Tag Archive | COBU

More C.O.B.U. cult abuse….from another former member…


JEFF ALGE’S STORY

Here is a little more of my story . Use it on your site if you like.

I became convinced that C.O.B.U. was a cult in 96. In fact the then members themselves had been calling it a cult as did Stewart (very shrewd) .

Before then I believed it was the only place I could be truly faithful . I had lived in “Fellowship ” from 76 to about 84 and had been on my own without any contact with C.O.B.U. for 12 years .

During those 12 years I worked with my two brothers as a recording engineer in New York and LA making records in the music business. I worked with a lot of big stars and made Grammy Awarded and Platinum Records .

I always thought one day I would return to C.O.B.U and the Church would be flourishing and members would welcome me back. I had an idealized idea of how things would be if I returned . I finally got enough courage to call. No one seemed to care .

I sent faxes everyday for a month or so begging a brother to call me or write or anything. I was expecting them to be happy to hear from me and to reach out . Finally Stewart got a hold of a fax I had written and told Kevin Brown to call me . I went to NY from LA to visit my family .

While I was there I spent a couple weeks working with Kevin Brown at Olde Good Things while it was in its infancy. I had hoped that ” maybe I could help rebuild the Church and get it back on track.

Kevin had me set up a website for Olde Good Things and Stewart seemed interested in having me work with him in a Nagra rental business because after I left I became a very well known recording engineer in NY and LA ( Nagras are a special tape recorded used in film production that Stewart collects). After a couple of weeks I was asked to attend a meeting with Stewart and a group of brothers at the first ” Christian Fellowship Meeting” about rebuilding the Church and escaping the cult.

After I spoke to Stewart on the phone about some things that went on between myself and Kevin Brown . Kevin had said he didnt trust me . I told him ” what was there not to trust “?. I came on my own ticket and worked for nothing . I used my own money to pay for my needs and drove a truck for the business for about 2 weeks . I also did a ton of manual labor ( about 16 hours a day for 2 weeks ) . All the usual C.O.B.U. stuff. It was a gift to him and the rest .

I viewed Kevin as being ungrateful and manipulative . He never acted kindly toward me . The rest of the members were like zombies. Painfully unkind to one another . After that I returned home to LA. I had had enough .

I received what seemed like a hundred phone calls from the brothers who had been chosen to be in “The Christian Fellowship” badgering me to move in or return to Jesus once I got home. I just stopped answering them. I had been talking to my family the whole time.

My mom is a believer and she knew I needed to go through this . I just couldnt handle the unkindness and unrealness anymore. I did suffer a lot of guilt about not “Helping rebuild the Church” as Stewart had put it .

I began drinking and using drugs and fell into a deep depression which lasted a couple of years during which I gave up my career and moved to Jackson Hole Wyoming to live with my sister. I began to be a hopeless alchoholic and one morning decided I didnt want to continue living. I got a phone call from my sister and told her I was going to kill myself. She introduced me to a friend who got me into A.A.

I have been clean and sober for seven and a half years now . During that time I have studied Stewart and C.O.B.U. looking for answers to what happen to me. I found out about Stewart and his half wife relationships . I found I.R.S. statements that contradicted what I know to be fact .

I found a very troubling court document about an auto accident Gayle had in the islands and some insurance scam . I found a lot of solicitations for donations of aircraft mechanics time and services. I found the stories of Jim Enright who I lived with for a while , and much of the other info available on the web.

It all has lead me to believe what I already knew but didn’t want to except. The group is a naively deluded bunch of followers of a sick and deluded man .

Living in the Jackson Hole area I have a unique insight into this type of group. I live in an area that until recently was almost entirely Mormon.

While investigating C.O.B.U. I found a lot out about this group . Many of my neighbors are members. It is the largest cult in america . It is scary how they naively follow the “prophet Joseph Smith ” without even a shred of evidence to support his claims of having been delivered another testament to Jesus . I understand though. They believe they are the only true Church with a restored gospel . It all is strangely familiiar to me .

All of this said , I have found it very helpful to speak openly about my experience with C. O.B.U. If you think it would be helpful please use this e-mail on your website or forward it to others who you think might find it usefull.

You can also use and distribute my e-mail address .

I only hope you and I can get past all our anger at what has happened to us as a result of C.O.B.U. and invest our God given talents wisely and fruitfully. As for Stewart , He is going to get exactly what he deserves very soon

I do not think much can be done for current members until each member gets sick and tired of being sick and tired and used by Stewart . But once they leave having some resources available like a site with the stories of ex members is very valuable .

My hope for all ex and current COBUs is that we can find true peace and be free of the oppressive and unnecessary guilt and shame .

I believe Jesus is quoted as having said something like ” I did not come to condemn the world , but to save it ”

Love to all , Jeff Alge
jta@tetontel.com

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Forever Family…. became COBU…then turned to a cult..:(


Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 07:10:35 -0000 
       

When I met the Forever Family, it was through Barbara. She began to
work at my company and noticed I was reading a bible at lunch. She
offered to share bible study with me and invited me to her fellowship
near the Staten Island Ferry.
I was already saved but struggling to get my former fiancé saved, before our
upcoming, planned already marriage.
Once evening after work, I accompanied her to their meager
fellowship, was given a folding chair, [one of the only ones they had]
as they all sat around on the floor exchanging ‘nuggies’ and waiting
to go out witnessing for the evening. I was impressed by their fervor
and dedication to Jesus. They did not invite or persuade me to move
in. They were just into witnessing and bible studies. Everything else
was insignificant.

They spoke of ‘center meetings’ on weekends and that they had
a ‘center leader’ named Dave Rizetto, who knew allot of the bible.
They invited me to a meeting and I went.

At the center meeting, several groups of people arrived, notably
young and all got together to pray in the spirit and fellowship,
mostly in the word. This too impressed me and was sincere. Then they
got together and had some group bible study, still very good and
wholesome. When the fellowships were like this, they were GOOD…each
fellowship was independently ‘owned and operated’…

People were getting saved. They did not push you/me to move in, just
emphasized allot that I should come over more for bible studies and
to go out witnessing. This was great. I wanted to learn how to
witness better. I used to just give out tracts and bibles and invite
people to come to church. I wanted to get a ‘copy of a sinners
prayer’ and try to lead some one to Jesus.  I went over to the
fellowship more and more frequently.

Then one day, Barbara came to work with the bad news! Some one who
didn’t like the group of communers- set the fellowship on fire while
they were out witnessing! I was horrified and invited them to move
into my house.  My house was actually too small, but they told me
that they found a big house and since they had no furniture etc, that
perhaps I would consider moving in with them…  was supposed to be 
getting married the following month, so I thought why not. I wanted to
get my boyfriend saved and perhaps, by moving there, he would get
saved.

I moved in with them. My boyfriend came around daily. He did get
saved but wanted me to leave the fellowship. By that time I learned
that it still wouldn’t be right to just marry him as a newly saved. I
was told he needed to learn more about Jesus so that it would be
better to put off the wedding. He became angry with me and
threatened to beat up the fellowship leader, John Bevilaqua. This
didn’t happen but came close. I agreed to move to the Wilmington
Delaware fellowship to distance myself from my boyfriend. I was told
that if it were meant to be that Jesus would bring us together at the
right time.  I started to consider that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be,
so I focused on the Forever family and learning to please Jesus.

At about that time, Stewart had broken up with Shirley. Changes began
to take place. Each house still paid it’s own bills through full or
part-time jobs we each got and we gave a donation to the Center leader
who in turn gave it to Stewart.

We still handled our own money and gave in a donation for the house
bills, usually around $35- $50- per week
each. Each person paid for his or her own food. Sharing was discouraged as
some new people would join and not look for work. If you don’t work
you don’t eat, was the way it was. This bothered me, as I noticed that
if you were visiting a fellowship and had no money or food with you,
no one usually would even offer! When I asked about it, at a few
different fellowships, I was told that the physical food wasn’t the
big deal and that I should ‘get off my mother trip’. They made fun of
me frequently for worrying whether everyone ate or not.

This gradually changed, beginning in Wilmington. I would buy extra
food and I started making meals and offering to whom ever wanted it.
Others started to share too. Ernie Bencak was the leader and a truly
nice guy.

The food stinginess at early fellowships was the only fault I found
with the Forever Family! This changed though as when I began to
share, slowly others did too. After a while it became common to share
but I was still accused of being on a “Mother Trip”. I didn’t mind,
I just was a ‘literal Christian’ when I joined and felt the physical
was important too, as they were mostly into what they perceived to be
the spiritual, and ready to surrender all!
**********************************************************************

At this point in time, there were communes all over. The early FF’ers
were known to ‘rescue’ some from the COG’s and Moonies, and try to
rescue HareKrshna’s too, along with runaway kids and homeless. The
fellowships grew because many left their, then sinful lifestyles,
and moved right in.  Some were hippies or on the fringe of being
hippies. Others just wanted to opt-out of their sinful worldly
lifestyle into a pure sin free environment. And it was just that, for
a time.
Gradually as it grew, more elements were added, a biggy was, the
kiddies were growing up…urges..relationships developing…remaining
sin free…remaining celibate…co-ed sleeping in rooms, was heading
towards a problem, which didn’t occur!

I have never heard of a pregnancy started in the FF/Cobu out of wedlock. That made them
better than the Cog’s or Moonies! Frequently moving around from one
fellowship to another meant unemployment issues. Stewart was a vac
repairman and sold rebuilts at flee markets. He taught some of the
center leaders to do the same. They in turn taught some of the guys
to do it too. Girls often worked office jobs, waitresses, house
cleaners, baby sitters, and so on so we all just chipped in and paid
the bills.

As the fellowships got bigger. The centers grew. Stewart originally
was dragging his entire family around in the beginning to do bible
studies every so many weeks or month.

Then we started to rent larger
places and have Big Meetings. the bigger we got the further he had to
drive.

So, it was no surprise that we started giving Stewart more and
more money and then small plane to get around in and then his wife
would stay home with the kids.

Then after Debbie Tobias left,
different girls used to help with writing out the file cards. Stewart
was using a mini tape recorder to save all the ideas he was getting.

And then came along Gayle- no father and young, 18-19. She babysat for
the Traills sometimes and now got promoted to secretary for Stewart.
The rest of that is history. That is also where some think Stewart SOLD OUT TO
THE DEVIL! AND began the larger scale exploitation of the willing!
“Do it for Jesus!” [the death of a fellowship!] The taking into
captivity! Many left….God help those who remained!!!!
**********************************************************************

To realize the truth of the CobuCult, it took me 5 years to stop
defending it! We were programmed and the good was there to justify
the bad! The good was allowed there to cover up the bad! The good
were there as a front for the workings of Satan through Stewart and
his few henchmen! Stewart needed to lure and entice a certain amount
of True Believers to pull off his scam!!! We, who loved Jesus, were
being used to make Cobu look noble and worthwhile! We breathed the
life into that monster…

If that wasn’t bad enough, we were abused continually by Stewart and
his assigned henchmen and ‘punished’ for loving Jesus and
subconsciously Stewart was embedding the blame on Jesus in our
minds, so he could finish destroying us even after we left the cult!!!

Stewart had help from heavy hitting ‘demons’ to accomplish so
dastardly a deed! I hate watching WW2 movies about Hitler. Hitler
had demons too!

So did the late Saddam Hussein, and many who place little or
no value on human life as long as they could extract gain for
themselves and power! They all possess a ‘spirit of antichrist’.

***********************************************************************

He mixed the members according to the concept  of ‘sheep with the goats’ and started to bring all/us in small groups to the slaughterhouse.  Then he mixed in pigs and
horses and fed us all slops! Then he had different’ lords over us’-
little  loyal members who were ‘like lions’ to nip and bit and cull out the ‘unconverted ones’.

The ‘converts’ Stewart wanted were thosee mindless enough, who ate what he
offered them not knowing he is/was only poisoning the ones who were
bringing himdelf more  gain, planning on replacing as they/we/us wore out or
left!…

He only pretend/s/ed to be a Christian brothers fellowship! Although many of us  are physically free from being there- we still have little mental time bombs planted in side and/or around   us that need to be deactivated!   Those parting shots from Stewart / or those he delegated to deliver the messages of doom to anyone who leaves the cult.
Those parting  shots to give us to self destruct!
Those time bombs are demonic oppression that hits us each in similar /or different ways, some are; Spirits of:
depression, suicidal, anger, fatigue, confusion, mental disorders,
infirmities, bitterness, religious spirits, frustration, contempt,
hatred, pride, lying, stealing, homosexuality, promiscuity, Eve,
Jezebel, bitterness, envy, treachery, mocking, witchcraft
unforgiveness, jealousy, strife, self-mutilation,
self-gratification, even spirits of murder, if only in our hearts!

Stewart is still succeeding in robbing the joy of loving Jesus out of
our lives if any of these demonic forces have any victory in and
around our lives.

I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, if any of you are suffering and search your hearts for any of the feelings associated with any of the above mentioned, do not be
deceived!

Pray, get help both spiritual and mental health, to have some one pray with you!

Surrender it all to Jesus and remember again your creator as in the days of your
youth!

God is not mocked, but wants to heal and hold any and all of us that
have any bondage in any of those areas, he will deliver! All who call
upon the name of the Lord will be saved…
********************************************************************
My indignation remains over the ones who left and could not attain a
right relationship with Jesus due to the distortion of the truth
injected into their minds by the cobu/via Stewarts teaching and the
way he had his henchmen apply those teachings to the receivers.
The pain he has caused, and the ones he has  turned away from God as
a result! I pray for those who haven’t found their way back to Jesus
yet and that Jesus carries them back into his sheepfold!
God bless you all!Ave

There is a way that seems right to a man, BUT….


Proverbs:[1:17] For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird;

Looking back over my life  I see that we have free choice but ultimately are lured and enticed by our own desires over shadowed by our commitments made both humanly and spiritually.

Passage 1 John 3:20:
20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Put Jesus first is the ideal but we can be side tracked or deceived when first starting out on our Christian walk and there are pitfalls along the way.

Proverbs 12:15 NIVRead this chapter
The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 14:12 NIVRead this chapter
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

[Twice emphasized in the bible]

Proverbs 16:25 NIVRead this chapter
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death

In some ways it is like we really run very little in life as we are influenced and controlled by our circumstances, thoughts and peoples reactions to and about us. Sometimes it makes that movie the Matrix have more meaning to me concerning the reality we all live in…

We can be self deceptive and thinking we are doing God a service when in fact the devil is laying out the red carpet to our destruction….we just have to follow the yellow brick road, off to see the wizard, but then the reality hits and we become trapped by circumstance forced to make decisions we wouldn’t make otherwise. Still sometimes we get lucky.{?}

Titus 1:10 NIVRead this chapter
For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.

I am reminded of ” Be-watchful, your adversary the devil walks to and fro on the earth seeking whom he may devour…’ or onto another thought…how does this lion seek us out and lay that snare before the Fowler?

Chapter
Book

1 PETER 5:8: Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.

How can we know we are on the right path and know when it is the Holy  Spirit guiding or a religious spirit drawing us away? some thoughts ensue..

“A little birdie told me”…..a saying  even referred to in the Bible as a lying spirit…

1Kings 22:22 NIVRead this chapter
” ‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. ” ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. ” ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

1 Kings 22:23 NIVRead this chapter
“So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”

2 Chronicles 18:21 NIVRead this chapter
” ‘I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. ” ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

2 Chronicles 18:22 NIVRead this chapter
“So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”

So bearing in mind that the battleground we face unceasingly is our own minds…these spirits are very clever in suggesting things that will appeal to our flesh, especially if we are estranged from God.

1 Kings 22:22 NIVRead this chapter
” ‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. ” ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. ” ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

2 Chronicles 18:21 NIVRead this chapter
” ‘I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. ” ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

But with that in mind, I know better now than I did when I was young. Hindsight is 20-20 so now I can look back and honestly recount my time in COBU. I am wondering how many others may have been deceived as I was and perhaps walked in my shoes at one time or another and at what stop they got off the train and re-entered life…and then what happened to them in that ‘life’ and where they are at as a  result.

It is my hope and prayer that all have found their way back to living in right relationship with Jesus, no matter how hard or easy their lives had become.

I am picking this story up around Christmas of 1975 onward while I was already in COBU for 8-9 months and had moved several times breaking off family and familial ties in NYC…

The way I saw it back in the day,  was that rumors went out that Stewart was  going to marry Gayle after his divorce was final to Shirley and that he planned on getting into a Marriage Bible Study that was going to redefine marriage and it was promising that even divorced  people can remarry.

Although most of the fellowship was perhaps still too young to want to be married,  I welcomed that news. I was older already older than most Center Leaders and most of them were already married. I had left my fiance  just before my wedding  when I joined the FF and was told that as soon as I grew in Jesus that I could get married to an older brother in the Lord .
I cor 7:2: But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

So after Stewart’s  announcement I started to look around the fellowships to see if there were any older brothers that would be available.

Paul Davis had been somewhat promised to Millie Brocco but they had broken up before I met either. I was friendly with Millie and since she was an older sister  I asked her how would I go about meeting an older brother without seeming like I was getting into the flesh.  It was also important not to be a ‘tank’ in those days.

She had told me that all I had to do was to tell a brother  I was interested and that if he shared the feeling, then it could be made known and if it was Jesus’s will that it would happen. Sounded simple enough. There were a few brothers that I considered but they didnt seem like good choices so I just began working harder in fellowship and became a group leader.

Jim was in his early 30’s and a group leader in Pine St.,   and seemed  to be working really hard to become a Center Leader, so he seemed like a  very good prospect  to me early on .He had been in the FF for a few years, a   fellowship leader in Reading and a few other places, was more mature than most of the brothers and if ever there would be someone in fellowship that I wanted to spend my life with it would be him. He struck me as being someone that could surpass Stewart in his bible knowledge. He seemed so spiritual  to me .

1 cor 7:28: But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.

He also seemed to be a Christian version of the man I left behind at the altar when I joined the FF. I thought he was everything I was looking for in a man, so I hoped that someday Jesus would work out a way that we could be together.

Meanwhile I knew that I had to become the best I could be as a Christian and worked and witnessed hard, helped around the fellowship as much as possible.  I thought if I channeled all my energies into pleasing Jesus that eventually all my dreams would also come true, but knew that my wants were secondary and serving Jesus came first .

Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

I wanted things to be the right way but secretly liking Jim gave me a vision of hope for the future. I was older than most of the girls in fellowship  and he was older than the other brothers, so who knows someday Jesus could have him ask me to marry him and I would be ready! or so I thought.

WE were just friends as he told me ,of a bad divorce he went through and how bummed he was that he hadn’t been able to see his daughter since she was seven. I felt bad for him yet very attracted to him. When talking to him once, he told me he liked JoAnn Donahoe, so my hopes were dashed. He asked me to tell her he was interested in her and so I did. She went out with him briefly and then later  left fellowship to go to Texas to see her dad. She later left  Cobu, but came back to Phili and joined a regular church.

The day came when Rem had to tell us something from Stewart. It was no longer a rumor. He announced that he was doing a study on marriage and someday would reveal it to us. He also said that since Shirley had done all that she did over the past several months that she was like Queen Vashti when she refused to come to the 1000 Meeting last July and that  he now needed to replace her and place his own house in order so he could be a right shepherd to the flock.

Not surprising the Queen Ester of his choice was Gayle, [rumor had it out earlier]the same 19 yr old girl that accompanied him alone once he started flying the new fellowship airplane. It was said it was too small for his family so he would leave Shirley  home with the kids and fly off with Gayle to the various fellowships.  Shirley even accused him of messing around with Gayle and this disturbed some of the Center leaders and older  of the fellowship that were not so naive.

PV 18:1: He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment.

Soon after the announcement, Rem left shockingly, using  the rent money collected from everyone at Pine St and hopped a plane to California .He was one of the first ‘originals’ to leave.

Stewart made a fuss about it and that he was going to get Rem to come back. they took up a collection at the next Big Meeting so Stewart could go and talk to Rem and bring him home.We all missed Rem. He was a good leader.

This left Phili with no Center leader so at Pine St., Jim stepped in unofficially and we all worked together to keep it together until Stewart sent in a new Center Leader from Detroit. who was a hardliner, loyal to Stewart and the fellowship was getting pretty shook up when he came to town. He had clashes with Jim shortly after his arrival and Jim left. I disliked how this guy ‘ disciplined ‘his baby daughter.Many in fellowships spanked their children excessively and he was one of them.I stood up to him one time and he told me to mind my own business.

Stewart visited that month and came down to the kitchen area one night while I was up and reading and was actually cordial to me and  asking me what I was reading and what I thought about it. I told him. Then he asked me about why was I making large pots of food for everyone. He had heard I was on a sort of “Mother trip”. Dave Rizzetto used to ask me that when I was in NYC. Rem on the other hand never thought anything of it or at least wouldn’t ask me in the kind of  tones  Stewart used, but then he agreed it was a ‘good idea’.

PV 1:14: throw in your lot among us, we will all have one purse” —

Although Jim  left the commune he stayed  in touch. WE received an another announcement from Stewart. We were to turn in our salaries so we could take advantage of the new tax exemption we received when renaming the church.

WE would then have one person buy food in bulk and everyone would benefit. Once the money started rolling in,they started buying warehouses and said that we would renovate them and live in them.

They closed the Center City fellowship and we had to move to surrounding fellowships. I had some lambs in South Phili, a married couple who owned and store and the wife needed help running the store since she was having a baby soon.They had a small studio apt in the back of the store and offered it to me in exchange for working there. Since CC was closed and I had some furniture that I brought when I moved into the FF, I accepted and moved in. It was a mini fellowship and yet big enough to hold bible studies.

Terry Allen a young lamb, came with me as she was one of Jim’s lambs that I was looking after at the time. She stayed overnight a few times but then went to Upper Darby . She had asked one time to see Jim again. She knew where he lived and her way around Phili, so I took her there one afternoon. We had a nice visit and tried to persuade him to come back to fellowship. He was hanging out with Mike Romanoski who also left the fellowship. He warned me that the COBU was getting out of hand and that I’d be better off severing ties. I gave him my address and told him that he and Mike were welcome to come over any time and also about the Saturday night meetings in Camden. I told them that  things were changing in COBU and will be getting better.

I didn’t have a phone but had use of the one in the front store  for quick calls to the Camden headquarters fellowship  while working to give and get updates and arrange for rides to the Saturday night Center Meetings..

My boss’s wife was soon to give birth and so I was on my own with the store. It was a small corner convenient store, sparsely stocked but had a game room and young people came to shoot pool. It gave me a a chance to witness while working. The place had potential for spiritual growth.I had lambs meet there on Saturday evenings and COBU would send a van to pick us all up to go to the Center Meeting now being held in a dingy dirty old warehouse in Camden.

At one such Meeting, the new Center Leader from Detroit commenced imparting Stewart’s new rules which included no longer trusting older brothers and sisters and that all older brothers and sisters were no right with God so they were making changes and sending them to this place in NYC referred to at the time as the PIT make them crucify their flesh, saying that all had become too comfortable and not as on fire for Jesus as they once may have been and that we all needed to be retrained.

This was very disturbing not only to me, but to my lambs who began defending me and some others and saying that we all shouldn’t be judged without being heard. He was saying how the fellowship  leaders were backslidden and needed to go to MTC or the PIT.  He quickly countered that to have such support belonged to no one other than Stewart and that proved why the lambs needed to be shown not to trust any fellowship leaders. I was a group leader but they hadn’t sunk to that level yet of forced compliance to go. hey were trying to sell the NYC location saying it was going to also be for training those faithful to better be able to serve Jesus, but that the older ones were going to be separated till they were retrained and could be made trustworthy.

When we were on our way back home several new lambs told me that they didn’t want to go back to the warehouse for meetings but wanted to remain saved.  Some said they weren’t able to relocate to NYC and that they wanted to know if they could remain faithful in any Phili area churches, so I contacted some youth ministers and found churches they could go to check out and gave them the contact info.

They didn’t like the Center Leader’s message and that we should all go to see Stewart , that he couldn’t possibly have sent out such an order since it was not biblical. We thought this new leader was a megalomaniac and that it was him and not Stewart making all the sudden changes. We were still giving Stewart the benefit of the doubt and hoped to reclaim the Phili Center which had been in upheaval since Rem left. We didn’t realize that this Center Leader was only following orders .

I got a call at work that this leader wanted to see me and talk to me. I thought that maybe this was going to be a chance to talk things out and perhaps come to an understanding . He sent over a man & wife & children, the former fellowship leader of Atlantic City to bring me to Camden.This former fellowship leader didn’t want to move into the Camden warehouse. It was discussed between them before bringing me that they could get me to take their place and move into my apartment.

When we arrived in Camden the C Leader informed me that there was a decision made that my mini-fellowship was doing well enough but that I was needed to move to the Camden warehouse. I told them that I couldn’t since my boss was about to have a baby and I was obligated to stay where I was since that was also my job and home. He told me that this F leader and wife  could take my job and apt over and that the obligations I made would be met by them instead of me. I told them that I had to think about it as I didn’t want to go to the warehouse and pointed out that when I among several others were left to fend for ourselves as homeless when he closed the Pine St. Center City fellowship we had shared together. I said it wasn’t fair that what I had to go and work for on my own be taken away from me  and that it wasn’t biblical either. He then got mad and told me that I didn’t have to move into the warehouse in Camden, that instead I was now having to go to the PIT , the following morning.  I refused and said I was going to keep my apartment and my job and that they were my lambs not his… He said they were Jesus lambs and not mine~!

He then told the the AC fellowship leader and family to leave and go to my apartment that he would take care of everything. I was forced to stay in Camden while everything I owned was back at my apartment! He stopped talking at me and went to bed. I sat up for hours on the front steps, devastated , penniless and wondering what to do. It took all the strength I could muster to walk away. I didn’t even know my way around Camden or how to get back to S.Phili to my apartment, but finally all I could hear in my mind was ,”Rise and walk!”… so I did.It was fearful, late at night, my mind was racing, that this was rebellion and therefore witchcraft… that even if I was right, I was wrong for leaving… I was turmoil as I wandered the streets of Camden.

A police car stopped me since I was alone and it was so late at night, asking me where I was going and I told them back to S.Phili but I had no money for a bus or train since I was brought by car and didn’t know my way home. They gave me a ride and began questioning me about the COBU saying that had all sorts of reports on them about kidnapping and brainwashing. I told them that was not so and defended it with the exception of some people  like this c Leader which to me at least supported my deluded concept that there was no brainwashing going on at the time because people could still think and decide for themselves, just as I did by leaving. They let me go and placed me on a train that went to Center City. From there I walked down to S Carpenter St to my apt.

It was about 2am and I arrived home. My door was locked so I knocked. Rick[the fellowship leader from AC] answered my door but wouldn’t open it. It was the middle of the night, dangerous for me to be outdoors but still , he told me to ‘go away’ and that I was not welcome there!

I couldn’t believe it. He was in my apartment locking me out. After  I repeatedly knocked and he kept telling me to leave and go to NYC , I called the police and my landlord.

Rick told the police that I was backslidden and rebelling and that I  belonged in NYC and that this was now his apt that Bob, the C Leader told him so.

The police verified with my landlord that it was my apt and told Rick they didn’t care what my religious beliefs were, that they were there to settle our dispute over the apt.

Rick  still  insisted then that it was his as he and his family were living there and his children were fast asleep inside. Janice his wife stood by silently as he was in control not her.

I told the police that I could prove it was my apt and proceeded to show them all my belongings in there and that if it wasn’t my apt then why would pictures of me and my family and my clothes be there! The police looked around and saw that even my twin folding bed was obviously not big enough for 2 people and that all the surroundings were that of a woman with no signs of things that belonged to a man or children.

The police told Rick they didn’t believe him and asked me what I wanted to do since this had something to do with my religious leaders.

I said that Rick wasn’t my leader nor was Bob and that I cant trust either, told Janet I was sorry but she was going to have to take their children and they had to leave.

Rick pleaded with the police saying that they had no where to go and that they needed to stay and that the C Leader  would come in the morning and straighten it all out . The police said it was up to me and I felt sorry for the children  but had to tell them to go back to Camden, that they couldn’t stay with me, after locking me out and lying to the Police.

I told Rick they shouldnt have any trouble getting into the Camden fellowship as the door was unlocked.

I knew that with Police involved I had burned a bridge . I was sickened by everything that took place. I called Jim H and told him he was right about them and what they did overnight. He said not to worry that he would get a hold of Mike and they would be right over. They came and we talked all day. They were trying to show me that I could still serve Jesus but didn’t have to do it in the COBU and that the COBU  had changed for the worse and was not biblical anymore.I told them I wasn’t sure if Stewart was behind it or not since Bob the C Leader was so maniacal, I needed further proof and that  it meant going to NYC and finding out for myself. They said they would come along if I was going to Stewart.

We all agreed to go to the upcoming Big Meeting that was going to be held in NYC  a week later in July of 76. I stayed in contact with the Center Leader in Camden giving him the names and addresses of those who needed to be picked up at places other than my apartment/mini fellowship.  I told him that before considering moving to NYC  I needed to see what I was getting into or not.

I also told him that I got Jim and Mike Romanoski to agree to come to the Big Meeting and they came over at the specified time.We had no address as to where this BIG meeting was taking place but waited for the fellowship van to come so we could convoy with them. They never showed up and we had no way to get to the Big Meeting. Mike left and went home and Jim said he wanted to go to the Bicentennial Parade. Another girl with us Mary came along but left us at the parade. the Phil Bicentennial parade was the most talked about in the nation. It was huge! We did some witnessing and headed back to the apt. Jim brought his stereo and said that it was OK to listen to music and that since we were  out of the COBU we needed to realize that allot of things were OK and not sin or indulging in the flesh. I was not sure but started to realize just how many self restrictions I was willingly living under and in fact as the days passed just how enslaving those restrictions were.

Several days later, some of my lambs returned to visit that had gone to the Big Meeting but were told that I had backslid  along with Jim Hurley and Mike Romanoski ! I couldn’t believe it. I felt so betrayed and wanted to clear it up, but no one in Camden would listen. Bob & Rick had lied to NYC about me and to the others in the center.I was out…Looking back now, they did me a favor!

I left a few weeks later as well and returned to NYC  top my parents home and told them what had happened in Phili and that I had to go straighten things out with the COBU and so I left and went to NYC to plead my case. I went to a meeting and then another and at a third I had hoped to talk to Stewart but didnt. Instead he was made aware  that I had been coming  but-living home on Staten Island at my parents, having not ‘moved in’ and I was pointed out to him.the meeting commenced and he occasionally glared at me from across the room filled with about 300 people.

The he spoke to me, or rather at me, like a thunderous voice of the almighty pronouncing sentence on me. I thought he would be fair, but instead without ever talking to me he pronounced sentence and told others not to be like me and that I was not to fool them and that I was heading to commit suicide if I didn’t return and submit.

He then said it again, more personal that I  had to know that I was going to commit suicide!…I thought to myself , what had they told him? How could he be so misinformed? I needed a chance to talk personally but it wasn’t granted. I left and took public transportation home to Staten Island.

I wasnt finished yet, thought I needed to talk to some old center leaders from NYC , ones that kew  me. I thought  if I could talk to Dave Rizzetto that I could find some justice and if I were to rejoin it would only be under ones I knew from the beginning.

I contacted a fellowship in Staten Island and went over to ride along to a center meeting being held in Jersey. It was there that I found out Dave was also in the MTC and Jeff was speaking in his place. I didn’t know Jeff and he only knew what he heard about me. He was cordial at first and listened to my whole account of what happened in Phili.

I tried to explain to Jeff at the Cobu why I wouldnt surrender my apt to the Center Leader and Rick , and that the rumors about me were untrue at least at that time in my life… he listened as though he was ‘listening’, but when all was said and done, he spoke the words that pierced my heart…

I had at that point remained faithful  to Jesus , even though I had quit the Cobu in Phili, I was still looking after my lambs and was not backslidden, but had been tried and convicted in abstention.

I admitted that I had previous mental trials concerning Jim back in the Spring as I was attracted to him but he simply wasn’t attracted to me…. but now to hear Jeff say to me that inspite of your ‘reputation’..it was as  though all the rumors were believed to be true!….I think you should come back!…’

I snapped inside. I was devastated, hurt, insulted, justified, angry and knew I couldn’t return to COBU, that I would be treated like all the ‘others who were untrustworthy’ and was disappointed.  I saw the end of an era in my life, the end of ever living in fellowship again.

Col3:21: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.


I thought to myself, ‘yeah I will come back…sure .. but not until I have lived out that labelthey put on me and might even have a baby along the way since they probably would never let me marry anyone anyway …. since developing relationships was nearly impossible in the Cobu let alone having a baby, since we celibate and …still I thought I had a better chance of making a life on the outside.Eph6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Fueling my indignation and  justifications  I remembered how some others had left , got married and then went back… that I too was going to go ‘my’ way and hope then to be forgiven later, but for the moment I was going to go back to the life I knew before I  was saved.

I didn’t think I could lose my salvation by leaving COBU and I couldnt. It took sin on my part.

But I could lose it by being alone and without the direction of the Holy Spirit and falling prey to the lures and enticements of this life, the pride of life and giving into  my own fleshly desires. I didn’t give in all at once, it was a gradual process of decay.

Genesis 3:1 TNIVRead this chapter
[ The Fall ] Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:2 TNIVRead this chapter
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:4 TNIVRead this chapter
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:13 TNIVRead this chapter
Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

In my mind, I was  rebelling from COBU  as not rebelling from Jesus. At first I began giving myself little liberties that were no guilt, like buying a small piece of steak to cook at home instead of liver or hamburger. Gradually I would eat out in restaurants, picking other than value meal items. Then I began to drink , since after all Jesus drank. trying to fit into the main stream proved very difficult as I was away from the world for nearly 2 yrs and didn’t fit in.

Looking for jobs, initiallyI took on housecleaning jobs and waitressing. My mother, of all people, reminded me of what a good ‘bar tender’ I used to be and suggested that as a way for me to make money faster, so I could get myself an apartment. Although I was appalled initially at the idea, I simply wasnt making enough money to save for my own place, so I started out in working in bar/restaurants settings with female owners thinking it safer. That was the beginning of  the end to being faithful.

Proverbs 16:25 NIVRead this chapter
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death

Soon I looked up my ex fiance and tried to pick up where we left off when I joined the FF. He was secretly bitter and wanted revenge but acted like he was glad I finally came to my senses and returned to him. I was gone nearly 2 yrs and he waited for me. He couldn’t believe however that life in the FF/Cobu was celibate and had all sorts of rage issues and jealousy. I thought I could just wlk back into this man’s life pick up and get married but he had other ideas.

Suffice to say, it ended with him leaving me for another woman , both she and I were pregnant and he chose to stay with her and married her saying the Cobu ruined me and I simply wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore. Ten days later I had a miscarriage.

My so called Christian life now came full circle, I was like a dog returning to my own vomit…I achieved a totally backslidden state and accepted the fact that I was going to hell and no one could tell me otherwise.

Although I no longer saw Jim, we kept in contact by mail as friends and I  could occasionally seek his advice. Jim  hadn’t displayed any attraction towards me, so I went on with my life, getting involved and engaged twice  with unsaved men over the next few years, had two children, both relationships gone bad, both related to my confusion over my new Christianity and parameters in re-adjusting to the world after leaving the COBU.  So  there I was a  single mom working all sorts of hours and no longer dating, alone, condemned , guilty as charged.

Why did I do it? In trying to break the grasp in my mind from Cobu…I was hurt, confused, angry, bitter, as well as enticed and lured by my own desires to be married and have children….

3] You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

I wanted a life in this world that  I  felt I wasn’t entitled to, but was going ahead anyway, like trying to take the kingdom of heaven by force…

My Christianity was a roller coaster ride  in those early years. I am writing this account to show how bad it got and later how wonderfully God delivered me from all my mistakes and trials. For now I will focus on my  life early on and the mistakes I made. Back then I couldn’t consider that Jesus loved me and so I went my own way into darkness.

I eventually started going back to church ‘for my kids sake’ but was an outsider both because of the type of religious training I had had in the commune and my shame at being a single mom.I didnt fit in as a parent since I wasnt married, nor as a single as I was a parent.

I tended to stay in the nursery with my kids to listen to the services.Even though many didnt know me or my circumstances , no one ever reached out to me neither.I felt like I was still going to hell, but maybe if I continued going to church and renounced the sin in my life that God would save my children and I was willing to settle for that.

After a few yrs Jim started showing interest in me and telling me not to try to ever go with an unsaved man again unless I wanted to keep having children by men who didn’t understand me and would leave me, like their fathers had done and then he began making jokes about getting married.

He said my kids needed a father and as a friend , he had stood by me during both pregnancies and breakups. He said he knew me better than anyone else did in my life. I started to think about how much I liked him back in the COBU and thought it would be a dream come true if he would come and marry me and that I would be happy and feel  ‘right’ with Jesus.

He’d tell  me to come back to Phili and he’d marry me. I told him to come to NYC and I’d marry him… I was afraid to go to him but I did see hope for a future and started going back to church ‘religiously’…

Our friendship continued but his interest peaked when I met a guy at a church that asked me to wait for his divorce to be final and wanted to marry me.

This peaked  Jim’s interest in me fro afar. I wasnt convinced that waiting for this other guy was right or wrong, but he was the only one that reached out to me while I was attending church and never acted inapppropriately towards me and was very interested in my children.

Seemed once Jim knew I might be getting married, he made a decision and came to NYC and started seeing me every day, always dazzling me with his vast knowledge of the bible and how important it was for people with similar beliefs to be married as opposed to ones that had different beliefs, citing our common roots in the commune . I also knew being an X-boo was a bond we shared already. It didn’t take much to convince me that he was a man of God , even if life was hard on him.

He told me I owed it to my kids to only marry a man that would ‘accept the whole package’ and that the other guy I was sort of waiting for, could never understand me the way he did.

The guy told me that he didnt like Jim & Jim told me he thought the guy was a phoney. I was wanting a father to my children and acceptance at church by not being a single mom anymore. I had several homeless people living with me and we all were going to an Assembly of God together. I hoped that when Jim came that we would have our own church group and everything that was wrong would be made right.

[ Shortly after arriving in NYC  it was obvious that Jim was actually depressed ,by his behavior,  but since I had been depressed til recently & rededicated and going to church,  I thought he would be restored soon and then we would have a fellowship and serve Jesus together  and get married.

I didnt want an unsaved man, but thought that once stopped  drinking that he would be ready to serve Jesus and that I could help him in doing so.

Initially, Jim wouldn’t go to church with me or even on his own. He would tell me that church was a waste of time and that they never could understand scripture or witnessing right.I went to church less and less.

It took almost a year of listening to Jim and his views. He  had a personal relationship with Jesus, was living under grace but had trouble with drinking making him arrogant, sometimes rude, condescending.

It was a bit  confusing however since he deliberately acted contrary to everything  he knew to be right. He had discernment but was leading us in a new direction without a ‘religious spirit’ and that perhaps his unusual behavior was to show me that Jesus didnt want me to try to be ‘religious’.

I was a bit  double minded in my heart as I still was very much drawn to Jim and felt I was in love with him. It was over a year in passing  before we became intimate after drinking wine heavily one weekend. We blamed it on the drinking we had done.

I was about to go away on Monday   upstate NY on prearranged vacation to see some old friends and left the day after our encounter.

He called me every day up there and wanted me to hurry home. [We shared a 2 family house, each our own apt]I told my girlfriend upstate that although I knew it was wrong to have gotten intimate with Jim, but that I had thought he was ‘the one’ and only for me. [ I also felt considering all the sin I had in my life to date, that God would ‘fix it’ for me] How I regret those decisions!

http://www.webedelic.com/church/accuser.htm the devil is the accuser of the brethren, throws our sins in our faces to bring us further into despair and towards our destruction…

I was in love.

James 1:15 NIVRead this chapter
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Jim was  good with my kids and they loved him too.

I thought God would ‘work out the details’ and that once we were married, everything would be alright.It didn’t occur to me that we wouldn’t get married,  for another few years.[the devil waves bait but doesnt deliver!] I had convinced myself that our troubles  were secondary to his drinking and that once he stopped drinking that we both could get our lives together.

Passage 1 John 3:20:
20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Well that week apart for vacation affected me much differently than it had Jim. I  was more willing to overlook my guilt on the hope it would be forgiven by marrying Jim.

By the end of the week he felt so badly that he told me that it had been a mistake and that we should go back to being ‘friends’, which hit me kind of hard. I was already pregnant but just as soon as I had the positive test, within a week I had miscarried. [I wrongly felt was God’s judgement against me]

This caused more problems, more guilt, bitterness and confusion as he seemed detached and said he didn’t believe I was ever pregnant in the first place but trying to trap him.He was drinking heavier and didn’t want to discuss the weekend we sinned together.

He continued to live in the apartment upstairs but had a lot of guilt and got  into more drinking, couldn’t hold down  a   job and felt  that it was  my fault he was there, that he had come to NYC ‘for me’  but that as a Christian he wasnt sure that Jesus wanted him to  remarry since he was divorced [and yet he didnt leave].That was way back in 1981. The kids were attached to him and he missed his own daughter from his previous marriage.

I helped him get a few odd jobs, but he seemed less than enthusiastic about working and got more into avoiding work and hadn’t paid rent for several months. This was getting really difficult for me, as I paid for the whole house and sublet to him, so I had to pay his rent but he wouldn’t move. I wanted to go back to church but I felt like such a hypocrite.I was a hypocrite.

PV22:24: Make no friendship with a‘> man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,

PV 29:22: A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a‘> man given to anger causes much transgression.

He  became more reclusive and screened every person who came to my apt, isolated himself and eventually me from my few friends and was becoming a real burden, making me feel obligated to support him.

I started going to college and he didn’t like it that I wasn’t around for him to talk to as much.

He  loved to talk, but it was always kind of  one sided, like lectures, however he had some interesting ideas from the Bible and I felt that even being depressed, that if he stopped drinking and got committed more to God that perhaps he could make a great teacher or evangelist and make our relationship right by getting married.I  knew once I had been with him that I  was bound to him since he was a Christian,even if he wasnt following Jesus the way most would have expected.

He used to tap my phone line  to his apt and began making a lot of long distance calls trying to figure  out what he should  as to whether to go back to Phili or stay in NY .

He said it was all my fault for’ inviting’ [nearly 21 months earlier] him to NYC and the calls he was making to Phili were to try and arrange to get a job and work down there so he could leave.

I felt bad for his emotional plunge and guilt from that one encounter we had the year before, but was tired of having to ‘take care of him’.

I couldn’t move on as long as he was there and just the thought of dating anyone else was out of the question, so he was subtly taking over my life! [with no emotional benefits etc.]

We talked a long while and I tried to stay cold towards him telling him it just didn’t work out between us and that I couldn’t live the way he had established our relationship. Then he reminded me that I was the one who told him years ago I liked him and that I had invited him to NYC and that I was the one who fell in love with him and how that had changed his life and that he didn’t want to lose me.

I attributed his  behavior to his drinking and conflicting religious beliefs, that haunted him most of his life, although he continued to seek to understand the Bible until the day of his death in 2009

Passage 1 John 3:20:
20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

I have learned that you cant take the kingdom of Heaven by force. You cant indulge in the pleasures of sin for a season and not reap the consequences.

It is true that what you sow, so shall you reap. I have also learned that God is just and merciful and that when you truly repent as did the prodigal, the Lord welcomes you back and restores the years that the locusts have eaten.

I have experienced the love and mercy of God in my life and praise Him for granting me repentance and forgiveness .

[End this chapter. not sure when I will continue along this train of discussion…]

Bottom Line: Through it all, I have learned more about the nature of Jesus, His mercy, compassion and care for mankind including me. I rely on Him , trust in Him and live through Him. I no longer am swayed by various doctrines and man made gimmicks or arguments. I am content to take one day at a time and have that peace that surpasses understanding. Know Jesus & Know Peace.

Seek Him and He will find you 🙂  GBU~! Ave