In a rare interview in a magazine published by church dissidents, Fischer is quoted as calling Herbert Armstrong, the church president, "an egomaniac," and his son, Garner Ted Armstrong "obnoxious." In the interview Fischer says, "I have to discuss some of the things Herbert has done to me—how he screwed up my mind—just to let people know that this is for real, because if anybody tried to live by the letter of the law, it was me. I truly tried to be obedient. The more I tried, the more crazy I became. The pressure he puts on you! You can't do this, you can't do that, you can't tell your friends this, you can't see unconverted people, you can't eat this, you can't eat that, on the Sabbath you have to rest, you have to listen to the radio program every day, you have to study the correspondence course, and then you're supposed to pray.
"I can remember times coming home from a chess club at four in the morning when I was half asleep and half dead and forcing myself to pray an hour and study an hour. You know, I was half out of my mind—stoned almost.
"And every time you try to think a sane thought you think it's of the devil. They keep pushing that thing. They keep pushing about this tremendous struggle that goes on between God and the devil. And the devil keeps injecting his thoughts into your mind. They really got you coming and going. I don't think they'll ever come up with a better one than this. They'll never come up with a better con than this. They are playing with people's lives like toys."
STANDARD OF SUCCESS
For all the haut ton and purse money of $200,000, the Washington, D.C. International at Laurel still hasn't made it as a really big race. At least not by the standards of the security detail. The International attracts only five or 10 pickpockets. A big race, such as the Preakness at Pimlico, lures around 80.
Last year Promoter Mike O'Hara dissolved his International Track Association when he was unable to sign any of the top competitors from the Montreal Olympics. It seems that remaining amateur was more profitable than competing for the $500 first-place money O'Hara offered.
Now a new group is out to put pro track back in business with promises of piles of cash for contestants in the "world's richest track meet" scheduled for next year, site and date not yet determined. Backed mostly by oil money from the United Arab Emirates, the co-promoters—the Dubai Sports Corporation of Dubai and Falconry Sports Enterprises, Inc. of Chicago—have a letter from Barclays Bank International Limited in Dubai certifying that it is holding $1.6 million in prize money for the meet. The top six finishers in each of the 14 men's and women's events are to get prize money, with $75,000 going to the winners, while the victor in the "Golden Mile" will rake in $300,000.
Skeptical? Well, W. Leonard Evans Jr., the chairman of the meet and of Falconry Sports Enterprises, and his PR man, Andrew T. Hatcher, former White House press aide, are traveling through the U.S. drumming up the meet. "We are not attempting to sign amateur athletes," says Hatcher. "We feel that the lure of the money is enough to make the athletes come to us."
For one, John Walker, the world-record holder in the mile and the 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500, is tempted, although he said this was the first he had heard of it. "If they got a full list of starters, I would have to think very seriously about it," Walker says. "I could retire on $300,000."
RIGHTS AND A NEW WRONG