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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 09:02AM

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/09/jerry-falwell-liberty-university-loans-227914

It's Jerry Fallwell Jr. being written about here, and I couldn't help but note some comparisons with modern-day Mormon leaders. They include:

1) Fallwell being a ruthless businessman who will bend (and sometimes break) the law if it earns him income;

2) Mr. Fallwell's almost complete indifference to the religious followers of his father (check out the last few paragraphs of the article to see what I mean);

3) the attempt by Fallwell's church to build a shopping center near Liberty University (it certainly mirrors the LDS church's attempts to do the same in Salt Lake City); and

4) the role that Jerry's wife, Becky, has played in laying down the career path of her husband. I saw on a recent thread here (and I agree with it) that Mormon women, while being denied the priesthood, are very strong-willed in their own right and really push their husbands on making church decisions.

The picture being painted is that of a couple who use the beliefs and support of his late father's followers for personal gain. The family's apparent lack of empathy or sympathy for anybody else but themselves was a real turn-off for me, and I find myself wondering late at night why people are attracted to people such as the Fallwells and Joseph Smith who in no way exemplified the lifestyles they wanted their followers to lead.

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Posted by: Wally Prince ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 10:29AM

As such, it's going to be operated as a family business. The article is likely putting an exaggeratedly negative spin on everything. To be somewhat fairer to the Falwells than the article is, it's worth noting that a lot of the things described with negative spin, such as Junior's hiring of his son Trey, are really standard operating procedure for private, family-run businesses. (YouTube's president is the sister-in-law of Google's Sergei Brin. YouTube, a private company, is a subsidiary of Google, a publicly traded company. Nepotism is literally everywhere.)

About halfway through the article, we see this one short sentence, which appears to be the article's only attempt to provide some semblance of balance to the hit piece.

"As the namesake of the school’s founder, Falwell has never had his position seriously challenged. Liberty is thriving financially. Its enrollment has surged past 110,000 students—the vast majority of whom are enrolled online—and across its campus in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the hum of backhoes and bulldozers is omnipresent as construction crews work to keep pace with the university’s swelling ambitions."

So the positive take-away and implication of this is that Junior isn't running the business into the ground and there are many satisfied "customers" and stakeholders whom, for some reason, the article's author had no interest in interviewing, treating us instead to the standard collection of the nameless and unidentifiable "sources" that constitute the backbone of hit-piece journalism.

The parallels with the Mormon church are clear. Both are run as religious-themed businesses. But from what I can tell the Mormon church operations are more pretentious, less inclusive, less transparent and less accountable than even the Falwell's family religious business.

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Posted by: Backseater ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 12:16PM

It's interesting to contrast the Falwells with the Armstrongs of Ambassador College and the "Worldwide Church of God." Both were pretty much family enterprises, although Garner Ted Armstrong fell from grace through sinful earthly pleasures, so the WCG became more like an extended family.
Then, on his deathbed, Herbert Armstrong handed the WCG baton to Joseph Tkatch, Sr. who eventually passed it to his son, Joseph Tkatch, Jr. so it became more of a real family operation again. The leadership lived in luxury, supported by the tithe-payers who mostly lived in poverty; and there was very little accountability, financial or otherwise.
Of course, the WCG eventually disintegrated into dozens of splinter groups, and is pretty obscure today; while the Falwells seem to have had more success--so far.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 03:21PM

The WorldWide Church of God actually broke up into various splinter groups. Several of them abandoned "Armstrongism" (Angl-Saxon Hebrews & other weird doctrines), and became basically Evangelical.

Students at Liberty Baptist are now taking action on their administration and calling for an investigation. This, from the Associated Press

https://apnews.com/2af299bb899d4d6e8a65dd20d18a99a8

Can you imagine this happening at BYU?

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