1993, 04/30. Arrogance.

Friday, April 30

2 a.m. Working on the floors at Ariel and Michael’s Restaurant with Paul. As soon as I began using the buffer (and put on a Bible tape in Russian) I immediately got frustrated. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the Bible tape. In fact I find Bible tapes very irritating, like rasping; always distracting. I never get anything out of them. I guess I’m trying to jam some of “the word” into me, but it’s pretty unreal – whether now, or, say, in the office, when somebody will be playing a Bible tape, but I can never listen with undivided attention anyway – so what I hear is a verse here and there, which is somehow supposed to be good for me. You know, somebody will say, “Yeah, that was a really good chapter.” The only thing I seem to get anything out of is reading the Bible in Greek. Of course, you could say that is difficult too.

Well, I probably have an underlying frustration all the time. What did I really do today? I walked around, asleep at the wheel. Stuck some flyers in doors, wandered into the park. None of my needs are tended to in any way and there is no way to go about it either, whether it’s my need for a relationship with a woman or other human desires and needs. It seems I am always like a butterfly pinned on a display, always pinned down. I never think of what to do; or I think, there is nothing I can do. Of course, we are supposed to say, seek your spiritual needs (first, or only, or whatever). But, as far as Matthew 6:33 [Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you], Jesus didn’t say it was, or I didn’t know it was, a law that if I wasn’t seeking him first, I couldn’t have or attain anything. I wonder just how much this “you can’t get anywhere because you are unfaithful” that Stewart tells us is due to the way things really work in life – or if it is just due to how things work here in our “system,” where we are just not going to get anything anyway.

I was walking with [new brother] Robert S. today. He said he didn’t like the part in the meeting where Stewart talked about “deceitful mud.” So I began explaining to him about Adam and the fall and depravity, but it seemed he wasn’t listening or was not capable of understanding. Then Robert said that really, he thinks Brother Stewart is arrogant. (Because Stewart tells us what he wants to say, but doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.) I told Robert there is nothing he can really do about it, after Robert said that he doesn’t get into it though.

[One of Stewart’s constant accusations was that we were arrogant. However, Stewart was extremely arrogant and this new brother was aware of that. I remember once when I was working during the day and thinking about how Stewart was with us. I concluded that he is arrogant. (It wasn’t long ago that he said had repented and starting over again, yet I saw him doing the same things all over again, such as claiming to have special revelation of the Bible, and that he was still harassing us, which he said he was going to stop doing.)

I decided that when I got to the meeting that night, I was going to tell Stewart that he was arrogant. As soon as we assembled, Stewart began lashing into us, telling us that we were arrogant. This was the first time he used the charge of arrogance against us. Suddenly my decision to tell him he was arrogant seemed pointless, because it instead of it being something I wanted to talk to him about, now it would only be seen as me answering his accusations with, “No I’m not arrogant – you are!” It’s interesting how those things happen. Maybe I should have anyway. But I was in such a state of shock, and nailed against the wall with by Stewart’s invective, that I was unable to do anything, because the tables had been turned on me.]

I got back to the shop and ferreted myself into the back room, into Bob D.’s little closet – some brother’s little world, a bed and a pile of messy crates. The only vestige of his life in this world. It’s all pretty weird, isn’t it?

I fell asleep. Then I just hung around the shop and ate and blabbed with some brothers. Of course, always careful to keep myself guarded. There is really nobody I can talk to.

Around eleven, Greg B. started talking to everybody about getting together for a meeting, either here or at Woodruff, receiving the usual reluctant (that is, phony) “into it” speeches and talk in return. Nobody really wants to get together. Everything is protocol and formality, and everybody attempts to show a dry enthusiasm, which everybody seems to accept as evidence that one is both eager and willing to meet together.

Meetings where nothing is decided or acted upon, but are like screenplays, with all parts designated – although one is able to ad lib, though this must always be within the specified and allowable range of words, attitudes and expressions. One can do quite a range of “improvisation,” but always using the same keys and scales and clichéd responses, stringing various sayings and words together. Really, everybody is getting together because Stewart is leaving messages to that effect. So, being prodded from behind, everybody moves forward, acting eager to do that which they wouldn’t do without being pressured into it.

In the office, it’s the same old stuff. Sisters going through their rounds, working near, but separate from the brothers. In fact, though the brothers and sisters are in the same cage, they rarely interact, rarely speak together. Though sometimes there is superficial chatting and business matters being tended to, but everybody just as quickly retires to their appropriate corners. It’s a weird, weird world. Veronica is there in her office. She is very pretty. Thinking about Paul (I am, that is). Why can’t he just marry her? I was telling him today that she is his best choice. That from his actions, obviously she is by far the number one sister he is interested in.

I would very much like to see them married. I think they would make a good couple. It would do both of them a lot of good.

I am about to write my mother a letter. I have been putting it off for a while, not knowing what to write. Also I’m worried that I went a little too far in writing to her about what my life is like here, or maybe should have never opened my mouth. Now what is she going to do?

With reference to my comments above about the brothers and sisters – it’s hard for me to believe that we are the truest and most right church, when I see what the people in it are like. The new brothers in general are derelicted. The relations between the men and women are far gone – extremely weird, and solidified and jelled that way. Somehow, this is the effect of the “right teaching” that Stewart gives us. You know, Stewart says that the basis for marriage has to be really right, or it’s better not to get together at all. He says that other churches are realer than we are in that area. Because they don’t have right teaching, they are “dumber” than we are, but we have no excuse, because we have heard the truth.

[Stewart told us that other churches, they just go ahead and have relationships and marriages, without applying right standards. But they didn’t know any better. They were not blessed with true Bible understanding. We “knew better.” As a result of these artificial standards regarding relationships, we had no relationships.]

Well, those were the buzz words on the subject in Stewart’s old teaching, before he started over. What is it now? I guess he says that there are no marriages because the brothers are unfaithful to Christ and that the sisters’ faithfulness to Christ is very questionable.

I was reading about David Koresh (this is related to the previous comments) and the people who were willing to be loyal to him unto death. This is probably what you have here. At all costs, loyal to Stewart, even if it costs them their lives, even if that only means their “human lives,” since we don’t seem to be induced to follow Stewart down into blazes.

(But I wonder, if it ever got that far, if there still wouldn’t be a loyal core of followers who were blindly obedient at all costs, which when I think of it, is what it comes down to now. We give up our human lives to follow this man and his interpretation of Jesus. Even the words I use, “his interpretation of Jesus,” are all his terms. How do I reason my way out of it, when I am using the very same concepts that Stewart uses to get me into it? Said phrase itself being a copy of something he has said: “You get yourself into it by relying on yourself, so how are you going to get yourself out of it by relying on yourself?” I am really trapped.)

[I was using Stewart concepts to try to reason my way out of Stewart concepts. I realized how trapped I was in that case, because these are all the concepts that led me into being trapped in this way. I needed something from outside of COBU to introduce a new way of looking at what was going on in COBU.]

Or, if I think that I need a viewpoint from outside of this place in order to understand this place, hey, that is just another one of Stewart’s thoughts. Stewart told us about Archimedes, who said give me a point to stand on and I will move the earth. Sure, a lot of other people in other places might think this and that concept existed before we were born, so it may be valid in and of itself, possibly even in relation to this situation – but why do I think of this specifically? (Because Stewart said it.) There are many other things to think about! I can never really get away. Even now, sitting here in this restaurant, all my thoughts are centered on it. I am never too far from a meeting, or from everybody here. I can never get away in my thoughts, or get away for a day; I can never have an elective as far as activities go, or a choice.

Read the next section of the journal here: We Are Not Supposed To Talk To Ex-Members (Except To Bring Them Back To The Fold).


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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