Answers to the two "anonymous" comments.

I write this post in answer to the two comments left by “anonymous” on “The Definition of a Cult” and “Welcome” postings since the reply box is quite limited in length.

Anonymous: When I refer to the ABC, I refer to the denominational entity and structure itself...not the people within per se. While I am in stark disagreement with the abusive practices of a few of the leaders, my words are directed primarily at the doctrinal structure that allows the abuse of souls.  The ABC boasts of having no buildings yet, in essence, they have simply replaced these physical structures with much less visible doctrinal walls. From within these “walls” they call out to souls passing by, entice them in with false love, then bind them with heavy burdens fraught with much wearying Greek word study. Being a book hound myself, and one who has read and studied voraciously and incessantly since I was in first grade, I am not opposed to reading, studying and learning. At the same time truth tells me I need not know the precise biological structure of a flower to understand its beauty; I must simply observe it and enjoy. So it is with God. To study and attempt to know the intricacies of God is an acceptable practice but only if one remains non-adamant since there is nothing we can ever really know for certain. God is very complex and we will likely never fully understand that complexity. To be adamant and say we understand Him cannot be true. No man truly understands God, no man ever will and there is no requirement we spend our life, nose in a book, trying to figure out God. Historically there has been a huge population who were both born and died illiterate. If salvation came from a book  then these people had no chance. 

On the last night I taught, just before I was “eternally judged” as a “blasphemer” by Bruce Leonard and the “elders” in Vancouver Washington, there were many arguments  over the exact Greek definition of words.  At one point it got so intense I stopped what I was teaching and pleaded with those in attendance to put away the continuous search for a better definition; Greek or English. I suggested we instead focus and admire the simple beauty and joy of God.  My statements fell on deaf ears, the bantering back and forth continued, and the request fell flat as it ran so counter to the base doctrine of the ABC which states we must struggle to find the perfect definition of every Greek word in order to know and understand God. It is a falsehood. We do not need to infinitely define an infinite God. No matter how far you dig into infinity you will never reach the end. Any attempt to do so will be fruitless

This doctrine of Greek research in order to “find a more perfect way” and to find acceptance with God was first established by James A Watt of Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle. This doctrine was then adopted by my dad, Ramon A Haas, and enhanced over the years a bit to make it even more binding. The true ways of God are simple, peaceable, easily understood and the infinite endless pursuit of a better truth through books upon books is sheer folly. This folly only leads to more and more contentious arguments, backstabbing and even hatred. Knowledge puffs up but it can never give life. To be led by the Spirit gives life and, like the statement by Timothy about those who were ever learning, they never really found any truth.  Real truth brings peace not strife.  There is lots of strife in the ABC and little true love.

One of the principle premises behind the exclusion of all who are not baptized directly by someone in the ABC is that there must be a proven “Spirit-filled genealogy” of the baptizer for the baptism to be valid or for God to accept it.  In essence it is taught that to receive the Holy Spirit one must be baptized by a male filled with the Spirit and that baptism must be witnessed by at least one other Spirit filled person to be official. Short of that, God will not honor the baptism despite any faith that may have been involved in the process. There are other rules imposed on this baptism as well but I will address just this primary principle here. 

It is presumed that if one were baptized by a person in the ABC who was believed to be filled with the Spirit then that person would also have been baptized by a person believed to be filled with the Spirit and that person would have been baptized by a person believed to be filled…and so on and so on back through countless generations and years of history all the way back to the day of Pentecost when it all began. Since there are no records of this genealogy of baptismal “births” one must then take it on great faith that this man who is doing the baptizing has a pure baptismal genealogy. They are trusting implicitly that this man has a spotlessly “pure” baptismal genealogy going all the way back two-thousand years with no break in the Spirit-filled chain. After all, going back all those two-thousand years if even one single person in the succession of “baptizees” was baptized by one “baptizer” who was not truly Spirit-filled then all that followed after that man would also not be Spirit-filled; according to ABC doctrine. Notice that this belief of salvation puts all the faith in the man baptizing and leaves out faith in God. That is, if one uses the reasoning espoused by the ABC. Using the reasoning of the ABC, in order to be sound in our hope of salvation, we really must have proof of the baptismal lineage of all baptizers in the baptism “genealogical chain” back through two-thousand plus years of time or we are doomed. If there was one single break in that chain then all that follow us as well. That is, again, if we count the ABC teaching as totally valid. When properly reasoned one can see there are some major flaws in this theory.

Let’s take a real example of a person baptized into the ABC. We’ll say that Jason Brown (not his real name) is baptized by Gilbert Larson, the apostle of the ABC. To assure that Gilbert is properly Spirit-filled, and is a valid baptizer, we must first examine Gilbert’s baptism. If Gilbert was not baptized correctly by an individual who was baptized correctly then he is not a valid baptizer by ABC standards. Gilbert was baptized by my father, Ramon A Haas, according to the principles of baptism regarded as legitimate within the ABC at the time. The rules have become more restrictive so the rules are slightly different now. I was present at the Wilcrest apartments the day Gilbert first came and know firsthand who baptized Gilbert. My father, Ramon A Haas baptized him. To make sure Gilbert’s spiritual baptismal lineage is sound, according to the principles of the ABC, then or now, one must now look closely at the baptism of my father, Ramon Haas. We must be sure his baptism was legitimate using the ABC principles in place at that time.  I know firsthand about my father’s baptism because I had this discussion with him several times over the years after the ABC was formed. 

My dad was baptized in the late 1940’s just after returning from the war. He was never exact with me in his explanation about the person baptizing him but what was clear was that. at the time of this first baptism,  he regarded baptism as just an “outward sign of an inward cleansing” and not as a “key” or “door” one must enter through to access salvation. He did not change this doctrine until late into his days with James A Watt at Broadway Tabernacle.  It was James A Watt, Derek Prince and a few others who formulated this current doctrinal viewpoint by using intense Greek word studies. Prior to this change of personal doctrine my father considered his actual salvation to have come from “the sinner’s prayer” he spoke when he “accepted Christ” and not from being immersed in water at baptism. I have his original Bible with his handwritten notes from this time period proving that.  All the way up through most of our time at Broadway Tabernacle my dad issued altar calls and administered the “sinner’s prayer” as the way to salvation. He was head of many planning committees that brought Billy Graham, David Wilkerson, Nicky Cruz and others to Seattle in the 1960's and was a firm believer in salvation by “sinner’s prayer”. The most information I could ever get from him about who first baptized him was that it was either a minister of a church he attended right after the war, Bro. Branham or someone else. This story was somewhat fluid over the years so who it was exactly I could not really say. On one occasion he talked of questioning this original baptism but this was only AFTER beginning the ABC at the Wilcrest Apartments. To remedy this he decided to be baptized again. Not knowing who to ask he was then baptized by Yvonne, his new spouse and previous adulteress.  Yvonne was baptized again, that same day, by my dad since the premise and validity of her baptism was also tenuous. Both baptisms were accomplished in a late night private baptism in the pool at the Wilcrest Apartments with no witnesses present.  Presuming all was well with either of those baptisms one must also question who originally baptized the minister that originally baptized my dad because if one or both of them had discrepancies in their baptism, and did not meet the ABC rules exactly, then the chain would be broken and all that followed after in this baptismal genealogy would not be Spirit-filled…again according to the ABC doctrine. The ABC’s understanding of baptism leads to an impossible scenario. One need know all of the past baptizer’s statuses and that removes any power of God to grant salvation to whom he wills. It puts control into the hands of man, greatly removing faith from the picture as well. It puts the power of life or death in the hands of man where it does not belong. Jesus never commanded we keep a record of the baptismal genealogical chain and to believe this is sheer folly. Only God can see a man’s soul…not we. We only see the outward appearance and cannot observe who is Spirit-filled except as evidenced by fruits. And. just like a tree. fruit is not always visible even though there is life within. More than half the year the trees in my front yard show no signs of life yet deep within is life that in it's season brings forth fruit. So, even if we use fruit as the deciding factor we must also realize that even though life can exist within there may still not be evident fruit. In short....only God knows who are his. We can’t determine salvation by the endless questioning of who baptized whom and, if we do, I assure you that if you follow the chain of men (or women) that flow backward from my dad’s baptism it could never pass the ABC test. I find no need to inquire who baptized the person that baptized me and who baptized that person, etc.  God is much larger than all that. I trust God can grant salvation to whomever he chooses despite any rule I or any other man tries to lay down.

I was baptized by James A Watt at approximately age eleven or twelve at Broadway Tabernacle and then baptized again at age 14 by my dad, after he began the ABC. The James A Watt baptism was no longer sound by the new rules…even though James Watt and Derek Prince were the ones who developed the basic teachings about Foundational Greek Word Studies. After John Stegenga wrote his concordance they both began teaching “the Foundation Truths” just as is taught in the ABC. This can be evidenced by surfing over to Amazon and acquiring Derek Prince’s book called “The Foundation Truths”.

If one leaves the ABC, they are considered to be “in the wilderness” or to have “left the body” and their fate; at least as far as the ABC is concerned; is uncertain. That can only be described as servitude and bondage to a corporate body and not service to God. If one does not step within, or stay within, the “walls” the ABC has doctrinally constructed they are not considered to be among the righteous. Many are even pushed out then “turned over to Satan” if they disagree or question too much. The foundation Christ laid down, as prescribed by the ABC, can only be laid through tortuous works of Bible study and the study of page after page of Greek tenses, moods, voices and the like. This mandatory study is really an effort to make everyone think, talk and sound exactly alike.  Nature itself shows us that God hates cookie cutter images and loves a fractal diversity; are all an eye, a hand… Read the Psalms of David as he describes God's creation.

The Bible, as the ABC perceives it, is only properly aligned when viewed through Ivan Panin’s lens. Ivan Panin was born one-thousand-eight-hundred and fifty five years; roughly; after Jesus time. I pity those who came before this version of the Bible was produced since; having a non-aligned scriptural text; this may cause one to suffer a spiritual loss as a result. I, of course, jest. Truth is from above and not from a translation; mathematical or not.

Pure faith in God does not come with a written test. Knowledge has the ability to puff one up with pride and make one feel better than another. Knowledge will never bring about righteousness; only pure faith and trust in God can do that. We should seek increased wisdom that leads to peace rather than increased knowledge that can lead to quarrels. Much study to gain ever more knowledge was not one of the commandments of Jesus, nor is it one of the weightier matters of the law. Much study is a trap that can draw one into the pride of knowledge. I prescribe to the wisdom of Solomon when he said in Ecclesiastes “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  Solomon fell into the trap of thinking he could find God through an increase of knowledge. Read the book of Ecclesiastes closely. He wisely discovered God can never be acquired through then increase of knowledge...we can only know God when we accept His peaceable wisdom. Perhaps that all sounds too simplistic but, while God is complex, his wisdom is quite simple.  


I suppose we may be fortunate to have all these books at our disposal, ready at hand, in this modern age, but I am not fully convinced we have done ourselves a favor. I once had a huge library of Greek and English Bible study books but have rid myself of them all. To understand God’s wisdom they may be a great place to consult but if we turn our eyes to the books we run the risk of becoming stiff necked with adamant non-repentant opinions about God and miss the seeking of wisdom with an open heart. Seeking knowledge, without first seeking wisdom, only brings about discord, division, distrust, and sometimes even raw carnage as has been evidenced over and over in the ABC. The end result of continuous knowledge seeking is to become blind to the needs of our neighbor and to become high minded in our own great knowledge. One can then lose sight of the pure simple faith in God that brings total freedom.  This is a message I have spoken for a long time….although previously with excess timidity and fear of man. My error, in times past, was to be afraid of man and not properly show respect to the wisdom that is from above. Judge and inspect my words. Seek the truth of God on your own.  Look into the history of the ABC independently. Ask lots of questions. To agree or disagree with all or part of my words and to challenge or investigate them is not only right…it is expected. Freedom does not lie within the walls of the ABC; only bondage; and this is the reason one should not enter or stay within its confines. 

Definition of a Cult

By definition, a cult is a group or sect bound together by adoration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
A cult promises you redemption. It tells you that if you do what it says, and as it believes, you will be protected from the evil people that are out to get you and the rest of society.
A cult purges the non-believers. And it actively tries to vilify all those who are not part of the cult, saying that they're doomed and destined to go to hell.

Mate Scriptures

The premise behind the method of study employed by the "Assembly of the Body of Christ" is that one must find the Greek and Hebrew "mate scriptures" in order to truly understand the will of God and His truth. Here is an excerpt from their website (click picture for link to site)

The scripture used is Isaiah 34:16-17. The ABC's non-contextual interpretation of this scripture alleges that this scripture proves their theory that one must find "mate scriptures." I declare this is not necessarily true.

The ABC strictly adheres to a method of bible study in which one examines an entire context in order to properly understand the text. That is truly not a bad idea. Any thought taken out of context can be twisted and distorted to have it say something it does not say. Again referring to their website it states you must own

"A Panin's translation of the New Testament to determine the full context (complete thought) where any N.T. Bible verse is found - so we can see the full puzzle piece."

The bible translated numerically by Ivan Panin works only for the New Testament but I would assume the same principle; examining the entire context; would also carry over to the Old Testament as well. It rightfully should if we are to have a good understanding of what is written.

So, looking at Isaiah 34:16-17 in its entire context let's examine this "scriptural mate" theory and see if it holds up to scrutiny. Here is the entire text surrounding Isaiah 34:16-17 (the whole chapter). I have highlighted verses 16-17.

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them. And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein. Isaiah 34:1-17

As you read through this context above ask yourself this one question. Is this context referring to proper bible study or is it referring to the permanent destruction of a set of nations? I have underlined the beginning of the context to show that it is indeed referring to a set of nations.

One of the biggest bugaboos of our language is the use of pronouns. They make reading more pleasant but if one does not properly refer the pronoun to its subject, the meaning of a sentence can become grossly distorted. To understand who or what verses 16-17 refer to I have replaced all of the pronouns below (in parentheses) with the intended subject.

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of (the world). For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all (the nations) armies: he hath utterly destroyed (the nations), he hath delivered (the nations) to the slaughter. (The nations) slain also shall be cast out, and (the nations) stink shall come up out of (the nations) carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with (the nations) blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all (the nations) host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, (my sword) shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, (the sword) is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with (the lambs, goats and rams), and the bullocks with the bulls; and (the nations) land shall be soaked with blood, and (the nations) dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. (Edom) shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through (Edom) for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess (Edom); the owl also and the raven shall dwell in (Edom): and he shall stretch out upon (Edom) the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be (in the kingdom), and all (Edom's) princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in (Edom's) palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and (Edom) shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to (the satyr's) fellow; the screech owl also shall rest (in Edom), and find for (the screech owl) a place of rest. (In the kingdom) shall the great owl make (the great owl's own) nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under (the great owl's own) shadow: (in the kingdom) shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with (the vulture's own) mate. Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of (the dragons, owls, wild beasts, satyr's screech owls, great owls, etc. ) shall fail, none [of these ](wild creatures ) shall want for a mate: for (God's) mouth (yes God's mouth) hath commanded, and (God's) spirit hath gathered (the wild creatures). And God hath cast the lot for (the  owls, wild beasts, etc. ), and God's hand hath divided (Edom) unto (the wild creatures) by line: (the wild creatures) shall possess (Edom) for ever, from generation to generation shall (the wild creatures) dwell therein. Isaiah 34:1-17

So pulling out verses 16-17 with the pronouns replaced with the subject of the pronoun:

Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of (the dragons, owls, wild beasts, satyr's screech owls, great owls, etc. ) shall fail, none [of these ](wild creatures ) shall want for a mate: for (God's) mouth (yes God's mouth) hath commanded, and (God's) spirit hath gathered (the wild creatures). And God hath cast the lot for (the  owls, wild beasts, etc. ), and God's hand hath divided (Edom) unto (the wild creatures) by line: (the wild creatures) shall possess (Edom) for ever, from generation to generation shall (the wild creatures) dwell therein.

So, you see, this scripture has nothing to do with finding "mate scriptures" when we look at the entire context. It has to do with the complete destruction of a set of nations (Edom, Bozrah, Idumaea) which would become no longer suited for habitation by mankind and would instead be forever a habitation of birds and wild creatures of various sorts. Here is a quotation from "Easton's Bible Dictionary"  regarding the Edom of Isaiah 34.

There are many prophecies concerning Edom (Isa 34:5-6; Jer 49:7-18; Eze 25:13; 35:1-15; Joe 3:19; Am 1:11; Obadiah; Mal 1:3-4) which have been remarkably fulfilled. The present desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In Petra, "where kings kept their court, and where nobles assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and beasts, and reptiles."

Or this from the Jamieson-Faussett-Brown Commentary

16. book of the Lord-the volume in which the various prophecies and other parts of Scripture began henceforward to be collected together (Isa 30:8; Da 9:2).

Seek-(so Isa 8:16, 20; Joh 5:39; 7:52).

no one . fail-of these prophecies (Mt 5:18).

none shall want . mate-image from pairing of animals mentioned, Isa 34:15 ("mate"); no prediction shall want a fulfillment as its companion. Or rather, "none of these wild animals (just spoken of) shall be wanting: none shall be without its mate" to pair and breed with, in desolate Idumea.

my . his-Such changes of person are frequent in Hebrew poetry.

them-the wild beasts.

So, you see, this scripture used to prove the "scriptural mate" theory has nothing to do with "scripture mates" whatsoever; it has to do with the mates of  birds and other wild animals who reside where Edom once stood. Edom, representative of those nations who were not serving God, was destroyed by God and left desolate forever and became the breeding ground of wild animals only and not fit for the dwelling of man.  

I wholeheartedly agree we should look at ALL scripture in a contextual way and it is by applying that principle to this scripture it is proven that it does not refer to the seeking of  "mate scriptures" through Greek and Hebrew word studies as the ABC alleges.

25-The end of the matter

After I was ex-communicated, the second time, it seemed as though a great flood had gone through my life washing away everything I thought I knew.  After  I surveyed the wreckage I tried to pick up the pieces and reconstruct something that looked like what I had before but that would be the wrong path to follow and would never work. I looked for another person that would help me reconstruct the debris but  no one was willing to help. Eventually I cleared away the rubble myself, took stock of what I had left and found there was not much usable material. I ended up discarding almost everything I once found true and started again from scratch.  If you look about my spiritual house now you might find a piece or two  of the old dwelling here and there but really very little. When the flood of man swept through my life there was immense devastation and emotionally I looked a total loss. The relationship I have with God inwardly remains solid.  That relationship with God is the only hope I have in this world and one I truly value.

Here is a Psalm that sums up the end of the matter for me.  I hope you enjoy it.
 
My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress-- I will never be greatly shaken. How long will you assault a man, Would all of you throw him down, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place. They delight in lies. They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.


My soul, wait in silence for God alone, For my expectation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken. With God is my salvation and my honor. The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. Selah.


Surely men of low degree are just a breath, And men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath. Don't trust in oppression. Don't become vain in robbery. If riches increase, Don't set your heart on them. God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this, That power belongs to God. Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness, For you reward every man according to his work.
                                                                          Psalms 62:1-12

24-A few anomalies

I list here just a few of the anomalies that developed during the "Mexican Ministry" period.  I list these things because they are examples of the things that caused me to be pushed out of the  ABC the first time having been charged with being "rebellious".   One of the most prominent changes was that my dad decided, since we were dealing with Mexican citizens who were predominantly Catholic, we should assume their customs and begin to wear clerical collars whenever we went into  Mexico.  He also then began wearing one in the U.S. as well. Prior to this, I had always considered we, the ABC,  were different than the other churches. We were the exception to "Mystery Babylon" (which was considered by the ABC to be the Catholic church and all her denominational daughters). We all knew, or thought we knew anyhow, that we were different than the rest because we met in homes, "had no name" (even though we really did have a name), did not "ride on the back of the government" (even though we had incorporated and shared in the same tax breaks all the other denominational churches did) and it was for certain we did not do things like the Catholics (even though we were now expected to wear clerical collars). This sudden abandonment of theological position, to such a large degree, was very disillusioning for me and it caused me to take  a close look at what we were actually building.  It made me realize we were really not that much different from any of  the other denominational churches. This did not sit well with me. It ended forever the illusion I had of the ABC as being "different" and not a denomination.  True, we met in homes instead of church buildings but everything else was mostly the same as any other denominational church. In fact...we were just a new denomination and a very aberrant, even cultish, one at that.

I refused to buy one of the clerical shirts, even though I had been commanded to do so by my  "father in the Lord". Eventually a shirt was purchased for me  anyhow and I came home from work to find it hanging on my front door. There was a note ordering me to wear it.  There was a teaching in the ABC that we were to be "experimental believers"  so I did wear it one time to Mexico; to experiment; but when the people began to kiss my ring, as if I were a priest, I was not comfortable.  When I expressed this opinion later I was told I should just allow it as their way of showing respect for our position. It still bothered me immensely and I decided I would just stay away from Mexico rather than wear it again.

The "Mexican Ministry" was beginning to consume more money than was currently coming in through tithe and offering.  Any alms that came in were secret so no one had any idea how much money was actually coing in earmarked as “alms”.  The tithe money was paying for the "Casa Grande" (a huge house in Chula Vista California),  a trailer in the mountains, a condo at the beach, a fleet of vehicles, lots and lots of new furniture and lots and lots of  other stuff. This was all very very expensive stuff and very little money was actually making its way to helping Mexican families in their poverty.  The theory was, as my dad explained on the Luis tape, tithes and offerings could not be  used to help someone in need...only alms could be used for that, so, the tithes and offerings ended up paying for lots of  things that "supported" bringing teachings to Mexico. Very very little was used to feed the poor or help them in their poverty. If an alm came in, that money was usually used to buy bibles and this did not sit well with many people and began to create quite a rift not just in San Diego but among people everywhere.  This eventually caused two more major splits in the church.

In an effort  to raise additional money to keep "the corporation" afloat bake sales were initiated in front of various supermarkets. We, the members of the ABC in San Diego, were expected to bake goodies for these sales then help staff the tables on weekends. Knowing the money was not flowing to Mexico to help those in poverty I participated in none of them.  Another method was to have members of the ABC sit during the middle of the night at highway rest stops to give out "free" coffee and ask for donations  for the "Mexican Ministry" from travelers. Many in the ABC did  not participate in these endeavors since they were not comfortable giving the impression the  money raised was  being  used to feed or clothe Mexicans. It was not. It just bought stuff for the Casa Grande and supported an ever more lavish lifestyle.

One of the more unusual ways the Mexican Ministry "ministered" to the shopkeepers was by hauling  goods for them across the border in the trunks of cars; as if the goods were souvenirs. These goods would then be packaged for shipment  on the U.S. side and sent to stores in Los Angeles.   By doing this,  the shopkeepers avoided paying duty on their goods as they passed across the border and could then undercut their  competitor's price and make more sales.  This allowed them to grow their businesses more quickly. It was also very illegal. If the shopkeeper was discovered participating they would lose their merchandise and be fined however if a U.S. citizen was discovered assisting in this plan they would have had their car seized at the border for smuggling, could possibly be arrested and charged.  Many, including me, chose not to participate for this reason. The shopkeepers made more sales and were told the prayers prayed in their shops were the reason.

I arrived at the Casa Grande one weekday morning and was told, by my dad, I was being made the new treasurer.  About an hour after arriving everyone left to go to Mexico to visit the shopkeepers and I remained behind. During my day at the Casa Grande I received a phone call from the Internal Revenue Service.  Since I had been made treasurer that very morning I knew nothing about what was going on and could not answer any of their questions knowledgeably.  When everyone returned from Mexico that afternoon I inquired, as "the new treasurer", what was going on with the IRS. I wanted to know why they were investigating.  The only reply I got was "maybe it's not a good idea to have you as treasurer."  That was that. I was treasurer for just that one day.  I never did discover what the IRS trouble was all about.

Many in the San Diego group who chose not to participate in these and other  things were  labeled as "rebellious". I was among those who chose not to participate as many of the things happening seemed not quite right. I have mentioned only a few things here to illustrate life in San Diego during the Mexican Ministry days/ There were many  many other incidents, some much worse, as well as things  that should  not  be put into print.  The general theme was that if you did not do what you were told you were  labeled "rebellious" and would then be humiliated or put out.  There was a great absence of free will which is a distinctive mark of a cult.

There was a group of three families that were put out in one day at a  "body counsel" due to these "rebellions".  All of us men who were put out were  considered  as "elders" at the time. One of these  families moved away to Washington, another remained in San Diego for a short period then moved away to Arizona and I stayed behind for about  a year before  moving away to the northwest again. One of these men, Robin Hesley, eventually divorced, returned to the ABC and married again. When I got away from the  hustle-bustle of the "Mexican Ministry" and the constant commands from my dad to go do this, do that it would once again be a time of peace.  This  would last for a number of years but I would unfortunately return to the ABC and soon after be acknowledged as an "elder" again. This time however I would be "eternally judged" and ousted once again. This time however not for “rebellion” but for "blasphemy".

I have put this narrative forward as a "history" of the Assembly of the Body of Christ" but in reality it is a history from a mostly singular perspective...mine.  I have relied some on letters, teachings and documents that show the rise of this church out of the "Latter Rain Revival" movement and show how it progressed through various stages to get to where it is today. Much is based on my own observations and things I have been told or shown over the years.  I have tried to avoid the "pointing of the finger" and undoubtedly failed at times in that regard. Some of these  issues still hold pent up emotion for me.  I'm human.  I am perfectly willing to accept   that anytime I have  pointed  the finger I have three fingers pointing back at me.  If someone were to write a history of my life it would also include a good share of pitfalls, foibles, errors and things I would not be proud of.  We all make mistakes. I certainly do not write this to place myself above any other.

The majority of my purpose in writing this narrative  is to illuminate the actual path followed by the ABC is not as has been charted and portrayed to its members and followers.   The true path it followed and still follows is quite far from the map shown to newcomers. In other words there are a great many falsehoods told to make the ABC look different than it really is and entering its doors is not wise.

While it is true my dad was not very good at the family thing  I too failed in many ways in that regard.  I was much too hard on my kids as they grew up, did not give them the space they needed to grow, was overbearing and as a result am not as close to them as I would like.  I parented the best I could, given the information I had at hand, but that information was highly deficient. I had no good model to follow in my life and this, more than anything else, brings me the most pain. If one examined the outcome of the children of those in the ABC there is a consistent pattern of kids rejecting the path their parents followed since it was full of abuses.

Some have expressed sympathy that I have been through so many things.  I do not need sympathy because most, if not all of us, go through similar storms in our lives. The storms that passed through my life were more visible than most because my dad was a bit of a minor celebrity in his own right; having started a new denomination. He was respected for his position as the founder and leader of that new denomination, but that only leads to the formation of myths and utter falsehoods about his character. Even today, long after his death, his teachings are the "ordained" teachings of the ABC and anything outside of that is suspect.  My dad's teachings stemmed directly from the other men I have written about (Watt, Prince....) and they undoubtedly had those they drew them from and so it goes  back through history. 

I have been mostly a willing, even if ignorant, participant in my own life  and  have made my own decisions based on the information I had at hand. Many times it was clearly the wrong decision. I think nearly every person looks back on their life and wishes they could go back and do it all over again, make the right decisions this time.  It is not possible and so we are left to live in the life we construct.
I fear that in my ramblings I may have written things that could  be construed as bitterness towards my father.  There was a day I was bitter against him but I have years ago resolved that. It has not ended the sadness I feel when I see our broken family but I am no longer angry with him.
 
I believe my dad meant well when he began the ABC but unfortunately  he made the error  of translating his abusive family practices into the building of the abusive aberrant denomination he started. This carryover into church doctrine has caused, I believe,  the many episodes of abandonment that have occurred in the church over the years. My father abandoned his entire family and it is not expected that the institution he began would behave much different.

This journey I have taken through a very small part of my own  history has brought me through many ups and downs emotionally; and, like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, I too have thrown up my hands at times and stated it is all just vanity and not worth it. In the end, it has actually been a worthwhile journey to write this down and has helped me understand where I sprang from. It has helped me burn a great deal of wood, hay and stubble in my thoughts in the process as well and for that reason I am a much better person. I am much more tolerant and kind. The Pharisaical ego I once had is mostly gone.  The fires have burned large at times in my life and when they died down I had not much left to call my own so I, like Solomon,  now reach the end of the matter.

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