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.


23-A letter

Below is a letter that was sent out about June of 1983. This letter was sent because there were many rumblings about the way money was being used by the “Mexican Ministry”and the rumblings could no longer be ignored. This letter was intended to quiet the agitations but it was not effective.  It was essentially a threat to all in the ABC they must not make waves or question how the money was being used or else there would be consequences. 

Click on picture to read entire text.


22-The Progression of the Mexican Ministry

In a previous post I covered the actual rooting of the Mexican Ministry into the ABC with the story of Luis. This post is an explanation of the growth.

The Mexican Ministry began to take visible shape about the time I returned to San Diego. My dad’s visits to, and befriending of, the shopkeepers in Tijuana eventually yielded visits to their homes and this brought requests for teachings which meant that homes were needed in Mexico for foundation meetings. Most of the available homes in Tijuana were very small, some had dirt floors and none would accommodate a meeting. Rather than renting a building or hall, a small apartment was rented in the La Playa area of Tijuana on the western edge of town instead. This was not far from San Diego but since the Tijuana roads were seldom maintained this at times made for treacherous driving. It was a long slow commute up the hill as well--especially when it rained. It was not unusual, in a heavy downpour, to encounter a roadway that had become a raging torrent of flood water. Very often in Tijuana the homes would wash down the hills in these downpours as they were built on tires and other debris. There were usually a numbers of deaths from the floods. Poverty can be deadly.

The Crown Victoria and other sedans my dad was using to get to this apartment; as well as to pick up some of the Mexican people on the way; were not suited for the journey over the deeply rutted roads so an offering was requested to buy a large van. The money was raised and the van was purchased but within months it was quite apparent this vehicle as well would not hold up to the strain of the Tijuana roads so another call went out for more money to purchase a large Chevy Suburban with four wheel drive and high clearance suspension. This was a more effective vehicle to maneuver the back roads and alleys of Tijuana and became a bus of sorts for picking up people to take to meetings.

I was at a few of the meetings at the La Playa apartment. There were usually about five or six people from Tijuana and about the same number would travel over from the states. These were typical foundation meeting with singing (one of the Mexican people had translated a few of the songs into Spanish), a teaching in English interpreted into Spanish by a man named Pablo and prayer for any needs. It was not possible to construct a teaching in the same manner as before since the ABC relies heavily on the Greek to develop teaching points. To teach from the Greek would require translating from Greek to English first then from English into Spanish. This was proving extremely difficult and so the teachings moved in very slow motion. Most attending nodded their heads but one never knows if the nodding meant they truly understood or were just being courteous. I suspect it is the latter.

Not long after the apartment was rented in La Playa a large storm completely washed away the main road. This made the apartment inaccessible without a long drive through the side roads which would take more than an hour each way. A search was made for a new location to hold the meetings and a large house was rented closer to central Tijuana. It was up on a hill overlooking all of Tijuana and was constructed of stucco, stone and brick with lots of wrought iron. The pictures below were taken at this house. The first picture was at a kid's birthday party and the second is the view from this house at night. It had quite a view looking out over Tijuana.

This house was  too big to justify renting just for meetings and so David North moved his family to the house, enrolled his children in Mexican school and commuted to work each day across the border into San Diego. There was not much kept at the La Playa apartment for meetings; just a whiteboard and some chairs;  but after the move to the big house it still needed to be retrieved. I was enlisted for the long drive to retrieve them and David North rode along with me. Since I had to do this after work it meant driving into Tijuana after dark. While there one of my headlights burned out deep into Tijuana. I was stopped by a local police officer who spoke very little English and I spoke very little Spanish. I understood enough to know that wanted to take my car because it was not "legal" and then he was going to drop us at the airport. David paid the officer some money and this caused him to "forget" about impounding my car and he let us go. It was a tense moment. We found a headlamp that night at a little shop in La Playa and changed it before heading back to San Diego.

Meetings were held at the large central Tijuana house for a number of months but the massive flooding in La Playa and other areas had finally forced the Mexican government to address the housing situation. Since flooding problems occurred during every storm season the government decided to build large tenements of solid concrete on the mesa near the Tijuana airport. Flooding was not a problem here since it was on top of a large hill with excellent drainage.  A great many people were relocated from central Tijuana to these new housing projects, including most of the people who were coming to the Tijuana meetings. This made it necessary to move the meetings to the plains by the airport. The house was given up and David North and family moved back across the border to the Casa Grande and the idea of having a permanent house in Tijuana was abandoned. Yvonne would later acquire another home in Tijuana, after my father's death, but I will address that separately since it was not an official "sanctioned" part of the ABC.

After the central Tijuana house was given up the meetings were moved to the home of a woman everyone called  "mama". On meeting days the Suburban would leave San Diego several hours before the start time, make a "bus run" picking up anyone that lived too far to walk and take them to the meetings. Most of the participants in these meetings were related in some way and all were very poor.

Altogether there was only a small handful of people that were ever touched by "The Mexican Ministry" and it officially ended not long after my father's death. I do not know exactly when since I was not around at that time but I do know, from what I heard, that San Diego became a battleground for power and control. Yvonne, my stepmother, would leave the ABC and continue the Mexican Ministry on her own. During this time she negotiated a permanent pension from the tithes.  I was not part of the ABC then but I received regular updates on the progress from Yvonne by form letter.

In the next post, and the one following, I will introduce a threatening letter that was sent to all in the ABC and some of  the anomalies that developed...mostly due to the forming of the "Mexican Ministry".


21-San Diego-Heart and Family

Activities in San Diego over the next few years could only be described as frenetic.  The  all consuming  pace  of the San Diego / Mexico events has caused most everything to run together in the sands of my memory and so I have divided this section into separate subjects because I find it impossible to keep a precise timeline.  Also,  I know very little of what happened in  the other areas; Grants Pass, Vancouver / Portland, Denver, etc. during this era so I focus my observations  strictly on the San Diego /Mexico events.

I lived in San Diego this time until February 1985, but was removed from the ABC in January 1984 by my father. I still lived and worked in San Diego but had very little contact with the ABC during that final year. I then left San Diego again and moved back to the Puget Sound region.


Not long after returning to San Diego; in February of 1980; my grandmother on my fathers side passed away. It was not unexpected as she had pancreatic cancer; but it was still still difficult for me.  I dearly loved her and, knowing she was so ill,  had made an out of the way trip to her place on the move back to San Diego. I knew this would be the last time I would ever see her and it was heartbreaking to leave. It has been twenty-eight years at the time of this writing and it still feels like a great loss. Her death was quite a blow to my father as well. Having been an only child he had always been quite close to his mother. We visited often as I was growing up and spent  nearly every Thanksgiving or Christmas at her house. She was an incredible person and I still miss her very much.

About two years after my grandmother died my grandfather, on my father's side, died as well but his death created a great deal of tension in the family because of "things". My dad, worried that other members off the family would swoop in and grab stuff from his apartment, had me accompany him on a mad dash to Kennewick to empty out the contents and drive it all back to San Diego in a U-Haul truck. I did not know, at the time, that what we were doing was technically illegal since probate had not yet completed. It was rumored later, by my oldest brother,  that we had taken things from the apartment that were actually pledged to him by my grandmother in her will. That may have been; I really don't know;  I received nothing from my grandmother's things and it all went to fill up my dad's home in San Diego. It was also rumored an account had been established for each of us three boys payable after my grandfather's passing; and this may be true as well. My dad was executor of the estate and refused to show any of us the will. No copy was filed with the county as the estate was small.  I moved on though; it was only money and things; but the last time I spoke with my oldest brother (now my sister) he was still steaming about the way everything had happened.  I don't blame him for his upset. The allegation I had been party to this was not true as I had no personal stake whatsoever. I simply helped drive the truck at my dad’s request.

My dad was still in recovery from heart surgery during  this trip to Kennewick. It was his plan to drive my grandfather's car back to San Diego but he became too weak to finish the journey so we left him at an airport (I have forgotten which city that was in) and he flew back.  A man named Don and I then finished driving  the car and truck back to San Diego.  An interesting side note to this  journey; the truck given to us by U-Haul was very old and decrepit and literally got two miles per gallon, or less. This meant we had to stop about every fifty miles for fuel. In central California the exits are sometimes fifty miles apart so there were points in our journey we were unsure we could even make it to the next station. We did make it fine but documented the fuel guzzling with receipts and U-Haul reimbursed us for the fuel. 


During the holiday season of 1981 we went as a group to view the Christmas lights on a lane in Chula Vista. On this excursion, after walking just half a block from the van,  my dad became completely winded. He went back to the van and waited for the rest of us to return.  He insisted at the time that this was "just a cold" and said he felt like he had "asthma". He actually turned out to have a faulty heart valve and  congestive heart failure. He ignored this for a while longer but when it got worse he had no choice  but to seek  medical help. He had avoided visiting the doctor because he lacked  health insurance but once he visited a cardiologist, and was tested, he was scheduled nearly immediately for a valve replacement surgery and quadruple bypass. He was  actually near death on that outing to see the lights and his heart was in very bad shape by the time he made it to a doctor. A special offering was taken to cover the surgery costs.

I was not working at the time; since I had been injured on the job; and spent most of my days at the hospital until he was out of the woods. It was not clear whether he would actually survive the surgery; since it was so extensive; and for about five days two nurses monitored multiple IV lines that kept his heart rhythm stabilized. It was a grueling recovery and there was quite a bit of concern he would not survive.

My dad survived the surgery and, directly afterward, changed his diet drastically. He lost weight, began walking several miles each day and even joined a gym but these new habits eventually dropped off and his life returned to the hectic schedule he had kept before the surgery. The surgery saved his life and gave him an extra five or so years. He died on October 25, 1985 of a sudden heart attack in a Mexican Restaurant in San Diego. I know very little details of the incident but it is my understanding he was eating out with David North and his wife when he suddenly complained of weakness. After this, he fell from the booth and was gone. There were efforts to revive him by paramedics but they failed.  No one ever called me to let me know what happened. 

I am convinced part of him was lost during this heart surgery. I have read up on this extensively and am also acquainted with a doctor who specializes in the treatment of heart disease. This doctor helped move me beyond some major health problems of my own a few years ago; not heart related;  and I now follow his plan for my heart and health to the letter.  This doctor stated it is well known in the medical community; although not widely publicized; that small brain injuries occur during most heart surgeries. This is due to the plaques and fat globules that break free during surgery and strike the brain.  These injuries, when they occur, can alter mood and temperament if the damage occurs in the frontal lobe. There were specific instances after my dad's surgery I believe indicate this happened. My dad became much stronger physically, for a while, but there were things about him mentally that changed dramatically.  He had become much more emotional but not everyone noticed this. I did. One of the last times we spent together; at a restaurant in Alpine California; he broke down sobbing right in the middle of the restaurant. This was quite unlike him.  He felt he was no longer able to keep up with the pace of the thing he had created (the ABC) but felt it was an obligation "from the people" to keep going.  Then he began talking about his death--as if it were imminent. This was a good indicator he had become very depressed but I didn't understand that at the time. The next time I saw him, after this incident, he was right back to the mad dash that defined his life. He began to have frequent middle of the night sessions of extreme anxiety and would sometimes not sleep and pace the floor for hours. I discovered this when I spent a few nights at his house after my divorce.  It was also very soon after our restaurant encounter that I would find myself disowned.  I do not contribute the disowning itself to the changes after the surgery; it had happened too many times to others over the years; but I do however blame the vicious manner in which it was accomplished on these changes brought about by the surgery. At least I hope so. 


When I arrived in San Diego the bus had been  permanently parked at the San Ysidro RV park and a park model trailer had been purchased and moved in next to it which gave my dad and Yvonne plenty of  extra space to live.  This also  allowed my step-siblings; who were now teenagers;  more room and privacy. Both bus and trailer were parked just ten feet from the Interstate 5 freeway though and the roar of traffic, even at night, was deafening. This was an unacceptable place for someone with serious heart disease to live so my dad's doctor ordered a move away from the freeway...right away!  

The first move would be to a small apartment nearby in Chula Vista. This move to the apartment would be the first time, since 1973, that my dad and Yvonne had lived in regular housing. After this  move  David North took over use of the the bus and trailer and my dad never returned again to living in them.
The apartment, a small two bedroom, got my dad into a quiet environment and it was here that he returned from his heart surgery. I picked him up at the hospital to bring him home and, for some reason, he wanted to get his haircut before he went home. This we did. It was a rather unusual request because my dad had very little hair left but the barber made a couple of small snips and he was done. I think it probably made him feel as though he could get back to normal life and was actually a good moment between us; one of very few. He was still quite weak and needed help walking so this was one of those very rare moments we ever had to just talk and be friends. It was odd for me because my dad was never one that needed much help.

I don't recall exactly how long my dad lived in the apartment but the move changed his outlook. He seemed to  no longer desire life as an itinerant minister. He just wanted to settle down and this was quite a change for him.  I remember one time; when I was thirteen and we had first moved to San Juan Island; we had gone together looking at an old small ferry.  His plan was to move a mobile home onto the car deck for instant living space then convert the passenger deck into a  floating church. He wanted to then travel from island to island preaching.  The ferry, as it turned out, had no engine, was sitting next to the Puget Sound on dry ground, and it would have cost a great deal to bring it back to usable shape. Then there was also the little problem of needing an engine crew to actually run it.  It was a fun idea at the time but was one he quickly abandoned as impossible.

Once my dad recovered from the surgery he decided the apartment was too small. He also felt it was senseless to pay rent on an apartment as well as two RV spaces. For the same cost he could purchase one large  home. I was not involved in the search for this home but he eventually found a very large home in a rather nice neighborhood of Chula Vista. It was soon labeled "The Casa Grande" due to it's enormous size. It had, as I recall, four bedrooms, a huge den / family room as well as a very large living / dining room. A large kitchen sat in the middle of it all and in back was a huge patio with nicely landscaped yard. This house was sold years later and another even larger home with an in ground pool was purchased. I was not in the ABC at the time but saw it when I returned for the funeral.

Not long after the move to Casa Grande, David North and his wife also moved into the Casa Grande as well. The trailer was towed to the Alpine RV park in the mountains and the bus, I believe, was moved into a storage lot. It was never used again by the ABC and I assume it was eventually sold.

In my next post I will detail the development of the Mexican Ministry and in the following post will cover a few of the anomalies it spawned.