1993, 03/24. Ignoring the Sisters, Because No One Gets Married Here Anyway.

In this section, I was talking about one of the ways I coped with how relationships and marriage were forbidden in the Church of Bible Understanding. I often avoided talking to the sisters.

March 24

I ended up staying at the office last night, because our ride never came. Paul told me this morning that there was trouble at Red Hook last night because Robert S. [a new convert]  was “threatening violence.” He also said, “Where were you? Thanks to your older brother late night meetings.” Paul and Skylar had to deal with Robert and whatever else alone. When I told Peter about this he said that finally, Paul had to do something himself. But both of us agreed that we sweep up these ones because we need them. (Paul said, “Year after year, we sweep up these ones.”)

This concurs with something I was saying on tape yesterday, about how we tell people that they need us (though we tell them they need this way or that they need Christ – as for Christ, they certainly do need him). But really, we need them. We need them to work for us and also more likely, for us to do a work on and through. For things like: to vindicate ourselves through work (on them) and to save ourselves. Possibly also, the older brothers hope that if we had a lot of new brothers that we could be busy helping them and laying down our lives for them, thereby keeping the old man off our backs.

[Because we’re being faithful to the program now – which involved bringing in a lot of new people to train to live in and work for the church. If we did this, maybe Stewart would lay off us for a while, seeing that we were now being faithful and carrying out his directives.]

Some of our motivation for doing these supposedly good works is pretty weird. It’s coming from a weird place and it is certainly more self-serving than serving any needs that they have, as possibily shown by the proof that we rope and tie them up and don’t allow them to leave or to have liberties and that we make them work in the church business as much as possible. (Which by the way, is part of their Christian Training. I remember Stewart saying “What are you calling your training?” to the new brother who said that he worked too much and didn’t have time to do his Christian Training)

It seems that I was the one who cracked the windshield of the silver Dodge van by putting a roll carpet up to the windshield when I loaded it into the back of the van.

I was upstairs in the office at 46th Street doing my unreal acting with some new brothers. I am trying to be alone as much as I can today.

I looked into M.’s face as she was talking to me. There is something alluring and beautiful about her face. This is not a wrong thing. I mean, not fantasizing, but the actual thing, is normal. I have normal, though unfulfilled, desires.

Well, I should probably go with somebody the rest of the day.

At the office:

Everybody at the office is so, so serious.

I am orking on 10 hell Bible studies, not because I want to read them, but because somebody will, or may, ask me if I did them or not. What motivation.

There are women here in the office, but I can’t have anything to do with them. M. is my current favorite, but, who knows, nothing will ever come of it. Besides, I think God may be showing me about a different sister.

I probably will go with Paul to the diner and then go to hang out on his job for a while. I exchanged a few glances with Becky, but I keep myself so closely guarded. I know. She knows, I would suppose. I really want a woman. I really know I can’t have one. This is always the forbidden fruit. Go ahead, try to talk with her – the unseen rod cracks over my head.

I’ve got a lot on my mind. I would like to write and write.

I just drove some sisters down to West 4th Street in a van. Becky sat next to me, but I had nothing to do with her and only responded to her request to roll the window down because of exhaust fumes. (She asked if there were fumes and I said yes.) I sat next to her in perfect silence and made no attempt to interact with her. Neither did she, unless that was it. I think of how, in times past, I would have tried to make the most of such an opportunity, but no more.

Sure, I guess it’s a relief not to try anymore and maybe my silence is a more profound statement than all those attempts I used to make to try to start something with her. It’s a relief to give up trying, comparatively speaking, but this is not as I wish it to be. To say that I had satisfaction just in being next to her (without struggling to start something) might be overdoing it – or that I had a sense of revenge by not speaking…well. But maybe there is a peace in being detached and just not bothering. But, in my attempt to write this down, I see how it’s pretty weird.

Kathryn made a suggestion, like giving me a tip, that I should use the same concentration I use when I study foreign languages and apply that to my Christian Training. It was nice, tactful – but also pretty weird. Maybe she was afraid to say anything to me.

I’m now at the restaurant with Paul and Pablo. Paul is talking on a variety of subjects: how it has been in Red Hook over the past year, old times in the fellowship [what was for Paul, the good old days in the church], a Chuck Colson book.

[This was a common idea from ones who had been members of COBU a long time ago, when it was a dynamic and growing part of the Jesus Movement, albeit a bit on the fringe. They looked back on their early days in the Church of Bible Understanding – then called the Forever Family – and said that these had been good times in the church.  There were thousands of defectors who left the church during those “good times,” who thought otherwise.]

The next section of the journals is here: The Issue Is: “I Am Not A Slave,” vs. “Yes You Are.”

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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