1993, 05/18-19. Under Pressure.
In this section, I was talking about being under constant pressure. At the end of this page there are also notes from the back of my journal book. I had filled this diary and it was time to start another one.
Tuesday, May 18
We are are working on the floors in a house in Port Washington today. I am taking advantage of an opportunity to be alone for a few moments. I just drove the customer to the train station. Now I’m parked on Main Street. I am quite a wreck today.
I am thinking all the usual thoughts, ending with – I need Jesus to save me out of the mess I am in. But I also wonder just how much of this mess I am in is a result of the policies of our church.
(I am wondering if I should just write all this down somewhere.)
It will be a big fight to “stay out of my head” today. If I didn’t have these feelings it wouldn’t be so bad! Like, the work will probably be light and within a short time, the first coat of finish will be down and I can sit on the back porch and read. It’s a nice day, but there are lightning storms in my head. Whenever I get like this, the road gets narrower and narrower and I feel compressed and it starts to seem like there is no way out. It always seems that way, but as I said, today it all seems to be appearing in concentrated form.
What seems to be working on me is this vice grip type thinking and seeing myself in an impasse, both with regard to ever being able to get married and with the intense mental and physical controls in our church, such as the idea that you can’t speak your mind upon penalty of punishment. I feel like somebody has me pinned to the wall and is choking me with their hands. These restraints also cover one’s ability to choose a wife. There is always some sophistry concerning this. It makes life unbearable here.
I was praying with Paul a little. I was getting to the point where maybe I could just do nothing and let Jesus come get me. Since Jesus wants me more than I want him, it seems I should “use” that for my advantage. It always seems to be the other way around. When I pray, I feel like I have to clamor to get to a Jesus who may not be very interested in me, though maybe I could prove myself.
I can’t think, pray, read or do anything really. I cant even pay attention to what Paul is saying or be bothered to listen to him.
Wednesday, May 19 (Waking up at Red Hook.)
Got up very late, at 5 p.m. (Really 5:45 because I read for a while.) But I could use the rest, probably more than I realize. I felt really good and relaxed, drinking coffee while listening to the radio and also browsing a Hebrew textbook. Then I prayed a while. It seemed to be indicated that I should read Hebrews 10:39, which I read in the Matthew Henry Commentary. I thought it was about rejecting the covenant, but it was about having faith and keeping your souls. The first part is a warning, but the second seems to mean, keep it up, keep believing, keep coming to me and praying.
Mrs. Baum (the customer from yesterday) is extremely angry and upset with the job, according to Paul. The finish is bumpy and all the scratches on the floor from the furniture are still there. (There wasn’t too much we could have done, considering it was only a screen and recoat job and also a white floor.) Paul says he will leave it for Kevin to handle. (These days I mostly “hide” behind Paul. He is often my middle man between me and the office, I rarely deal directly with it. Even today, I paged Paul, rather than answer the phone here. I basically had a “phone off the hook” policy in order to get some peace and quiet.)
I feel I should say more about the prayer. I had that feeling I remember from childhood when I lay awake at night sometimes. Could it have been God’s presence back then? I did have a sense of being able to draw near to God today. I need to be able to get away from the usual routines sometimes and today is one of those opportunities, though I don’t know what I will do for the rest of the night. Mainly, I’ll try to straighten up and re-organize and put this finished diary away with the others and start a new one. Well, it certainly has been a good idea to keep my diaries in notehand. Now I don’t agonize over somebody discovering them. I don’t feel as though I better rip them all up.
(I ran out of pages in this diary book and it was time to start another one. I always liked the feeling of starting a new one. The rest of the notes that follow are notes from the last couple of pages of the book. They were quotes, things I read or thought about.)
Notes from the back of this diary:
Heresies that Stewart is teaching:
We are the only church who knows what the true definition of faith is.
Salvation is not a (free) gift
Jesus didn’t die for my sins
We should not believe in or have faith in God’s word
An imaginary dialog:
Brother A: Those are all your thoughts. You must deny your own thoughts, you can’t trust your own thoughts!
Brother B: Really! Do you really think that about me?
Brother A: Yes.
Brother B: Well, you have to deny what you think then!
Thoughts concerning recent move at Red Hook.
Separate and put my less important or useless things somewhere else, or at least in its own crates in case I have to take the good things or winter clothes.
Urgent? I probably should destroy all uncoded writings! I am not entirely sure about this, but I need to consider what will happen if anybody finds them. Why set myself up for trouble? Before, I could keep them hidden in my crates, but now with recent events, they may become accessible to others who I wouldn’t want to have find and read them.
Brother A: Well, there are a lot of imitations of the real thing out there!
Brother B: Yeah, the Moonies are a very close imitation of us.
There has never been a church that completely possessed the whole truth (without errors, etc.) aside from the Apostles themselves. Or, name one that did. So what then – we are it? The Apostles and our church are the only ones who have possessed the complete truth?
The Church and the Family. Our church, that is. Where do families come from? God is the one who originated the idea of the family. You will notice that however much family members fight, they will stick up for one another in times of trouble, lending financial support and help because “we may have our differences, but that’s my brother.” Our church’s view seems to be that all family relationships are false and must be negated for the higher cause.
Jesus said if a man loves family more than me, he is not worthy of me. We seem to turn this into, if a man loves family at all, he is not worthy of Jesus. Stewart mitigates this by saying, “Of course you care for your family, but the way to care about them is by remaining faithful here in this church.” (Not by going to see them, even sometimes.) “Because then they will see your right example of being faithful to Jesus here.” Stewart tells us that this is the only way we can help our families. So this means that our right example from a distance or separated from them is better than seeing them (even sometimes). What about our families seeing our right example of being faithful to Jesus when we’re there, with them?
Sometimes I wonder if the people outside of our church who we talk to can understand us. We have our own language. We are not supposed engage in any “worldly talk” with the new brothers (and they are not supposed to talk this way among themselves either), but we are only supposed to speak about Christian training. But the closers in the church business, when they are talking to customers use a lot of “worldly talk.” How can they not do this? It’s necessary in order to close jobs.
Romans 2 – you the judge are doing the very same thing.
(The closers made small-talk with customers on just about any subject. In order to close work, we couldn’t just talk about work only, because there is the human side of business. This seemed hypocritical, because although conversation about current events, sports, movies, etc., were forbidden among us, in order to function normally with customers, it was often necessary to put on a show of being normal. But often, if church members were speaking about these things among themselves, someone would bring them back in line, with such comments as, “Is this really something we should be talking about?” “Is this talking about Christian training?”)
Stewart is always blaming the older brothers for the problems in our church. Ralph Reed said it best when he said that blaming the Christians for losing the election is like blaming the guys who were shoveling coal on the Titanic.
Stewart’s words from the May 16 meeting: “Apart from God’s mercy, I am condemned. God is choosy about who he has his mercy upon. ‘He has mercy on those who fear him.’ ‘As a Father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him.’ Fear is too unpleasant to consciously accept as a way of life. Yet Jesus said to fear, over and over. Spiritual laziness is refusing to take alarm and to escape and flee and save yourself. Therefore you become too weary to repent. We need to get to the point where we get motivation from knowing we are justified. Of course you can’t when you doubt your own repentance. God intends you to have motivation from being confident that your sins are gone – but you can’t if you are playing games about it.”
I was reading some Christian Science literature, which spoke of Christian Science spirituality, in the sense of: is there any other spirituality, other than Christian Science spirituality? Each of these groups thinks it has the only way, just like we do.
A note I read in Vine’s Greek Dictionary under section about the word rhema was about storing God’s word up in your mind so the Holy Spirit can remind you. My first impression was that this is “churchy” sounding. (I just heard Bob D. talk about having scripture on your mind so that God can speak, obviously repeating something Stewart said. I must watch out for rejecting what Stewart calls standard Christian teachings, or being disdainful of it, as he is! This also shows how I am still a victim to the “Stewart said” mindset, which is: “Stewart said it, so it is true then. So now it’s okay to believe it.”)
It is a real mistake to bring up anything about what Stewart said at the Bible study that could even be marginally considered to be expressing doubts.
On the matter of doubts, my notes of 4/21 are very helpful. About keeping quiet, etc.
Read the next section of the journal here: It Was A Unanimous Vote – Whether They Liked It Or Not.