Statement of Decision – The Judgment on The God-Men

The following is an accurate rendering of Judge Leon Seyranian’s Statement of Decision in the Lee v. Duddy case concerning The God-Men by Neil Duddy and the SCP.
Hyperlinks have been added to link to the appropriate supporting documentation from deposition testimony, trial testimony, or trial exhibits.
In some cases Judge Seyranian’s statement identifies a witness’s testimony supporting a particular point in the decision without citing the page number.
The links for these items have been added in the column headed “Other Trial Testimony”.
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The God-Men

Statement of Decision

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Other Trial Testimony

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        IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

                IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA


WITNESS LEE, et al.,    )    No. 540 585-9
                        )
     Plaintiffs,        )    STATEMENT OF DECISION
                        )
v.                      )
                        )
NEIL T. DUDDY, et al.,  )
                        )
     Defendants.        )
________________________)


     This matter came on regularly for trial and was heard as an

uncontested matter as to the defendant Neil T. Duddy, because of

his failure to appear, and was heard as a default matter as to

the defendant Schwengeler-Verlag for its failure to file a

responsive pleading to the plaintiffs' First Amended and First

Supplemental Complaint.  Although the trial was uncontested, the

Court feels that the plaintiffs have presented competent and

reliable evidence, and the Court was very impressed with the

stature and quality of the witnesses presented.  Moreover, the

Court was provided with a complete opportunity to question and

                               -1-

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cross examine the witnesses in order to ascertain the truth as

the Court should do in a case involving First Amendment rights,

regardless of whether the defendants appear or not.  There was

nothing that the Court wanted to see or to ask that was not

provided.  Furthermore, the evidence on behalf of the plaintiffs

was substantiated by independent evidence from qualified expert

witnesses.  Accordingly, the Court finds that the manuscript by

Neil. T. Duddy entitled The God-Men (Exhibit 1) disseminated

(published) in the United States, the book Die Sonderlehre des

Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde published by Schwengeler-

Verlag (Exhibit 3) disseminated (published) in Europe, and the

book The God-Men, An Inquiry Into Witness Lee and the Local

Church by Neil T. Duddy and the SCP published by Inter-Varsity

Press (Exhibit 5) disseminated (published) in the United States

and England, are in all major respects false, defamatory and

unprivileged, and, therefore, libelous. (California Civil Code

§45)

     In addition, the Court further finds:

     1.   All of the defendants' publications create the image

that Witness Lee and William Freeman are leaders of a cult and

that the Church in Anaheim is a cult.  All of the express and

implied statements to that effect are false and defamatory.

     A "cult" today is generally understood to involve a

centralized authority that manipulates social influences in order

to gain control over people for devious ends.  (Testimony of Dr.

H. Newton Malony, Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at

                               -2-























Malony, 8-9,
 27-28

Other Trial Testimony

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Fuller Theological Seminary.)  The epitome of the cult leader and

cult is that of Jim Jones and the Peoples' Temple.  (Testimony of

Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Director of the Institute for the Study of

American Religions, author of the Encyclopedia of American

Religions, and a well qualified expert on the subject of "new

religions.", pages 20, 39 and 92 of the trial transcript of May

28, 1985, hereafter "Tr.")

     The depositions of defendant Neil Duddy, (pages 738-40, 782)

and James Sire (Editor of Inter-Varsity Press and member of Board

of Reference of Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP)) (Vol.5, p.

354-5) indicate that the authors and publishers knew that their

publications could convey such an impression and readers would

reasonably so understand the publications. This was confirmed by

testimony of the expert witnesses.

     The finding that these statements are false and defamatory

as to the plaintiffs is supported by the testimony of the expert

witnesses Dr. J. Gordon Melton; Dr. (Father) John Saliba, S.J.,

of the University of Detroit, an expert in the study of new

religions and "anti-cult" organizations; the Reverend Dr. Eugene

Van Ness Goetchius, an Episcopal priest and a Professor of

Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School affiliated with Harvard

University; Dr. Rodney Stark, Professor of Sociology at the

University of Washington; and Dr. H. Newton Malony. These

experts unanimously testified that plaintiff Witness Lee was a

Christian teacher and preacher and the Church in Anaheim (and all

Local Churches) is an evangelical Christian body and that

                               -3-


Also:
Melton, 20-21
Saliba, 113
Goetchius,
 144-145, 148
Stark, 170











Melton, 35-36
Saliba,
 127-128


Goetchius,
 149, 151-152

Stark, 170

Malony, 28

Malony, 53
Melton, 15, 18
Goetchius,
 141-142
Saliba, 117
Stark, 169-170

Other Trial Testimony

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plaintiff William T. Freeman is likewise a Christian teacher and

preacher.

     It is the finding of the Court that defendants made these

statements with knowledge of their falsity and deliberately to

create the image of the plaintiffs as such a cult. This finding

is supported by the testimony of the expert witnesses, as well as

Duddy's testimony that the advertisement correlating Witness Lee

with Jim Jones in Die Sonderlehre des Witness Lee und Seiner

Ortsgemeinde was unfair. (Duddy, pp 784-785)

     2.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that plaintiffs either engage in or advocate

deceptive recruiting practices in order to bring people into the

Local Church are false and defamatory.

     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that Witness Lee's

teaching could cause members to lie, be deceitful and engage in

deceptive proselytizing practices. (Duddy, pp. 433-435, 530-531,

754, 2155, 2157). Readers would reasonably so understand the

publications.

     The finding of falsity of these statements is supported by

the testimony of present members. It is also supported by Dr.

Malony (an expert on conversion processes) together with his

survey of current and former members of the Local Church (Ex.

24), who unanimously confirmed that there was no such deception,

     All witnesses established that there were no secret beliefs

as expressed and implied in the publications and all such

statements are therefore, also false and defamatory.

                               -4-




Goetchius, 141
Melton, 45-46,
 76
Saliba, 118,
 126
Stark, 171-172:













Malony, 12,
 41-42
Gruhler, 79


Melton, 22

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     The principal "case history" of such conduct reported in the

publications was that of "Cia" or "Rebecca" who in real life was

Cindy Meinecke.

     Mrs. Meinecke testified at trial as to the falsity of the

general tenor of the story as well as the falsity of virtually

all the "facts" regarding the alleged incident. The falsity was

also confirmed by Son Rockstroh, the alleged proselyter.

     It is the finding of this Court that the defendants made the

foregoing statements or implications with the knowledge that they

were false or with a reckless disregard of the truth or falsity

thereof. Defendant Duddy admitted that he had not checked with

any of the principal persons actually involved in the alleged

"case history" (Duddy deposition (hereafter "Duddy") pp 549, 957,

1049) and did not verify information from sources that were

available to him. (Duddy, pp 990-1, 994-5, 1016, 963) Moreover,

Brooks Alexander (Co-founder of SCP, cc-author of all the

publications (Duddy, pp 248, 1169 and Alexander, p 79)) and James

Sire testified that they saw no documentation of any of the

statements regarding Cindy or Rebecca. (Alexander deposition

(hereafter "Alexander"), p. 1604; Sire deposition (hereafter

"Sire"), Vol. 6, p. 484) Alexander admitted that although he came

to doubt Duddy's competence to do factual investigation

(Alexander, pp 1605-6; 1610-11) and was concerned as to the

validity of Duddy's informants, (Alexander, pp 1610-1611) he did

no checking of Duddy's work for factual accuracy. (Alexander, pp

1424; 1527) Dr. Stark confirmed that Duddy also did not do any

                               -5-


Meinecke, 167,
 178, 181-185,
 197-198, 200


Rockstroh,
 413-422






Also:
Meinecke, 166

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checking on the Cindy incident. As Dr. Stark stated, "This is

the worst kind of rumor mongering." (Tr. pp 171-172)

     Dr. Stark (co-author of Lofland-Stark Model) testified that

Duddy did not accurately present his model of religious

conversions that Duddy used to explain the Local Churches'

alleged recruitment practices. Dr. Stark stated that Duddy

"skips everything important in the model and comes out with some

flat assertions that are completely, almost diabolically, the

reverse of what the model says". (Tr., p 162) Dr. Stark stated

that assuming Duddy had actually read Stark's presentation of the

model, Stark would have to conclude that Duddy's

misrepresentation was "malicious."  (Tr., p. 163) Dr. Malony

also criticized Duddy's misuse of Stark's conversion model and

stated that there was no validity to defendants' statements that

the Local Churches' recruitment practices were somehow evil and

qualitatively different from those of other Christian

organizations.

     3.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that Witness Lee rules the Local Churches with an

"iron rod" or "with a firm hand" are false and defamatory.

     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that Witness Lee was

a virtual dictator over too many details of Local Church life

(Duddy, pp. 2004-5) and readers would reasonably so understand

the publications.

     The finding of falsity is based on testimony of the

plaintiffs and their witnesses, including Dr. Melton, Dr. Saliba,

                               -6-










Malony, 13-15














Gruhler, 96-98
Lee, 241,
 245-250, 271
Melton, 38-39
Saliba, 128

Other Trial Testimony

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and Dr. Malony together with his survey of current and former

members (Exhibit 24). Dr. Melton testified, based on his own

investigation, that Lee's position in the Local Church was that

of a preacher and teacher rather than exercising "administrative

power in a kingly way" as the publications had asserted and that

no such hierarchy existed. (Tr. 39) Dr. Malony's survey results

(Ex. 24) were consistent with Dr. Melton's testimony.

     It is the finding of the Court that the defendants made the

foregoing statements with the knowledge that they were false or

with a reckless disregard of the truth or falsity.

     There was evidence that the authors and the publishers

distorted statements made by Witness Lee in order to create an

impression that Witness Lee asserts and imposes complete and

unchallengeable control over church affairs and church members'

lives. Jack Buckley (an SCP author of God-Men I whose work Duddy

and SCP carried over into the publications sued upon) admitted

that quotations from Witness Lee's work were taken out of

context, misused and created a false and misleading

representation of Witness Lee's teaching in that regard. (Buckley

deposition (hereafter "Buckley"), pp 728-9, 741-2, 766 and 767)

Dr. J. Gordon Melton concluded that given Duddy's education and

claims of having read Witness Lee's writings, the consistent

distortions of quotations indicate deliberate misrepresentations.

(Tr. pp 40-46) Dr. Saliba's testimony also confirmed Duddy's

consistent misrepresentation of Witness Lee's writings in this

and other areas. (Tr. pp 117-119, 135)

                               -7-
Malony, 51-53

Other Trial Testimony

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     The fact of defendants' willful distortion is further

substantiated by the draft of the original manuscript which

stated:

          "Reliable sources tell us that Lee
          himself does not rule with an iron rod."
          (Exhibit 62)

The language in that draft following that statement was

consistent with the concept that Witness Lee does not exercise

such control. Nevertheless, that statement and its context was

subsequently changed to assert in the publications exactly the

opposite meaning.

     4.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that plaintiffs or any of the Local Churches engage

in mental manipulation, or any of the various forms of what is

commonly referred to as "brainwashing" or "thought reform" are

false and defamatory. The statements concerning the practice of

pray-reading and calling on the name of the Lord as being mental

manipulation techniques causing, among other things, blurred

mental acuity is also false.

     It was Duddy's intention to convey to the readers that "soft

thought reform" was utilized by Witness Lee and the Local Church

which would result in members sacrificing their individual and

personal worth and withdraw from society. (Duddy, pp. 1092-1093)

and readers would reasonably so understand the publications.

     The finding of falsity is supported by the testimony of Dr.

Malony and his survey (Ex. 24), Dr. Goetchius, Dr. Saliba, and

other plaintiffs' witnesses including Cindy Meinecke and Local

                               -8-






















Malony, 12,
 42-44, 51-52,
 64-66
Goetchius, 142,
 150
Saliba, 130-131
Meinecke, 188
Also:
Melton 25-26,
 91

Other Trial Testimony

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Church members Dr. Steven Johnson, Christopher Leu, Dr. Herbert

Zimmer, Dr. George Chua and Mrs. Jeanie Kong. Dr. Malony

testified that pray-reading, far from being a manipulative or

eastern mystical technique, was a helpful means to approach the

Bible. Dr. Melton testified that the practices are not

"technological and pagan", they do involve the use of mental

faculties, they do not alter consciousness. (Tr. p. 25). Dr.

Melton found no evidence of loss of "mental acuity." (Tr. p. 91)

     It is the finding of this Court that the statements were

made by the defendants knowing they were false or with a reckless

disregard of the truth or falsity.

     Brooks Alexander, the author of the appendix which purported

to describe these manipulative techniques, testified that he

could not name one person who told him they had blurred mental

acuity from said alleged practices, nor had he asked any member

regarding it, nor did he know for a fact that there was any

elimination of consciously directed thought from pray-reading or

calling on the name of the Lord. (Alexander, pp 1281-2, 1319-20,

1848)

     5. The express and implied statements in the defendants'

publications that plaintiffs and Local Church leaders control

every aspect of church members' lives, including discouraging

friendships, prohibiting dating, arranging marriages, controlling

the use of finances, dictating where members should live or work

are all false and defamatory.

                               -9-
Johnson, 83-86
Leu, 102
Kong, 462-463

Other Trial Testimony

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     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that arranged

marriages occur in the Local Church (Duddy, pp 2253-2254) and

readers would reasonably so understand the publications. Dr.

Saliba testified that Duddy attempted to convey to the readers

that Witness Lee rules "like a despot and the elders are more or

less like little despots", "they control everything and you are

just merely submissive to them." (Tr. p. 126)

     The finding of falsity is supported by the testimony of all

the witnesses, especially Dr. Melton and Dr. Malony, whose

survey (Ex. 24) negated the allegations of control of members'

lives.

     It is the finding of this Court that the statements were

made by the defendants knowing they were false or with a reckless

disregard of the truth or falsity.

     Neil Duddy's testimony indicated that he had never seen

anything in the teachings discouraging friendships, prohibiting

dating, nor any records of arranged marriages nor could he recall

anybody that had such records. (Duddy, pp 1145-1150, 2256-7)

Alexander testified there was no confirmation of such arranged

marriages. (Alexander, pp 1586-7) Sire has no recollection of

any substantiation of the charge of arranged marriages (Sire,

Vol. 5, pp 352-358) The testimony of William Freeman and Dr.

Steven Johnson, as well as other evidence introduced, established

that such charges were false. (Exhibit 70)

     6.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that Witness Lee and the Local Church elders isolate

                              -10-







Malony, 28,
 34, 35, 40,
 50
Melton, 36












Freeman,
 361-362
Johnson, 78-79

Other Trial Testimony

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members from society and forbid or discourage members from

watching television, reading newspapers, going to movie theaters,

and participating in sports, is false and defamatory.

     Duddy testified that he intended to depict the Local

Churches as quarantining members from relatives who were outside

of the Local Church (Duddy, pp 1644-5) and causing people to

withdraw and be isolated from society (Duddy, pp 1092-1093) and

readers would reasonably so understand the publications.

     The finding of falsity is based upon the testimony of

plaintiffs' witnesses including Dr. Melton (Tr. p 95), Dr.

Malony, his survey (Ex. 24), Dr.Goetchius (Tr. pp 150-152),

Cindy Meinecke, Dr. Herbert Zimmer, Dr. Steven Johnson, and

Christopher Leu. See also Duddy's deposition at pages 1130-1131,

1138-1140 and 1150, wherein he acknowledged he has no evidence of

any such conduct.

     It is the finding of this Court that the statements were

made knowing they were false or with a reckless disregard of the

truth or falsity thereof, in that Duddy testified he had no

evidence of any such conduct. (Duddy, pp 1130-1131, 1138-1140,

1150)

     7.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that Local Church elders have created an

unchallengeable power structure that makes it impossible for

church members to maturely exercise their faith and bear

responsibility for their own lives are false and defamatory.

                              -11-









Malony, 37-39,
 59, 65
Meinecke, 201,
 208
Johnson, 78,
 80-82, 90-91
Leu, 100-102
Also:
Gruhler,
 100-102
Lee, 257-263
Saliba, 119-121

Other Trial Testimony

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     Duddy intended by those statements to convey to readers that

Witness Lee and "those who cooperate with him" are social

manipulators (Duddy, p. 818) who determine God's will for members

and their families without even being consulted (Duddy, p. 2252).

Alexander testified that the book implies that the church elders

are involved in dominance and control over members. (Alexander

p. 1571) Sire testified that the statements indicate removal of

members to a totalitarian and structured environment. (Sire, Vol.

6, p. 637) Readers would reasonably so understand the

publications.

     The finding that these statements are false is supported by

the testimony of Cindy Meinecke, and current members who

testified at trial, as well as Dr. Saliba and Dr. Malony's survey

of current and former members (Ex. 24). Moreover, the testimony

of Witness Lee, William Freeman, and Anaheim elder Eugene Gruhler

indicated that the elders do not constitute an unchallengeable

power structure. Rather, members have the freedom to disagree

with elders and with Witness Lee, and that members are encouraged

to seek God's will for themselves and to bear responsibility for

their lives. Dr. Goetchius testified of his observation as to

the maturity and well-developed character generally of the Local

Church members and their families with whom he had personally

interacted. (Tr. pp 149-152)

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing they were false or with a reckless disregard of the truth

or falsity thereof.

                              -12-










Johnson, 88-89,
 91
Saliba, 126-127


Lee, 255-256,
 280-282
Freeman,
 381-382, 384
Gruhler, 98-100

Other Trial Testimony

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     Duddy could not recall the name of one actual Local Church

member that told Duddy that he did not make his own decisions.

(Duddy, p. 1150) Moreover, Duddy stated under oath that it was

not his testimony that members do not make their own decisions in

matters of importance in their personal lives. Duddy also did

not know if members made such decisions without consulting the

elders. (Duddy, p. 1148) Jack Buckley testified that before SCP

made the statement that Local Church members "prefer submission"

over the "exercise of personal judgment and individual

decision," SCP should have made some investigation to support the

statement. Buckley, however, was not aware of any such

investigation by SCP. (Buckley, p. 771) Buckley further

testified that the limit of his work in investigating the

government by the elders in the Local Church was to read

materials given to him by SCP and to talk with SCP members.

(Buckley, p. 721) Buckley admitted that The God-Men quoted

Witness Lee's statement, concerning ministers of the Holy Spirit,

out of context and misused it to convey the impression that the

elders have authoritative power over members. (Buckley, p. 766-

767) Dr. Saliba confirmed the misuse of this quote by Witness

Lee. (Tr. pp 126-127)

     8.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that Witness Lee and the other plaintiffs are

teaching and advocating conduct that would allow or encourage

church members to engage in immoral behavior are false and

defamatory.

                              -13-

Other Trial Testimony

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     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that Witness Lee's

teaching instructed one to listen to intuition and feelings, but

in no case consider the Scripture; that one can engage in sexual

assault, including rape, be a liar and deceitful and still regard

himself as a good Christian; that you abide by your inner

feelings, regardless of what the Scripture says; that unlike the

Christian community, Witness Lee's teachings enhance immorality.

(Duddy, pp 531, 566, 568-569, 673). Readers would reasonably so

understand the publications.

     All witnesses testified as to the falsity of all such

statements or implications and established that all the writings

of Witness Lee taught the Biblically high standard of morality.

Dr. Maloney's survey (Ex. 24) also supported the finding of

falsity, as does the evidence of the author's and publishers'

deliberate distortion of statements by Witness Lee.

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing they were false or with a reckless disregard of the truth

or falsity thereof.

     Dr. Melton testified that Duddy conveyed to the readers

exactly the opposite of what Witness Lee teaches regarding

morality (Tr. p. 59) and that for Duddy to convey such an

impression was either deliberate or a reckless disregard of what

Witness Lee said (Tr. p. 75-76); the authority of the Scripture

in Witness Lee's teachings was misrepresented by Duddy to create

the idea that Witness Lee encourages immorality, whereas, Witness

                              -14-








Goetchius,
 142, 144
Gruhler, 94-96
Lee, 256-257
Malony, 41
Melton, 58-59
Rockstroh, 425
Saliba,
 119-121, 123

Other Trial Testimony

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Lee repeatedly upholds the Bible and its moral commandments. (Tr.

pp 57-58)

     Dr. Goetchius testified that Duddy's use of Witness Lee's

writings was a deliberate, careful misrepresentation of Witness

Lee's teachings, including the teachings on morality. (Tr. p.

141, 143)

     Dr. Saliba testified the quotes were taken out of context,

"I get the impression they were twisted around to mean what he

wanted them to mean." (Tr. pp 125-126)

     The defendants' own testimony established that the

statements were made knowing them to be false, or with a reckless

disregard of the truth or falsity thereof.

     Duddy admitted that Witness Lee teaches that people should

follow the Ten Commandments and live a life higher than the Ten

Commandments but that he never told the readers that Witness Lee

taught this. (Duddy, pp. 406-7, 411-412)

     Buckley testified that:

          ". . . God Men I as written has painted
          a false picture as far as witness Lee's
          teachings on morality."

          (Buckley, p. 843)

    David Adeney, a member of the Board of Reference of SCP and

former missionary to China testified that he has never seen any

teachings in Witness Lee's writings that would allow one to be a

liar, deceitful or engage in rape and still regard himself as a

good Christian. (Adeney, p. 183)

                              -15-

Other Trial Testimony

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     9.   The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that the plaintiffs or church members that follow

plaintiffs' teachings are "moral dwarfs," which the authors

define as persons whose conduct falls below the standard of the

law, are false and defamatory.

     Duddy again intended to convey to the readers that Witness

Lee's teachings enhance immorality. (Duddy, p. 623) Readers

would reasonably so understand the publications.

     The finding that these statements are false is supported by

the testimony of Jack Buckley (Buckley, p. 796), the testimony of

plaintiffs' expert witnesses and Cindy Meinecke.

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing they were false or with a reckless disregard of the truth

or falsity.

     Dr. Melton testified that Duddy not only distorted Witness

Lee's teachings in characterizing them as creating "moral

pygmyism", but also distorted Benjamin Warfield's intent in

creating the term. Dr. Melton testified that there are numerous

writings of Witness Lee that are directly contrary to what Duddy

conveyed to the readers. (Tr. pp. 69-73)

     Dr. Goetchius testified that a reasonable interpretation of

Duddy's charge of "moral pygmyism" would be that of someone who

is short on morals or lacking in moral perception and

understanding. He further testified that there was no

justification for such a charge against Witness Lee's teachings

or those who follow it and to the contrary, Witness Lee's

                              -16-









Goetchius,
 143
Meinecke, 202

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teachings require a morality higher than the ethical code of the

law (Tr., pp. 143-144)

     Buckley testified that he had not found anything in his

reading of Witness Lee that would justify calling people who

believe in his teachings moral dwarfs. (Buckley, p. 796)

     10.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that plaintiffs have publicly humiliated members and

that some Anaheim church members and an alleged Northern

California leader were hospitalized for psychiatric care because

of plaintiffs' acts are false and defamatory.

     Duddy testified that he intended to convey to the readers

that Witness Lee periodically publicly humiliates members.

(Duddy, p. 1159) Sire testified that he recognized these

allegations as being potentially libelous. (Sire, Vol. 4, p. 95-

97, Vol. 6 520-521), Ex. 68) Readers would reasonably so

understand the publications.

     Plaintiffs' evidence established that there was no such

conduct by Witness Lee or any of the plaintiffs and that no such

hospitalizations ever occurred.

     Dr. Melton testified he found no evidence of humiliation or

hospitalization. (Tr. p. 92) Dr. Malony's survey (Ex. 24)

confirmed, even from ex-members, that there was no such

humiliation.

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing they were false or with a reckless disregard of the truth

or falsity thereof.

                              -17-



















Also:
Malony, 41, 62
Freeman, 385
Gruhler, 80,
 82

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     Duddy never confirmed one hospitalization and could not name

one person allegedly hospitalized. He had no documentation

(Duddy pp 1166-68), nor did he feel he should check. Duddy also

asked the alleged Northern California church leader for an

affidavit supporting such an allegation but was unable to obtain

one. (Duddy, p. 1165) Duddy admitted that he has never been

advised by any medical or psychological expert that any member of

a local church has suffered due to Lee's theology or alleged

thought reform. (Duddy, p. 1089)

     Albrecht, an SCP director, testified that it was Duddy's

obligation to verify the allegations and that he should have

tried to speak to the people allegedly hospitalized. (Albrecht,

pp. 117-118) It was Duddy's primary responsibility to find out

who allegedly went to the hospital. (Albrecht, pp 119-120)

     Squires, a director of SCP and the person in charge of

defending the present lawsuit, was not aware of any evidence that

a Northern California church leader was hospitalized because or

Witness Lee's conduct. (Squires, p. 723) He could not remember

any response to questionnaires he recently sent out concerning

church members needing psychiatric care. (Squires, p. 760) He

was not aware of any investigation done to determine the accuracy

of the psychological or sociological areas of the book.

(Squires, pp. 724-725)

     Sire, of Inter-Varsity Press, never received any

information from Duddy concerning the alleged hospitalization of

                               -18-

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the Northern California church leader nor had he ever seen any

records dealing with the matter. (Sire, Vol. 4, pp. 97-98)

     11.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that William Freeman, or any elder in the church in

Anaheim, deceived Fuller Seminary is false and defamatory.

Furthermore, the express and implied statements in said

publications that "this alleged lack of forthrightness in self-

representation is a quality which the Local Church displays" is

also false and defamatory.

     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that William Freeman

had not been forthright in his representation to Fuller and that

he was concealing certain information, also that Local Church

members are people who conceal, which he represented was an

accurate description of their behavior and represented the

general character and quality of the Local Church. (Duddy, pp

430-432, 433-435). Readers would reasonably so understand the

publications.

     The finding of falsity is based upon testimony of Dr. Cecil

Melvin Robeck, Jr., Director of Academic Services of Fuller

Seminary, formerly Director of Admissions, and the plaintiff

William Freeman, together with the exhibits presented, (Ex. 14,

15, 16, 17, 18, and 19) which established conclusively that there

was no concealment, deception or lack of forthrightness nor had

any member of the Fuller faculty made any such statement (Tr. pp

81-89) and which also proved that such an allegation was a

fabrication by the defendants. Furthermore, the foregoing

                              -19-



















Freeman,
 316-319,
 330-338

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evidence, together with the testimony of the expert witnesses

established that all allegations of concealment, deception or

lack of forthrightness on the part of the Local Church, its

leaders or members are also false.

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing them to be false or with a reckless disregard of the

truth or falsity thereof.

     Sire confirmed that the Fuller Seminary admissions officials

stated that Freeman was as forthright as possible and there was

no thought of misrepresentation. (Ex. 47) Based upon that

evidence Sire pulled the Freeman-Fuller incident from The God-

Men, published by Inter-Varsity Press.

     12.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that plaintiffs use fear tactics or threats of

reprisal in order to keep members loyal to the Local Church and

prevent them from leaving are false and defamatory.

     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that the Local

Church harassed and persecuted former Local Church members.

(Duddy, pp. 1774, 2235). Readers would reasonably so understand

the publications.

     The finding of falsity is based upon the testimony of

plaintiffs' witnesses, including present members, Cindy Meinecke

and Dr. Melton who established that there were no fear tactics or

threats. Dr. Melton's testimony was that members were not being

held against their will but were in the Church voluntarily, their

                              -20-




















Gruhler, 89-92
Meinecke,
 202-203
Melton, 96

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participation was not coerced but rather because they enjoyed

being in the Local Church. (Tr. p. 96-97)

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing them to be false or with a reckless disregard of the

truth or falsity thereof.

     13.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that "most people who have left the Local Church

find it necessary to relocate" in order to avoid Local Church

persecution and that any such persecution occurred (including

vandalizing of ex-members' homes) are all false and defamatory.

     Duddy intended to convey to the readers that most people who

leave the Local Church find it necessary to relocate to avoid

persecution. (Duddy, pp. 896-898)

     The finding of falsity is based upon the testimony of Eugene

Gruhler which established that former members generally do not

move away. Those that do move away do not do so because of fear

of persecution as alleged. His testimony also established that

some former members actually moved back into the area of Local

Churches. Mr. Gruhler also investigated the allegations of

vandalism and found that they were not only false but that the

persons allegedly reporting the same denied such reports.

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were made

knowing them to be false or with a reckless disregard of the

truth or falsity thereof.

                              -21-













Gruhler, 89-92

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     Duddy admitted that no one in SCP, including himself had

ever checked with anyone who allegedly had a home vandalized.

(Duddy, p. 920)

     14.  The express and implied statements in defendants'

publications that Witness Lee, or any of the plaintiffs, were

guilty of financial mismanagement including any alleged misuse of

$235,000 intended for a Stuttgart meeting hall are false and

defamatory.

     It was Duddy's intention to convey to the readers a possible

violation of law in the misuse of funds and also to demonstrate

financial mismanagement. (Duddy, pp. 822-823, 839, 840, 849)

Readers would reasonably so understand the publications.

     The finding of falsity is based upon testimony and

documentary evidence presented at the trial which established

that the funds for a Stuttgart meeting hall were originally

forwarded to the Church in Stuttgart for the purpose represented.

(Ex. 6 and 7) The funds were returned to the United States only

after the proposed transaction in Stuttgart failed. The money

was to be held in the United States, earning a higher rate of

interest than in Germany, until the Church in Stuttgart found a

suitable meeting hall. The Church in Stuttgart continued its

efforts to obtain a meeting hall, (Ex. 31) which was known by all

defendants prior to the publication of either Die Sonderlehre des

Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde or The God-Men published by

Inter-Varsity Press. (Ex. 46) (Mr. Sire of Inter-Varsity Press

also had knowledge of this before publication of The God-Men)

                              -22-

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(Ex. 46)) The Church in Stuttgart found a suitable meeting hall

and received the money with interest, upon its request, prior to

the publication of Die Sonderlehre des Witness Lee Und Seiner

Ortsgemeinde. Although that purchase was unable to be completed,

the money thereafter remained in Stuttgart with the Church in

Stuttgart and was ultimately used for the purchase of the

Church's present meeting hall.

     Duddy acknowledged that such facts do not indicate

mismanagement of money or deception. (Duddy pp. 835-837)

     It is the finding of the Court that the statements were

published knowing them to be false or with a reckless disregard

of the truth or falsity thereof.

     Albrecht testified it was irresponsible journalism to

publish allegations of mismanagement of money without having some

documentation. (Albrecht, p. 242) No such documentation was ever

produced. (Sire, Vol. 5, pp 301-3)

     Duddy conceded he never contacted anyone in the Church in

Stuttgart or the Church in Anaheim regarding the transaction.

(Duddy, pp. 826-7, 840-1, 875) His sole source of alleged

information was Max Rapoport, whom he knew was in conflict with

the Local Church. Duddy had been warned by SCP to be careful of

ex-members' statements and to check with other sources to confirm

the accuracy of such statements. (Duddy, pp. 824-6) Duddy did

not. Duddy had obvious reasons to doubt the veracity and

accuracy of any report by Rapoport. (St. Amant v. Thompson (1968)

390 U.S. 727, 732, 20 L.Ed.2d 262, 267-268)

                              -23-


















See:
Gruhler, 83-85

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     Duddy was also unable to persuade Rapoport to verify the

alleged information by an affidavit. (Duddy, p. 865, Ex. 43)

     Sire recognized the lack of documentation as a major problem

of this accusation and noted the allegation as being "libel".

(Ex. 42 and 41) Sire did not recall seeing any documentation nor

asking for any. (Sire, Vol. 5, p. 301-303)

     15.  All of the defendants intended to convey to the readers

all of the false statements set forth above or recklessly

disregarded the false and defamatory meanings that would be

conveyed to the readers.

     This is supported by the testimony of all experts as well as

the deposition testimony of Duddy, Alexander, Sire and Buckiey

offered by plaintiffs.

     16. All of the false statements set forth above were

defamatory in that the same convey to the readers that the

plaintiffs Witness Lee and William Freeman are leaders of a

"cult," and the Church in Anaheim is such a "cult". The false

statements also convey to the readers that plaintiffs are engaged

in a program of deceptive recruiting practices that prey upon

weak and vulnerable people in order to bring them under the

plaintiffs' total subjugation; that plaintiffs control every area

of Local Church members' lives through the use of fear and other

various techniques of mental manipulation and social isolation.

The statements also convey to the readers that plaintiffs are

teaching principles that allow, encourage, or condone immoral

conduct; also, that plaintiffs are exploiting these people

                              -24-

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financially for plaintiffs' own gain and further that those who

leave are persecuted and threatened with disaster.

     This is supported by the testimony of all experts and the

presentation of the cover of The God-Men, by the American

Broadcasting Company on television for a program on mind-

manipulating cults, which cover contains the name of the

plaintiff, Witness Lee, together with a caricature of him.

     17. The plaintiff Witness Lee has been exposed to hatred,

contempt, ridicule, and obloquy by reason of the false and

defamatory statements, and in addition his calling as a minister

of the Bible for over 50 years has been severely and irreparably

harmed. His reputation has also been severely and irreparably

damaged. (Scott v. Times Mirror, (1919) 181 Cal. 345, 365) In

addition, the plaintiff Witness Lee has suffered severe emotional

distress from these charges (Douglas v. Janis, (1974) 43

Cal.App.3d 931, 940 and Waite v. San Fernando Publishing Co.,

(1918) 178 Cal. 303, 306) in knowing that his family and those

who follow his teachings have likewise been exposed to hatred,

contempt, ridicule, and obloquy, have had family relations

destroyed and in some instances have lost their jobs, all because

of following his teachings. Plaintiff Witness Lee has suffered

further emotional distress because of the harm done to his wife,

children and grandchildren from the severe and irreparable damage

to Witness Lee's reputation.

     This is supported by the testimony of all expert witnesses,

present members and the ABC-TV programs. (Ex. 84a and b)

                              -25-

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     18.  That the sum of Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00) is

a reasonable sum to award the plaintiff Witness Lee for the

damages sustained by him by reason of all of the libelous

publications involved in this action as against the defendants

Neil Duddy and Schwengeler-Verlag.

     19. The plaintiff, the Church in Anaheim has been exposed

to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy by reason of the false

and defamatory statements, and has been severely and irreparably

harmed (Vegod Corp. v. American Broadcasting Co., Inc., (1979) 25

Cal.3d 763, 770) in its function and position as a Christian

church, and in addition has suffered the loss of members and

potential members and the benefits therefrom, as well as having

its members and their families exposed to hatred, contempt

ridicule, and obloquy.

     20.  That the sum of Three Million Dollars ($3,000,000.00)

is a reasonable sum to award the plaintiff the Church in Anaheim

for the damages sustained by it by reason of all of these

libelous publications as against the defendants Neil Duddy and

Schwengeler-Verlag.

     21.  The plaintiff William Freeman has been exposed to

hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy by reason of the false

and defamatory statements and, in addition, his calling as a

minister of the Bible for over 20 years has been severely and

irreparably harmed. His reputation has been severely and

irreparably damaged. In addition, the plaintiff William Freeman

has suffered severe emotional distress from these charges and in

                              -26-

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knowing that his family and those who follow his teachings have

likewise been exposed to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy.

Further, the plaintiff William Freeman has suffered damages

because he was the only Church in Anaheim elder named in these

publications, the only church leader, other than Witness Lee,

against whom all the accusations were being made, and because he

was the only Local Church elder who attended Fuller Seminary

during the time period mentioned in these publications.

Plaintiff, William Freeman, has suffered further emotional

distress because of the harm done to his wife, children and

grandchildren from the severe and irreparable damage done to

William Freeman's reputation.

     22.  That the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars

($500,000.00) is a reasonable sum to award the plaintiff William

Freeman for the damages sustained by reason of all of these

libelous publications as against the defendants Neil Duddy and

Schwengeler-Verlag.

     23.  The Court finds that none of the plaintiffs are public

figures. (Gertz v. Welch, (1974) 418 U.S. 345, 41 L.Ed.2d 808,

94 S.Ct. 2997; Hutchinson v. Proxmire, (1979) 443 U.S. 111, 135,

61 L.Ed.2d 411, 431, 91 S.Ct. 2675) Therefore, under the

principles of Gertz v. Welch, the plaintiffs need not prove

"actual malice" (knowing falsity or reckless disregard of the

truth or falsity) in order to recover compensatory damages.

Nevertheless, under the principles of Gertz v. Welch, supra., in

order to recover punitive damages, the plaintiffs must establish

                              -27-

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"actual malice." The plaintiffs indicated at the outset of this

trial and hearing that they intended to establish "actual malice"

and the Court is satisfied that they have done so. The evidence

indicated that in almost all instances where the defendants

purported to quote from Witness Lee's statements they did in fact

distort and take out of context such statements by Witness Lee in

order to arrive at a predetermined result or conclusion. This

is supported by the testimony of the plaintiffs and the testimony

of Dr. Melton, (Tr., pp 16, 18, 23, 46, 48-49), Dr. Saliba, (Tr.,

pp 109, 114, 117-118, 135), Dr. Stark, (Tr., pp 162-163, 171-

174), and Dr. Goetchius (Tr. pp 141-142). In addition, the

evidence has established that the defendants also distorted the

sociological model of religious conversion by Lofland and Stark

in order to attempt to fabricate a theory of deceptive

recruitment by Local Church leaders and members allegedly based

upon the plaintiff Witness Lee's teachings. The testimony of Dr.

Rodney Stark, one of the model's authors, convinces the Court

that the distortion was deliberate and intentional. (Tr., pp

162-163, 169, 171-172) (St. Amant v. Thompson (1968) 390 U.S.

727, 732, 20 L.Ed.2d 262, 267-8, 88 S.Ct. 1323) Furthermore, the

deposition testimony of Duddy, Alexander, Buckley and Sire

confirm that the defamatory statements were published in some

instances knowing they were false and in other instances with a

reckless disregard of the truth or falsity thereof.

     24.  The Court also finds that the defendants' conduct in

publishing the books and manuscript referred to above was

                              -28-

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intended to vex, annoy, and injure the plaintiffs and to destroy

the ministries of all three plaintiffs.

     This is supported by evidence that SCP, Duddy's employer,

and co-author, had a long standing animosity against the Local

Church dating back to the early 1970s and the loss of some of its

members. This was confirmed by James Miller and Jack Sparks, co-

founder of SCP. (Sparks, p. 16) Dr. Melton testified that SCP

came out second best in these confrontations. (Tr. pp. 48-49) In

addition, documentary and deposition testimony disclosed that

Inter-Varsity perceived itself to be in a competitive

relationship with the Local Churches on college campuses in

preaching the Gospel and because of the loss of its members to

the Local Churches (Sire, Vol. 4, pp. 47-48, 58-59; Vol. 5, p.

228; Ex. 85 (Former Ex. 381.240) and therefore, solicited the aid

of Duddy and SCP in expanding SCP's prior publication, The God-

Men I, so as to add the so-called "sociological" section which

contained most of the defamatory statements referred to above

(Ex. 85 (Former Ex. 383.4)). In responding to their

solicitation, Duddy presented to Inter-Varsity a "sales pitch"

that the book "may contribute to the Local Churches' demise."

(Ex. 38)

     Testimony and documentary evidence also establishes that the

defendant Schwengeler-Verlag had a history of being in publishing

competition with the Church in Stuttgart concerning the works of

Watchman Nee and also solicited the aid of Duddy and SCP to

attempt to discredit the Church. Duddy knowingly and wilfully

                               -29-




Miller, 441




See:
Miller,
 450-452












See:
So, 160-161

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joined in these endeavors to harm, if not destroy the ministries

of the plaintiffs (as well as the Churches throughout the world)

(Ex. 38, 40). In addition, Schwengeler-Verlag inserted in Die

Sonderlehre des Witness Lee und Seiner Ortsgemeinde an

advertisement for a book on Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple and

correlated it with the plaintiffs by the language "Here is

another book that reveals how seducers operate." This simple

juxtaposition was "calculated" to remind someone "of the picture

on Time Magazine of all these people lying around dead." (Tr. p.

147 - Dr. Goetchius)

     From all of the testimony it is clear that the traditional

use of the word "Cult" has changed so that we now have, since the

middle 1970's, a new meaning to the word. It is now understood

to mean "brainwashing of members" (Tr. p. 28), deceitful

recruiting (Tr. p. 28), a mischievous group that is evil and

ready to control you and take your money (Tr. p. 113), harmful to

their members (Tr. p. 20), undermining American values (Tr. p.

20). Cults are claimed to be just about every bad thing in the

book these days, and with the pervasive images of Manson and Jim

Jones hanging over us, any group that is called a Cult is

immediately associated with those two people.

     As stated by Dr. Melton, "to call someone a Cult is the

1970's equivalent of labeling them a Pinko (Communist) in the

days of McCarthyism". (Tr. p. 49) Once the accusation is made,

that stigma remains even if proven to be totally wrong.

                              -30-

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     The Court agrees with the statement of the witness Dr.

Rodney Stark when he stated:

          "If all that the  defendants  were to do
          was write a book even though  real nasty
          to Witness Lee's theology,  we  wouldn't
          be here  today  because  that is fair in
          our American Society.   You can do that.
          But  the   second   you   start  talking
          . . .  naming    names    and    events,
          discrediting events, sexual hanky-panky,
          financial hanky-panky, or indeed getting
          to a certain  point  of  quoting a man's
          theological   statements   diametrically
          opposed to what the man is saying,  then
          I  think  we  have  . . .   We  are  not
          talking about  religion,  we are talking
          about truth, we are talking about libel,
          we are talking  about  fairness,  we are
          talking about a  whole  constellation of
          things." (Tr. pp. 171-172)

     The damage to the plaintiffs cannot be erased by this

action, but the following awards of punitive damages will

vindicate the plaintiffs and deter others similarly situated from

issuing further deliberate untruths about the plaintiffs. (Secord

v. Schlachter, 58 Fed.Supp. 56-58 (1983)).

     Therefore, the Court awards punitive damages in favor of the

plaintiffs and against the defendants as follows:

     For the plaintiff Witness Lee as against Neil T. Duddy

One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).

     For the plaintiff Witness Lee as against Schwengeler-Verlag

One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).

     For the plaintiff Church in Anaheim as against Neil T. Duddy

Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00).

                              -31-

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     For the plaintiff Church in Anaheim as against Schwengeler-

Verlag Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00).

     For the plaintiff William T. Freeman as against Neil T.

Duddy Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00).

     For the plaintiff William T. Freeman as against Schwengeler-

Verlag Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00).
                              -32-


End of Document