1993, 03/22. Where Can I Go?

March 22

We’re finishing up the same wood floor job (at Capsuto Freres). When we called the office, they read us the messages from Stewart, which were about depending on God and hanging everything on Him, and about how the older brothers only depend on God as a last resort. Also, that we should be doing a lot of hell Bible studies. 

Also, we’re supposed to have a meeting tonight to see what we can do about rescuing the older brothers out of Red Hook. (I don’t know if I want to be “rescued out of Red Hook,” but of course, I will never say so. I’m not looking forward to going back to Woodruff for all-night grind meetings and getting up at 7 in the morning.)

[Some of us were living communally in a dirty warehouse in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn because we were separated from the others as a punishment, but I preferred this over having to go back to the church’s Woodruff Avenue residence, a four story building in a violent area, and to live in the crowded and noisy conditions there and to be training the “new disciples” there, and staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning in meetings. It was quiet at night in Red Hook, and I could get some sleep, and if we had meetings, we ended them early.]

We are so woven in with the words and “standards” here. One thing for sure is that I am never going to talk my way out of here. I am never going to convince anybody!

I am reading (in the book Cults and the Family) about the signs which show that a group is a cult. It appears that we fit all of them.

[The sleep deprivation I mentioned above is one of these signs.]

I was walking through Brooklyn Heights, looking at the buildings as I went, thinking about how easiy it would be to move out and get a room. Look at the window up there. I could live in just one room. How much could that cost? Where could I find a room? Actually, it wouldn’t be so easy to find.

Yes, I am actually thinking of leaving. The “devil” has got me confused. Actually, it is a very practical thought. It is only what I have been faced with and threatened with for about three years!

[Three years before this, I was threatened with being put out on the street, on the spot, when I stood up at a meeting and confronted Stewart Traill about a few things.  (Confronting one another with the truth, for that person’s good, was something I learned in COBU, from Brother Stewart. And in my thinking, I did not see Stewart as exempt from the policies he preached. If he were going off course and in need of correction, I should do it. I should not fear man. I must serve God! Because Stewart was my brother and this was for his good and for the good of the church!)  

What followed had a life-changing effect on me. The church I was supposed to dedicate my life to and give everything to was willing put me out on the street at a moment’s notice if I had questions, complaints or second thoughts about anything the leader of the church was doing. I never forgot that this happened to me, nor could I forget how it was presented to me so forcefully and in no uncertain terms. Until then I had idealistically believed that the fellowship was of God and that being there was God’s plan for my life, for the rest of my life.]

Now, I am being practical about it. Is there life after COBU?

I need to write in greater detail. I will never be able to write a complete essay, but the least I can do is get everything I think out on paper.

I must also do my own thinking in absolute secrecy. I need to make up my own mind. This may sound like cowardice and it probably is. But, I also want a shield of protection as I formulate my own thoughts. While so, I can’t be drawing any attention to myself, though any forced effort to make me move to Woodruff may cause me to do this. That would be a real crisis point. It is hard to say if I would stick to my guns at that point, or if out of shock and fear, I would just go along with the flow, because I know what I am up against if I resist anything. Yet this is precisely what I hate, that I do that. Calmly complying outwardly, while at the same time my mind is wired. I am all lit up inside.

I know that when I’m out, I will want to see what I wrote.

[After I left the church, I wanted to look back on what I wrote, to be able to see it from a point of view when I was no longer under duress. Then I would be able to understand more clearly what I was writing about. This is interesting, because I was saying that I knew I would not always be there and that I no longer considered living in the Church of Bible Understanding to be my future.]

You can read the next section of the journals here: You Will Always Live In Fear Of COBU And Its Leader.

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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