1993, 07/10-12. On The Cutting Edge of Reality, or Just Going Over The Edge?

Saturday, July 10

The night job yesterday at Café Loup was canceled because Paul and I didn’t find out if we had the floor refinishing supplies and when we got there, we didn’t have them. So, I ended up sleeping all day because I was resting for the job, and also going back to sleep at 3:30 in the morning, after having gone to Woodruff to pick up Peter and then back to Red Hook and sitting outside eating watermelon, then reading for a while in bed.

5 p.m.  I have it pretty easy today. So far, Peter and I are just putting down a coat of finish on the floors at Ritmotex. I am having some peaceful thoughts lately. This seems to have started last night. I woke up for the expected night job and realized that I should be using my clock radio in order to set a certain time to get up and do something, some planned activities.

This lead into a realization that I just don’t do these things anymore, such as running, and how that was something dependable I could rely on through thick and thin, such as when I was out of work temporarily with Bob’s wood floor business and was working temp. I realized that no matter what I went through, whether I got a job or didn’t, that I would still go running at about this time the next day. It was something I could count on, a base I could touch on. Tomorrow at this time, I would be running again and it would be almost as if nothing had happened.

Obviously, I was going through a period of stress then, with some uncertainty about my future and some fear that I wouldn’t find a job and also some humiliation, because I wasn’t working or would only be able to find a menial office job. So the running gave me some meaning and relief. It was something for me, something I liked, in the midst of all this unpleasantness. (Of course, we would say that this was relying on something else besides Jesus, finding meaning in something else.)

The idea came that I should have something to take me through times of stress. Something I can rely on and count on getting. It may be damaging, the way I am living. I have nothing to offset all of this.

(I had nothing to offset the stress of living in what some people call a “high-demand religious group,” or simply put, a cult whose leader wanted us to suppress our personal desires and to live a treadmill lifestyle in order to produce income and bring in new members and teach them this way of life. Our leader, Stewart Traill, had effective methods to make this happen, which operated successfully in a closed communal living system and was effectively designed to bring about this result in us. And the only questioning of these methods that Stewart allowed us to do was when he said “Jump!” we were allowed to ask, “How high?”) 

Psychotherapists would probably tell me to get involved in something. It may be good for my mental health. (In spite of all of Stewart’s statements about, “you can’t rely on anything but Jesus,” or, “let your collection of idols deliver you.”) I may find it to be good if I try it.

The problem is, just what to do? With our schedule now, running is definitely out of the question and unavailable. I would do a lot just to have running back in my life again, just for the feeling of physical strength in my body and the extra alertness – let alone the activity itself and the regular refreshment and ability to be outdoors. The idea of being able to have some choices in my life that are not part of the curriculum or plan. Stepping outside of the boundaries, something I look forward to getting out and doing.

I figure, if it looks like I am going to be in for the duration, I had better find something to do about it. In the long run, or when this is all over with, I might find myself in better mental health for having done so.

I will have to think about it. I will have to look into something. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It will probably have to be something that comes out of the usual stock of the things I already have or have been doing. Will it be artwork again? Maybe just long walks – something I could do regularly and plan on for every day. Something to help me get away from, or to offset, all of this and to reassess everything.

A person could snap under all of this pressure. I take part in it and fear not to, because I figure it is the right thing and I dare not disobey it, thinking that taking measures to protect and/or distance myself from all of this is resisting suffering for Christ or building up a shield so that the bad news can’t get to me and break me down. As Stewart says, if we have some refuge to run into, we will never go to God unless all of that has been utterly destroyed. But, I take issue with Stewart’s theology. (He says that if we don’t have this drastic, smash it up conversion, then we are not Christians at all and we have never even started on the real way.)

A few days ago, I made a tape with my thoughts about my present situation and about Brother Stewart’s methods. I also reminisced about 1974 and my life back then. I was thinking that, if I get into looking at good times in my past, it might help me care about myself more nowTo care more about my health, to not let myself go and possibly other benefits as well. I can’t take the grindstone of life here and I need to detach myself from it, because I don’t see what good it does for my health, mentally or otherwise. 

(I was saying that if I began to make a habit to look back to my life before to coming to COBU (by thinking or writing about it, or by speaking about it onto tape, which was a great way to reopen those memories) and remember who I was back then, it might help me to care more about myself and my condition now.)

Right now, we are parked at 33rd Street outside Barnes and Noble. There is a strong late evening sun shining directly at me, magnified by its reflection in the glass of an office building. Yes, it’s summer now – full, real summer. And I am wondering just how I am going to live, inwardly and outwardly. (What do I want, do I even have a choice?) I am just wondering, do I need to detach myself from all the recent happenings in the church?

(We were being subjected to an extreme amount of coercion and pressure, more than usual. These time periods came and went. They were never pleasant to be in.)

Not that I’d remain oblivious to these happenings. I would watch or monitor them, if only for my own safety, to know what’s going on, and what to expect. But, am I getting to a point where I can’t take it any longer and where it is doing me harm? Even if it Stewart claims it is for my own highest good? (Dare I feel “relief” from this pressure, or will it just be what Stewart calls ”painkillers,” and that we are not supposed to look for painkillers in this life, to avoid the pain of our suffering for Christ?)

(Stewart preached against “painkillers,” which he said meant looking to anything in this life for comfort as a way to avoid or mitigate the pain of our “suffering for Christ.” These painkillers could be anything from substance abuse (rarely practiced by any COBU member, except the newest people brought in off the streets) to taking a “sin vacation,” (again, not done much by church members) to innocent seeming things.

Stewart never really gave a list of just what could be considered as painkillers, preferring maybe to leave it to our own imaginations, so that just about anything we did to relax, like getting into our hobbies or the desire to learn French (one of my “painkillers”) would be seen by each church member as their desire to reach for painkillers – a great sin against Jesus, and ultimately a desire to “cheat” and to imagine there was an easier way to serve Christ than the way Stewart taught (or rather misrepresented) here.

Maybe this was a method of suggestion and a technique of control. The brothers and sisters would come up with their own lists, certainly they would be the things they liked to do to unwind a little or to take their minds off things, or to refresh themselves, and would monitor themselves accordingly, and in effect, cut out any personal desires and time spent on anything else that was not directly serving the church – ultimately Stewart Traill’s desires and agendas, which the church was a vehicle for promoting. (Stewart told us that Jesus refused painkiller when he was on the cross. He refused to take the mixture of bitter herbs and vinegar that was given to those being executed to help dull the pain of crucifixion.)

Must I always be at the most painful part of the cutting edge of reality? Is that really beneficial for me, or am I just a pawn on a grander scale, a guinea pig in somebody else’s theological experiment? It’s just something that’s being tested out on me that may or may not even be true. Later down the line, we may hear again that it was just a big mistake, but that Stewart meant well, will you please forgive me? He only messed around with my life for another 10 years. It only costs him a little embarrassment and maybe the readjustment of his theories – but it costs me everything.

I just got to the office. Some brothers are going out “urgent sweeping.”

(“Sweeping” meant going out to gather new converts, usually homeless people.) 

The messages from Stewart have some words about “only urgent sweepers should go out.” And about taking names for a big carpet cleaning job on Sunday. And that, “unless you are an urgent sweeper, you should be on a Red Hook / 46th Street basis.”

Obedience to Jesus is inward, but we will certainly use outward activity as a gauge for your inward obedience. We will expect a lot of activity from you.

(The above was the message from Stewart Traill which was relayed to the church’s office in Manhattan, by a sister who lived with Stewart in his house Princeton. I was making note of the effects this message had on church members, stirring them up to go out to get new converts. It was all emergency, and urgent sounding, with an upcoming judgment where we would find out who has been doing well, who has been naughty or nice, so to speak, at the next meeting. Red Hook and 46th Street were the warehouse and office where those older brothers who were not fully accepted were living on a “Red Hook” or “46th Street basis,” trying to get accepted to live and work at the Woodruff Avenue residence where the new converts were being brought in and trained in the ways of COBU life.)

At some point here, my thoughts start to rage about Stewart. I had some thoughts about coming to a meeting or to the office with a gun and blowing everybody away, saying, “I just do not care.”

(Not that I would ever have done this, and this was an image that quickly went through my mind. It was distressing to think I that was having such thoughts and that if there were things that led me think about going over the edge, maybe I had better think about what was driving me and what I was being subjected to here, which led to these thoughts. And to determine if we were really being subjected to God’s will for us or not.)

This thought had followed a quick sequence of fantasies where I imagined Stewart was saying things to me. It was immediately after I was unloading some equipment from a van with Paul. I was slow and Paul said, “What are you good for?” adding,  “That’s what Stewart said to me one time.” (I assume one time when Paul was slow about something.) This lead to thoughts about me telling Stewart that he is a tyrant, and getting thrown out of the church for it. Of course, any boss would throw you out for such words, but I thought that if I went to the police, they might agree with me that Stewart is a tyrant.

A thought: it is not easy to disagree with somebody who, besides being my pastor, is also both my landlord and my boss. If not directly, for sure, he has the final say and could work through the system to pay me back for anything he is not pleased with, and it is not like I have never experienced something like that before!

I wonder, don’t I have anything to protect myself with so this couldn’t happen?What if I knew I had some inalienable right that neither Stewart, nor nobody else, could take away my job or place of residence for having rendered a displeasing word or action to the “Grand Poobah.” I don’t see this protection right now. (I think this very well may be going far in keeping me very quiet.) If such protection were indeed set up, the worse Stewart could do is despise me. This would be a trial enough as it is. As it is, he owns, manipulates and controls the whole fabric of the fellowship – and only he does. Only he has the power to flip over the chessboard. Everybody else can only move about on the chessboard according to their assigned roles, either as a pawn or maybe in the case of Chuck or Kevin, as a bishop. But Stewart can hold the whole sheet at one end and drag it toward himself or shake it out the window. All I am is a single lonely ant. All I can do is obey the forces of gravity.

(I changed the metaphor from pawns on a chessboard who must obey their assigned roles, while Stewart himself can tip the board over any time he likes and dump the chess pieces on the floor, to the metaphor of a sheet that he can shake out the window, and me, as a lowly ant, can do nothing but obey the forces of gravity and react to what Stewart is doing to me. Stewart owned and operated the entire fellowship and did whatever he liked with anyone, or so it seemed. There was little protection anyone had against instantly losing their job or place of residence if they displeased Stewart. There was no legal action anyone could take, and no church council to appeal to. Any councils were for the purpose of carrying out Stewart’s orders (with a rubber stamp of approval) or for managing and monitoring everyone and reporting back to Stewart). For more information on how this worked, read The Community Leading Con-Man.)

So now, it looks like only those who are backed can go sweeping, or at least, this is the case with sisters. Faye was just here getting tested. Then she went with Andrew. I would fail to meet this test, and I am not enthusiastic about meeting it either. (I am not too enthusiastic about bringing people over here, except that I was hoping that some people with real eyes and ears would come over and maybe expose some things. But, they would have to be here a while to understand what goes on here.)

Sunday, July 11

Refinishing the wood floors at the China Grill overnight with Jim O. and Dan B. I just got a parking ticket 18 minutes after 8 a.m. It figures that soon after receiving my tax return, this is the kind of thing that will happen. Sometimes it seems more than just a coincidence. Sometimes I think, might as well spend it up, because these things almost seem like they are sent purposely to nibble away at my little bank reserve.

Of course, it’s a sign of being dull, because I even thought about tickets around 7:30 when I lay down on one of the banquets in the restaurant to get some rest, after a night of sanding the floors, but I did some kind of mental gyration to not worry about it. Well, I am working with Jim O. who is one of the church ticket experts. He thinks the ticket can be fought because if you are already parked and then a regulation comes into effect, you have some grounds of fighting it. Well, I get the feeling it is a punishment, or else why would it have happened? If so, then there’s no reason to fight against it then. But I guess that’s fatalism.

(Besides a small weekly allowance, we were allowed to keep a quarter of our tax return, which was sometimes several hundred dollars. I often got parking tickets soon after receiving my tax return, as if it were more than coincidence. Something was working to keep me from being able to save up even a few dollars. I thought, might as well spend the money as soon as I got it then. On a more direct cause and effect level, I was tired after working all night and I lay down on a banquet in this restaurant at 7:30 in the morning and had a passing thought about possible parking tickets, which as I was dozing off, I brushed off as nothing to worry too much about.)

Monday, July 12

I got out of Red Hook at 9:30 a.m., alone. I am now at the coffee shop at Henry Street. I had two consecutive sleep times, missed all Sunday activities and meetings. I had intense dreams. One dream was that we got a new fellowship house one block from the northeast corner of Prospect Park. I went to see how far the park was from the house and how easy and safe access was. While in there, I began to jog. Suddenly, helicopters began flying overhead, corralling and chasing all the people in the park. I dodged into a wooded area, where I found other people hiding for shelter. But I figured, I can’t stay here. I was afraid these attackers might be guarding the periphery of the park, but I tried to slip out of the park by posing as a jogger. This dream was repeated again in other modes and ways. Later in the dream, I was telling Paul about the dream. We were tuning into news radio stations. They were saying, “We can’t figure out what’s going on.” Then we were in the woods again, but we were all soldiers. Suddenly our insignia changed to German and Dutch insignia. I was pulling my insignia off. We couldn’t figure out where they came from, except that it seemed like somebody was playing a joke on us, or marking us as the enemy, like a set up.

I can’t predict the future, but this dream was a lot like the one I had the night before the New Property was “besieged.” Of course, that dream was a lot more dramatic than the actual events, but I had other dreams that didn’t come true anyway.

(One night, the Philadelphia police and fire departments tried to enter the church property, even putting a ladder over the fence, to make a raid. I found out about this in the morning meeting where I lived at Woodruff Avenue in Brooklyn. During the night, I had a very long and vivid dream that the property being attacked by dive bombers and that forces from the military had tried to enter, but had not succeeded in getting in. The last wave of the planes in the dream were from the fire department. The fire department, of course has no jet planes, but in the dream, this is what was happening. I awoke and went down into the morning meeting and learned what had been going on there at the church property during the night.)

(By the way, I wish I had never destroyed those three diaries. [I wrote about that dream in one of those diaries.] But I was so afraid of discovery. Diaries such as those (and these) are a chronicle of my life and I go back over them and study them from time to time.)

I am now thinking about establishing contact with Steve B.

(Steve was an ex-member who no longer was with the church, who I was friends with.  In 1991-1992 when we were going through the era that I call “810,” he had already left. During that era, I called him from a house that we were doing floor work in, because I was considering getting out then. As with many ex-members, he did not want to encourage me to leave, because even though he left, he considered leaving wrong and didn’t want to hurt me by encouraging me to leave COBU. 

I had been considering moving in with Steve, who was renting a house with some other friends. I didn’t go, despite all the heavy pressure and harassment that Stewart Traill was putting us through, because Stewart made a change in plans. He decided that ten older brothers should move back to Manhattan and live at the office (which was in a small basement on West 51st Street at that time) and solicit cleaning and floor work, day and night. This was because Stewart’s experiment have homeless people go out into the city with pushcarts to sell merchandise that was donated to the church had not worked, so Stewart let up on the pressure to get us older members to leave the church.  

During this time of pressure, no one was thrown out, because according to Stewart, then they would be able to say they were thrown out. No, it was better that they leave of their own accord, he said, because then it would be clear to all that the decision to leave had been that person’s desire to depart from Christ and go live for sin in the “world.” (It was in order to get this result that he was putting all kinds of pressure on the older ones to leave.)

This changed abruptly, because of Stewart’s failed experiment to replace the older brothers and their business skills with freshly-trained new people. At this point, I have to consider why I did not leave at that time, being that the so-called pastor of our church said he preferred that we all leave. One reason was that I had nowhere to go and also that starting over again in life with nothing wasn’t very appealing. I had no money, yet I would need to find a place to live and find work, which would likely be menial work like dish washing or being a deli clerk, rather than a “skilled” wood floor worker.

Several years before this, I worked for a “worldly” wood floor company after being thrown out of Bob W.’s wood floor business, which employed church members. My reason for being thrown out was for showing up an hour late on a job site. I had done some errands like banking, dropping a few dollars into my meager bank account. The fact that we worked long hours into the evening was not taken into account. Earlier in the week, I had asked Bob for permission to go to an art supply store, asking for a short time off from work to do that. He replied that “people in the world do not take their working hours to do personal things, they do them after hours,” meaning that even the “unsaved” have rules about work. When I tried to explain that the store was not open in the evening, he wouldn’t reconsider. I told him that we often work till late at night, so I don’t really have any after hours. I felt trapped and thought that this was unfair that I could not have taken a half hour during the day to get something.

After getting fired, I had a job for a short time with this floor company whose workers did really bad work. They sanded the floor roughly and then slapped down the polyurethane. There were still patches of the old finish on the floor. When I explained to the owner of the company that his crews did poor work, he said the workers told them that I didn’t do any work, except scrape out some corners. I told him that this was not true, and that they were trying to give me a bad name, because I had been telling them they do poor work. Many of the customers were unhappy. The owner of this company believed me and explained, “Look, we charge a cut rate for our work, because that is all these customers are willing to pay, and we just do a quick sanding and apply a coat of finish.” He said he realized that this is not like the company I had worked for.  (We used to rough and medium sand and then do a fine sanding, and then we used a buffer to smooth the floor so there would be no sanding lines on the floor. Then we applied 3 coats of finish.)

The point I’m trying to make here is that if I left COBU, I feared I could only get unskilled, low paying jobs, or if I worked in the kind of business I had in COBU, that I would end up working with a bunch of hacks and that I couldn’t trust the unsaved people in the “world” as coworkers, because it was deceitful what they had said about me to their employer. In COBU we had (supposedly) a standard of truth, and we could speak our mind without payback, a standard of conduct which, as this episode in the “world” showed, would not exist outside of COBU.

However, these standards of truth were eroding in COBU and were being replaced with a more militant kind of conduct and mindlessness, where no one could be reasoned with and there was no ability to explain myself to others who were accusing me of things. Some ex-members say that it was always that way in COBU, but I would like to note that after about 1991 or 92, or really after Stewart Traill’s claim of repentance and starting over, a more militant spirit took over the church. So, if it was bad before, it got even worse.)

Well, now I am about to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It is about 11:25. I have managed to duck out of life’s treadmill for a little while. I only wish I could enjoy it more. (I know all the reasons why I can’t.)  But, now seeing that it’s 11:25, I realize I could have headed right for the library, or wherever, and taken a whole hour at my leisure. But, the whole time, I figure it’s getting late, I’m wasting time. Somebody will find out about this. So I never really enjoy it anyway.

I just want to enjoy summer a little – but find I can’t. I am sitting here on these steps, but I feel I can’t cut loose from the ties that bind. It doesn’t seem to be “you can’t enjoy anything or find motivation in anything except sin, now that you are older,” but it just seems like there is a long tether on me from the church business and the fellowship, and the idea that I can or could be found out or checked up on.  “Where were you between the hours of…?” It feels like the meter is running. Even though I worked quite a few hours on Sunday. It feels like taking this free time is inexcusable or is stealing from the church. So, it will be around noon by the time I reach the other side of the bridge and I will not have enjoyed anything, will not even enjoy summer. Though I should probably just stop making such a big deal out of it and get on my way. It can’t be true that I didn’t enjoy it at all – or I wouldn’t do it when I get a chance. It’s just that Nirvana is very elusive.

3 p.m.  Buzzing around, not really doing too much. (Bought new Nike running shoes.)

8 p.m.  It’s a nice clear summer day. Oddly enough, a nearly clear sky for the 100 degree weather. Not many big clouds. I was walking down the street looking at the evening sky, as I went with Peter and Paul to Radio Shack and the restaurant. At Radio Shack we looked at scanners, something like looking at Sears Christmas wish book.

(A scanner was a radio that picked up frequencies on all channels, including air traffic. Paul was into this and it seemed like an interesting hobby.)

I would think that, with all my 13 years here, if I had used the little money I had wisely, over a period of time I could have had such things and many more.

(I was saying that if I saved up my small weekly allowance over the years, instead of spending it on coffee and food while working, I might have been able to afford something like this.)

Maybe with that in mind, I will buy a scanner. (I wonder if I will quickly tire of hearing police reports and train dispatches.) When walking back, I thought, “the best things in life are free anyway,” but this is a little unreal and somewhat by default. It’s not like it is my true philosophy of life.

[The reason I could only look forward to enjoying free pleasures was not because I truly believed this, but because I did not have much money as a COBU member, where all the proceeds of my labor went directly to the church, in return for a small place to sleep and some food and a small weekly allowance. (This allowance varied. Sometimes it was 40 dollars. I think around this time it had gone down to 20 dollars.) That allowance mostly went to coffee and food and maybe a pen or some batteries for my little transistor radio. If we worked late, we got five dollars for dinner, so when doing evening jobs, we went to a diner.)

I was in the restaurant with Paul and Peter. We were talking about Woodruff life, about the hours the brothers put in there. They (including the older brothers who go over there, but don’t live there) stay up late and get up early. Jay is saying he is pretty tired these days, and how the brothers can only do this a for little while. Kevin rarely gets up on time with his group anyway.

Earlier, at the job site, somebody mentioned that nine new brothers left today, the high turnover ratio. Jay said we grab just about anybody anyway.

(When we were out gathering new converts, we took in just about any kind of person.)

When they leave, why is it that we always “get it” from Stewart for this anyway? Stewart said we should study why they leave. Peter said we should find groups that do have services and consult them. When I approached Peter a little while later about this, asking him a question about that, he waved his arms wildly in a gesture, half joking, half serious, to get me to shut up, saying something about the intelligentsia, and how we’re not welcome, how we’re asking for trouble.

I had in mind the idea of consulting Times Square Church. I am sure this would be seen by anyone here as absolute anarchy and sedition on my part, to even suggest this. I should keep my mouth shut. I often think we have “spiritual inbreeding.” Our methods, our concentration camp way of life are conducive to recidivism.

(Our way of life was more likely to cause new people to return to their former addictions and habits, rather than being set free and not going back to those things again.)

We should learn from other churches and programs who take people off the streetsAnd maybe we should let people who come to live here have something, such as rooms and money and some dignity or sense of worth. This is a general way of saying it. I think we are scaring people off with our requirement of absolute commitment and our high surveillance. “Those who insist on all or nothing (for others) will have to live with nothing.” (This is from an Encyclopedia Britannica biography on Jonathan Edwards.)

I am probably just a proud arrogant slob. Why aren’t I in there, helping at Woodruff? Well, this is just a record of what I think about. One more body or cog in the wheel at Woodruff probably wouldn’t change anything anyway. You can’t innovate, you have to follow orders and stick to the prescribed format anyway. I would just be another person working at the burnout life there and helping others do it, and giving opinions at the meetings, careful to only say whatever the script is. Innovation, if any, only comes from the top town. Only Stewart has the power to push buttons. But then I worry about my “why weren’t you fully there” dream, so I should be over there anyway. I do take a secret pride that I am not over there at Woodruff, burning out in the useless struggle, and that I have my own secret hideout and so far nobody is bothering me about still being at Red Hook. (Except at the meeting with Brother Stewart, but we were all lumped into the category of 46th Street now.)

I am not too enthusiastic about getting in these working groups or being at Woodruff. But, it is portrayed in terms of you will go to hell if you are not working in a group. (I mean, there is a biblical basis for this. Matthew 25.)

(Matthew chapter 25 has the Parable of the Talents which describes what happens to those who do not invest their talents for God, as opposed to those who do.)

I just wish there was another way to use my talents to serve God than having to be over there. I know I will avoid it with everything that is in my power. I mean, I just know myself, I just know that this is what I will do. I will only go over there if I am made to do it, and not before. I would have to be corralled into it, to the point where, for example, if I said I did not want to go, I would be pushing to be told to leave the church. Or, in the case of having to move to Woodruff, it would come down to going there or leaving, even if it was a private choice and I wasn’t telling anybody about this being on my mind. I really dread having to go back to Woodruff again, for all the usual reasons.

I got off the phone with Kevin (we were talking about a wood floor job). He said, “Do you brothers over there really think it’s God’s will for you to stay at Red Hook?” Me, “Well, I don’t know.” Kevin, “Well, you better decide.” (It was all done in matter of fact tones of voice.) But some pressure is being applied to get us to move there. Better give it up without a fight when the time comes. (Yep, I will probably end up back in Woodruff.) But for sure, though I will keep to “non-resistance,” I will not bring up the subject myself. Yes, the best I can do is some kind of “passive resistance.” Rolling my eyes and filibustering. Stalling for time. Saying I don’t know.

God’s will. What’s God’s will? (It never contains any freedom.)

I told Peter about the phone conversation with Kevin. He said that Kevin is totally not coming from seeking anybody’s good. Then, mocking, in a slave style of voice, he said, “ ’E is jus’ doin’ what da man in da big house is tellin’ him to do.” Peter said, in regard to what is going on in the church (with reference to this and probably in general), that there are things going on here that are beyond his understanding.

I am mentally preparing myself for a move to Woodruff, including such things as selling most of my books. I guess I will never have a bookshelf of my own, or a space to call my own. One must have a place of his own to organize his things and to provide a sense of self. Sure, I might land on my feet in Woodruff a little bit better than you thought I would, but as I hear it, we are supposed to be in little “family” groups, all sharing a room. I guess this includes the very new people (those who have fleas and other bad habits, such as stealing). So we can’t keep any belongings to speak of.

Read the next section of the journal here: A Pressure Cooker Meeting.

(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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