Ponder Scripture Newsletter
By Larry and June Acheson
Tribute to Worley
By Larry Acheson
here wasn’t a big crowd at his memorial service and the only reports of his passing that I could find were in local media outlets. The editors of Sacred Name Movement publications that we ran across didn’t deem the news of his passing worthy of mention. I found his name on one Sacred Name web site’s “prayer list” newsletter, where prayer was requested for relief from the difficulty he was having with swallowing. Following his passing, his name was simply removed from the newsletter prayer list. In spite of the lack of attention given to his passing, we definitely lost a warrior in 2016, a warrior who left an indelible mark on what is known as the Sacred Name Movement. Worley Maynard. I have never met anyone as passionate for our Heavenly Father’s name as Worley Maynard and I don’t see any replacement candidates on the horizon. June and I met Worley at a feast in Romney, TX in either 1995 or 1996. We soon found that once you allow yourself to engage Worley in a conversation, the subject of our Creator’s name will be broached. When Worley found that we were in 100% agreement with the premise that if we love our Heavenly Father, we WILL want to call on Him by the name He gave to Himself, a bond was formed, a bond that endured in spite of some rather intense disagreements we had over other issues.
I’m not sure exactly why, but I eventually learned that Worley was banned from attending the sacred festivals, not only at the Romney assembly, but also as far away as Missouri and maybe even farther away. If I had to guess, I would say Worley was banned from various feast venues because he tended to be dogmatic about everything, including some beliefs that I personally disagree with. Worley and I certainly had our share of doctrinal spats. One huge area of disagreement had to do with whether or not we should kill a lamb (or goat) at Passover time. When I first learned that Worley supported killing a Passover lamb, I was flabbergasted. But after hearing Worley’s explanation, I decided to cautiously allow his reasoning to marinate before reaching a conclusion one way or the other. That decision-making process included attending a few Passover celebrations with Worley where a “kid”goat was killed. We observed while an innocent goat had its life taken, then roasted over a fire. Truly, I had to agree that if you witness the slaughter of a creature so innocent, how could you possibly want to take the life of any man? I have long valued life and was raised by loving parents to cause harm to no one, but after witnessing the life being taken from such an innocent creature, I couldn’t help but shed tears while ever more firmly clinging to my deep-seated conviction.
June and I eventually weighed the pros and cons of killing a Passover lamb and we decided that it’s actually a violation of Torah to do such a thing, certainly outside of Jerusalem. Worley was extremely agitated with our decision; in fact, I think it broke his heart. Nevertheless, Worley eventually circled back to the one topic that united us – our Heavenly Father’s name.
Back in 1997, June and I authored a study titled “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt Me.” It is a study designed to show that if we love our Heavenly Father and want to honor Him, we should want to call upon Him with the name that He gave to Himself. We live in a world that is increasingly populated with individuals who don’t believe in an intelligent creator; but even among those who do believe in a creator, the majority for some reason prefers to call upon Him with the name of an idol instead of the name He gave to Himself. This is incredible, but true, and we are prepared to prove it to anyone who is willing to pursue this topic. Our Creator introduced Himself to us as “Yahweh,” but most professing believers out there insist on calling Him anything but that name. We wouldn’t dare do such a thing to our favorite movie star, athlete or politician, but it seems that people are more concerned about what people may think than what the creator of the universe may think. At least that’s my perspective and after 30 years of calling on the name Yahweh, I have yet to hear a cohesive or otherwise reasonable explanation for not calling on that name.
Anyway, Worley read our study, loved it, and immediately requested copies. I mailed him around 30 or so, and he soon wanted more. Eventually, Worley began making his own copies, which he distributed to as many people as he could, especially at feast sites. As I mentioned earlier, Worley wasn’t really welcome at any Sacred Name Movement feast sites, so he took that rejection as an opportunity to visit non-Sacred Name Movement feast sites and distribute our studies there. I don’t have to tell you that Worley did not come close to achieving “Man of the Year” award for his presence at any non-Sacred Name Movement feasts. I figured that out when I eventually realized that in spite of Worley’s ongoing reports of how many booklets he had distributed, we never heard from anyone EXCEPT some guy from the state of Washington who simply affixed a label with our address on it to one of our studies and mailed it back to us with the words “THIS BOOK IS OFF IN MANY WAYS” scribbled across the front. The sender also wrote many other unflattering comments, but he offered no evidence supporting his conclusions, nor did he supply the answer to our ongoing question, “Can you think of a better name to call upon than the name the Creator gave to Himself?”
Those who knew Worley also knew that he had a rather large ego, but he had an equally large heart. Whenever he came to visit us, he didn’t pack many clothes, but he did pack a vast array of produce that he procured at his favorite store, Whole Foods. You might say that Worley was a health nut. He launched a private crusade against genetically-modified products, as well as anything containing sugar, hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. Worley got us started on coconut oil and the benefits of lecithin. We eventually learned that we aren’t the only ones that Worley impacted regarding the need to go natural; many others learned to carefully read the labels at the grocery store before placing the items in their shopping carts.
In 2004, I spent a week with Worley in the Houston area installing doorbells and security alarm systems. We mutually agreed that I was not a good fit. I will be the first to admit that I would make a lousy electrical engineer and Worley did not make an ideal instructor. Ironically, I felt the same apprehension working with Worley that I once felt with my dad, who once told me that he expected me to be able to read his mind. I am no psychic, which I’m sure is a blessing in the eyes of Yahweh (Lev. 20:27)! Worley expected me to know what needed to be done and where I needed to be at any given moment and half of the time I was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. Nevertheless, I observed that Worley would dive in to his work and give the business owner who hired his services 100% dedication. The customers were always pleased when the job was completed. It was just too bad that I couldn’t anticipate being where Worley expected me to be when and where he needed me. Since my return home to Plano, I learned that a man named “JP” took over where I left off and worked with Worley for some ten years without so much as a whimper of complaint. My hat is off to JP!
In 2009, Worley began calling me to inquire about my reasons for settling on the pronunciation “Yahweh” instead of such forms as “Yahuwah.” Worley was apparently being dogged by some characters who insist that “Yahweh” is a pagan name. He was so impressed with my explanations that he asked me to deliver a presentation on that topic at a Feast of Unleavened Bread observance in 2010 at Lake Whitney State Park, TX. At Worley’s urging, I consolidated my findings into a study on this topic known as Pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. I would never have composed that study without Worley’s supportive request. Of course, my wife June was a tremendous contributor, as she has been with all studies that I have put together. Together, I am persuaded that we compiled a very reasonable explanation for why we refer to our Creator as “Yahweh.” Again, I would never have taken the time to compose such a study if Worley hadn’t pointed out that certain believers are teaching that those who refer to the Almighty as “Yahweh” are imitating pagan worship. Our study demonstrates that such is not the case. The only thing Worley didn’t like about the study was its length. Worley was one of those individuals who expected things to be whittled down to a few pages with a “knockout” punch that stops all arguments. At his urging, I produced a condensed version.
Worley was also vehemently opposed to referring to our Heavenly Father as “God,” not only as a name, but also as a title. As such, Worley also promoted another study that June and I authored, “Do We Honor Yahweh by Referring to Him as ‘Our God’?” As that study grew to its current length of 200 pages, I decided to rename it “God’s Name – According to Ancient Hebrew Scholars.” Worley supported the name change and even requested copies of the pertinent chapter in which we bring out the fact that not only did the 3rd century BCE scholars who translated the Septuagint into Greek recognize “God” as being the name of a demon, but they also understood that when Leah named Zilpah’s son “God,” she did so in honor of the idol of fortune. Otherwise, they would not have had her exclaiming “Tyche” at his birth. Tyche just so happens to be the name of the ancient Greek idol of fortune. “God” was the Canaanite idol of fortune. The connection is unmistakable.
A few weeks before his passing while in hospice care at the home of his very endearing, compassionate daughter and son-in-law, Worley asked me to give a presentation on the topic of the history of the name “God.” I was honored to do so. I determined to keep it brief, not only due to Worley’s weakened state, but also because I knew how Worley liked things short and to the point. I am glad to say that I pulled it off and those present agreed that it doesn’t really make sense to say, “I know Yahweh condemns the worship of God, but Yahweh is my God!”
I have left out many details about our experiences with Worley, some of which are very humorous, others of which were not so pleasant. To be sure, Worley had his share of faults. To this day, Worley remains the only individual on whom I have ever intentionally hung up the phone, and I hung up on him not once, but twice. It wasn’t even on the same day, nor was it even during the same month! I also remember how Worley once became extremely cross with me when he learned that June and I count to Pentecost from the morrow after the festival Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread instead of the morrow after the weekly Sabbath. “That’s why you don’t have Yahweh’s spirit!” he yelled. “You don’t know how to count to Pentecost!” That personal encounter inspired me to compose our study titled “Facing the Pentecost Controversy,” which I promptly printed and mailed to Worley. Within a few days of receiving it, Worley called me to let me know that not only had he read it, but he was no longer certain of his previous stand and he had consequently decided to observe Pentecost both ways! From experience, I have found that most people who disagree with something I believe don’t even bother to read what we have to say in defense of our position. Worley was an exception to that rule. This world could certainly use more exceptions to that particular rule.
Not only did Worley motivate me to compose our study explaining why we count to Pentecost the way we do, but somewhere around the year 2001 or maybe 2002 he invited me to attend a debate that he hosted between a lunar sabbatarian and a man who, like us, regards the day commonly known as “Saturday” as being the day blessed by our Heavenly Father at creation. One thing led to another and a fellow believer from Arkansas who learned that I attended that debate asked me to compose a study on the subject because his daughter was leaning towards becoming a lunar sabbatarian. Our study “Something Different: Lunar Sabbaths” was born, a study that generated considerable debate, not to mention three years of unfruitful interaction with various lunar sabbatarians on an internet forum board. That study has since blossomed to an extensive exposé that we occasionally update on our web site. Not only did Worley host the lunar Sabbath debate that I just mentioned, but I’m pretty sure he is also the one who organized a debate over whether or not the Scriptural month begins with the conjunction of the moon or with the sighting of the new moon crescent.
Finally, Worley is behind the decision of some rather prominent men to decide to call on the name Yahweh. Worley often testified that he is the one who, after considerable effort, persuaded a man named Buffalo Bill Hawkins to call on our Creator by the name He gave to Himself. Mr. Hawkins, sad to say, would become the leader of a cult known as The House of Yahweh in Abilene, Texas. Worley also told us the story of how, many years earlier, a man named Voy Wilks once passed him a note that read, “The Creator’s name is Yahweh.” Voy had only given him the note as a piece of trivia, not as a plea to call on that name; in fact, Voy at that time referred to the Creator as “God.” Worley took the information seriously and investigated it to see if it was true; later, Worley asked Voy, “If you know that’s His name, then why aren’t you calling on it?” Worley explained that persuading Voy of the need to call on our Heavenly Father with the name He gave to Himself was a daunting task. I’m not sure if it took several months or several years, but eventually Voy began calling on the name of Yahweh. Voy and his wife Myrtle later founded an assembly known as The Assembly of Yahweh (7th Day) in Romney, Texas.
At Worley’s memorial service in Cross Plains, Texas, there was widespread consensus that Worley didn’t do things “halfway.” He plowed through life with nothing else but the end goal in mind, regardless of who got rubbed the wrong way. Notwithstanding, one of the last things that Worley told me, with maybe only a week left to live, was that he had come to realize that Yahweh is so full of mercy that no one can come close to comprehending it. Worley certainly wasn’t perfect, but who is? None of us deserves Yahweh’s mercy, but if Worley doesn’t make it to the Kingdom, then I am ever more concerned about what lies ahead for the rest of us. May Yahweh have mercy on those who love Him, yet struggle with this fleshly existence known as humanity.I’m sure there are others out there who may stumble across this tribute to Worley Maynard. They may chuckle to themselves and think, “You know, I have some wonderful memories of Worley. Yes, he was rough around the edges, but in the end he loved Yahweh and His ways!” If you are one such individual and you can adhere to Worley’s policy of keeping things “short and sweet,” then feel free to drop us a few lines at seekutruth at aol dot com. If we feel it’s a fitting tribute, we may just incorporate it into this newsletter tribute for others to read.
This is the name of our Creator, Yahweh, sometimes called the Tetragrammaton. It is given here in (A) the Phoenician script, (B) the Ivrit Kadum (Paleo-Hebrew) script, and (C) the Modern Hebrew script (a stylization of Aramaic).
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