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This is Rev. Hensley's interpretation and remembrances of what took place in the last 35 years. He is going to ad-lib this message from memory, and try to tell you the best he can about the church.

Rev. Hensley is the founder and the President of the Universal Life Church. He incorporated it in 1962. We then worked under the corporation for nearly 30 years.

About 1985 Robert Embeau, who is Vice President, and I began to realize that there was something very wrong. We were being hit from lawyers from every direction. I decided that we had to do something. I decided to call a board meeting and talk about what was hurting us, and what to do about it. I told the board members that the corporation is what's hurting us.

Many church groups were getting into trouble with the IRS and many other things. People were suing the corporation.

At the board meeting I suggested to the board that we drop the incorporation. But, that is a whole lot of work and problems. I asked the board to organize a new ULC called the "Universal Life Church" So, we did. But, we didn't use the unincorporated for a while.

Then the IRS made a big statement to the news media. They said that they had pulled the Universal Life Church Inc. tax exempt status.


I will try to tell I you from my memory about some of the things that the corporation has went through. But, before I tell you some of these negative things, I would like to tell you something positive to think about.

We have taken the heart, the life, the soul, the spirit, and the mind out of the corporation and put it in the unincorporated. Now, the unincorporated is doing wonderful and has no problems.

You will ask 'What is the corporation doing?'

It is still dealing with the IRS The IRS wants about 3.5 million dollars. The corporation is in bankruptcy court. It does look like we will settle it in the near future. We hope so. They have all property tied up, except our local church building and things.

Now I would like to begin to tell you about the Universal Life Church, which I have told you about many times.

My first troubles started shortly after the church was incorporated. A newspaper in San Francisco ran a story about a boy getting a minister license to get out of the army. The news began to break. I started ordaining people by the hundreds and then thousands.

At this time, the IRS went down and took about $10,000 out of the church's bank account. The Attorney General also got in on it. They put out a warrant for my arrest and threw me in jail for giving a Doctor of Divinity.

Then we started our lawsuit. You will see in this book, judge Battins decision, where we won the case. At first we lost the case in the state court system, but, we won with victory in the federal courts. We also beat the IRS They had to pay us back the $10,000 plus interest.

The Education Department of the State of California had a policeman in San Jose get a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Universal Life Church. When they got the degree they turned around and sued me, and put me in jail. We fought them all through the courts and won in victory.

All the news sources began running the stories.

All the television and radio stations began announcing it. Colleges from all across the country were calling me, to speak for them.

But, then the IRS began to come down on many of the churches. The Church of Harmony, which was one of our groups, started ordaining people by the thousands.

I began to get on some of the big talk shows.

The Snyder Show out of Los Angeles was one of the first ones. KGO talk show out of San Francisco was another big one. Also, nearly everyone in one whole county of New York became ministers of Universal Life Church. it went on until about 1969 or 1970. We had a big convention in Idaho with an attendance of over 125,000 people. A lot of news media from all over the country covered the meeting. We had 42 bands playing.

The music never stopped for 3 days. I can't tell you all the details. I don't have the time or space, but, it was a great one!

The National Enquirer did a front page story on us. 60 Minutes had us on their talk show. And we were also on the Donahue Show. On and on it went.

I went to Arizona and incorporated the church and filed it there also. I came back to Modesto. A news reporter called me and told me they had a warrant out for my arrest. I jumped in my car and went to Arizona, to the District Attorney's office. I asked him why he had a warrant out on me. He didn't tell me, he called the Sheriff to come and get me. He came and put me in jail. They wanted a $5,000 bond to get me out. I had $10,000across the street in the bank, but, they wouldn't let me get it. They made me pay the Bail bondsman $500 to get out on bail.

Then they set a court date. When I went back to court, they said that I had filed a false statement about the church. In court, one of the Secretaries for the state said that I did not file a false statement, that it was true.

But before the trial, they offered to turn me loose if I signed a paper stating that I would not sue them. But, I didn't sign the paper and I didn't sue them.

I should have!

The Grand jury in the state of Washington wanted to sue one of our preachers. Robert Embeau and I were subpoenaed and went to the Grand Jury.. They called Robert in first. He thought they were going to put us in jail. Then I went in before the jury. This two-bit lawyer asked me if I would give him all the papers on this preacher. I told him he couldn't have them. He told me he would have me held contempt of court. I told him that I didn't give a damn what he did. He made me very mad. I said to him "if you think that I'm going to come down here with a bunch of Baptist, Catholics, and Pentecostals to let them judge my church, you are crazy!" The whole Grand Jury wanted in on this act.

The lawyer said to me "I'll take you up to the judge's office and we will let him decide what to do.' I told him 0. K. We went up to the judge's off ice. The judge asked the lawyer what he wanted and the lawyer told him that he wanted all the papers on this preacher. I was willing to give him the financial records only, nothing else.

The Judge said to me "can I see the papers?" I gave him the papers. The Judge went through them and separated them into two stacks. He said to the lawyer 'you can have these.' Then he gave me back my papers, which I didn't want the lawyer to have.

He dismissed me in court and wanted nothing more to do with me. I never heard from him again.

A state Senator in North Carolina got a ministers license from the Universal Life Church and married a couple. A few years later, the woman separated and got married again, without getting a divorce from the first husband. The state began to say that she was never really married in the first place, that the Senator wasn't a real minister. So, they sued the church for a million dollars.

We went to North Carolina and fought the case through the courts. At that time N. Carolina passed a new law. A law stating that all the people who had been married by U.L.C. were legally married. North Carolina won the case against us at first, but, we appealed it through the Federal Courts and won!

In Modesto they sued us and said we weren't a church, and that we should pay taxes. They said we were too liberal. They sent a tax man over to investigate us. When we went to court, the man testified and said that he believed we were a church, like other churches. We have meetings, a church building, pews, and an organ, like all other churches. The city still said that we weren't a real church because we didn't believe like they did. We appealed this case also. We won in the Federal Courts.

Mississippi had also taken us on and said we weren't a church. We went to court and won the case. on and on we have had these sort of cases.

Arizona took us on. A boy in prison had married a couple and the county claimed that it wasn't a legal marriage. In the courtroom, the sheriff testified that he had a Secretary write to U.L.C. in Modesto and get a Ministers license for his dog. I told the judge that he had only sent in a name and that he didn't state it was for a dog. I told the judge this. The judge chewed him out and said that the joke was on the sheriff.

Lewis Ashmore wanted to make a movie about Rev. Hensley and the Universal Life Church. He raised the money and made the movie. You see, people had donated money and took it off of their income taxes. If the movie was to be a big success, then he would give all these people their money back. One man sued the church corporation for $75,000. We went to court, fought them and won the case in the court. We didn't have to pay the $75,000.

We had a case in Denver. We fought through the courts a long time, but, won this case also. I went to Chicago to a trial once, which we also won. On and on it goes.

I was in two big cases in Florida. One of them was in Miami. We thought we had it won. A lawyer came to take a deposition and I thought the woman with him was on our side, but, she was working for the preacher that was suing us. Our lawyer at that time thought so too, and did nothing about it.

They got judgment against me and it cost us about $200,000. Of course, there are hundreds more small lawsuits, where we have been in court all over the country.

This is the big one with the IRS About 5 or 6 years ago the IRS said they were going to pull our tax-exempt status. They said the reason was that my intent was to ordain ministers so they could get a tax write-off, which isn't true.

The case got into the Federal Courts. They filed a lot of motions against us. I talked to our lawyer about it. He said we would appeal it in Washington. Our lawyer at the time didn't do enough work on the case, and we lost it. That is what we were fighting then.

We are still fighting them in the Federal Courts.

There is many other cases I would like to tell you about but, I don't have the time or space in this book. If you have become a minister in the last 5 or 6 years, then you would not be concerned with this because you are under the unincorporated.

Here are some of the things that have happened in the last few years. The corporation has continued in the courts until now. We don't know what will be the final end of the corporation.

We have given you this information about what has happened, because we don't want to deceive anyone. I would like to quote you a verse of scripture from the Bible, which is found in Ephesians. Paul said - we wrestle against principalities and powers.

We have fought the state through-out the country. We will not yield to their dictations. So, we fought the system. We feel that the people have the first rights, the church organization has the second, and the state has the third rights. The church and the state were created by men and women for men and women. Therefore, we have allowed the church and the state to dictate our freedom. We are no longer willing to let the state dictate our lives.



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