1993, 06/07-14. Stewart Traill’s Absolutist Creed: 99.999% Of All Other Christians Are Arrogant.

One of the things I wrote about in this section was being in a meeting where Stewart reviewed his teaching basics with us, which included his statement that, “99.999% of all other Christians are arrogant.” I realized that with such a belief that he was God’s most-favored chosen instrument, it was no wonder that Stewart was absolutely intolerant of others and saw himself as some kind of slave master.

Monday, June 7.

The meeting yesterday in Philadelphia with Stewart was anticlimactic, at least in the sense I had anticipated (thank God) – but intense in other ways. There is an increase in speaking the lines, with the other person snapping the lines back in return. I have the feeling that I have to walk very tightly.

(After a meeting with “Brother Stewart, most church members were barking the slogans to one another that Stewart had given us at the meeting. This would go on with a mindless, knee-jerk zeal for the few days after any meeting with Stewart. Someone would shout the current line or religious teaching and others responded by shouting it back to them.)

I got dropped off in the Chambers Street area around 3 p.m., a very nice summer day. I actually feel sort of free and at ease. Not like other days like this where I am out alone. It’s nice out, but it always feels like temptations are brewing up inside me. Not so much today, but then I thought of Spurgeon’s admonition about this, that you are in trouble if you say you have conquered a certain sin and say you have nothing to worry about. (I usually take the other side and feel that thinking about it realistically is just a way of stirring it up in and of itself.)

(After meetings with Stewart Traill, I often felt hopelessness and despair and felt very little strength to resist temptation in such a state of mind.)

Tuesday, June 8

Working on a job in Wayne, New Jersey with Leonard.

Leonard was a new brother, a black man old enough to be my father, who had been a driver in the Red Ball Express, the supply service of the US Army in Europe in WW2. It was interesting to talk with him about this and I enjoyed spending the day with him, but our church was certainly not qualified to help such persons. The church was only using the homeless poor who we “swept up” off the streets of New York City as free labor.)

After a long think-a-thon about life here in the church as I was running the buffer on the floor, the voice came: “You are responsible.” In yielding to it, that is, not fighting, I seemed to get a measure of peace. Though I guess, not for long.

In the preface a book I’m reading called the Shantung Compound [a very insightful book about Christian missionaries and their families who were forced to live communally as prisoners of war in China when the Japanese took over – the book reminded me of life in COBU], the writer told how he seemed only to point to other peoples’ faults without mentioning his own. But he said he was probably just as worse a sinner as the rest and that he certainly had his moral failures as a young man, but that the grace of God repairs broken lives.

I’m also reading Fair Clear and Terrible, a book about the Shiloh Community. [A book about a cult in the 19th century very similar to COBU]. I know I will not be able to put the book down. I have some doubt in my mind as to whether I am adding sin to sin by reading this kind of literature rather than the Bible. But I also thought, “what if,” and why not be looking for such trends in our church? Trends that indicate how we’re going off the deep end.

Roger, in one of his classic comments, said, “Things in this life – even good things – can cost you your life,” citing how Erwin Rommel left Normandy to see his wife on the fateful evening of D-Day. Myself, I think the lesson was one of watchfulness, and not that a good thing in your life costing your life – though I declined to comment, because “killing everything in this life” is Stewart’s pet teaching these days and he’s driving it with vehemence, intending us to give up all our wants and desires in this life. Roger was also quite the life of the party when we picked up some assorted junk (a.k.a “a donation”) at a business executive’s house. Roger was all flabbergasted and excited.

My talking with Lenny today was mostly me asking him about his past – where he’s been, what he has done. I didn’t talk to him much about Christian Training. [I was supposed to only be talking to him about “Christian Training” and not getting into “human fellowship” with him, or with any  of the new disciples.] It seems awfully mechanical to get him to repeat the Five Approaches.

I seem to notice an extreme lack of “heat” in the office now. The brothers seem almost subdued. Nobody is pressing me or anybody else, that I can see. The big surge seems over – though I do hear the usual brothers dully repeating some of the lines from the last meeting. But they seem so remote from what they are saying, like merely tape players playing a recorded message.

I gave my thoughts today mostly to “the way it is here,” only stopping, it seemed, when I got off the job and had other things to do such as looking at the trees, driving around, eating, and watching the trains go by.

Wednesday, June 9

Getting out late again. Waiting for the 12 noon bus. (It’s a scorcher of a day.  In the nineties. Thunderstorms are predicted. All that hot air rising.)

This morning, I once again proved the maxim that once you step out of the warehouse, you are a new man.

(I felt better as soon as I stepped outside of the dirty warehouse in Red Hook that our church was renting as a shop and a residence, and was walking down the street on a summer day.)

I tried to tag along with Paul to the job in Locust Valley, putting in my “bid” to do wood floor installation work there (they will be staying overnight). But the truth is, if it is not “ordained” it will be miserable. It’s better to get out alone here and think for myself. I should have decided to get my clock radio out so I can wake up at a decent hour. I need to find a line of work that I have my heart into. (But what?) Paul said I wouldn’t really be into the work out there. He said he “needs people that are going to work” and said I that wouldn’t be into it, which really is true.

Pete has mostly gotten out of doing wood floor work by working at Andrew’s cabinet shop. But this hardly interests me. I wonder if I am in a mid-life crisis and that further down the line, I will have found something. The world of wood floors has been wearing very thin.

I was talking with Peter yesterday. (He seems to want to find an open ear these days.) You know, how to read a person like a book, trying not to interject too much of my own opinions in order to more fully hear what he is saying. (You wouldn’t edit a book as you were reading it.)

At one point though, I asked Peter if he ever read American church and religious history and told him that I have read a lot of it, and I said a few things about it.

(Reading about the history of religion in America helped me to place just where COBU fit in the picture, which was among the many odd sects and communal religious utopias, or as some would say, cults, that have existed in America since the time of the Revolution. When I read the history of religion in America, these books had chapters about the Methodists, Quakers, the great evangelists, and the odd fringe groups, and I recognized which category we clearly belonged to. I had never known this before.)

The point of why I am writing at this moment is to remark about how nobody is interested, whether in this subject or in anything else I do. I guess that’s a general principle with all people. I live in this world of these subjects. But to other people, it’s just ho-hum or worse, it doesn’t even register. What do I do, just quit? No, I don’t think so. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself. If nobody else is interested, this is no reason to quit something. Popularity was never the reason why I started something anyway. (I do feel as if I ought to drop it. I guess that would be called being “other-directed” or a person without goals or a being crowd pleaser.) Most subjects in my life, I have not ever found many other people who were interested, or no one really. Who do I share a common interest in languages, or anything else with? (In our fellowship there has never been another person with a commensurate interest in language. So what do I do? I will probably continue just as I have, pursuing my own goals, alone, by myself, without much regard for my fellow man’s corresponding interest or the lack of it.)

2pm

I am at Fulton Landing. There are some secluded spots around here and there. This is a park / cafe atmosphere where I can hang out alone for a few minutes.

I feel terrible, even though it’s such a nice hazy day. For sure, it is partly due to the fact I have not been closing many jobs or work in the church business and my integrity suffers.

I still often think about just wanting to go  – to go somewhere, even for a little while, to get out of our “environment.” (Of course, the official story has it that we can’t, that anyone who leaves the church is snapped up by other problems right away, like Jonah and the whale.

(Stewart’s teaching, and my fear that I had to deal with in considering leaving COBU, was that immediately upon leaving the church, I would be overcome by the world and sin, and be deceived by the devil and lost for all eternity, ending up in hell.) 

Too bad there isn’t some place where I can go for two weeks. Well, being alone like this today can serve a similar purpose, like the guy who wrote the book about his time in the Synanon cult who took a job as a truck driver, so he could get away for long periods of time to think things over. (I wonder too, if I don’t do what I am doing today as a way to attenuate my environment. I can only take so much of this intensity, so I seek ways to balance it out. It would help to close some jobs though.)

Thursday, June 10

Paul told me last night that I will be working in Locust Valley for the next three days. I am up early today, in the freshness of the morning. It is a clear and blue morining with that fresh feeling I love. The air has cleared after yesterday’s violent thunderstorm that came through with a wall of wind like a hurricane or tornado. One of the trees on the block is snapped in two. The poplars across the way were bending sideways. A wall of water came across the Hudson, obliterating the view of the Statue of Liberty and a ferry boat.

It’s cool and beautiful today. The air feels very comfortable.

I had a dream about being in some kind of cult. I awoke and fell back to sleep as the dream continued. When I woke up and looked at my watch, it said 8:10.

(The “810” era in the church, several years before this, was also a time of intense pressure and abuse, the most intense abuse I have ever experienced in the Church of Bible Understanding. And I still have dreams every week that I’m back in COBU and that I have to try to escape somehow.)

I got a letter from Mom yesterday, the first line of which read, “By what you wrote, I think there is enough evidence to arrest Stewart.” This has me a little worried. What will she do next? Call an investigation? What if she actually can do something?

12 noon

I arrived at Locust Valley not long ago. Finished a letter in the waiting room of the railroad station. I figure I have a lot of explaining to do to Mom. From the tone of her last letter, it sounds like she is trying to pray down the host of heaven to come and fight a battle. I am hoping that through explaining what life is like here in our church, a clearer picture will form in her mind. On one hand, the information I am providing is setting her off. But then, why withhold information? Why take part in an information blackout in order to protect whom? Me. Me only. I would like to explain to her about 810, the last four years here (including Stewart’s increasing dominance of our lives), my attempts at starting relationships, a psychological profile of our church, its operations and of Stewart himself. I desire to have more connection with her. You might say, I am using her to air my thoughts. There is actually nobody else I can talk to. It would be disaster to open up to anyone around here with this stuff, even with my “nearest and dearest friends,” Paul and Peter.

Paul and I are here now in Locust Valley, with five new brother helpers. I don’t look forward to being locked up with five bodies. I also don’t like the phony cheerfulness I put on around the new brothers to mask my dislike and to keep a wall between myself and them. I was going to ask some of them their names and say appropriately cheerful things, including about the faith. But, I figured I am not long for this place and this song and dance will do nobody any good.  

(We would work all day in close quarters and possibly even spend the night, sleeping in the same room on the floor. I actually made pretty good friends with one of these new brothers, whose name was Chatman and we had some good talks. Despite my comments above, within a few hours I had become pretty good friends with him.)

There is an outside chance that Paul is going to want to miss the meeting in Red Hook tonight (me too) in order to “get work done,” but there is a logistics problem in that, how are all the new brothers going to get back to New York City? Paul says the train is too expensive. I’d love to send them all back by rail and then spend the night here, away from Brooklyn, away from that meeting. Last night, when I heard that there was going to be a meeting, I was filled with all the usual dread and began casting about in my mind in the hope of getting out of it somehow. I definitely do not want to be there by any means. I will do all I can to avoid it!

(This turned out to be a nice night. I didn’t go back to the meeting. We sat on the hill after dark, across from the job location, with the new brothers. I enjoyed the night sky, the fireflies and the warm summer air.)

Friday, June 11

I spent the night here (with a few new and middle brothers). Today, again is another one of those clear blue days. I went out to the deli to get food for everyone, then sat in the park by the station for a while. Saw two trains. (I like watching them. It’s their coming and going that lends interest.) What would I do with one of these mornings if I were free! I prayed while that I could just leave, even for a while, to live in a place like this, but I guess you could say, I am being granted a little bit of that now.

Dream: I was blowing up because sexual temptations were back again. I felt the overwhelming frustration of it all and I was snapping and swearing. I was trying to talk to Paul about it, then I decided to shut up because there was no use talking about it. Then, in the dream, someone directed me to read C.C. Jung’s book, a book on “sin, the Gospel of John and the body.” The title of the book was something like, “Confession, or, the Story of Sin.”

(Not long after this, while I was browsing in a used book store, I came across a book entitled Jung’s Treatment of Christianity. I didn’t not know until then who C.G.Jung was, other than that he might have been a psychologist and I did not know that he wrote about religion and Christianity. (In the dream, it was “C.C.” Jung.) In his book, “Answer to Job,” Jung wrote of God in such a way that reminded me of Stewart Traill.

Jung also said that many of his clients were sent to him by religious leaders. He didn’t mean that they were referred by these leaders for counseling, but that they were driven to the edge by pastors and other clerics and came to him for help. How true. In the dream, I saw the cover of the book, with the name C.C. Jung on it and was given a description of the subject matter of the book, and told that I should read it.)

I do feel it coming on again, temptations to look at women. Both times incidentally, at the station as I was hanging out down there. (Was wondering if God sent that along to disturb my nice thoughts, as if to say, “no fantasies about having a nice life in this world.”)

(That God would not permit me to indulge in the fantasy, not of women, but that there could be peace and restfulness  and enjoyment in this life, perhaps by enjoying the early morning in a small town, as I sat against a tree in the park, forgetting the woes of COBU life for a few moments. Stewart Traill was teaching about how it was wrong to have our “fantasies in this life.”)

But then again, does God tempt anybody with sin? I am lured and enticed by my own desire, so how could God be doing it? I just have a warped view of God.

(I was down at the station in small town America, trying to enjoy some escapism from COBU life, and in the middle of that, I was suddenly faced with “temptation” in the form of some women walking by. I was suddenly brought to face what I avoid, because there was no way of dealing with relationships and marriage constructively in COBU. I wondered if God sent this as a wake up call to interrupt me from my daydreams as I sat there enjoying some respite from cult life, as if to tell me that there was a war on, that there was the temptation to immorality, which I would drift into if I took it easy for a moment.  But, was God an agent of sin?)

Yes, that temptation. When will I ever, finally, have a woman and sex? Will I, do I, have to sell my soul to finally arrive at that? [In COBU, it was either or.]  Or, will I remain a bachelor forever, going to pieces every time I have these feelings? In four more years I will be 40. Is it about time I got married by now? Then I think how easily I get overcome by this temptation, yet how I “can’t’ get married in our church. While tempted, I also think about the things Stewart says about the older brothers, how we’re unfit for marriage, and about our wrong example. All this adds up to a mighty crescendo, the result of which is that I am sunk, swirling down the toilet as it is flushed. Can’t I do something constructive about it, if it is to be a fact of life always, ever and anon, occurring with me?

Face it – this place is a cult.

I remember when Mitch and Terry went out and got married. No fanfare, no nothing. They just did it. I remember all the build up ones would put themselves through (at the Rescue Mission) when they were talking about marriage, and some of those meetings we had together, us middle brothers. Then, you see, it would have been so easy to just go out and get married! I never thought of it that way.

(I was looking back on an earlier time in the church, in 1983-4. Marriages were not permitted then either, but some brothers and sisters got together, and defying the rules, left and got married. After that point, they no longer lived in the church, but some of these couples came to meetings. Nothing like this could happen now, because everyone was dug in and on the offensive, and running from the hell, death and destruction that Stewart was hurling at us.)

Stewart considered these marriages to be “wrong agreements,” both for the couple and for those who attended their wedding. I see now how this was all a bunch of bull. But, I fell for it. Had I known it was so easy to get married, I might have at least tried to go through with finding a sister who wanted to leave the church with me to get married, it instead of, for example, after I got kicked out, trying to move back in so I could be “honorable” first, so I could get married, because I didn’t want to be “dishonorably independent from the church,” because Stewart said “a brother has to be living honorably in every way before he can even consider taking a sister in marriage.” What crazy gyrations I went through over the subject of being right with our church and therefore worthy and able to marry! By so believing, in a way, in effect, I prohibited myself from being married! I was my own worse enemy. A willing, albeit deceived, partaker in my own prison sentence!

Everywhere you go, it is a little fellowship. I am here in Locust Valley. It is now one in the morning. We will go on working all night. Chuck and Kevin are here. So, here I am, away from the city and out in the countryside. I step back inside and I’m in a little hotbox with all the usual constituents of the fellowship in it. I am not saying it as clear as I would like to, but, wherever we go, we are never free. We are never really outside of the fellowship. Any little “privilege,” any place we go – with rare exceptions – we always take the fellowship with us, or we go with it.

Saturday, June 12

Still at Locust Valley. The whole crew is still here. I took a walk this morning. I wish I had gotten up and out earlier. Chuck, in his characteristic fashion, has gotten on my case. It was inevitable. (Chuck says that by going with Chatman to the library, I was “using” him and that I was “using him as my ticket.” He also said I also was idle and not doing any work.)

(I had taken a walk with Chatman, one of the sweaty “bodies” I didn’t want to have to work in close quarters with all day and then sleep in the same room with at night, because I struck up a friendship with him. In the morning, when most were still asleep, we walked up the road to the library, talking and hanging out and looking at books in there. When we came back, Chuck accused me with the odd sounding charge of “using” Chatman as “my ticket” as if Chatman were mere;y some prop or some excuse I used to take a walk with, in order to “do my own thing,” that is, to do things that were not included in the so-called Christian training regimen. I actually became friends with this guy and rather than the impersonal “use” of people as “disciples” to be corralled and trained as income gatherers, I had actually taken a liking to him and become friends and started talking.)

Sunday, June 13

Locust Valley again. Just me and Paul now. We layed in a bit of new wood floor. It’s always nice out here. I have all the usual apprehension about the meeting.

Paul and I got to the meeting at Red Hook late, accidentally on purpose. We ate at a diner on the way back. Of course, I wanted to be as late as possible, but I observed that Paul didn’t seem too hurried himself.

[We were supposed to get back to the meeting on time, but I noticed that Paul wanted to stop at a diner, and not only that, that he was taking his time and was in no hurry to finish eating and get to the meeting, but that he was delaying. I realized that as long as I did not point this out to him, we could have this “wrong agreement,” to avoid the meeting. But if I mentioned being on time for the meeting, Paul would then say, we should get going.)

We are now sitting outside the meeting room with Milton, who is guarding. We’re sitting on a stack of lumber, listening in on the meeting.

Stewart is going over the basics of what he has taught us in the last four years. He is making profuse use of the phrase “99.999% of other Christians, showing the exclusivity element in his beliefs and teachings. He is also talking about those strange, and I think distorted, Stewart teachings. All the stuff that I just seem to find disgusting. The hard, the weird, the twisted stuff – all named one after another, in a review of the basics. I will try to obtain a copy of a tape of this meeting to send Mom. I feel pretty sick sitting here. I am supposed to say it’s because I am unfaithful to Christ. But secretly, I think it has to do with this stuff.

I was reading in Fair, Clear, and Terrible what a defector from the Shiloh Community said about how the God of the New Testament was replaced by a God who emotionally has the same personality of Sandford, the leader of that group. Also about how one begins to lose his powers of reasoning by allowing the belief that the others in the community can see and understand him better than he can himself, and that he can’t understand himself.

This whole meeting makes me want to throw up. This is all strong man stuff. Stewart’s tirades. His description of a God of terror. Who could ever be faithful to this? (Chatman is getting his from Stewart now. Chatman is new to all this. I am sure he is perplexed. He doesn’t know yet that he should just fold up and meekly agree with everything that Stewart tells him.) If God is really like this, who then could be saved?  Who could love a God like this?

According to what Stewart says, nobody here is faithful to Christ. (That is, nobody is awake enough, scared enough, thankful enough. And 99.999% of all other Christians are not either.) So, who does that leave? Almost, though it is probably a little too blatant to say, you almost could say that Stewart is the only faithful Christian man in the world. (Perhaps he might also consider that the Christians who are imprisoned in Communist lands might also be faithful to Christ, though he is not mentioning them.)

Kevin is standing up, saying, “The truth is, I’m not scared enough.” Well, the crusaders will be running around tomorrow, cutting and blasting everyone.

We are all in Stewart’s pressure cooker. Boiling in the cauldron. (What’s the use of writing all of this? Will I ever read it or use it for something in the future?)

Well, I will probably listen to the tape of this meeting, of Stewart saying these things over and over. I don’t know, either it’s true or it’s not. Maybe it will get to me. Maybe it’s what I need.

I hope it isn’t true, because I just don’t want to live like this. I think we all fool Stewart, in a way, because we never tell him what we really think – not that he’d want to hear it either. The sisters all chime in, in agreement to whatever Stewart says. What do they really think? Salvation is found in repeating after Stewart and making sure they agree with everything. We also help one another keep to these roles. Like the conductors on the Bullet Train who push the people into the doors of the train, so they all get in.

(In the Japanese transit system, there are uniformed employees on the platforms that forcefully shove people into the trains and then make sure the doors can close. Everyone in COBU also pressured one another into accepting and believing everything Stewart Traill said.)

Stewart is mocking us, saying, “You will be just fine in a more pleasant way.” He makes it really hard, then puts down any idea of wanting an easier way. Why wouldn’t you want an easier way? (Maybe I am just a railing complainer. But if this is the Christian religion, who wants it? As I write this, I hear gunshots in the distance, so this is probably God warning me, for having thoughts like this.

To hell with this whole religion! I am not interested in a God who wants to kill me, who is just waiting to get his hands on me. This God is a monster. I wonder if this God we are hearing about is just the dark side of Stewart’s mind.

Stewart has jus said that he doesn’t talk to other Christians very much. So there you have it from the horse’s mouth. Stewart is the only living man (at least in this hemisphere) who knows the truth and we are his captive audience.

Stewart is speaking to us in the first person, but only in the sense of giving out the lines we have to say.

(In other words, Stewart said things like, “I just don’t fear hell,” which meant we were supposed to say this about ourselves as if they were our own words. It was a kind of programming.)

I just wonder if Stewart has lost his mind or is off his rocker.

Monday, June 14

Locust Valley.  We had some trouble last night during the meeting in Red Hook with an irate neighbor. He shot a BB at our window, which sent a fine spray of glass powder inside, very close to Stewart’s head. (Stewart said, “Thank you Jesus. He missed. Jesus protects us.”)

[The meeting went on into the late hours of the night, with a lot of shouting and proclaiming going on. A resident across the street, annoyed at the ruckus, shot his BB gun at the window. From where I sat, I heard the clicking sounds and the ricochets off the brick wall outside and wondered if someone was shooting. Peter was in the room (I wasn’t) and said that the BB made a hole in the window next to Stewart (a window with a fine wire mesh imbedded in the glass) with a spray of powdered glass fragments. Stewart calmly said, “Thank God he missed,” and continued to talk as if nothing happened. This shows Stewart’s typical show of fearlessness and apparent indifference to death. He continued to speak as if nothing had happened, also knowing that brothers had gone out to look for this person and that the shooting probably was going to stop. But, this also shows a lack of concern for those in the room. A BB might not hurt you if it hits the back of your head, but one of the sisters, who were sitting facing him could have been hit in the eye by another shot. He did not tell anyone to lay down on the floor or do anything to protect themselves. His own glory and display of calm in the face of danger being more important than the safety of the flock he so ardently professed to be the shepherd of.)

Chuck, as usual, was getting on my case because he saw me talking with Norman. It seems that Norman went to Times Square Church that morning and talked to the ex-members of our church who go there. A good point Norman made to the older brothers that morning, was that if it is not God’s will for any of us to go to another church, then, it wouldn’t be God’s will if any of them ever came over here? He said nobody had an answer for that. (But remember, ultimately reasoning doesn’t work with these people because they can always circumvent that with the ‘you have a wrong spirit” talk.)

Chuck was blasting me in front of the others later, saying that I am very dangerous. I practiced the “forgive him,” though it was like repeating a chant. Yet it helped me to avoid trying to counter everything he says. I also could barely suppress a smile, which Chuck noticed, maybe from praying that way.

(After I wrote my mother about what it was like here, she advised me not fight with anyone, but to just meekly agree. And that if I was being abused, while it was happening to look at the person and pray inwardly, saying “I forgive this person.”  This actually helped me through a lot of these confrontations, especially with Chuck.)

This is our way. A person can walk up to another person and loudly proclaim to the whole room (it must be done in a loud voice so everybody can hear, not just so the several persons involved can hear) that you are dangerous, weird, or whatever they want to say about you.

I am not looking forward to Chuck and Kevin coming out here today. Kevin talked to the brothers last night about getting a lawyer for his child custody case. Apparently Amy has already married. Sometimes I wonder if these things are more our fault than theirs. If Kevin had married Amy, this wouldn’t have been happening now. This is not the first such case where this has happened to a brother who left and was living with a woman, and then returned to the church.

What’s working on me today is things such as the 99.999% line I kept hearing last night from Stewart. (This could be a trick. That number technically allows for the possibility that there is somebody else out there. Yet at the same time, it pretty much says that there is nobody else. It’s a way for Stewart to cover both bases; to sugar coat a pill that might be hard for more thinking persons to swallow. It avoids the absolute statement that we are the only ones – though at the same time, it practically says it.)

This gets to me. What do I do? Why should somebody’s belief system get to me? Aren’t people free to believe what they believe?  (Actually, I am not free to believe what I believe, at least not openly.) But somehow, these absolute “beliefs” come out in practices that are just as absolute and tyrannical. Stewart’s statements are not just idle words.

Last night was a concentrated dose of the basics. I never heard our absolutist creed in such concentrated form before. Evidently Stewart really means it. The man must have an intense ego. With this belief that one is God’s most favored chosen instrument, no wonder Stewart is absolutely intolerant of others and sees himself as some kind of slave master. Other Christians just don’t know the truth, because they are arrogant. Though, he says, sometimes he will tell one of them, if they are ready to hear it. And he says he rarely speaks to other Christians. This must make us his guinea pigs, because he seems to, if not everything, to tell us a lot, and to expect us to act accordingly. (We are effectively cut off from other Christians. They are ignorant and arrogant.)

I suppose I have more to say, but I must be brief.

Probably any contacts we have with “other Christians,” after this, the brothers and sisters will try to teach and preach to them, further turning and burning them off; further enhancing our fantasy that we are the only ones who care about the truth and  that all others are in the dark because they reject the message because of their arrogance. A self-fulfilling prophecy, as our church slowly dies and collapses and the behavior here gets more and more strained and weird.

So, what we have here is a special (specious?) revelation of God’s truth, really the only truth, because all others are wrong. This truth is being delivered in a dirty warehouse, in a church where nobody has gotten married in 14 years, in a church where, because nobody is appropriately faithful to Christ, they have not truly asked God for justification by faith. So, we are neither justified nor saved. Wouldn’t God pick an outfit that was a little more together? Our degeneracy and weirdness in contrast to the absolute integrity of this truth doesn’t seem to line up. If this is the truth, why would God waste it on us? If it is so important for others to hear, why not give it to a better group who could communicate it more effectively? (According to Stewart, if these Christians don’t fear God, they are neither saved nor justified either.)  Is Stewart sane? Why do we cling to this cult?

Read the next section of the journal here: The Voice Of Frightful Compliance.

(These journal pages are part of the source material for my book, Captive Congregation: My Fourteen Years in the Church of Bible Understanding, which is available as a Kindle book or in paperback.)

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