16-On to San Diego

I was at work at Sambo's restaurant when, quite unexpectedly, my dad called me from San Diego  to inform me my great aunt  Elsie  had died and left me an inheritance. I barely knew her. I had seen her only on Thanksgiving or Christmas perhaps five or six times  but when her will was read here she had left  me a good size trust fund to be used only for college. This was to my dad a "sign' that God wanted me to go to college. School's were cheaper in California  he said and counseled me that God wanted me to move to San Diego as soon as possible. He said he would help me get settled but that was another lie.

Neither myself nor my wife had ever been to Southern California so we were not sure we would even like it. Both born in the Pacific Northwest, southern California seemed like foreign territory, so we decided to go first on vacation; see if it was to our liking; and, if it was, then commit to a move. 

It took a couple months to prepare for this visit but we finally  hit the road to San Diego. We drove straight through with the exception of just one brief stop, for lunch, at a relatives place near San Francisco. We arrived in San Diego dead tired and just in time for a meeting at Susan's house.  My eyes may have been open that evening, but my brain was definitely asleep.  I remember only that my dad taught but I have no idea who was even there.

We spent less than a week in San Diego on this visit, saw a few of the sights, including a jaunt north to Disneyland for a day, but the highlight of the trip for my wife was the beach at Coronado. She loved it more than Disneyland. This convinced her San Diego was the place she wanted to be.  I admit to not being much of a "lay on the beach" person so I was not as thrilled about the beach opportunities but there definitely were a lot of other places to explore.

We returned to Klamath Falls then, shortly after the birth of our first child, I gave my notice at work, we loaded everything we owned in the trunk of the car and set sail for San Diego.  This time, since we had our infant child with us, we did not drive straight through. We stopped just south of San Francisco for one night before continuing. Our daughter was born very sick and had severe intestinal problems with chronic colic. She was in constant pain from this condition and made for a very  long drive with a screaming  infant in the back seat but we arrived in San Diego in one piece. Only after the death of her son Cameron did we learn she carried a genetic mitochondrial defect that was likely the source of this chronic colic.

On the vacation trip we had been introduced to Susan and a few others in San Diego but, this time, we were given the address of someone  I had not yet met named David North. David  and his wife lived  in Imperial Beach;  just south of San Diego, and not far from the Mexican border. When we arrived at their apartment the front door was wide open and inside there were Navy guys laying all over the floor, listening to music, talking, having fun and doing lots of eating.  Unlike most guys up north who had long hair; this was the 70's after all; these guys had neat and trim navy haircuts. Everyone said "Hi', we were invited in with open arms and given something to eat.

David North was the brother of Jackie;  one of the original attendees at the Wilcrest apartment and she had introduced him to “the group”early on. David was in the Navy and these guys were all friends he had introduced to "the group".  Everyone seemed very happy, the mood was mostly raucous, and the most prominent memory I have of that day was of a man named Gabriel who showed up with an enormous bag of figs. Not finding many takers for his figs he consumed nearly  the whole bag by himself then became quite sick and had to leave the room.

David North was on duty when we arrived but showed up later that evening. He seemed to me like a nice guy, laid back and both he and his wife were tolerant of this gang of navy guys just hanging around their house, relaxing, acting as if it were their own place.  The David I knew then is not the David I know of today.  He was a kind and gentle person  then, very tolerant of others and had a quick smile. This would change years later and he would be told that his new name “given to him by God” was  "Face of Flint". This name was given to him  through “prophecy” by Andy Atwell; the evangelist. I personally do not  regard the name as a complimentary but it is however fitting.  The David I met on this first trip to San Diego was a man of  love, tolerance and was  seemingly very compassionate and humble. The David I know now years later is indeed stony faced but also stony hearted with little tolerance in his heart.   It is sad  that this  man I once knew with a huge soft heart is now praised as having a hard face of flint which evidences the stone cold heart beneath.  If this was truly a prophecy of God by Andy I do not believe it was meant to be complimentary as has been assumed.  A heart of mercy will always trump a stony face of judgment. The Pharisees of Jesus day were men with "faces of flint" and this is not the example we should emulate.
So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; and mercy triumphs over judgment.  James 2:12-13 
There was seldom a time when there was not at least one navy guy lounging around David North's apartment; day or night.  The whole aura in San Diego seemed to be one of love and acceptance of each others blemishes and wrinkles. I felt very welcome at Dave and Cindy's house. We lived there for just a short while, on their living room floor, while I found work and a place to live.

Work was much more plentiful in San Diego than it was in the northwest and finding a job took only about a week. My dad and Yvonne were still in San Diego when we arrived but,  soon after,  major trouble erupted up north. This was actually the same issues over tithe and autonomy that had been brewing under the surface since nearly the beginning and it had now erupted completely and was visible to all.  Even the “new babes” knew what was happening this time so my dad and Yvonne  left San Diego in  a rush to head north and quell the problem.

I don't recall exactly how long they were gone up north but I believe it was about a month. When they returned my dad had a letter he distributed it to all of the people in San Diego. He had already distributed this same letter in all of the other areas on his way back down and it addressed the “problems up north", detailed the "disciplines" that had been laid down and ordered that the men “causing trouble”, and their wives and entire families, were to be shunned as "rebellious".  Some, including myself,  also received a tape of that meeting.

There had been discipline in the group prior to this event but this new level of discipline; born as a result of that Bob Mumford meeting a couple years earlier; was a massive ex-communication of peoples and was intended to leave the subjects completely humiliated and devastated. This practice is in stark contrast to scripture (which the ABC contends they follow more closely than all others) which tells us we are to build each other up and to show mercy.  A few who were not in  leadership positions were  "disciplined" rather than fully ex-communicated that day  but these people were forbidden to take communion and told they must sit in the back of the room and were not allowed to speak.

Paul, in the scripture, realized he had it within his nature and temperament  to cause this type of destruction simply by weight of his authority.  Rather than visit Corinth personally he sent them a letter instead. At the very end of his letter to the Corinthian church (a church with some huge issues by the way) he wrote:
Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting. For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down. 2 Corinthians 13:7-10 
The tape I was given was ninety minutes long but did not actually contain a recording of the entire meeting. It is my understanding the meeting ran about three hours or more and, since there was only one blank tape available,  only the first half of the meeting was actually recorded.  Ninety minutes  was plenty of tape to realize the room was full of puffed up egos on both sides  of the issue, there was lots of shouting back and forth with little true communication and nothing in that room was being done for anyone's edification. The meeting  did not bear any good fruit and should have never happened. I listened only to a small segment of the tape before turning it off.  It was not edifying to listen to and only brought me sadness. These were people I knew well and had been quite good friends with for many years. Many years later I found that tape again, during a move,  and listened to the entire ninety minutes. Most of the emotion of the time was gone and  I listened to the entire tape. It was mostly just a lot of incoherent shouting, bickering and arguing over what seemed like very petty matters to me. The predominant issue on my dad's side was still the differing viewpoint over  when a person receives the Spirit; going into the water or coming  out; and the main target of the inquiry tried to acquiesce many times, saying it was a minor point to him and he did not wish to argue it. My dad, however, did not want to let it go and continued to bulldog the point for the entire ninety minutes on the tape. The real issue was still money and autonomy but this subject was again pushed aside in order to argue out this minor point.

All of the people involved in this latest scuffle I would never see again. This would be the first of many times arguments such as this would rise and "the group" would split after unbearable "disciplines" were placed.  Based on my own event, a person is now even considered  "eternally judged" and is now forbidden to even speak in their own defense.  This new twist ends any arguments, makes the accusers always right; at least in their own eyes; and nearly finishes the progression of conquering people completely.

I found work within days of moving to San Diego with Aero-Pacific vending. It was a good job and soon my wife and I would settle in to our own place and everything went well at first. I had a few conversations with the bank that held my college trust  fund and discovered it was not large enough to pay my tuition and books, plus living expenses for a guy who now had a family. I decided full time college would have to wait, so took only one night class for a year (1975-76).  Unlike high school, college was quite enjoyable and this taste of higher learning made me look forward to continuing my education.  

After living in San Diego a short time  a man named Robin Hesley, and his first wife,  felt "impressed by God"  that I, and my family, should move with he and his family to Phoenix Arizona and begin meetings there.  My job with the vending company was  requiring me to go to some rather obscene book stores to service the machines so I decided it was probably best to quit that job anyhow. I gave notice at work and  our apartment and one month later moved to Phoenix Arizona. Robin, and his family, intended  to follow us a few weeks later but his wife was pregnant and, since Robin had been in the Navy when she became pregnant, she wanted to give birth to her baby in San Diego at the Naval hospital as there would be no cost for the delivery. We waited. Two short weeks later we received a call from Robin in San Diego. His baby had died shortly after birth and the plans to move to Phoenix had changed...they were no longer coming.  We found ourselves alone  in the middle of a hot Phoenix summer with a small child and a  car with no air conditioning.  Phoenix was not turning out to be the picnic we had expected so we decided, that night, we would not stay. We begged the apartment manager to let us out of our one-year lease and made plans to move at the end of the month. After the dreadful heat of Phoenix we both missed the Northwest and decided not to return to San Diego. Instead we drove back to San Diego, made a brief stop to visit, then headed north to the Apex Airpark. On our route, we made a brief stop in Beaverton Oregon, to stop at Gilbert Larson's house. We lingered in Beaverton and I spent a few weeks working with the surveying firm he worked for. I had spent part of a summer with Gil as "rod man" on a crew but still knew very little about surveying so this did not go well.  We went north to Silverdale but did not end up staying long as my dad came again to the area, told us we were wrong to have left San Diego,and said “God wanted us to return”. We were obedient and we returned.

We returned to San Diego in the spring of 1977 and I enrolled in Southwestern College again, but now as a full time student. I declared my major as undecided  but my unspoken goal was to attend Southwestern for two years then transfer to a four-year school and pursue a degree in Geology. My ultimate goal was to work  for the United  States Geological Survey and I would have continued on that path but, in my first semester, I had enrolled in a Psychology class. The class was  part of the requirements to receive a transfer certificate from Southwestern to a four-year school.  My dad quizzed me about the classes I had enrolled in and when I mentioned the psychology class chastised me for enrolling in it. He demanded I drop the class and the reason given was that it would “teach me earthly wisdom" and “shake my faith in God”.  I had attended only one session of the class and I chose to drop it rather than fight my dad on the issue.  I then sought a major that did not require psychology but that was very difficult so the only option was to opt out of my desire to get a transfer certificate.  I found only one path that did not require psychology and I declared a new major. I have regretted not fighting my dad on this issue as it completely altered the career path I wanted. I truly do not think a few psychology classes would have shaken my faith in God. In fact it may have actually opened my eyes to the abusive manipulation of my father and his church and this likely was the real reason I was pressured to stay away from this class.

I continued at Southwestern College through Spring of 1978 when Proposition 13 closed the school. I was advised by the college that  there was a school in Hayward where I could finish my credits. The Hayward school would then transfer these credits back to Southwestern for my degree.  I moved to Hayward but this school also ended up closing  due to Prop 13. I called Southwestern and was advised I could attend an out of state school,they would still accept all of the credits as their own and issue me a degree. I chose Rogue Community College in Grants Pass Oregon since I had known people in Grants Pass for years and loved the town. We gave notice on our apartment after living there only a week and moved north to Grants Pass. 

After a short "corporate history primer" I will cover my Grants Pass days and the turn of events that caused me to be ordered by my dad (who was now calling himself my  "father in the Lord") to suddenly vacate Grants Pass and move back again to San Diego. It would turn out to be a very very bad decision to follow these instructions.

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