Fourteen Years in a Mind Control Cult

Everyone who has escaped from a cult has a story. This is my story.

Some people say that the Church of Bible Understanding is a destructive cult. Why is it a cult? And how is it destructive? I wrote the book Captive Congregation to answer these questions. You can read an earlier and less complete draft of this book right here on these pages. The story can be read by clicking on the chapter headings on the right side of this page.

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Captive Congregation is available in paperback and as an eBook.

(Captive Congregation is also available in the UKGermany,  Canada,  Australia,  Netherlands,  France,  Spain,  Mexico,  Italy,  India,  Brazil, and Japan.)

CAPTIVE CONGREGATION

Owned and Operated by a Manipulative Cult Leader

For the first ten years in the Church of Bible Understanding, I believed the claims of the organization and the reasons for everything we did. I had some doubts, but these doubts were easily overcome by the all-pervasive system of control,  belief enforcement and coercion that was magnified in an enclosed communal living situation. And besides, there were good things going on. I got saved and my life changed for the better. I made a lot of new friends in the cult. Our church had orphanages in Haiti. And we worked long hours in the church’s carpet cleaning business to earn money to support the purpose of the church, which was to tell the world about Jesus.

My blinders came off through some painful experiences and rude awakenings. I was threatened with being put off the church property when I questioned our leader. And during a time of extreme punishment, we were put into one of the church’s homeless shelters, which until recently had been run by the older brothers in the church, but was now being run by gang members. This had disastrous consequences and some people almost got killed because of it.

I’m glad now that these things happened to me – though I wasn’t happy about it at the time. If these things hadn’t happened, I would probably still be there, giving up everything to serve the leader of one of the worst mind control cults in history.

Groups like the Church of Bible Understanding have existed in the past. I learned that by studying the history of Christianity, particularly the history of Christianity in America. America has always been a fertile breeding ground for religion. For genuine religion, but also for the worst religious counterfeits, in which message of the Bible is used to promote the agendas of the leaders of these organizations.

Finding out that we were not unique helped me to leave COBU. The other groups I read about certainly were cults. It was obvious. And I was amazed at the similarities between these groups and ours. We were just like them. Until then I thought that COBU wasn’t a cult and that I had to stay in COBU to be saved. We didn’t believe we were the only people going to heaven. But Stewart Traill, the leader of our cult, said that we had a higher calling than all other Christians did because God had given him “the only true interpretation of the Bible.” He said that because we had this exclusive knowledge, we could never go back to not knowing it and that God held us accountable to what we knew. In fact, he said, God would cast us into hell if we left COBU, because the Bible says, “There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way.”

My fellow church members considered my desire to leave COBU to be a sign that I was losing my mind. They said that I was rebelling against God. I tried to speak up about what was wrong there and about what God was showing me. No one was willing to consider anything I had to say.

The chapters in my story can be read by clicking the links in the right hand column under the heading “Pages.”

-*-

When I was in COBU, I also wrote daily journals which can be read at the links below:

A Day In The Life Of A Cult Member.

The Tangled Web.

And Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry Cult Leader.

Stories by other ex-members of COBU and the FF: COBU Stories.

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77 Responses to “Fourteen Years in a Mind Control Cult”

  1. Anonymous from Pittsburgh Says:

    Thanks for posting your experiences in Cobu from back in the day. I was there in Pittsburgh for a couple of months back in 1975 (as the FF) and still have my button as a momento of that period.

    For years I wondered what happened as they were completely out of this area within a few years, until the internet came down.

    The whole experience, as brief as it was, helped mold me into being a sceptical of folks’ claims and motives for my entire life since.

    • James Says:

      Thanks for commenting. I find that a lot of people who were in COBU, even for short periods of time (including when it was the Forever Family in the mid-70s) still remember it and are sometimes still affected by it. I think it’s great that you took away a healthy skepticism of other peoples’ claims and motives. Thanks to the internet, you can find out what the group went on to become. A lot of that can be found at Mike Montoya’s site, which is: http://www.angelfire.com/nm/cobu/front2.html There is a lot on the early FF there, as well as the later years.

  2. Bob Says:

    James,
    I was in the COBU for a few months in 1977 in Norfolk. It became obvious that disagreeing with the “Colored John” materials was taboo, and members were expected to “sort out” their own ideas in group Bible studies until they reached the same interpretation propounded in “Colored John”. I left, but unfortunately was shortly sucked in by what I now consider just as much of a cult – dispensational fundamentalism. That lasted about 5 years before I escaped. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, as I was warned about dispensationalism but didn’t take heed until I had suffered the consequences of my blind attachment to a false system.

    • James Says:

      Bob, that sounds like something I read during my time in COBU, when I began to read about cults. In Jehovah’s Witnesses’ studies, people were free to question or debate the ideas in the workbooks, until they came to agree with the ideas in the workbooks. People were free to question, just so long as they came to the conclusions expected of them. I began to realize it was the same in COBU. We were supposedly able to “test all things” and speak the truth according to our consciences in our “democratic society” – but you’d find out quickly just how little freedom you had if you did not tow the party line.
      5 years is a long time. How involved were you in dispensational fundamentalism? Were you part of a church or group? Escape is a dramatic word – what did that involve and what were the consequences of your believe in that false system?

  3. Bob Says:

    James,
    Thanks for your reply. Perhaps ‘escape’ is too dramatic, as it was more of a gradual detachment, starting with questioning some of the assertions of dispensationalism, such as the so-called “bonafide offer of an earthly kingdom to the Jews”. Easy believism, the “altar call” (invitation system), and just the general man-centered, legalistic focus of fundamentalism began to wear on me, and couldn’t be supported by the Bible. Consequences for me of following fundamentalism … heavy guilt trips about full time service, resulting in a 3 year detour into a fundamentalist Bible college when my abilities and interests are in other areas as far as vocationally; distorted/judgmental views of people (thinking like a Pharisee); spiritual pride. If I didn’t believe in the sovereignty of God and grace through faith in Jesus Christ, I would be pretty discouraged but Romans 8:28 is still true, and the Lord directs our paths in some often strange ways.

  4. ed Says:

    please read Rob Bell new book…Love wins

    Once you know the true nature of God and his will…cults disappear

    • James Says:

      Ed,
      Would you care to comment further on this? Cults are not likely to disappear any time soon, and there have always been people who know the true nature of God and his will.
      Jim

  5. Gerry S. Says:

    I was 19 yrs old in Jan. 1976 and was introduced to this group by Jeff B. of the Brooklyn,NY “fellowship” on Ocean Ave.I remember the 3 other members who lived there was Chico,Linda H. & Julie.We walked the streets of Brooklyn conversing to whoever would listen,attended several “Big Meetings” at Rutgers Univ. and warehouses in NY & NJ.I do remember Stewart Traille being described as having a powerful,deep reputation but never had direct contact with him.I was told that he was both a nuclear physicist and an airplane pilot.After a while it was suggested that it would really help my faith to move into the fellowship but that wasnt too appealing to me.By Aug ’76 I grew tired of the long hot boring meetings and stopped coming around.I also kind of sensed that something was not right.One member tried to talk me back in to no avail.Glad I left before too much damage was done.

  6. John jones Says:

    I find it hard to believe.Does not Christ know His own?

  7. John jones Says:

    if this pesecution took place why are not prarers for those who did so and mot look to profit by it

    • James Says:

      Hi John,

      I’d like to reply to your comments, but first I have to say that it is hard to understand exactly what you are trying to say, so really, I’m going to have to ask you to clarify. Until then, here are my impressions about your comments:

      Your first comment seems like a non sequitur. It’s like if someone says, “It was a really great day,” and you reply, “Yes, chocolate milk!” A non sequitur is something that “does not follow” the subject matter at hand – or just barely so.

      “Does not Christ know his own?” Certainly he does, but what does this mean in the context of the blog entry you are commenting on? What exactly is it that you want to say?

      In your second comment are you saying that you believe members of the church were persecuted? If there was persecution, you seem to be saying, then we should pray for “those who did so,” which sounds like you mean we should pray for the people (such as Stewart Traill, the leader of the church), who was the main one doing this “persecution.” You think that no one is praying for him, but many people are.

      You say that we should be praying for those who did so, rather than trying to profit by it. Does this mean you are saying that money is being made from this? There are lots of blogs that generate income, but this is not one of them.

      There is one person in this story, however, who did make a LOT of money from it. Click on this link: Stewart’s mansion in Florida and you will see who has been profiting from using COBU members’ time and lives to build his empire.

      James.

  8. Mary Says:

    I just came across your website and read some of your writings. I, too was in the COBU many years ago, 1976-77, when the name had just changed. I was truly saved, and enjoyed going to Bible studies at the communal house in MD and witnessing with the group on the streets of Georgetown or in malls. However, at the end of ’76, my husband and I were advised by Stewart to move to the NYC “school” since we were a married couple with a child. This we did, my husband giving up a good job, our apartment, and many belongings. Even our car was given to the “church” when we got to NYC. We gave it all up for Jesus, or so we thought. We lived in an apartment building in “Hell’s Kitchen,” Manhattan, which I found out, was condemned and razed a few years later.
    We experienced it all – mice, 0-degree winter days with no heat, “loft fever, (a really bad stomach virus that swept through the NYC “school”), nightly meetings of fear and tension as we all (probably around 100 of us) listened to Stewart shame and condemn many unfortunate souls. Even at that time, Stewart lived quite differently from the rest of us, in a nice suburban home in New Jersey, and sent his kids to a private Christian school. This is one of the things God used to help us leave the COBU that next fall. My daughter was supposed to start kindergarten. I couldn’t imagine starting her in a public school in that part of the city; and there were some members’ kids doing this. I saw that Stewart’s kids were too good for this, so with God’s help decided my kid deserved better too. We left, having been in the COBU for a little over a year, and in NYC for 9 months. My husband was told “you’re selling your family down the river,” when someone saw us leave. It took a couple of years of seeking the Lord to become set free and unbrainwashed. We also had get-togethers and prayer meetings at our home on and off for a few years after we left where ex-COBU members came. – Mary

    • James Says:

      Mary,
      I appreciate the comments and your description of your stay (and leaving) the Church of Bible Understanding. I came to COBU right after you were there. Paul B., one of the brothers I used to do wood floor sanding with in Christian Brothers, the church business, used to talk to me about the “loft days” in the church as if they were the good old days, like some golden era. But I noticed around 1992, when Stewart Traill wanted to go back to having lofts again (calling it “loft life”) that Paul was doing anything possible to avoid having to move to the loft that had been set up on West 45th Street.

      On Mike Montoya’s COBU website, there is a page with photos and audio of the lofts and Manhattan Training Center at this link: http://www.angelfire.com/nm/cobu/AMANHAT.html

      Jim L.

  9. Louise Says:

    I was a social orphan at age 18 and COBU was somewhere I could go to that had a basically wholesome, safe, young, Christian atmosphere with guaranteed acceptance. I think a lot of the people were there because they were alienated from family and church. Young people are idealistic. Stewart Traill was sort of a pied-piper. I think he was a bit screwy and in it for the money. Unfortunately, there were people in it who lacked a good foundation and were somewhat traumatized by the mild brainwashing. Thankfully, there are good, wholesome places young people can go to if they need housing or vocational assistance. Job Corps, I heard, is not too good, though.

  10. Angie Martin Hall Says:

    I just found your blog. I, too, was involved in COBU from 1976 to 1996. Years later, in 1983, I was briefly involved in the “church” again, but left altogether in about a year. I haven’t read all of your posts yet, but I certainly will. My experience in COBU negatively affected my life in so many ways. I am just now able to share stories of my experience with my family (especially my children) so that they will never have to go through what I went through. Thanks for posting your journal here for all of us to learn from.

    • Helen Says:

      Fortunately, there is a lot more information today about cults as well as social services for people in vulnerable situations, financially as well as emotionally, so they can avoid being scammed by a “Stewart.” My faith in Jesus has never been stronger and these cult leaders shall surely will be tormented by demons in the afterlife.

  11. Helen Says:

    He may be in a nursing home, since he was getting old. I am sure the family and some insiders are scrambling about to get their hands on the loot. Maybe the lawyers will get it all. It was always about money. Learn a lesson. Life life on life’s terms and avoid gurus looking for suckers. If you need help, go see a PROFESSIONAL. If you don’t have resources, go to your local mental health clinic for free. Good luck.

    • James Says:

      He’s not in a nursing home, he’s in his mansion, surrounded by a devoted and faithful few to tend all his needs and wants – and will probably be there until his dying day.

      As far as the loot, yes, it will probably be transferred to those next in command in the power structure.

      Ah… we always get these “learn a lesson” comments on this blog from those who were not there and who cannot truly comprehend. Maybe it just shows that I’m not “educating” the general public on the hows and whys of cults, or maybe it just shows the typical superficial reading that people do in our fast information society, where after reading a few points, then feel as if they are experts on a subject and can offer sound advice. There is also the assumption that people who join cults are people who “need help,” and if so, they should go see a professional (in all caps) or if they don’t have money for help (they are poor helpless people) then they can to go a – get this – “mental health clinic.” The assumptions here are just overflowing and abounding! That those who join cults have mental health issues (which they tried to solve by following a “guru”) and that they are not at all like normal and sane people. (I will admit that maybe after being in a cult a long time, you might have a few mental health issues.) But it is just a superficial reading of either my blog or any other resources on cults that might lead one to state some advice about mental health needs.

      Actually, those who join cults – and in the particular case of those who joined the Church of Bible Understanding – did it because they heard about Jesus and wanted to follow him. They heard this from other young people who seemed enthusiastic about what they were talking about and they wanted to join them in following Jesus. That is quite a different picture than that of unfortunate suckers who need professional help, or if too broke, can go to a local mental health clinic for free. Sorry, Helen, to have to take issue with most of this comment, but I really do have to set some misconceptions straight.

  12. Helen Says:

    Ha, ha. He’s sitting in a diaper with a bunch of Roman slaves waiting on their guru hand and foot, but even the great Stewart is going to eventually croak. Just keep ignoring the sexual improprieties, the break up of families, the abuse of children, the ruined careers and deceit. Man, are you really that dumb, or did you fall for the “we are helping others” B.S.?

  13. Helen Says:

    I’d like to know where the money went and if you are next in line for succession of the throne. What will be your charitable expenses? A cabin in the mountains, a $100,000 bus? Plastic surgery for your bang maid? I hope the authorities catch up with you all.

    • James Says:

      Me, next in line for succession to the throne? Not possible. You have to understand that in cults like the Church of Bible Understanding, everyone is on a flunky basis. Only the leader has power. Everyone else is a pawn and an order taker. He sometimes sets up some of the members as figureheads to carry out his plans, but it’s all like being on a marionette string. As far as the leader and his maids, plastic surgery is not necessary, he just trades down to younger ones when they need replacing. COBU, for some reason, has remained immune from the authorities. They’re squeaky clean as far as the laws are concerned.

  14. Mark j Says:

    Wow! I just stumbled onto your blog site and scanned a lot of the entires. It was a cult mingled And in my opinion it had enough truth to keep many in bondage.

    In 1980 a friend of mine found a tract on the ground on a street in Worcester and shared it with me. Previously my friend and I had traveled to The Mardi Gras while seniors in high school and while at the carnival were witnessed to. This propelled us to become Christians hence the significance of the COBU tract. We both visited the Worcester House on LaGrange Street and said the sinner’s prayer. I went there for about a year for bible studies and my close friend moved into a commune/house in Brooklyn. At one point I moved in as we’ll and an attempt to recruit me into the carpet cleaning business failed when I lost all the flyers I was assigned to distribute in a building….

    Anyway I decided to leave and there was very little said to me other than I was “in the flesh” and sowing to the “young man” referring to the wayward young man temptations in Proverbs. But I did return one more time to get my friend in 1982. I wrote my friend a little filled with scripture concerning faith, grace and love and wrote that I was coming and we would would be leaving and that is what happened essentially despite several “brothers” attempts to dissuade us.

    Also, I attended tow “big meetings” somewhere in Pennsylvania and they were horrible and very strange. We all waited for the grand entrance of Stewart and Gayle and when they eventually arrived Stewart sat in the middle of a swarm of the faithful and just sat there staring at the group of us for seemed to be almost an hour. I complained to an older brother, age 26 and was told to stop being , “in the flesh.” I cannot count how many times I heard that.

    I remember a great guy from the Worcester group, Rick R. Being called “mushy” because he believed in grace. Rick smiling told me once that Stewart, Jimmy g. And some other guy were mockingly referred to as the father, son, and Holy Ghost.

    I hung around for about 2 years but think I escaped the pain and scarring many experienced. I got sucked into the blog because I began scanning for familiars and remember the dentist, mr. Montoya (very smart guy), and the lieutenant Mr. Jim G.

    I heard a rumor than Gayle was injured or may have passed away and hope it is only a rumor. I feel very saddened that so many good people were so badly treated. I went onto lead a Christian life and not as one COBU brother called me a, “carnal lukewarm Christian”.

    I pray this for all those scarred by the distorted and selfish mechanisms of one disturbed man. I pray for Mr. Trail as well and that he comes before the living God in humility and like the apostle Peter told to Simon the magician, “perhaps God will forgive you for your arrogance.”

    As for the acquired wealth of Mr. Traill, let him keep it. Justice is always served and God is not mocked. Let us move forward and not look back to things that God has already handled and that are playing out.

    I do recall the story that he had a mansion in Princeton and that only the pretty “sisters” were recruited to serve God there. I am started to ramble as the memories are coming back… Sorry

    Mark

  15. James Says:

    Mark,
    I appreciate your comments. I’m glad you cared enough about your friend to go back and get him later. One of your comments that I appreciate the most is about the “things that God has already handled and that are playing out.” Very well said. Rick R. was one of the best brothers there. A real friend and not one who would push the COBU mindset or agenda on anyone. He left shortly after I moved in.

    You moved into the house on LaGrange Street, but you didn’t move to Brooklyn, right?

    James

  16. Mark j Says:

    James,

    I never moved into the LaGrange street house but I was there on average five days a week. I worked at UPS at night so I was free during the days and early evenings. I sought out Rick’s fellowship primarily. I was drawn to him because of his kindness and his deep understanding of scripture. In fact when he left COBU I was his first housemate he had. He soon after married and moved to Barre I think…. I looked him up once a while ago and he was very successful and still working in the printing industry.

    Anyway, I gave living with the church a chance a lived with them in Brooklyn for about six weeks in the summer of 1981 then quickly saw some weird leadership things but I genuinely loved the brothers and sisters dearly. When I publicly stood up and declared that I was leaving and why. I was prepared for some push back but no one said a word but later many came to with tears and said they would miss me. It was mutual.

    What stood out in my mind was how much I saw the brow beating and the team attacks on different individuals like something out of the book Lord of the Flies….. But no one attacked me, I was well liked by the brothers and the sisters. I recall a policy at the time that only applied to sisters where if a sister liked a brother she had to expose and tel the brother it otherwise be labeled as some sort of game player. I got a ton of sister pull asides and a few of the brothers expressed their shock. There was a brother there, the alpha, named Hilton or Lawrence maybe I think and he expressed the same shock to me and that was the only time we ever spoke.

    In hindsight I was articulate and extremely arrogant but portrayed humility and when I now look back the young people I was among simply lacked the discernment to peg me and God used this to extricate me and later a few others.

    I met Stewart once and he looked straight into my eyes and I remember looking back and smiling but thinking this guy is so full of crap that I cannot fight back a smile. He nodded and simply walked past me. My impression of Gayle, the paragon of Proverbs 31 as he would have us believe, was the skinniest woman I had seen yet in my life at the time and thought this looks pathetic and I voiced it but no one bit. A middle aged charlatan and his skinny trophy. I left two days later and returned about 6 months later for my friend Dennis.

    Over the years I thought I had completely forgotten about the COBU years but honestly last night I had a dream and woke in the morning with the name Stewart Traill in my mind and how so many we’re in fear of him…… I was not one of them. I am now an attorney and spar with many bonifide intellectuals and would love the chance to actually speak with him.

    Our lives have all taken many turns and I think the temptation is to think of our time with COBU as wasted time but I do not believe God sees this as we do. God’ ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are beyond ours Isaiah tells us. What I got from COBU is that being lukewarm is not enough and that studying the word brings life. What I learned later was that without love nothing at all matters. The between a father and his child, the love between my creator and me and everything is and always shall remain in his hands except my will. But in my will to choose I have chosen the God who first chose me….. There has been no waste just a plan that I may never figure out and now for me that is okay…..

    Yours,
    Mark

    • James Says:

      Mark,
      I appreciate your further comments and the picture you’ve provided of life in the Church of Bible Understanding at that time. You’ve pegged a lot of things accuratel. There was another person who commented a while back and he also had that “arrogant” kind of attitude, in a good way, as you did. I think that being able to think for yourself and to see through things, and to not be willing to go along with the herd is a good thing. It’s interesting that you had a dream and you woke up, recalling your time in COBU.
      James

  17. Mark j Says:

    James

    I think the address in Brooklyn was 162 Woodruff. Does that sound right. Also, how would I look up a few former COBU brothers; Gary Devissor, Lee DeBerry, Ken Shady, Doona Cavnar (sister), Mark Strohl, etc…

    I am starting to remember so much. like the art show of John chapter 3 and standing around with Rick while he cranked them out.

    Tyyl
    Mark

  18. Mark j Says:

    James

    I just spent about hour or so reading more of the blogs etc. wow! I was in the Worcester area an attended in 1980 and 1981. I must have met you. I read a blog where you received a message from an anonymous person who clearly was a cool aid drinker and took aim at you personally rather than any of the issues. In my world that means they lost! Argumentum ad baculum if I remember the Latin accurately.

    I was never one the COBU elite or ever in any inner circles. I was a game player which was almost true, I actually wanted to meet and follow Christ and he did not look or act like Mr. Traill in my estimation. I wonder if Mr. Traill would ever allow an audience with a former member or members? Food for thought.

    Mark

    • James Says:

      Mark,
      I don’t think Traill would want an audience with former members. Not unless they were returning to the church and agreeing to live there once more on his terms. Or, if he saw that he had some use for you. But, I wouldn’t rule out anything. I don’t know of anyone who’s gone to speak to him. He would be hard to get on the phone, as he would hide behind intermediaries who would try to find out what you want, while stalling and delaying you and getting you to finally give up calling. He might deign to leave a message to you through an intermediary. It would either be condescending or derogatory in nature. But, you never know.

      I was in Worcester from February of 1980, after praying with a brother named Chuck. I moved into the house at LaGrange St. in May of that year, and went down to the Jersey City house in September and stayed there through September 1981. So I must have seen and met you.
      James

  19. Mark j Says:

    James,

    I loved Charles from Ghana. Rick and I use to have him over for dinner frequently. Where is Gary D. If you know? I use to go street witnessing with he and Rick quite often. I actually loved it. We use to go to Clark Univ. among other places and later I graduated from there and would walk around and remember them talking to students.

    I remember a guy that played basketball with another brother who use to joke me with a lot. One time my friend Dennis and I were hanging out one hot summer evening and talking to this brother who asked me what I liked to do in my free time and I said, ” I don’t understand.” And the brother responded, ” what do you do for an encore.” Dennis burst out laughing and I still did not know what to say.

    I did not get burned like so many did and am saddened so many were scarred. I believe the ranks of COBU were swelled with many real Christians, people I still admire with great affection. I do not feel similarly towards the leadership and still pray for them.

    I remember mike Montoya from woodruff st. I remember he once told me his was on the national honor society and I imagine he went far.

    I saw from reading things on your site that Doona commented. She was a sweet person. If I remember correctly a sister named Kathy was with her at the Worcester house as well as another sister something Goldstein I think. Did you know a Jeff Bernstein?

    Mark

    • James Says:

      Mark,
      I remember Charles from Ghana too. I liked him also. He left shortly after I moved in. The brothers seemed to want to sheild me from the reality of that, not wishing me to think negatively of the church, I assume. I have googled around for Gary D. quite a few times. He may have lived in Germany a while, where he had a translation business. I sent an email to someone named Gerhardt DeVisser, who was 55 and lived in the midwest. Got no answer. He is someone I’d really like to contact. Debbie Goldstein was in Worcester when I was there. I knew Jeff Bernstein when I was in Manhattan. I have a picture of Rick R. somewhere and I’ll look for it and send it to you.
      James

    • Mary Kiler Says:

      Are you talking about Rick Rosenberger? I have kept in contact with Rick and his wife Pat. Pat is not a COBU member but she’s truly a great friend and sister in Christ. And James I remember you as well. Glad to hear you have not walked away from Jesus and are away from COBU. Take Care. Mary O’Keefe-Kiler

      • James Says:

        Hi Mary, yes, that is Rick Rosenberger. He had a good influence on me when I was there. That’s why I was disappointed when he left, but I didn’t understand the issues at the time and why anyone would leave.

    • Mary Kiler Says:

      Kathy was Kathy Kirby and Goldstein was Debbie Goldstein. Wow, lost memories.

  20. Mark j Says:

    James,

    I have thought of Gary many many times over the years. He reminded me of the brother who shared the gospel with me in1979 when I went to the Mardi Gras with Dennis R. We were seniors at Shrewsbury high School when we set off. I was not looking for God but desperately needed him to find me and a bold, Gary-like guy witnessed to me. I hope he is well and pray for him. He was much more sensitive than he wanted others to see and I recall him sharing about his troubled home relationships which no doubt left him vulnerable to responding to what Mr. Traill promised but never delivered on – a forever family. It is heartbreaking when I remember some of the stories some of the brothers shared about where they came from and how taken advantage of they were.

    • James Says:

      Mark,
      I think there were a lot of brothers and sisters there that were looking for that family they never had. I can see from your comments that you were the kind of person who spent time getting to know people very well. By the way, I do remember you now. We had some very good conversations. I remember driving you back to your house and sitting in the van out front and talking for a while. You seemed like a straightfoward and honest guy. I hadn’t known that you moved to Brooklyn for a while. I left Worcester for Jersey City in the fall of 1980, so I don’t know much more about anyone in Worcester from that time on.
      James

  21. Yhwh Says:

    I still live in NY and I remember COBU well. Back in those days me and my friends used to playfully tease them by calling them “The We People.” They appeared to be everywhere at that time. I ran into them on Church and Flatbush Avenue back around 1981 where they had billboards and huge pictures of verses of John Chapter 3. Until this day I still have their witnessing tool of John 3 in pictures.

    Around this time I was having problems at home. What they said to me was so appealing. I did well in school but I was an emotional wreck on the inside. Living with a verbally and physical abusive mother who was emotionally unattached and not being acknowledged by my father, they knew how to play on my heart strings. One of the older sisters kinda took me and a few of my friengs under her wing and began slowly sucking us into the organization. At this time, I had seriously considered leaving home but I wasn’t that brave yet. The sisters were kind, the brothers behaved as if they were off limits to the point that it was scary. I was young and I couldn’t understand why they behaved as if the sisters had the bubonic plague. The sisters were treated like second class citizens and I couldn’t understand why if they wanted to talk to a brother they had to “ask for attention.” WHAT???? I questioned this and never got an answer that satisfied me. It was just plain stupid! I was smart enough to know that male and female relationships were totally discouraged.

    I saw “The We House” on Woodruff Avenue in Brooklyn, NY as a place I could escape to when I was having problems at home. Sometimes I used to to there straight from school to keep from going home. I sat through several boring meetings and I always felt this Stewart character was a bit weird.

    After being associated with these people for years, me and another brother began to get close. I grew quite fond of this brother. We spoke often on the phone and I looked forward to the conversations we had which was mostly just having fun. Once Stewart caught wind of this I was called in to meet with him in some dimly lit room. I was seated and the brother was standing over me taking notes. WHAT? Can you imagine how imitating that was? I didn’t know this old man and here am I, still a teenager, being questioned on nonsense. Well the meeting lasted for 5 minutes. First Stewart got up and left and then the brother left too. I tried to catch up with the brother to ask him what just happened and he refused to talk to me again. He stopped calling me and when I would stop by the house he would completely ignore me by walking the other way. The sisters tried to console me but I couldn’t be consoled because I didn’t understand what happened. I guess Stewart made sure he discouraged all potential relationships. After that I stopped going there. I was hurt for a few months and then I began encouraging myself back to emotional health.

    All in all, I’m glad this happened to me because I dodged a bullet! Even though I socialized with them for several years, I finished high school and later finished college. Who knows what would have happened to me if that incident with that brother wouldn’t never happened?. Many of the people there barely had a high school education and many of them were high school dropouts who were unskilled.

    If I would have come from an emotionally healthy and loving home most likely they would have never sucked me in like they did. Many of the people I was cool with there ended up leaving anyway. Good for them!

    • James Says:

      Yhwh, Thanks for your comments. Yes, you really dodged a bullet there, because without that little meeting, you might have been pulled further in, despite your misgivings about the place. I think you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head with the observation that potential relationships of all kinds were discouraged, whether it was man-woman relationships (there have been no marriages, dating, or relationships of any kind for decades) or whether it was being good friends, like the friendship you had with that brother. Stewart had to put an end to that, because it was contrary to his purposes. And, it seems he didn’t mind doing that in front of you, even at the expense of losing a “convert” because the overall status quo had to be maintained, which, without going into it too much, was the chain of command, with Stewart Traill as supreme leader and everyone else as isolated underlings answering only to him, with no alternate loyalties, friendships or any group of people who might start something else and oppose his authority or focus the attention away from himself. It was better to have isolated lonely individuals looking to him for meaning and purpose. I really appreciate your comments. I’d also like to invite you to have a look at the Cobu Stories page on Facebook and send a friend request as well. There is a lot there to read and see.

      • Terry Coulombe Says:

        There is nothing wrong with living a single life to the Lord and since we are an adulterous generation we ought to be wary of dating. Jesus did not promote sexual promiscuity, infidelity, adultery, sex without marriage, homosexuality, or even divorce. Jesus was a man of virtue. So if you want to judge Stewart Traill I caution you to judge with right judgement otherwise you will be judged by the same measure that you judge with. I know Stewart Traill has made his mistakes but he has dedicated his life to serve Jesus the Christ and he tried very hard to get it right. We will do well to avoid our own bitterness and resentments and strive to walk with God. Best wishes to both of you.

      • Yhwh Says:

        “There is nothing wrong with living a single life to the Lord and since we are an adulterous generation we ought to be wary of dating. Jesus did not promote sexual promiscuity, infidelity, adultery, sex without marriage, homosexuality, or even divorce. Spoken like a true sheeple. Did I ever say anything was wrong with living a single life now did I? Stewart discouraged relationships period! I

        Also don’t confuse speaking the truth with bitterness. This was a tactic used at COBU to prevent others from questioning certain things or from speaking up. I’m not associated with the COBU anymore and therefore those tactics don’t work on me. I will continue speak my mind and judge righteously. Amazing how just because someone has shared their experience others are quick to throw out the “judging”, “resentment” and “bitterness” cards. It never fails in speaking with drones. No need to “caution” me to “judge with righteous judgment” as I do know the Word of God for myself and I’m simply speaking the truth without malace or hate. This was over 20 yrs ago and I’m merely sharing my experience.

        Yes Stewart has made many mistakes by playing God over the lives of many. He is a cult leader and a terrible one at that. Perhaps this is not the forum for you if you are not prepared to read about other peoples experiences.

        Stewart has dedicated his life to making sure he has followers he has trained well to not think for themselves and just blindly do as he says. Cults rely upon its followers to not think for themselves. I’m glad I walked away before any real damage had been done. I thank the Most High for turning my back on COBU. AMEN!

      • James Says:

        Yhwh,
        From what I know, Terry is from Haiti and has only seen COBU and Stewart Traill from that viewpoint and his experience of both is far different than ours. He saw Brothers and Sisters helping with the children and feeding the poor. Stewart would have appeared as a far away benefactor (spoken of reverently by all the Brothers and Sisters, of course) who may have occasionally visited and smiled at everybody and said hello, then gone on his way to spend a few days in the sun in the Bahamas. For those of us who have experienced COBU and Stewart Traill close up, our experience is different. We have been exposed to more and know a lot more than Terry would be aware of. And those in his inner circle know a lot they’re not telling. Yet, even Terri seems aware that Stewart has made “mistakes,” which seems to mean more than just the usual generalized mistakes that anyone could make. Of course Stewart did not dedicate his life to Jesus and try very hard to get it right, but Terry does not know that. That is the best I can say in Terry’s behalf. Yhwh, your comments are accurate and well-reasoned.
        James.

      • Yhwh Says:

        Thanks James. Terry doesn’t have a clue concerning how many lives Stewart has destroyed and what he has done. Thank God I have no lasting effects from what he has done. Also I dodged a bullet with this brother because years later I saw him on the street. While conversing with him he stated how he had come to the conclusion that Jesus and the devil was the same person. Therefore, I dodged a bullet in more ways than one.

        Also, I was telling someone on YouTube that oftentimes when a person is in a cult, they don’t realize they’re in a cult until sadly years later when their eyes are open. For example, I grew up in what I thought was a normal home because this was all I knew. But it wasn’t until I saw what normal was then realized my home was dysfunctional. This is the same way in a cult. This is why many cults keep its members secluded and away from civilization because then they will begin to mingle with other believers and see the bigger picture of things they will begin to realize that what they are experiencing just isn’t normal. Many cults, especially so-called religious ones, don’t want its members to socialize with other churches because then they will realize that many things just aren’t right. Cult leaders rely upon total ignorance to keep the members in deep check.

        Many churches are the same way. After leaving COBU I was involved in a church that exhibited cult-like features. They would excommunicated people for repentent sins and told them that they couldn’t socialize or visit any churches until they were reinstated and given the “right hand of fellowship.” I’ve had my share of legalistic churches… trust me.

      • James Says:

        Yhwh,
        Terry has no clue. I also realize that I have mistaken Terry for someone else and this is not the young man from Haiti that I was thinking about. This is the 2nd comment of this type left by Terry on the blog.

        I know who that is who was saying that God and the Devil are the same person. And he used to be one of the most “out front” brothers there. The same story about him was told to me by someone else who talked to him not long ago.

        James

      • Yhwh Says:

        He was one of the very “out front” brothers and one of the main ones that sisters were craving to “ask attention” from. When I saw him on the street many years ago, he was talking that nonsense about the devil and Jesus being the same. This is very sad. He was talking about how he could prove it and was talking about going on radio to begin preaching this message. I told him how sick he had become and this was total nonsense. At the end of the day, the brothers there were just suckups for Stewart and several of them was very immature as well as distant. Paul and Mitch were cool though. I also thought this brother was cool until years later he start talking about this Jesus and the devil are the same person nonsense. I haven’t seen him in years but the last time I did he had a carpet cleaner set up on Flatbush Brooklyn trying to get customers. I don’t think he ever really did anything else with his life from what I could remember.

      • geoinformatician Says:

        Who is the “He” that you are talking about?

        On 3/20/13, My Church of Bible Understanding Story

  22. Yhwh Says:

    Thanks so much. Yes, I will check out the COBU page on Facebook. I thank God that I dodged a bullet. The sisters couldn’t get close to anyone and they couldn’t get close to the brothers either. I still couldn’t believe this one sister who told me if she wanted to get attention from a brother she had to “ask for attention.” This was so sad. This isn’t normal and completely unbiblical. It appears that everyone was so lonely there. I could tell. They filled their time with work, meetings and witnessing. Stewart would have been happy having old lonely maids and men who were starving for affection from a woman. While I was there, there were several people who fell into fornication. Although there’s no excuse for fornication, Stewart gave these people no hope of ever having a relationship; therefore they had nothing to look forward to. He was a very selfish individual. Although at the time I was quite hurt, years later I was happy that this happened to me. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I would have been sucked in further. That incident kept me far away because after that the place became even more weird to me.

  23. Yhwh Says:

    Do you have a link to the Facebook page?

  24. Gary Craig Says:

    The COBU was a neat concept, Book of Acts. However, human nature got in the way. It did work for a while, forbidding marriage, and continuing to recruit young members. However, as history teaches us, it will end up destroying itself, and oh yes, the core does get older and out of touch with current youth. Sure the COBU still exists, but it is just a shell of its former self, mostly made up of older people, and imigrants who know no better. As for me, I will always remember the good, the realtionships, the good times, the witnessing, the Big Meetings. Never had a better time. I choose not to remember Stuart forbidding marriage or shooting people down. I am a better person for having been in the COBU, and have a great relationship with my God.

    -Gary

  25. Reginaalvarez777@gmail.com Says:

    I was involved with COBU in the late 70 ‘s . Attended meetings up in the loft on Bleecker St. And a few big meetings. A few of my friends went to live with them in Mass. Although they are a cult, I have taken away some things that were positive.
    Fellowshipping
    Importance of dedicated Bible Studies and truely digging into the Word
    To not be materialistic
    Look to The Second Coming Of Jesus
    Always try to be honest and grow In The Lord

    • James Says:

      Regina, who were your friends who went to live with COBU in Worcester?

    • Craig Gary Says:

      Amen, I also got many positive things from the COBU, as well as lifelong friends.  God can use anything, and anyone, to do his will.   -Gary

      Gary Craig 462 Madison Drive Shrewsbury, PA 17361 Cell: 717-203-1849 Work: 301-286-0186

  26. Regina Says:

    The importance of sharing
    Realizing that a leader can have a big ego, be controlling, lack joy, put people down, which is wrong, etc…….I learned a lot and who I am today, as a Christian has a lot to do with what I learned at my time with COBU

    • James Says:

      I think you are right about all of these things. I was never in the loft at Bleecker Street. That was before my time in COBU. But I have heard a lot about those times from those who were there.

      • Just discussed Says:

        I was in Wooster, Ma. and Bleeker street and Spring street and Hell’s kitchen. Remember how we were all into “comfort” and how COBU would never take outside donations. I can’t belive Traill is living in a mansion. Gayle once asked me
        ” how do you feel knowing you sent someone to hell?” I told her I didn’t know I had that kind of power.

      • James Says:

        That was a strange sounding comment by Gayle. What were the circumstances of that?
        Your reply to her was a good one. A lot of people there would have hung their heads in guilt, believing that they, somehow, had that power.

  27. Liz Says:

    My dad was in this in 76-77 in the first in Cleveland as a leader at one point then in Hells Kitchen part of it. I have been looking at a few of these blogs to understand more about this. I hope you all can find peace after this.

  28. Kokoy Says:

    I knew nothing of y’all’s COBU or this Stewart man. Tonight I ate at Outback Steakhouse in south Florida and this man Stewart and 3 women, one young, one gayle, sat directly next to me. I listened for 1 hr as this man talked down to them like a cocky college professor mocking his new students, and as he mocked the sweet waitress as she tried to help. The look in gayles eyes sent shrills down my back as she stared at me like she was looking thru me as all the women were diving into their cell phones to find answers to this mans questions that he seemed to pretend he knew the answers to. All of them sat there like they were unable to communicate to the waitress as she came around. On and on it went about how the bible was a joke about the “so called great flood” …..Wow.

  29. geoinformatician Says:

    I have had to lash out at Stewart Traill calling him the son of Baal because of his hostile comments and his adultery. I cannot allow an adulterous man to lead me.

  30. James Says:

    Kokoy, thanks for commenting here. Just to clarify, Stewart Traill is known for calling the Bible, passages in the Bible, etc., a “joke.” The assumption: he (and only he) knows the real truth, others are deceived. It’s the same old game and same old theme he has always played. The old prophet with his fearfully adoring female admirers in a diner is a classic scene dating to the 70s and just part of the repertoire.

  31. southjohn Says:

    Hi- I found your blog, because I was looking to find information about the church that (nearly) ensnared me in the fall of 1994, in Philadelphia. I think, but am not sure, it was COBU. I was an 18 year old backpacker then, and in the Philadelphia train station. A couple nicely dressed young guys, black, came up to me and asked if I believed in Jesus. I didn’t have anywhere else to stay for the night, so I went with them, to a van. On the way to their house, we made some stops to convert other people, it seems. Anyway, I don’t know what part of Philadelphia we were in at this point. I slept in a big house with lots of other young guys. The next morning we we were driven to a compound with brick buildings for a lunch/service. At the lecture or service or whatever it was, a guy with big black beard was talking, and using slides with hebrew or something about the bible. And then suddenly an even older guy with beard (white beard) came in shouting about blasphemy or something. Anyway.. by this point I was so weirded out, I ran out of the building, and was able to leave. I have since looked up COBU, and their old compound in Philadelphia, and looked at it on google street view.. seems to match my memory, but I am not sure. Do any of the other details I supply ring true? I am not trying to hunt anyone down or anything.. this was twenty years ago. I am just interested in learning who or what I was dealing with back then. Thanks a lot.

    • James Says:

      Hi John, Yes, you indeed have found the right place (or shall I say the wrong place – good thing you didn’t stay). I appreciate your comments about your short stay in COBU. You probably stayed at the house at 6713 Woodland Avenue, and then went over to the compound. The guy with the white beard was Stewart Traill, the leader of the cult.

      It used to be a little better in COBU, in the earlier years, when I got into it when I was young (23 years old) in 1980. Most people acted normal and I had a lot of friends there. It’s good in a way, that it has grown progressively worse, because whatever might attract people to it is gone (it was pretty weird, even by 1994) and that keeps a lot of people from joining.

  32. southjohn Says:

    James, thank you for your reply. I did not mean to sound disrespectful or dismissive about anyone’s faith. But even at my young age then, 18, I could feel something was wrong with that place. People did not seem happy, it was so obvious. I think, after all this time, this is one reason I was interested in learning more about the place: what was it? are people ok now? etc.

    • James Says:

      John, I don’t see your comments as disrespectful. You sensed something was wrong and you didn’t stay. I forwarded your comments over to my Facebook site where other ex-members were trying to remember if we ever saw slides in Hebrew. You can join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/cobu.stories) or just look for “COBU Stories” on Facebook. There are a lot of people there who can answer you questions.

  33. southjohn Says:

    I remember one detail, correction: it was not a slide show, the guy was using one of those old overhead projectors, remember like we used to have at school. Small detail I know, but just wanted to correct it for the record.

  34. ajc Says:

    I too am glad Mark went back and got his friend. Mark must be one decent person. ajc

  35. Nancy Says:

    Interesting reading. I was in COBU from July 78 to Oct 80. Met the group in Richmond, VA and lived in the Boston house, then the Lamb House for a year, then got moved to Baltimore (I had been depressed for quite some time – was [thankfully] never successful at recruiting others, left briefly from Baltimore, came back quickly, [spent the night at my Mom’s house reading condemning verses in the bible – “Oh Israel you harlot, you have forsaken the Lord your God…” -upon my return to the singles Baltimore fellowship house, I was soon sent back to Philly to the N. Broad Street house – I then left 6 months later. I was still “in” psychologically and my mother had a team of ‘deprogrammers’ on speed dial, so when I showed up again at her home, she got them down to Virginia and she didn’t let me sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to return to COBU like I had 6 months before. I was very angry at first that she did that, but very quickly into the deprogramming realized that I was not the same bright and articulate young woman I had been prior to joining COBU. I was messed up. Reading about other very similar groups was very helpful during the deprogramming process as it made me realize that this was not unusual at all. There were so many groups just like ours.

    I was so unhappy from being in the group (and of course, I thought it was all MY fault) that it was a relief to realize I’d been conned. It was hard to face that what I believed to be true was not, (not talking about Jesus and being saved – cuz I had gotten saved prior to meeting COBU) but all in all I wouldn’t trade the experience as it showed me many things – the flexibility of our perceptions and consciousness, how we can delude ourselves, when we are vulnerable to manipulations by others as well as the forms of manipulation; my BS meter is pretty sensitive now. : / I also met and lived with some very dear people. Some not so much – but that was at the Lamb House. Yes, Kevin Brown, Stewart, Joy (I liked her – too bad she is still in) Jeannette Firgau? – liked her lots too, Terri Bergammini?, … I loved the singing, which is natural for me as I’m a singer. But eventually I could not sing without worrying that I was ‘seeking’ attention. Dark days…

    During the ‘deprogramming’ – which was confrontational dialog – to get me to ‘think’ and participate – they had me read a chapter from Robert J. Lifton’s “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism” – Ch. 22 (I think) which outlined eight characteristics/ psychological themes, which if ALL were present in an organization, it meant that there was a deliberate and conscious intent/agenda from the top (leadership) to manipulate and control the members. Those are outlined at this web site:

    http://www.csj.org/studyindex/studymindctr/study_mindctr_lifton.htm

    I recognized all eight being present in COBU. That was very helpful to me to begin to free my mind and spirit from the indoctrination of Stewart Traill.

    I was drawn to the sincere and loving brothers & sisters and the idea of living one’s life for God – for Jesus. On the other side of the cult though, I realized I had been clinically depressed the 6 months prior to meeting the group (reading my journals of that time) and was ripe for the recruitment of the group. Interestingly enough, I did feel initially loved and taken care of, and for the first time in my life, I felt my age. I felt young – because I was being taken care of – by my church. It was a novel experience since the dysfunction of my own family of origin had necessitated that I take on an adult role at the age of 8 – so it did give me that initial honeymoon good feeling experience. Did not last though – it was very short lived. Obviously, I was looking for some emotional relief as well, from the sadness/despair I was feeling and lack of direction at that time – age of 19, just finished my first year at college and no longer knew what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go with m life.

    I did some public speaking for several years after my deprogamming and gave several interviews in Virginia; that was therapeutic as well, sharing my experience and hopefully helping others to avoid similar kinds of groups. That was 36 years ago and it took a long time for me to recover from that 2 yrs and 3 months of my life in COBU, but as I said before, I wouldn’t trade the experience. I wouldn’t do it again, but I’m the richer for having gone through and survived it. I pray that all will find healing and wholeness again from any such damaging experiences.

  36. dawn cortez Says:

    I can’t believe your whole life is wrapped up in Stewart,this is so sad that you are so obsessed with this man.Your mind and your heart are so set on Stewart and thats’s all you have to show for your life??? I feel sorry for you that you haven’t been able to move on with your and worse yet get your motivation through these blogs.CREEP ALERT. I lived there in 1996 for awhile and you are so full of lies about Stewart.I am so Thankful for everything that I was taught and I was always treated with plenty of love and I am now married with 2 children and I still keep in touch with them. You really are so wrapped up in this man and you have made him your everything and you don’t even realize that you are acting like the people who mocked Jesus for what?Stewart hasn’t done anything deserving your horrid statements about him and all of us.You need help with your obsession with this man.Good luck and get on with your own life because you will stand before God and God will not ask you about Stewart but about YOU YOU YOU and Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God,You are NOT a peacemaker.

    • Mary Kiler Says:

      Dawn, So, you lived in the buildings of COBU for awhile? For how long?
      Your staunch defense of Stewart says a lot. Welcome to the world of cult members. You may now call yourself one as well with the kind of defense you put up. Bravo!!

  37. Stuart Clemmons Says:

    A good friend of mine, Joselyn R. from Manhattan NY joined COBU in late 1982. She was a bright vivacious young girl seeking to know Jesus better. This sounded rather suspicious to me, In urban NYC, there are churches on every corner why join what sounded like a cult to get closer to the Lord ? We played phone tag for three years until I accepted her invitation to go to a meeting in NJ. I went, listened and even talked to Traill. I found him completely lacking in in special insight. I told Joselyn, but she was a true believer by this point. She would stay until the infamous Grace Meeting in ’89. when she finally realized she ‘d been “had”. But the damage was done. She has moved on with her life but she is not anything like the person she was before joining COBU. She is but one of the many lives destroyed by Stewart Traill, The only shame is that man’s law cannot punish him, but his day will come on that appointed time when he faces the Lord’s infinite justice.

  38. BRAD Says:

    Just found this website and thought id share my experience. I was hitch hiking in 1974 wanting to see the world and experience a different life than I was living.I grew up in the Presbyterian church with infinite baptism,confirmation and the whole bit but wasnt saved.I knew there had to be a God but didnt know what he would want with me.So along came a little VW bug with 2 hippie looking people who said “hop in”.I did and they invited me to spend the night at their house in Cleveland.Along the way they shared the gospel message of which I had heard somewhat while listening to the Presbyterian preacher years ago.However as I listened part of me was saying look I grew up with religion and it didnt really do any good and the other part of me was very intrigued with what they were saying.When we arrived at the house there were other hippie looking people and I felt these were “my type” of people.One of the folks I assume the leader of the house asked me some questions like where are you going?,where is your map? do you want to be saved? I had no answers to these questions and knew nothing about salvation but I was looking for peace in my inner man.Having already tried transcendental meditation,drugs,alcohol,and other experiences,and still feeling empty inside, I found that maybe this was it.I repeated a prayer after the leader and told God I was lost and a sinner and wanted to be forgiven of my sins and wanted to receive Christ as my Saviour. There were no fireworks or great displays of emotion and I remember the leader saying that now I should stay for Bible teaching so I could learn about spiritual things.I politely thanked him and went back to hitch hiking. The next day something sort of came over me as I was walking from the house where I had spent the night to a little store around the corner to load up on sardines for my trip.It felt like the emptiness that I had tried to satisfy through meditation and other means was now gone.I couldnt explain it intellectually or theologically but it was real.someone once asked “how do you know you are saved?”and the person answered back,”because I was there when it happened!”I thought maybe this was just some sort of an emotional reaction that would soon go away but I have to say I still feel the same today as I did in 1974.I know the reality of what has taken place in my life as God says through the apostle Paul in Corinthians ,”If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,old things are passed away and all things are become new”. Someone once said,”Im not saved because I feel good,but I feel good because Im saved!”
    Over the years Ive wondered about these folks who called themselves “the forever family”.I really had no idea who they were before my experience and I see Gods hand of protection by allowing me to leave before getting entangled with them,however I do appreciate Gods marvelous workings in my life starting with the night in that little VW.

  39. Dave Says:

    James

    I noted some references to “Jim G.” or “Jimmy G.” in some of the posts. Are these references to Jim DiGiacoma by chance?

    Dave

  40. joseph collins Says:

    How can anyone who has come to know Jesus as the one and only true God, have any regrets?
    And I’m thankful that a certain brother took time out of his day to share with me the gospel.
    Was blind, but now I see.

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