstrong to preach the Truth about Israel and the Holy Days, because no one in the Church of God Seventh Day would?' Of course, I got up and left!

Well, when we went down to visit in Pasadena, Delores told Loma about it. So, Loma called Herbert, and here I'm around the campus taking pictures, because they just got the auditorium done and they were redoing some things, and I wanted take them back and show the slides to the brethren.

Here one of the guards comes up to me and say, 'You're wanted up in Herbert Armstrong's office right now.' What have I done? That's when his office was up in the old library. I get in the elevator and go up and see him, and he welcomes me with open arms, and he wanted me to tell him everything about Ray Beknight and the other Church of God Seventh Day ministers that I had run across. We sat there and talked for over two hours! It was a wonderful conversation; very delightful!

I never had anything against Herbert Armstrong. It was later it was when Stan Rader coerced him into doing. Lo and behold, I get down there and David Jon Hill alights into me a couple of hours later and says, 'What are you doing up in Herbert Armstrong's office; you trying to gain something?' That's how the hierarchy always viewed me! I said, 'Hey, I was invited up; what am I going to do?'

Our first child was a girl, born two months premature and died at nine month in our own arms. So, we know what it's like to lose a child. They decided that it would be best for us to move out of the Boise area and go down to Salt Lake and hook Salt Lake up with Boise and I would fly every week.

Being in that remote geographical area, I had to run everything on my own. Carlton Smith was the District Superintendent, and he would come over when I first went to Boise once a month and then every other month, and then every six months and then once a year. He would say, 'Hi, Fred, how's everything?' Fine! 'Bye, Fred, see you next time.'

So, even though I was within the Worldwide Church of God, I was not highly connected to the hierarchy inasmuch as I was virtually operating on my own. But I was not in rebellion to the authority that was in the Church, nor did I put down Pasadena. I always upheld Pasadena.

But I was not the fanatic that I would mention Herbert Armstrong's name as I scored in one sermon by David Albert in Pasadena years later—110 times in one sermon!

Anyway, we moved down to Salt Lake and I decided to do a series in Galatians. We were told that if you write up anything or if you find any "new Truth" write it up and send it in.

There's a glaring contradiction here if you read it. And in talking to the Church of God Seventh Day ministers, I began to understand that Herbert Armstrong was preaching Galatians according to the Church of God Seventh Day understanding, which is basically this:

Galatians 3:19: "Why then the law?…."—meaning the law of sacrifices. This is the way it was understood: it was added because when Moses was on the mountain the children of Israel sinned. That's not the correct meaning. You have a contradiction here:

Verse 14: "In order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren (I am speaking from a human perspective), even when a man's covenant has been ratified, no one nullifies it, or adds a codicil to it" (vs 14-15).

How can you have v 19 that it was added when it says you can't add to. There's a distinct contradiction within three verses. So, I read on:

Verse 16: "Now, to Abraham and to his Seed were the promises spoken. He does not say, 'and to your seeds,' as of many; but as of one, 'and to your Seed,' which is Christ. Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand by God to Christ cannot be annulled by the law… [meaning the whole Old Covenant] …which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect" (vs 16-17). So, we're talking about the promise, not law upon law. We are talking about promise and covenant.

Verse 18: "For if the inheritance is by law… [through the Old Covenant] …it is no longer by promise. But God granted it to Abraham by promise. Why then the law?…. [the whole Old Covenant; not just the law of sacrifices.] …It was placed alongside the promises… [because you can't add to it; but you can place it alongside] …for the purpose of defining transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made…" (vs 18-19).

So, I wrote that up and sent it in to Pasadena and guess whose hands it goes through? I did a very bad thing: I rented a Bulletin typewrite with big type so Herbert Armstrong could read it. Remember, he had the blood clot behind his eyes. It went into the hands of Roderick Meredith and Al Carosso! I didn't know what their thought was. Not interested in Truth. I thought it went to Herbert Armstrong personally. I am sure that he would have embraced it! I'm sure he would have taught it! But they looked at it: Who is the upstart to correct Herbert Armstrong, God's apostle? That's right, and I didn't know this. So, I'm marked and targeted!

Sometime later we had a woman dying of breast cancer. My wife saw her breast and it was black as coal. She was on her deathbed! We had the Church in Boise and Salt Lake fast, and I came back from Boise on Sunday. I remember we took Morgan Tubby, a deacon, and went up to anoint her. I remember walking in the house and you could smell death.

I walked in and here she is in pain, misery and agony and just skin and bones. At that point, I knew that either God had to heal her or she had to die. That was my prayer. I kneeled down and anointed her and said, 'God, You know! If it is Your will to heal her, please do; if not let her die quickly and end the suffering.' I got up and she started to improve right away! She also, with the help of the women, did a lot of things with herbs to purge the cancer out of her system, and in ten days she was up walking about and healed. She was completely healed and restored to health.

So, Rod Meredith down in Pasadena schedules a visit to come out and see this rebellious Fred 'who would dare write something against Herbert Armstrong.' I didn't write it against him, I just followed their instructions that if there's something new you write it up and send it in.

He calls up and said this was just a regular field visit. Of course, I didn't know what he had in mind until just before the end of his visit. I said, 'How would you like us to have Spokesman's Club, dinner dance in Salt Lake and then a Bible study and Sabbath services and then go on up to Boise and you can preach there and have Spokesman's Club afterward with a dinner dance.' He said, 'Yeah, that will be fine.' I got it all setup.

He came out and we had the dinner dance and he got done with his evaluation, after hearing all the men speak, table topics and all the speeches and everything. He got up and said—and I know this galled him; at least he was honest in it—'This is the best Spokesman's Club I have ever seen, regardless of where I've gone in the whole United States. The questions were the most intelligent with the best answers I have ever heard.'

Then we get out there and he asked where's this Mrs. Beam that was healed of cancer? I showed him where she was, dancing with her husband. He goes over there and he's talking with her, and I guess he really didn't believe that she had cancer and she was completely healed.

How can Fred be so bad if all of this is coming out this way. He was stymied because he was expecting to find a rebellious congregation. We went up to Boise and found the same thing. He was flabbergasted.

Sunday morning after we come back to Salt Lake City, he has his overall evaluation for me and Delores. That's when I understood the purpose of his visit. We sit down and he has this stern look and he asks: Do you believe that Herbert Armstrong is God's apostle? I suppose that with the paper he didn't think that I did, because how dare I 'correct him.'

I didn't think I was correcting him, I thought I was bringing new Truth. He didn't say that, but this was kind of the thought I had in my mind. So, I said, 'Of course, I do!' He says, 'Well, this paper…

 (go to the next track)

He was a gun-ho marine jet pilot who was vain, arrogant and considered himself God's gift to humanity. Especially the Church because there was no one like him. So, they sent him out to be a ministerial assistant for me.

Needless to say, he was very arrogant and presumed upon the brethren and everything. So, when I wrote up an evaluation—that's a summary of many details; I could tell you a half-dozen instances with that—I put down that Carl Kilmner has a lot of ability, but until he gets rid of his vanity and arrogance and presuming upon the brethren that he should never be ordained as a minister.

Well, Pasadena had slotted him to be ordained to be a minister. Of course, I didn't know that. So, the next spring when he graduates, Richard Plashatte says that, 'Carl, come here, I want you to read something.' So, he hands him that evaluation. There is my 'enemy #1'! Of course, I didn't know this until years later.

Then I get a call from David Jon Hill and he says, 'There's a man who has been disfellowshipped from the Church in Phoenix and he's moving to Boise and he's threatening to sue the Church for $50,000. I want you to straighten this out. I'm going to send you all the information. Be careful, this man is a notorious liar.'

So, I got the file. I put it on my desk and did nothing with it. The man, whose name was Bret Noland, called Jon Hill—because I hadn't contacted him; I hadn't heard from the minister, yet. So, Hill gave him my number and Noland called me. He says, 'I'm Bret Noland and I understand you are to help solve the problem on my disfellowshipment case.'

I was hoping to avoid it. I was hoping not to have to go through it. He said, 'Let's get together,' and I said, 'The only time I can get together is after the Day of Atonement. At that time we had Rand Millich up there as a local elder, assisting me in Boise. I said that we would meet at his house.

I had all of this in mind: he was disfellowshipped, accused of adultery, he defrauded a widow, notorious liar; watch out for everything that he has to say, because nothing can possibly be true!

So, we get over there to Rand Millich's place and we sit down and he's telling me this horror story of what happened. The minister went around to his business contacts, ruined his business, went to the phone company and destroyed his credit.

I'm sitting there thinking that this is unreal! How am I going to know if this guy is telling the truth. I just sat there and listened. He said, 'I've had bleeding bowels over this.' BING! A light went on! If a man is a notorious, hardhearted liar, he surely would not have bleeding bowels.

I was praying, 'O God, help me to understand.' So, the idea came to me. This is the Day of Atonement. I looked him right in the eye and said, 'Today is the Day of Atonement. Are you fasting?' He said, 'Of course!' I said, 'Do you keep the Sabbath?' Yes, every week at home! I said to myself that based on that I'm going to look at this thing thoroughly. I said, 'You have my word that when this Feast is over, I'll look into it.'

The long and short of it was that he did not commit adultery with a woman, but it was on the word of one person who saw him go into a house with a woman alone to give an estimate for a remodel job. And that he put an addition on a widow's home in Phoenix made of adobe brick, according to the plans that she approved and he gave all of his labor and a good portion of the material free. He put it on according to the plans. Mind you, with adobe brick! She said, 'I want the windows moved from this wall to this other wall.' He said that he couldn't do it.

He said, 'Do you realize that I would tear it down to the level of the sill and rebuild the whole thing and destroy half of the adobe brick to do it for you. I've already done it where I can't afford to do it.' So, he walked off and left it.

Therefore, Ron Reedy—the destroyer of the brethren—destroyed him; 'He's defrauded the brethren, he's committed adultery with a woman.' It was sent into Pasadena and guess who was the District Superintendent? All Carosso!  He took it up to Rod Meredith and guess who upheld it? Rod Meredith!

It came down when Vernon Hargrove was sent over there for the second tour and it went on up and came down with the second result. They upheld it three times. Here I get this package and I'm going through it. I talked to Ron Reedy, Vernon Hargrove and different people and said, 'How am I going to get my way through this thing.' I decided that what I was going to do is call a local contractor and had the dimensions of the addition that Noland was going to do, the materials and so forth. I said, 'I want you to give me the lowest possible price of an adobe addition this big and tell me what it would cost a square foot to do.' He said, $17 a sq. ft.

I said, 'Do you think that a man who did it for $5 a sq. ft. was defrauding a woman?' I explained about removing the windows and everything. He said, 'No!' I said, 'Would you redo the windows?' He said, 'No!' Especially if she refused to pay for it he would not do it. I said, 'Would you go off and leave it? He said, 'Yes!'

He didn't sin against her. He didn't defraud her. She sinned him against him by changing the plans. I took that and put it aside. Then I decided that here are all these nice letters from deacons and local elders—you know, your obedient sycophant spies:

'We had Bret Noland and his wife over for dinner and he was rather cold and stiff.' Bret was no idiot, he knew what was going on. So, I had to say, 'Everything that's a sin against God, I'm going to put over here, and everything that's not a sin against God I'm going to put over there. I read all of that and it was really eye-opening. All the stuff: the false accusation, the way that they railroaded this guy; to use the hierarchy to uphold a disfellowshipment and put up nothing over here against God. And everything over here that was foolishness and not a sin.

I called Jon Hill and said, 'I've solved the problem. He hasn't sinned against God.' He said, 'Good, call Bret and re-instate him and he can come to church.' So, I write up the report and send it in, and guess whose hands it goes to? Al Carosso and Rod Meredith! How dare he go against the authority! I didn't know that.

Al Carosso came out for a visit for Pentecost and he really kept his cool. He was slick! He said, 'Fred, we have a nice big promotion for you. You've been out here for seven years now. We have two big churches down in the Torrance area we would like you to pastor—Torrance and Santa Monica.' What could I say! I was literally 'a lamb led to the slaughter'!

We get on down there and guess who the replacement minister is? By design? Carl Kilmner, with orders to find out everything about Fred Coulter; every dirty little thing he could dig up! He couldn't, so he wrote up reports that I run everything by politics; and I'm not a politician! And that my wife was a dirty housekeeper because there were rings in the toilet. It was Salt Lake City water hardness at .55! All contrived!

But meanwhile I get on down to Pasadena and, lo and behold, I have an eye-opening experience. I find that Al Portune is in this corner of the fourth floor, Rod Meredith is in this corner of the forth floor, Garner Ted Armstrong is in this corner of the fourth floor, and Herbert Armstrong is in this corner of the fourth floor. Stan Rader and all the different lieutenants with various allegiances are all in-between! I found out that Rod hated Ted and Ted hated Rod; they were contrary one to another, couldn't stand each other. Al Portune had his own agenda, Rader had his own agenda, and poor Herbert Armstrong was stuck off over here on the side.

Here at 'God's Headquarters,' where you would think love and truth would reign, we had carnality, hatred, politics and intrigue!

I got my dose of it. Al Carosso had a meeting every week. All the sycophants come up and sit around. I remember one man—Ben Chapman—very well. He would sit at the right hand of Al Carosso and he was just like the 'yes-man' for the mafia! He would always ask those leading questions for 'brownie points.'

I'm always sitting down clear at the other end, because I don't want any part of it, which makes them believe that I'm as bad as they really think I am, because I'm not participating in any of it. I think it's stupid and I don't need it. What do you need a meeting every week for? Except to come around and polish the shoes of Al Carosso! I wouldn't do that! Or all the other infamous things you can say about it.

Little did I realize that they were working this case up against me in Salt Lake City. When I came to Torrance and Santa Monica we had a combined Bible study at the Los Angeles Civic Center and I was giving the series: The Last Ten Days of Christ's Life. Dave Brady—who was printer—came up to me and said, 'You've got to write a book!' No, I can't write a book on that! He said, 'Yeah!' No, Mr. Meredith has taught the class for 20-years on the first year Bible, on the Gospels. He ought to write it, not me! Then I come down in a couple of weeks to give another Bible study and 'you've got to write a book on it.' No!

Then one day I'm gassing up car at transportation and guess who comes in to gas up his car? Carl Kilmner!

I have to add one thing here: After we came down here to Pasadena, we took a vacation in the first year that Carl came up there, and I asked Al Carosso if I could come up for Pentecost, and he said yes. Later he denied it and said no, so he accused me of being rebellious. But when I got to Salt Lake City and they had combined services, all the brethren came to me and told me what a terrible thing that was happening with Carl Kilmner and how he just rode roughshod on them and just comes in and presumes things. Just to show you what happened. I ran both areas, Boise and Salt Lake. When I left they gave him just Salt Lake. They gave Terry Swaggart Boise. I ran that whole thing on $395 expenses a month. Within four months after I was there, Carl Kilmner had it up to $895 just in Salt Lake City. That shows you the presumptuousness that he had toward everything.

Anyway, I was visiting with the brethren and, lo and behold, they have a stage where they were meeting, and Carl Kilmner has the stage setup where he has the local elders up there and the main deacons up there, and he says, 'Fred, come on up here and eat.' He asked me three times to do it. I refused to do it! I stayed down there and talked to the brethren. That became a great sin!

Anyway, here I am down in transportation gassing up my car and here comes Carl Kilmner. I said, 'Carl, what are you doing here?' He says, 'Haven't you heard of the meeting?' I said, 'What meeting?' He just let it go at that. I beat a path home and told Delores, and lo and behold, the phone rings. This is on a Friday. It's Al Carosso and he says, 'We have a meeting up here and I want you to come up.' I said, 'I'm not coming up unless Delores comes with me.' We both went there and we got ranted and raved at, and berated for everything under the sun. And especially about the Bret Noland thing, and the paper that I wrote.

They just excoriated us and we left shaking and trembling and in fear. Then the next Friday he called me to his office again. He said, 'Fred Coulter, you're living your life dangerously, and your ministry is in danger, and you're in deep trouble.' Whoa!

I walked home; we lived in So. Pasadena—and I was just ghost white, ashen gray and ghost white. I walk in the house and Delores says, 'What's the matter?' I told her, and we immediately began to fast and pray and called all my friends and asked them to fast and pray. I could see it was a terrible thing. They were coming on pretense to get me out of the ministry.

Al Carosso said, after all those things, 'Fred, I can't discuss it with you now, because I have to play racquetball.' That's when I walked home. I will call you Sunday. We fasted and prayed on Sabbath, 'O God, what is it? What's going on?' He didn't call Sunday or Monday morning, and I'm in the little office I had at home praying: 'O God, help me understand! What have I done? If I've done anything wrong, help me to know so I can repent and change. Please let me know what this is.'

Just like a voice came to me: Bret Noland! I said, 'That's it!' I reinstated a man who should never have been disfellowshipped. I told Delores and he didn't call all day Monday. We quit fasting after we got the answer. He didn't call Tuesday morning. Late Tuesday he called and said, 'Fred, I want you and Delores to meet me down at the Carriage Inn. We get in there and we're all nervous.

That kind of intimidation is to put you in fear! He drove the nail home when we sat down to eat. He said, 'Fred Coulter, I want to tell you one thing. Dr. Zimmerman told me one time and I'm telling you the same thing, that what I have to say to you may not be right, but you better not open your mouth in one word!'

I said to myself, 'Whoa, I'm not saying anything!' He ranted and raved about all these things, but there was nothing that they could do to get me out of the ministry. Guess what happened? I'm sure not because of this, but because of many other things leading up to it. This was on Tuesday, two days later on Thursday, Al Carosso resigned and went with Earnest Martin. Friday Rod Meredith was fired! There's an example of how God will deliver you.

That Sabbath I saw Dave Brady and I said, 'I'm writing the book!' That was my 'sanity project' when everything was going wrong in Pasadena. Remember this: Whenever anything goes wrong, get your mind on Christ!

They tried four times to kill the book! Dave Brady was so excited about it that he got me on KABC—Religion on the Line. That was from 9-12 and a call-in show. There's a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister whom I was for four weeks in a row, and Jewish rabbi. It didn't take long. Everybody was calling in and asking me questions, because I brought my Bible and sat down and opened it.

Ted Armstrong was just nervous. He had the radio department monitor that and take that if Fred Coulter said one word out of line he was going to summarily fired! I didn't know that until later.

Here I am on KABC—Religion on the Line. That presumptuous Fred Coulter! 'How dare he go on the radio without permission!' That's the way the hierarchy views it! It's like dealing with the hierarchy of the civil government.

Anyway, it turned out great! It was marvelous! It was quite an experience. I remember someone called up about the three days and three nights. I had just done that for A Harmony of the Gospels and I was just able to pour out the three days and three nights. A Jewish woman called up and she talk to Rabbi Franklin. She says, 'Rabbi Franklin, my 19-year-old grandson was killed in a car wreck and he was studying to be a doctor; he was the finest boy. Why did God allow it? Take away my grandson?'

He says, 'We all have to suffer.' You know, the typical Jewish thing. I said, 'Well, would you mind if answered something else for her?' No! I said, 'Even in your Scriptures, in Ezek. 37, I want to tell you that God says that your grandson is going to be resurrected, that you will see him, you will hold him, you will love him, you will kiss him, and God will restore him to you, and undo the evil of that tragedy.' She says, 'Rabbi Franklin, is that right?' What could he do, it's in Ezekiel.

When I was transferred from Pasadena—I'll just jump ahead, and after A Harmony of the Gospels was done—up to Monterey, I thought I had an idea for a radio program. I walked into a radio station and said, 'I've got an idea for a radio program—a call-in program—titled: Bible Answers to Your Questions. I showed the man A Harmony and he says, 'Can you start Sunday?' This was on Thursday. I cleared it with Norman Smith who was the regional director. He said, 'Sure, go ahead.' I had a talk-radio program for two-and a half years in Monterey that I did every Sunday night.

Anyway, back to Pasadena and back to the inner-wars of the hierarchy: After Ted Armstrong was put out the first time and then re-instated for his philandering and so forth. That was all going on. Herbert Armstrong reinstated Ted. The whole thing was just a big sham. What Ted had done, if anybody disqualified himself from the ministry, surely he had. Of course, there was the standard for the peons and the more equal standard for the 'mucky-mucks.' Of course, they didn't have to suffer from these things.

Another little aside: When we first came down from Salt Lake to Pasadena, Bill Evans was in charge of the furnishing for the ministers. They had certain houses that they were renting out, and so forth, from the highway department where they had a planned freeway. They had already condemned and bought up the houses, but then was stopped by lawsuits and they would rent them out. We moved into one. He was in charge of the furnishing and furniture, so he was giving me a tour of some of the evangelists' homes.

He brought me into Al Portune's home, which they were refurnishing. He said, 'See these drapes, $40,000 out of third tithe!' I didn't say a word, but had made up my mind right there—because they gave all the local pastors a checkbook to help the needy, and we had plenty of needy—every dollar I write they cannot spend. I was very generous in helping those who had need.

After I decided to do the book—I spent the time, and it took a year and a half to do it—a paraphrase of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; 1st, 2nd, 3rd editions. During that time there were four attempts to kill the book. The first one was by Gruler Friburgs, and he couldn't find any good reason why I couldn't do it.

The second one was by Lester Grabbe. He had me up in his office and we were about nine months away and I had just finished the paraphrased translation at that time. He says, 'Who do you think you are, Fred Coulter, writing this book. You're not a scholar. You know what Mr. Armstrong thinks about scholars—don't you?' I said, 'I'll tell you what, I'll make you a deal. This is going to be published in about nine months and I will give you the whole paraphrased translation I have.' I did. It cost $120 to copy all the pages and give it to him. Never heard back from him. I said if there's anything in there that's doctrinally incorrect, let me know, I'll be happy to change it.

Then the third time they tried to kill it—the fourth time was really not trying to kill it, but it was an acquiescence to it. After Rod Meredith was fired, David Antion was put in as Superintendent of the Ministry. His assistant was Les Stocker. Les was really a fine, fine man. I really liked him. But Ted Armstrong told David Antion to kill the book that Fred Coulter was doing.

So, Les got the job. He took me out to dinner at the Pepper Mill, had our niceties and our chat and everything and came back to the parking lot and he said, 'Ted Armstrong doesn't want you to do the book.' I said that I had a message for Ted Armstrong: I'm not sinning against God! I am not violating any contract, because I have signed no contract with the Church. It is going to be doctrinally correct.

And by this time I'm shouting because of all the things I've gone through. And I said 'You tell him that it's going to be published, and when it is, if I am disfellowshipped, he's going to have a hard time explaining to the brethren why I was disfellowshipped for writing a book that is true!'

I turned around and walked away! I was very sorry that that happened, because Les was really a nice man. The only problem was, he was doing his political duty.

Just before it was published—I borrowed $22,000 of my own to do it—we had a small ministerial conference. David Antion was there, and during a break I was out leaning against a door. Only one or two ministers would talk to me, because I was 'non-person' in the hierarchy of the politically accepted.

He sidled up to me and he says, 'Fred, are you going to publish the book?' I said, 'You bet!' He said, 'When is it coming out?' I said, 'About two months.' He said, 'We have one request.' I said, 'What's that?' Do not mention Worldwide Church of God or Ambassador College! I said, 'You've got a deal!'

That's why in the dust jacket there's nothing about the Church or Ambassador College. So, I published the book. I had 10,000 published. Very interesting. We had a small house, and 10,000 books on pallets, delivered by a freight truck—a long one—requires a lot of room. I was down talking to John Egbert who was in charge of the press at that time, and I was telling him about it. He said, 'Fred, come here.'

I used to work in supplies, and they have these steel stanchions, shelves and you can put pallets on there. He says, 'I tell you what, see that row on top over there.' Yeah! 'It's empty, isn't it? You have the truck deliver it here at 4:45 and I will get the forklift man and we will put them up there.'

So, sure enough, right under their nose, there they sat! When they came in I opened one pallet and took some boxes of books and autographed them and gave them to everybody in the press. They were all happy with them, and then I didn't want to charge the brethren a lot for it. It cost me something like $2.22 per book. It was done by R.R. Donnely in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where they make encyclopedias and everything.

By the way, during that time I also helped Bill Dankenbring start his Triumph Publishing. He ask me how to do it, who to contact, and that's how he got the book on the Ten Laws of Radiant Health.

At a Bible study one night someone said, 'Why don't we use Fred Coulter's Harmony in first-year Bible. You know how you write out a question and send it up. 'Well, Fred Coulter is not a scholar.' Boy, did he stir up a hornet's nest with that!

To make a long story short, there was a lot of back and forth and finally they acquiesced to sell it in the college bookstore. 'Why couldn't you sell it; you sell other books to people?'—finally got it in.

I think it was before I got it into the bookstore, I decided to give an autographed copy to Ted Armstrong. He had an assembly with the students and I knew he was in there and would come across from the auditorium to the Hall of Administration. I was waiting on the steps, and when I saw that he was coming out the door, I went back on the inside door and just waited for him. When he came in I said, 'Hi, Mr. Armstrong,' and reached out and shook his hand. I said, 'Here's an autographed copy of my book.' He said thank you very nervously and went on his way.

Needless to say, who was the next one to write a book? Ted Armstrong! The book was called The Real Jesus by Ted Armstrong.

Then Helen Stiles, Mr. Herbert Armstrong's secretary at that time, got a book and called me and said, 'You need to come and give a book to Mr. Armstrong.' I had already talked to him several times and he knew me, so she said to bring an autographed copy. I went to a photographer and had the etchings enlarged on white photographic paper and had them framed with a thin black frame with a nice glass front on them. I took those up with me.

The time for the appointment came and Mrs. Stiles let me in. Mr. Armstrong was very friendly. We sat and talked and reminisced a little bit about old times. I showed him the book, autographed it, gave it to him, and he said, 'Oh, this is wonderful! This is nice!' We talked a little bit about that and then I brought up one of the pictures that I had. I said, 'Mr. Armstrong, here's a personal gift for you.' These were the etchings of the temple.

He came unglued with excitement! He was so happy to get those. He picked up the phone and said, 'Mrs. Stiles, get in here right away.' She comes in and he says, 'I want you to call Bob Smith, the interior decorator, and I want these hung in the Auditorium. There the four etchings, that very day, were hung in the Auditorium in the little alcove between the two classrooms on the lower floor. I'll bet they're still there to this day.

I felt very much like Mordicai! When I left, I gave Mr. Armstrong a handshake and he gave be a big hug and I hugged him. He shook my hand again and said, 'You know, I wish more ministers would write books.' Thank you, God!

Then we had a ministerial conference in 1974, and there was a lot of trouble in the Church at that time. The black ministers were all up in arms, and at that conference they promised the black ministers that they would have a conference on black issues. One of the sessions would be on that. In my congregation in Torrance, 40% were black and 30% were black in Santa Monica; 30% were Hispanic and 40% were white.

We had no race problems where I was, because I don't think in racial terms. I think in terms of helping people who are in need, teach them what they need to know, give them advice that they need, because they're human beings like anybody else. Everybody needs help!

They failed to put it on the agenda, and that was because David Antion was relieved of being the Superintendent of Ministers and Wayne Cole was put in.

They hastily set one up and extended the ministerial conference a day. Boy, I tell you, when we walked in there, it was like walking into a NAACP meeting with George Bush doing the talking. Hostility you couldn't believe!

I said, 'O God, this is bad! I didn't know they had all these feelings and hatred.' It was spewing over like I had never heard before. I said, 'O God, deliver me out of this. How can I be delivered out of this mess?'

It came to me while I was sitting there listening, and I came up to Wayne Cole afterward. I didn't let him know a thing, but just said, 'Mr. Cole, I've been here now four years and it would be nice to share the smog with someone else. If it would be possible I would really like to come for a Sabbatical, and it wouldn't cost you anything, because I live here right now. You wouldn't have to move me or anything.'

He said, 'I'll call you in a couple of days.' He called and said that I could go on a Sabbatical. David Antion was teaching classes and Dr. Martin was teaching classes, and Art Macarrow was teaching classes, and that's when I had Dr. Dorothy start a Greek class. I paid for it, guaranteed it. We started out with ten, and in eight weeks we were down to three. In ten weeks we were down just to me. I ended up with virtually private tutoring in the Greek. I had the time to really learn it and understand it. I got the equivalent of two years of college Greek within the one year.

All during the time they said, 'You older pastors can choose where you want to go in the church areas that are open. So, we get into the second semester and knew that San Jose was coming open. I knew that they were going to bring in Wayne Dunlap. So, I was a senior pastor among all of those that were there. At that time Dennis Pyle was one of the assistants in Church Administration and he is responsible for placing us. Well, they slated me to go to Minnesota. David had these bronchial problems at that time, and caught pneumonia real quickly, so we said we couldn't go there. They wanted to send me to Texas. I said I would have a hard time being accepted in Texas. How about Wheeling, West Virginia? I thought to myself, 'You really want to bury me—don't you?'

I looked Dennis Pyle right in the eye and said, 'You guys are a bunch of hypocrites! Political hypocrites! You tell us one thing, and I know that San Jose is open, and you tell me I have to go here and there. You want to bury me in Wheeling, WV. I'm going to hold you to your word. Either I get San Jose or I'm not transferring. I'm going to hold you to your word.

He didn't like that. He was one of these young, smooth, get along/go along political climbers. Plus inbred into the family system like the Hammers. Anyway, I guess that kind of took them aback. What they did is get a hold of Rick Gipe in Monterey and said, 'Rick, we have a promotion for you. We have two churches here in So. California that we would like you to pastor. Monterey was 140 people.

So, going from almost 800 to 140. They came and said, 'Fred, we can't give you San Jose, but how is Monterey?' I figured, 'Thank You God! Yes, I will take it.' That's how we got to Monterey. That's how we came to Hollister. We sold our house and had $10,000 to put down on another house when we moved, and I would drive over from Hollister to Monterey. We bought 2-1/2 acres and the house had two bedrooms. I put an addition on it when we were there.

In two and a half years we sold it for $92,000; we had bought it for $47,000. So, we built a house in town. Right about the time we were ready to build the house in town the word came down, 'Don't visit the brethren unless they ask you.' Hey, I could visit all the heads of house twice a month hands down, with no problem. Now you're telling me not to visit until they ask.

So, that's when we built our house, and I did 50% hands on. I'd get up and be up there at seven in the morning and work on the house, go visit from 2-8 at night. Anyway, if you hear that Fred Coulter lives in a mansion, according to some people's description we do. It's 4200 sq. ft. We bought it ourselves; it's our own money. We didn't use any church money. It cost us $78,000 to build, including the land. We've got a 16,000 sq. ft. lot for $13,000. We kept it up and improved it through the years. Today it's probably worth about $800,000. But why sell it, because it would cost you that much to replace what you have, or even more.

Scriptural References:

  • John 5:24
  • Galatians 3:19, 140-19

Also Referenced:


  • The Seven General Epistles by Fred R. Coulter
  • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter

Sermon Series:

General Epistles

Epistles of Paul

Transcribed: 4-28-14