Rodney Lain and Mark Flynn
Rodney O. Lain - 2002.06.19
This article was published on The Painful Truth website, "a collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Armstrongism and The Worldwide Church of God." This was written after Rodney moved from Georgia to Minnesota.
Postcard from Hitler
From: "William Ferguson" ferguson@
Sent: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 10:01:55 -0700
Subject: Postcard from Hitler
Below is a response to an email I sent out last night to a man who was in large part responsible for Rodney's depression episodes. I had planned to keep this private from the Mac community, but maybe you all need to know "WHY" of his depression. Since the bastard cared enough to appear at this time of his death, I will care enough to tell you the rest of the story. I was going to let the guilty off the hook.
There are two Mark's below, Mark Tabladillo (a nice guy, friend of Rodney's and devout Christian) and Mark Flynn, a former pastor responsible for screwing with Rodney's mind in the worst breach of trust imaginable. He did it in the name of religion. He did it in the name of God.
My reaction that this ASSHOLE would appear at this time in my email box ignited my fury. This was the equivalent of Adolph Hitler sending Christmas cards from Auschwitz and saying "Wish you Were Here!". And, he's an AOL user. Probably uses a PC too! I won't apologize for my language, and if some consider it "unchristian" then I am not sure I am Christian in the traditional sense anyway. I am probably more a Buddhist/Christian hybrid than anything. I believe in God, I think the world would be a lot better place if people lived like Jesus said, but I don't subscribe to any concept of "path to salvation" other than helping your fellow man out when he's down. I believe we see God in the kind acts of humans. I believe in only one commandment, Love Human Beings. There's no such thing as worshipping God in the abstract.
Anyway, here's my response, followed by Mark Tabladillo's more refined, thoughtful, and "Christian" rebuke of the same man. Tabladillo's reply will probably go farther towards changing the man, at least we can hope. My reply came from the heart. I masked the guilty email address.
As you see I beat around the bush before getting to the point. Mark is far more diplomatic than me, and like Rodney, another precious human being.
----- Original Message -----
From: William Ferguson
To: FlynnMark@, Ekklesia@, Thept@
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 1:57 AM
Subject: SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE
On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 21:02:40 EDT, FlynnMark@ wrote:
>Hi Bill. Rodney and Irma were in the WCG congregation in
>when I was pastor there; I'd like to convey my condolences to Irma.
>Does she have an address or email? Thank you.
HOW DARE YOU ASK SUCH A THING! ONLY A WCG MINISTER WOULD HAVE THE BALLS TO DO WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW. GO AWAY! YOU ARE NOT WANTED IN OUR HOUR OF GRIEF. YOU CULT PROGRAMMED MONSTER! OF ALL THE FUCKING PEOPLE TO SHOW UP NOW!!! WHERE WERE YOU IN 1995? PROBABLY TOO BUSY PERSECUTING EARL WILLIAMS WITH YOUR ATLANTA BUDDIES NO DOUBT.
LET ME PAINT IT IN WORDS YOU UNDERSTAND.....WHAT YOU ARE ASKING IS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE UCG PERFORMING THE EULOGY FOR JOE TKACH SR. YOU WILL NOT PISS ON RODNEY'S GRAVE!
YOU SIR, are in large part RESPONSIBLE for his death. BECAUSE OF YOU, I spent two years of my life walking him out of depression, getting him to seek medical help to stabilize him. YOU SIR, betrayed his faith and confidence. YOU BROKE RODNEY. AND AFTER YOU DID IT, you claimed to be supporting the CHURCH! YOU SIR ARE A CONSUMING WOLF WHO EATS HIS FLOCK.
If there is such a thing as having blood on ones head in heaven, YOU SIR HAVE HIS. But I suspect the God I know forgives EVEN YOU. But your still gonna have to answer for what you did!!!
THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY I WILL GIVE YOU IRMA'S ADDRESS IN THIS TIME OF GRIEF! GO AWAY TO THE HOLE YOU CRAWLED OUT FROM! PUT THE ROCK BACK OVER YOUR IGNORANT HEAD AND LEAVE THE LAIN FAMILY ALONE!
On Rodney Lain - A Call to Repentance
William Ferguson, ferguson@ on 18/06/2002
From: "Mark Tabladillo" <marktab@
Sent: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:07:41 -0500
Subject: on Rodney Lain -a call to Repentance
Bill Ferguson decided to share with me his recent response to you, and like him, given the history you have had with Rodney Lain, I don't feel it appropriate to share with you the details about Irma's whereabouts, and I feel it would be extremely offensive to the Lain family to have you contact them or any of their close friends.
You and I probably have not spoken since you were in the Atlanta NW congregation, where we were on several teams to recast vision. I used that opportunity to observe you closely, for I did not want to see Macon repeated in Atlanta.
I want to take this sad opportunity to give you a comparatively longer, more measured response which will give you some context as to why we are arriving at this conclusion.
I had the chance yesterday to dig out old email and found I had several folders of personal email from Rodney, who first wrote to me on 10 December 1995. As you remember from that time, UCG-AIA had just launched, but even inside WCG, the loyalties were not clear, and some pastors left even after that time for Sabbatariancentered congregations.
In December 1995, Rodney shared with me his passion over racial reconciliation issues. Being of a Latino/Filipino background, I had some stories of my own, and WCG looks somewhat different through the eyes of a cultural or ethnic minority.
In 1996, Rodney shared with at least a few dozen people the specific problems he was having with you in Macon, and also shared with us some specific stories about the types of personal and intimate information you were sharing with each other. If you're asking yourself in your mind, do they really know all about that, the answer is yes. And if you're asking did Rodney really share all that with dozens of people, and the answer is yes.
You sinned in Macon, you know it and we know it too, and now our response is part of the consequences you have to bear. Now, I sin every day, but the difference is whether what I present as being in the name of Jesus Christ, or as an authority of the church. Sin done by a pastor to a member of the congregation is biblically considered to be very serious in nature.
I still have my original copy of Rodney's resignation letter sent to you in July 1996. But of course, what we know is not stated in that letter.
Beyond the Internet, I both met Rodney in person and spoke with him several times on the phone. Bill knows Rodney better, and their families were often frequent guests in each other's homes, and Bill knows more personal information than I do.
After all this connection, Rodney was disfellowshipped from WCG in 1997. I think I made my doctrinal views fairly well known at that time, and you can read it again: http://www.marktab.org/lain3.html
Overall, this disfellowshipping topic has been a sore spot for me, and historically I do not see the testimony of WCG disfellowshipping as being anything close to representing Jesus Christ. As you know, the cultural teaching of WCG was to "come out from among her, and be ye separate", and the Sabbath was given as a marker to keep WCG members separate from the world. Interactions and communication inside the church were encouraged, and evangelism to the pre -Christian world was not. In an ironic sense, imposed separation was a form of God's blessing which actually kept more people from entering in WCG and Ambassador College than actually did. The downside of separation is too dark for me to explore at this sad time.
Personally, I am completely secure in my salvation in Jesus Christ, and I have therefore ignored the various disfellowshipping mandates from WCG since 1995, and have subsequently built an influential Internet ministry based on that assumption. MarkTab Ministries is the first Internet-based ministry associate of Willow Creek Association.
Today, I have friends in various Sabbatarian groups, and while they are clear that I don't support legalism, I have been able through the Holy Spirit to affect their belief system in many ways. Many times, it's a slow process because the complex mythology surrounding Armstrongism is very deep. I recently had a friend break free from Flurry and that was a great joy. Yesterday, I was helping people see that David Antion does not always know what he is talking about.
I share Bill's observation that we are both not sure about you, either that you personally have come to authentic faith in Jesus Christ (which is why he is calling you a wolf and not a sheep), or that you have repented of the specific spiritual abuse problems you have caused for the Lains and other people.
When presenting the gospel message, I will tell people that it's not enough to believe, you have to receive the gift of salvation. In the case of grace, receiving the gift requires repentance. In other words, repentance is the act of receiving grace.
My recommendation is that you spend some time in prayer and fasting with your wife examining again the specific impact you both have had over many people. Because I have been ministering to many spiritual abuse victims, I am concerned that there are other Rodney Lains out there, other people who have been negatively impacted by you in the past, and who may similarly be going through other depressive episodes. Right now, I recommend that you do what you can to avert another tragedy. The way out is through confession, repentance and reconciliation.
Further, I recommend that you not send anyone connected with the Lains any further correspondence or email. Simply put, Bill and I have to assume the shepherding and ministerial role of protecting the Lains and people around them from you specifically, because we strongly believe you are likely to inflict further harm than good.
Based on Bill's response, I seriously don't believe Bill wants to see any other messages from you.
However, I personally would hear what you have to say, only on the single condition that you are wanting to demonstrate repentance, or that you are seriously asking for advice on how to achieve repentance.
So, do NOT hit "reply to all" to this email because Bill is getting a copy of this email too. I am sharing this email with Bill because for years he has been a loyal accountability partner, and if he feels that any of my communication to you is out of line, he will let me know.
By contrast, I know neither of us is interested in a justification or explanation for why you did this or that -we really don't care, really. And I want to repeat what I just said, don't send me an explanation or story about what happened in the past. For a third time, I don't want any stories. If you have a story, share it with your wife or other close friends.
It's sad we're having to train you the hard way, but that's the way it goes.
Be very careful in who you talk to, what you say, and how you say it, and overall examine your own motives for why you want to talk at all.
Mark Tabladillo Ph.D.
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