1993, 04/15. Just Tell Them You Were Wrong.

Thursday, April 15

What is going on in this section is that the fire department inspected the warehouse that I and other COBU brothers were living in and told us we couldn’t live there. We got around that by making sure it didn’t look like we lived there. Paul, Peter and I covered the shelves we used as beds in our supply closet with crates and pails of floor finish, so it didn’t look like anyone lived there.

Myself (and Peter, Paul, Rocky and possibly Jay) are still living here in Red Hook. The brothers agree that we should still stay there, at least temporarily.

Andrew asked me if I was being humble “right now.” I took Mom’s advice and just said, “I was wrong.”

[My mother wrote me, advising me that as a temporary defense until I decided if I wanted to leave COBU or not, to answer anyone who asked me anything about what they considered to be wrong behavior by just saying, “I was wrong.” She said that I should not fight with anyone, because there is no point, because no one would listen to anything I had to say.]

Though actually, I said, “It was pride.” This was acceptable. Then Andrew asked me, “Why do you get that way?” After hemming and hawing a bit, part of which was considering what I really think, I just said, “Pride.” To which Andrew said, “Yeah, pride.” So it really is true; it is the only “acceptable” thing to say.

[My mother was right, agreement with other COBU members that my behavior was wrong was the only answer they were going to accept from me. The “wrong behavior” in this case was that I had recently questioned the leader of the group, Stewart Traill.]


I had a dream that I was escaping a flood. In another dream, we were eating at a restaurant. Then I was walking out of the restaurant with some sisters. I was wondering who I was going to walk with. I turned around and saw that Stephanie came out, and we walked alone together for a long time and then sat on a bench and talked. I thought, “I had prayed to be able to do this.” Kathy D. was walking near us. She saw us together, but there was nothing she or anyone could do about it. Then when I was thinking Stephanie was the one I had asked God for, then I realized, no it’s Laura who I asked for!

[In the dream, I was thinking about two younger sisters and there was nothing older sisters could do about it. This dream also reflects how marriage was forbidden in the Church of Bible Understanding and that there were no relationships allowed there either.]

Then, I dreamed I moved to the house I grew up in. My mother and brothers were there. We had all moved there again. I thought, “This was the only time in my life when I was happy,” and, “I remember praying to God that I could come back here.” My prayer had been answered. This is probably reflects the talk I had with Mom on the phone last night.

Kevin is now asking me over the phone if I am being humble. I said I was wrong. This seems to at least temporarily stop it, though Kevin was aware enough to question me about false humility. So I am worried that this will be looked into, but I tell you, it seems like a piece of timely advice, since I am being asked these questions today – right after my mother gave me this advice about how to respond to these questions.

What if I hadn’t been advised to do this? I probably would have said my yelling when the brothers cornered me in the hallway after the meeting wasn’t right, but that what I said at the meeting was true and that I don’t believe everything that goes on here.

Without this advice to just say I was wrong, I probably would have tried to take the so-called objective route and told them what I actually think, which would have just landed me in a peck of trouble, because this is thoroughly unacceptable. So, I gave them what they wanted to hear. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some big scene later, but for sure, if I had stuck to my guns when answering these last two questions, there would have been a minor scene, if not worse, right then and there.

So, it does look like a pathway out. I am slipping through the cracks, though this is not necessarily deceitful. (Though it feels that way, at least at the moment.) It is taking the path of least resistance and I hope I can keep to it. Remember, if I do get “smoked out,” that is, if someone realizes I’m doing this as a way to defend myself,  I can still go right back to saying it’s wrong. Because if I put up resistance, if I am unwilling to bend, I will get snapped and broken.

Of course, this leads to that little doubt: was I wrong then, since it is so easy to admit that I was wrong? Actually it isn’t easy, it’s just that I get some help by doing it – I hate to use the word – as a ploy. But probably a better word is, a way to  diffuse or relax the tension. Time will tell.

There is talk among the brothers of us staying in Red Hook only temporarily. We may be getting lofts and moving into them. (I don’t desire to move to the snake pit!)

I have a night job tonight. I’m not on the day schedule yet. I have anxiety over being questioned about why I didn’t go door to door looking for customers today. But Jay said that probably a lot of brothers are whacked out today because of the move last night, so maybe not much will be expected of me. This seems sane and rational. (So were quite a few of the things Mom said to me last night. On one hand, I thought, she was telling me unreal church teaching [from the worldly, non-COBU church, that is, from blind deceived Christians who didn’t know the truth, because they didn’t have Stewart], but at the same time, I wasn’t able to run to our teaching as a form of refuge [to tell her she was wrong, because her viewpoint was not Stewart’s point of view].)

I wish I could just disappear for a day or two. I feel so hemmed in. Is this the cross that Stewart speaks about, and how God forces us into it? I may never know. Maybe this pressure just has something to do with our communal lifestyle.)

I am at Pine Street (a block over from Wall Street). I am mulling over the things Mom said to me last night. It seems I have considerable less to say to her after my initial ice-breaking letter. Maybe that’s good.

I have some questions as to how to reorganize myself after these recent happenings. (The fire department’s inspection of Red Hook, that is.) With reference to what I said to Stewart and the brothers last Sunday, saying that I was arrogant seems to be helping. I really wouldn’t be able to handle being pushed out or being asked to leave the church, even if I could go to Florida to live with Mom now.

5 p.m.

The Mark of the Bear restaurant job closed, so I’m covered, at least a little, as far as work goes.

[This job closed from my going door to door in the Wall Street area. Now no one could accuse me of not working.]

So, I have some apprehension about where I will be living in the near future. It’s nice being in Red Hook now without the crowds.

[Only a few of us were at the Red Hook Warehouse now. All of the new disciple brothers we had with us moved back to Woodruff Avenue as a result of the first department’s inspection.]

It would be nice to have it as a private residence, but such a thing would probably be too obvious and also not tolerated. So who knows how long this little phase will last. I am still surprised that I lived here a whole year.

So, now with this job closed, I feel free to walk around for a little while without pressure. I walked up to 53rd Street and then on down to the church office, which I have a little apprehension about entering because of my behavior on Sunday. I just plan to say that I was wrong, that I was arrogant, etc.

Also, I don’t plan to make any statements about how I don’t want to move to Woodruff. (This could get me in trouble if it turns out that there is no other place to go.)

Read the next section of the journals here: Others Here Think The Same Thing I Do.


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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