The KIT Newsletter, an Activity of the KIT Information Service, a Project of The Peregrine Foundation

/ P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / telephone: (415) 821-2090 / FAX (415) 282-2369 / / e-mail:

KIT Staff U.S.: Ramón Sender, Charles Lamar, Christina Bernard, Vince Lagano, Dave Ostrom, Brother Witless (in an advisory capacity)

EuroKIT: Joy Johnson MacDonald, Carol Beels Beck, Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, Ben Cavanna, Joan Pavitt Cavanna

The KIT Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion. It encourages the expression of all views, both from inside and from outside the Bruderhof. We reserve the right to edit submissions according to guidelines discussed at numerous KIT conferences. Obviously, it's seldom easy to know exactly how best to carry out KIT's mission of allowing many voices and various points of view to be heard. We do not, and cannot, vouch for the validity of any opinion or assertion appearing in the KIT Newsletter. The opinions expressed in the letters that we publish must remain those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflect those of KIT editors or staff.

Yearly subscription rates (11 issues): $25 USA; $30 Canada; $35 International mailed f/ USA; £20 mailed f/ EuroKIT to UK & Europe


Acknowledging the ancient Chinese curse ("May you live in interesting times.") may 1999 be a very boring year. The Tenth Friendly Crossways Conference will be held from Friday, August 6th until Monday, August 9th. Our big tenth anniversary celebration, folks, so make your plans to attend now!

We've received much positive feedback regarding the photos in recent issues. So of course there are none in this one (space was tight). But now that it is so easy to make good copies on special copying machines, do send your favorite photos into KIT and we'll do our best to include them.

T h e W h o l e K i t A n d C a b o o d l e

Toll-Free Phone for former Bruderhofers in need of advice and referrals: 1 888 6 KINDER

use "alt f" on keyboard to search by name for the following

-------- Table of Contents --------
Hans Zimmermann
Dave Ostrom
Andy Harries
Bette Bohlken-Zumpe
Matt & Andrea Holland
Nadine Moonje Pleil
Barnabas D. Johnson
Mel Fros
Greta Vowles Milam
Julius H. Rubin
Joseph Keiderling to Oxford Univ. Press ----
--- ---
Julius H. Rubin
Mel Fros
Peter Forde
Paul C. Fox
Blair Purcell
Julius H. Rubin - 'Contested Narratives' -

Hans Zimmermann, 12/15/98: I was sorry to read about Franzi Whitty passing away. She was one of our teachers in Isla Margarita, teaching history and literature with a special touch. She was much more relaxed than the other teachers and less pedantic. She had a wonderful sense of humor and had the ability to laugh at herself, I knew that she was highly educated and was an Austrian Jew. She must have been very athletic as a young person because once in a while she let her hair down and played tag with us kids. She could run like the wind. I last saw her in the early 90s in New Meadow Run after over 30 years. We embraced and hugged each other, which I would not have done with just any B'hof women. We were genuinely happy to see each other.

Sorry to read about Buddug Evans passing away. Gwyn and Buddug were a integral part of Primavera when there. It is sickening to read about how the B'hof treats the older members when they refuse to toe the line. Congratulations to Belinda on her 90s birthday. Wishing you many more! My mother also, just had her 90th birthday and is doing quite well. Froeliche Weihnact und ein guter Rutsch ins Neue Jahr von Hans und Bettina,

Dave Ostrom, 12/11/98: To all Hummers sending good vibes and prayers. Your thoughts, prayers and beams have been in part answered. As the EP [Electrophysiology] Cardiologist told me after surgery, "You now have your own portable E-R implanted in your chest!" I now carry an AICD pacer in my chest.

Short history: in August, while mowing our front lawn (on a very steep hill) I experienced some difficulty breathing. Went in the house and rested, contemplating calling 911 (the emergency number). As I recovered, I didn't. By the following Wednesday, I was experiencing difficulty breathing, so, went to the doctor. After a few questions, he referred me to a cardiologist. This was the afternoon Nancy was returning from Merrie Olde Englande and her visit there. The cardio man told me, "Forget the airport, you are going in for evaluation!" Luckily we were able to get the studies done and still meet Nancy. The doc wanted to admit me for further studies, but I have this thing about paying $6000 a day for a hotel room! Anyway, after an angiograph it was determined that I was suffering from cardiomyopathy - in lay terms, a lazy heart muscle. Further tests put me on a transplant list at Stanford Hospital (sometime in the next three to five years). I was relieved of work and have been loafing around the house until last week, Wednesday.

I was sitting here at the computer dealing with Social Security, insurance and other bothersome red tape when I felt dizzy and nauseated. I woke up to find my daughter Sarah and her boyfriend yelling at me to wake up - I had collapsed on the floor. In due time, the county sheriff, the fire department and the local paramedic unit were called and I was taken to hospital. My doctor said they would hold me for 24 hours and I could go home. I had another episode Thursday AM and within 3 hours was back in Angio for an electro-physiologic study. Within four hours of the results from that study, I was scheduled for surgery to have the pacer implanted. It seems that as part of the EP study, the heart is induced to atrial fibrillation. Problem was they almost couldn't reconvert!! For those of you who watch medical dramas on TV, defibrillation is no fun!! I had been sedated but woke up coming off the table, shocked!!

Anyhooo - they got me back and the pacer in and after a week, I am home, tired, sore but feeling much better. The pacer is doing it's job. The surgeon commented that, "Someone up there was looking out for you - you were a walking time bomb!" Thanks for the moral support!

ITEM: Overheard in Winsted, CT: "The Norfolk Bruderhof has been sold, and the new owners want to make it into a detention camp or some sort of 'place of confinement.' The locals are not pleased..."

Andy Harries, 11/24/95: I would like to write about a few memories of Buddug, My family has known Buddug for a long time. My parents joined the Bruderhof at about the same time as Gwynn and Buddug, in the early days in England. Both our families went to Paraguay in 1941, I believe, and then in 1945 Gwynn and my father were sent to help in England a year before the rest of us (we followed a year later).

My birthday is on the same day as Gwynn's, and one of my most special memories is of Gwynn and Buddug inviting Jenny and me to their home on Sunday afternoon for tea and cakes on my birthday each year. They both were so nice to us and always explained and demonstrated how to make proper English tea. Of our family, only Jenny and I were left in Wheathill at that time. The rest of our family were either at Bulstrode or at the Sinntal Bruderhof.

I have always felt a warmth and closeness to Gwynn and Buddug, even though Gwynn was the main Servant in England. He taught and prepared me with four others for baptism. This took place over a period of two weeks when we did nothing else. On two of those days, the five of us were allowed to go out for the day together without Gwynn. One day we went to Hay Mill, and on another day we went to the Beechwood for the day. We were then baptized by Gwynn. Although he was a very gifted man in a position of power, I always felt that he and Buddug were still so human and humble, and sensitive to the feelings of us ordinary folk.

Sadly, they were both treated badly by the Bruderhof hierarchy and excluded. Gudrun and I made contact with them later and paid them a few visits while they were living in Ilford, Essex, on the outskirts of London. We really enjoyed those visits and wanted to visit Buddug after Gwynn had died. She was reluctant because she had broken her arm, but we said all the more reason to visit so that Gulu could cook for her, which we did. Buddug was very pleased and we had a nice visit.

We also visited Buddug more than once while she was at Darvell, and it was always a great pleasure. Every time we visited, she would say again how she and Gwynn liked my parents and how they had been such good friends for such a long time. Buddug also always showed a lot of interest in us and in our children, and would ask us at every opportunity everything again about their names and ages. If I was on the phone, she would ask me to write it all down and send it to her.

12/1/98: On another subject, I think we all see our relationship with the Bruderhof in slightly different ways, and we all have different needs in that relationship. The same thing applies to KIT. Some people want nothing to do with KIT. For some it is a means of keeping in contact with friends. Other people want more out of it. For me it is a means of building relationships, sharing and making friends with people who have a similar background and can understand the things that are important to me. It seems obvious that for some people, it is mainly or partly a means of trying to correspond or communicate with the B'hof in the hope of reconciliation, or coming to some kind of agreement about some problems such as access to members of the family.

Now I do think this is important, and it would be very good if that could happen, but I do also think that it is pretty obvious by now that the people who are representing the B'hof have no intention of changing anything to suit anybody else. We all know who these people are; the ordinary people do not have a say in all this, whatever the leadership might tell us. If they have no intention of listening to anybody or changing anything, then I personally see no point in trying to confront them. This is just my personal belief. In fact, I believe that by the two groups confronting each other and antagonizing each other, the situation actually gets worse. We believe that we are right, and they believe that they are right, and I don't think that anything anybody could say or do would alter that.

I personally also feel that we should stop sending the KIT newsletter to the Bruderhof, whether they pay or not; they only use it to be able to get back at people and try to discredit what others have written there. Is that really what we want? For me, KIT is a means of sharing with people of like or similar minds, people who value and respect us and what we are saying and feeling. The B'hof does none of these things. If I met a B'hof representative for a discussion and they just criticized me, then I would not bother to waste any more time with them.

What has brought me to write this is Christoph's letter in the November KIT. I really think it is just sarcastic, cynical, mocking and taunting. Do we really want to allow him and his cronies to use KIT in that way, for the sole purpose of running down KIT and all those connected with it? I know that in principle we have to print whatever people write in, but I think we should only print what people send in if it is respectful to others and not if it is written just to criticize or to put others down. This principle applies generally in society. If people meet to discuss or sort out problems, it will only work if both parties want to be constructive, and that means being as willing to listen as to talk. Greetings,

KIT: We do not send KIT to the Bruderhof. The leaders read it on our Internet website every month.

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Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, 12/10/98: It seems a long time since we had contact, but there is always something going on around this place. We had a lot of ice and snow (ten inches), the roads were bad, but nevertheless we went to Ameland to get the place in shape for Christmas guests. We now are taking our fax and phone with us to the island so that we can always be reached on our Drachten number.

Dieter and Patty Zumpe (Hartford) have returned safely from Russia with their little adopted son Trevor. They are so happy and have called me several times already. The little boy was one year old on December 4th, and all Dieter's brothers are thrilled to bits with this addition to the Zumpe family.

Tomorrow we are off to Bremen. We will make a stop at Oldenburg with an old Arnold relative who has just lost her husband and moved into an old people's home. Then we will go on to Bremen and stay two nights at the Friedemann family. They have invited many old Bruderhofians to sing Christmas songs and I look forward to this.

My children Anneke, Hayo and Jurgen are on e-mail now, so maybe I will be on e-mail also, one day. Jurgen has had quite a little e-mail chat with Margot, and he really enjoyed the contact. Much Love, and best wishes,

12/14/98: The closer to Bremen we drove, the deeper the snow and ice seemed to get... That is why Jean and Erich and the people from Hamburg did not come. The radio sent out constant warnings that people should not be on the roads if not really necessary, and that kept many people inside.

Erna and Werner Friedemann are really quite amazing in how they manage with so many people in their home! Erna will be 80 years old on January 1st! Werner I think is 84. The first evening we were alone with them, and it was very gemutlich! The whole house breathed of Advent and Christmas. We had many good talks and looked at old photos. Erna came to the Bruderhof as a 12-year-old child and knew all the old members, plus my grandparents and their five children very well indeed. Werner joined in 1936 because he could not agree with the National Socialists even before Hitler came to power. Both experienced the hard and difficult years of the confiscation of the Rhoen Bruderhof and the forced departure for England, and the years of poverty and isolation in Primavera. They have found a new faith within the Baptist church and are full of joy. They have no bitter feelings about the past, but rather pity for all those who are caught up in the belief that the Bruderhof is the only right way.

Saturday afternoon many of their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren came. Irene and Ludwig Fischer with daughter Claudia and grandson, Margret (Gretie) with her husband, Christine and Hilde Pfeiffer and her daughters Gudrun Harries and Isolde. Everyone brought homemade cookies and little gifts. They also brought food for the evening meal. The candles were lit and, with the wind and snow outside, it was very cosy inside! We sang many of the old Christmas songs and carols. Irene had brought her accordion, which made the singing much easier. We really had a good time and, like so often, felt that there is so much that still unites us.

The next morning we left again for Holland. While in Bremen, the cold winds were blowing around the house, but here in Holland the snow had melted and the sun was shining - and it is only about 2-1/2 hours away! Much love to all our Hummer and KITfriends!

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12/18/98: I have read most of the December KIT and think it is a superb edition. I very much like the photos, which seem to come out better every time! It is so nice to see picture of people I have not met yet, like the Chesleys. The one of Buddug was taken at Kilian's home in London. Lorna had very nice teacups for their wedding, and Buddug insisted on having tea in those cups. I will send you some more photos and maybe old letters from Roger Allain. We had a good contact and his visit to us was a good one. After that we wrote many letters.

I also had a letter from a German friend. She writes: "I have just finished reading the November KIT, and what has been happening to the Bruderhof during these last years fills me with a great sadness. Also the death of Eberhard Claus touched my heart. I met him once long ago, and I am sure that the Bruderhof played a great part in his problems, as they never seem to realize that mind and body belong together and if you separate them, either the body or the soul will suffer.

"I read the KIT letter from A to Z. Sometimes I would like to write long letters, and in my mind I do, but then I tell that because I was never a member, my life was not so dramatically afflicted by the life and people there. Nevertheless I am convinced that nothing will change on the Bruderhof as long as they fight the enemy 'outside.' KIT gives too much opportunity to the reigning forces within the Bruderhof leadership to expand their battlefield towards the 'outside,' which again saves them from criticism 'inside.' A real change for the Bruderhof is only possible from the 'inside.' I do realize that it is very difficult for the 'outs' to accept the 'no contact' policy from the 'ins,' which separates them from their families. But I believe that is just that which must happen. I feel all contact with the Bruderhof 'insiders' should, yes, must be stopped and KIT should concern themselves only with the 'Bruderhof refugees' and try and work out their problems with them, excluding the Bruderhof.

The 'Big Brothers' know exactly what kind of effect and impression the controlling actions from the 'ins' have on the 'outs.' This is the first thing that happens in a totalitarian regime, and gives their existence more and more power. The renouncing of e-mail gives them the possibility of spreading uncontrollable news about 'the outside enemy.'

"The reason for this renunciation given in the last German Plough (which I have not seen) is understandable, but at the same time exposes their fear when they say, "Too much information from the world is coming into our circle." If the Bruderhof wants to retreat from modern technology, then they will have to choose the way the Amish have chosen. From every angle that you look at these problematical issues, you have to realize 'we cannot change the world, the same as we cannot change the Bruderhof. Each person has to make individual choices for their lives and respect others. I feel that the 'outs' still long for a 'sound and undamaged Bruderhof world,' which never existed and never will exist. The world is in us and around us!"

I thought this was a good letter. I did like the contribution from Ruth Baer Lambach. What a strong character her sister-in-law must have had! A true example of how we should take our sickness or handicaps and control them with strength and happiness from within! I have not read all of it yet, but felt I wanted to give you my first reaction and thank you for sending such a large package! Friendship and love are so important for all of us, and I think we did find and still find a lot of it in our KIT world! Thank you!

I had to laugh about Muschi's short statement to JCA's letter - it's out of my heart the way she managed to express it. Love to you and thank you for everything,

Matt & Andrea Holland, [belatedly discovered in a file folder!] 10/22/98: Dear friends, it was very good and gratifying to read the accounts and see the pictures of the July gathering here at Lower Shaw Farm. Thank you. Your expressed appreciation is really appreciated, especially the individual comments, points of observation and little stories. Made us smile. Actually all we did was act naturally, doing what comes naturally, and quite naturally, you all did the rest. Naturally! We are very glad that so many of you felt OK, if not positively good, here. We do too, most of the time. Wonderful if tricky business, this life thing. The idea of holding more get-togethers here, even making it a 'base' of sorts is, in principle, fine and welcomed by us. In fact, we are just now planing our programme of events for 1999. May we suggest that you convey thoughts and suggestions on this to that crack organising team of Ben, Joy and Joanie. Meanwhile, from us, busy among swirling autumn leaves and English drizzle to write home about, Love and Seasons Greetings! Hoping to see you in 1999,

Nadine Moonje Pleil, 12/1/98: Regarding Angeline's letter in the December X #12 KIT [p. 7], the whole letter tells us to just accept all the injustices done to ex-members, to accept all the criminal offenses that have been done, and to give the Community complete control over us. I personally will never again let the Community take control of my mind or my life. Angeline, you need to consider carefully both sides of what is taking place, and then maybe write a letter. I do not, I think, need to say more.

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Barnabas D. Johnson, 12/31/98: Dear Angeline: In last month's KIT you state: "I've come to the simple conclusion that those of us who could not handle the rigors of a life totally committed to Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount had to leave that life." And you go on to say that those who criticize the Bruderhof are not "complete" followers of Christ, etc.

Simple, indeed - and a slander against those who in 1958-61 stood courageously against Heini's cruel, cynical, dictatorial destruction of their life-work, their commitment to that same Jesus. Unfortunately, Heini and his minions justified their unconscionable conduct in holier-than-thou terms, and at that time many were duped. But you can't fool an old fool. I witnessed Heini's insane tantrums. We "incomplete" targets of your religious gibberish were there, Angie.

Your protestations are reminiscent of the desperate denunciations against "fellow witches" in Old Salem, and of the jack-boot-licking adoration slavered on Stalin by his most pathetic victims. Let me be blunt: In the name of "Church discipline" the Bruderhof initiated and condoned unconscionable abuses of individuals and families both on and off the hof - do you need details? - and then, to scare critics into silence, the Bruderhof initiated and condoned conduct which, in my professional opinion, and based on seemingly credible evidence, is criminal and otherwise actionable - do you need details? Well, if the Bruderhof's $15 million defamation suit had not been dropped, you would have them!

Was it "God above family" that compelled a high Bruderhof official to lure Ramon (his children's grandfather) to New York, supposedly for peace-making, only to serve on him a summons in that $15 million suit? Yes, I know, Angie, you don't like "criticism of their lifestyle and their leaders" ... but how can you, in good conscience, condone such conduct? I cannot. I happen to think that those leaders and that lifestyle are far worse, far more toxic, than any responsible item published in KIT has thus far detailed. I do not feel safe saying more. I do not feel safe, period, and - worse - I fear for those I love who are kept in thrall by such men. I hope and pray my fears are unfounded. But I think the portents are grim.

Regarding the earlier lawsuit, I met with Christian Domer and Joe Keiderling in May of 1997 and offered to take full responsibility if they - if anyone - would explain to me how my legal advice to the Peregrine Foundation had been wrong. I had advised Ramon that the Foundation (a non-profit research and publishing venture) had the right, indeed the responsibility, to publish the letter complained of, and I was frankly surprised that any lawyer could have advised the Bruderhof otherwise, but I nonetheless went out of my way to resolve that conflict out of court if humanly possible. My efforts not only came to nil, but - far more troubling - I saw in the eyes of those two men a hardness, a ferocious loyalty to Heini the Father and Christoph the Son, which haunts me still. This is not the Bruderhof I grew up in, Angie. These guys are scary. Only Christoph can stop them, and he - his father's most tragic victim - cannot stop himself. He needs help of a kind the Bruderhof has become incapable of providing. In any event, the copyright suit was as baseless as its motives were base. True to form, the Bruderhof asserted a religious rationale for jettisoning its untenable position.

The first suit, in quest of One Needing Brand - filed against an ad hoc group of former children of the Bruderhof calling themselves "Children of the Bruderhof" - was essentially a trademark suit. Suffice it to say that the defendants believed that they could not afford to fight the Bruderhof behemoth, so they signed a consent decree forbidding them from using the word "Bruderhof" in numerous ways, including ways which - in my professional opinion - cannot be forbidden under the U.S. Constitution and the laws of most civilized countries. Not surprisingly, the Hutterites seemed the most rankled at the Bruderhof's assertion of ownership of that word, and if the defendants had obtained Hutterite financial support the Bruderhof would have lost. I was in Kazakstan at the time of that suit, and in retrospect I wish I had been in the United States. Thereafter, we realized we had to defend against all further baseless suits. The next two, thanks to the donated representation of a superb law firm, showed the wisdom of that decision. We must never again cringe in terror at their bullying, no matter how many biblical quotations they and their boot-licking defenders hurl at us.

Will we have to face the Bruderhof in court again? I hope not. I hate to have to speculate whether it will be a civil action, a criminal action, or ... well, let's leave it at that. I dread the prospect of developing cross-examination strategies probing "the rigors of a life totally committed to Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount"!

Take care, Angie,
Barnabas D. Johnson Professor, LL.M.
Program Director, Legal Resource Center
American University of Armenia, Yerevan

Mel Fros, 11/7/98 (Note to the reader: "XX" refers to Angeline Lundgren, whose letter appeared in the December 1998 KIT). Dear XX: I have read your e-mail. You should know that it was posted on the Hummer. I will consider a reply in KIT, maybe in another month or so. Meanwhile I would like to leave these words from C. S. Lewis with you. Perhaps you will consider them carefully as I also need to consider them frequently.

"What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of a person you are."
The Magician's Nephew

(XX) Thanks, Mel - I agree with the quote from C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite authors. And you and I are both going to look at what that quote means from our different perspectives.

(Mel responds) You are correct, and therein lies the challenge. Please allow me to explain why I chose the quote for your consideration. Let me quote from your e-mail to refresh your memory. You wrote:

"I've come to the simple conclusion that those of us who could not handle the rigors of a life totally committed to Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount had to leave that life. Now we can live a life we say is Christian but is only "conveniently" so - not too much sacrifice, a lot of freedom, and no one around to witness our sins and guide us away from them. Now we can breathe easier because we no longer have the constant challenge of being a complete Christ-follower. We can do that when it suits us!"

Dear XX, I take great issue with what you say. First note that you are speaking in the plural and not for yourself as you should. You thereby imply that the rest of us Christians who left did so for what seem to be your reasons for leaving! Your statement becomes especially hurtful when you consider that folks like the Chesleys and the Foxes, Tanneken, myself, Joerg and Christine, Tim Domer, John Stewart - the list goes on - left because we could not remain true to our first love for Christ above all other things - family and Bruderhof included.

You are simply way off the mark when you state that we can now live a "convenient" Christian life. I have struggled and even suffered in order to remain loyal to Christ since leaving the Hof. I'll spare you the details. "No one around to witness our sins and guide us away from them"? That certainly does not apply to me. In most Anabaptist circles the "giving and receiving of council" is one of the important aspects of our lives of faith.

When I left the B'hof, one of the first things I did was to try to clear up the past and to see where I may have been in the wrong. And I did this under the guidance of a Mennonite minister in whose community I had taken up residence (with the idea of eventually joining). When I left that community and settled in Illinois, I again made it a point to seek the wise counsel of a minister. In order that I may remain humble, let me tell you that some of what we discussed and prayed about included very personal matters. It was painful and humbling to open up in this way to another trusted individual but I did it for my soul's sake. And I continue to do as much for my soul's sake, even if my pride is wounded in the process.

I have chosen to speak only for myself. I do not pretend to speak for the other Christians I mentioned above. But you should know - based on what they have told me - that they take their Christian calling very, very seriously. My own struggles as a young man have strengthened me so that I can now help other people. I have a spiritually and psychologically wounded former B'hof (young) man working with me at this very moment. I spend hours with him, trying to talk and be supportive. I have spent considerable sums of money helping him and others. Just the other week a former B'hof family could not pay their monthly rent. Quietly, caring individuals in the network of former B'hof participants met this need. Every time I/we think the needs have been met, a new one arises. We "give and give and give again, what God has given (us)," to meet the needs of those we love so much because of our obedience to Christ, and not, because we can conveniently do so! Are you doing any of these things? If so, wonderful! If not, perhaps the words of C. S. Lewis will grip your heart and make you consider again what you wrote.

Sincerely, Mel

P.S. If my wording is terse, it is because I am very weary of dealing with the far-reaching effects of Christoph Arnold's sick spiritual condition. Any one, a "senior minister" especially, who verbally baits another - as Christoph recently did on the Internet - with that person's sexual struggles of many decades ago, is, in my opinion sick. Period. (See the postscript to his recent message to this newsgroup under the heading "Oct. KIT" by JC2432

If your brother, your parents, my sisters and mother are following Christ, I will gladly respect and honor that, even if it means - as you suggest - having only limited contact with them. But if they support the wrong that Bruderhof Elder Christoph Arnold has engaged in, or the wrong committed by "responsible brothers" under Christoph's leadership - and I now am inclined to believe that they must be held accountable for at least some if it - then I cannot support them, but must put love for Christ ahead of love for family.

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Greta Vowles Milam, 12/14/98: I find myself now, as I have for quite some time, waiting to know more of my past. Being the youngest child of nine in a Community family, born in Primavera in 1958, I have heard over the years many tales. From the parents the good influences and the loving teachings - from my elder brothers and sisters only small amounts of not all so good stories. I don't feel I have the right to judge anything, but I would really like to know more about the time my parents were in the Community in Paraguay. I feel strange not knowing more, but I was only the baby and have always been treated as such when it came to conversations of an adult nature. Besides, in our home, adult conversations were never discussed in front of the children.

Now, age 40, yes that age, I find myself content with myself and my life now. I know the values taught me were good as I have morals, a generous heart and find some good in most everyone. I have just got on with life, making my own mistakes and triumphs. I found a loving husband and, although I needed very much to grow up when we first met, we are now even more in love, working through life together. I still feel part of a much bigger family - always have. I remember various people coming and going though childhood from the Community. Any I have met personally at a couple of reunions I went to with my mother have always been open and extremely warm-hearted. I know a lot of people will remember my parents, and probably their nine children. Best Wishes,

KIT: Joe Keiderling submitted copies of his letters to Julius Rubin's editor at Oxford University Press (Aug '97-April '98) for publication in KIT. A few days later, the same set of letters were posted on under the pseudonym 'Jay Ortiz,' a name familiar to KIT readers. Much discussion has taken place on e-mail and elsewhere about whether to take up our limited column space in KIT by providing Joe K. with yet another soapbox. After weighing everyone's input, KIT staff has decided to forge ahead in the interest of what Joe K. refers to as 'dialogue,' but framing his letters within the context of Julius's own input, and answered by his own slightly edited paper, 'Contested Narratives' also duly available on, and available in its complete version at: http://www.pere

Julius H. Rubin, 12/27/98: In August, 1997, a week after the Bruderhof served me with the 15.5 million defamation lawsuit, Joe Keiderling telephoned my editor at Oxford University Press, Cynthia A. Read, to inform her of this action. Thus began a campaign of telephone calls and letters intended to discredit my scholarship, to intimidate and harass Oxford University Press, and prevent the publication of my book, The Other Side Of Joy. Keiderling's letters recount the Bruderhof's success in suppressing the SPCK book, Harmful Religion, published in England in November of 1997. Keiderling excerpts two critical reviews of my first book, ignoring the many favorable reviews published by other sociologists, historians, and students of American religion. This is intellectually dishonest. I believe that Keiderling's letters demonstrate a contempt for freedom of speech and academic freedom. It is shameful and outrageous to attempt to interfere with the responsible publication of a critical study of a religious group.

Joe Keiderling, 12/14/98: I was reminded recently of an exchange of correspondence I had around a year ago with an editor at Oxford University Press regarding a manuscript of Julius Rubin's. Because this correspondence addressed many of my concerns regarding KIT in general, I thought it might be helpful to others in the "KIT network" (for lack of a better term) to share several of my letters.

Perhaps it will engender some worthwhile and provocative thought. I would really appreciate it if you would print these letters in your next edition of the newsletter.

August 12, 1997

Cynthia A. Read, Exec Editor,
Oxford University Press

Dear Ms. Read: Thank you for your time on the phone yesterday afternoon. You suggested I write down for you my concerns regarding the upcoming publication of a book by Dr. Julius Rubin by the Oxford University Press. I am informed that the title of this publication is The Other Side Of Joy.

Approximately two years ago, when I first heard of this upcoming publication, my colleague Christian Domer and I met with Dr. Rubin in New Haven to discuss a number of issues. Dr. Rubin, at the time, had been quoted extensively by several media sources as a self-proclaimed authority on the Bruderhof. Notwithstanding, several of his statements were patently false; many were misleading and defamatory. Since that time, Dr. Rubin has been quoted elsewhere - always as an authority on the Bruderhof - in spite of the fact that he has never visited a Bruderhof. Indeed, he has declined my personal invitation to visit our Bruderhof here in Rifton, New York.

At the time of our meeting two years ago, I specifically requested the opportunity to review his manuscript, not in an attempt in any way to censor his comments but rather to offer a review by someone within the Bruderhof with access to more accurate information. Dr. Rubin declined this offer.

I would like to request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss further our concerns regarding the accuracy of Dr. Rubin's information about the Bruderhof and to renew my request to review the manuscript for factual errors. Based on past experiences we have every reason to expect that any publication of Dr. Rubin's would have material defamatory to the Bruderhof. As you know there is currently litigation in which Dr. Rubin is named as a defendant for statements he has made regarding the Bruderhof which were unfounded, false, and defamatory. While we certainly cannot prevent Dr. Rubin nor you from publishing material about the Bruderhof, for the sake of all parties concerned we should try to avoid the publication of anything defamatory or actionable. I believe that I am presenting a reasonable solution to such a possibility.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely, Joe Keiderling

October 13, 1997

Cynthia A. Read, Exec Editor,
Oxford University Press

Dear Ms. Read: In response to your letter of September 30, 1997, I can only say that you seem to have misunderstood my concerns regarding Dr. Rubin's upcoming book, The Other Side Of Joy.

If I thought that Dr. Rubin's book would contain statements merely critical of the Bruderhof I would not have bothered to contact you. The Bruderhof is no stranger to criticism; we have never hesitated to stake out strong positions on controversial topics such as the death penalty, abortion, the sexual revolution, militarism, and so on, which have drawn harsh criticism from many quarters. What concerns me is the distinct possibility that inaccurate or misleading information may find its way into Dr. Rubin's new book, given the fact that he has never visited a Bruderhof nor interviewed a Bruderhof member with access to current information on Bruderhof practices and beliefs. Given that Dr. Rubin has in the past made public statements that were inaccurate and, in some cases, defamatory, I am concerned about similarly inaccurate statements which may be included in his latest work. When I first contacted you I felt confident you would share this concern at least to the extent that a personal meeting might be arranged for further discussion.

You suggest that I bring facts and materials to your attention to justify my concerns. Surely you are aware of the volume of material by Dr. Rubin that has been published or broadcast regarding the B'hof. Given this volume, it is difficult to predict what may appear next, particularly in his new book.

If there is the slightest chance that my concerns may be justified, I believe it would be in your best interest and ours to discuss this further as soon as possible. Perhaps there would be someone else in your office who would be willing to simply hear my concerns? Surely Oxford's policy of exercising "all reasonable care" to avoid knowingly publishing false statements would suggest such a meeting.

Sincerely, Joseph Keiderling

December 29, 1997

Cynthia A. Read, Exec Editor,
Oxford University Press

Dear Ms. Read: In your letter to me of September 30, 1997, regarding the upcoming publication of Dr. Julius Rubin's The Other Side Of Joy, you suggested I provide you with facts or materials which might indicate that a face-to-face meeting would be constructive. Accordingly, I would like to draw your attention to a book that appeared in England about two months ago titled Harmful Religion: An Exploration Of Religious Abuse.

You may be aware that Dr. Rubin contributed a chapter to Harmful Religion, titled "The Other Side Of Joy." It is probably safe to assume that this chapter is a representative sampling of what will appear in Oxford's book of the same title which is scheduled for publication in, I am told, early 1998.

With this in mind, it may be instructive to list a few of those statements of Dr. Rubin's contained in this chapter that are either false, inaccurate, or, at very least, misleading (I have printed in bold those statements that are of greatest concern to us). As you read these, please bear in mind that these are by no means the only inaccurate statements contained in the chapter. For the purposes of this letter, I have singled out those statements that attempt to describe the Bruderhof of today; there are many more statements describing Bruderhof history that are equally inaccurate.

"[The Bruderhof] enforces purity of conduct, thought and intentionality in the hearts and minds of true believers... Their ethos strictly regulates all forms of conduct, belief, appearance, dress and demeanour, with particular emphasis upon the repression of premarital or extramarital sexual expression. Brothers and sisters are prohibited from gossip or idle chatter... Church discipline requires public confession and repentance of sin, and exclusion of the errant sinner into the world."...

"The Great Crisis became the watershed that transformed the Bruderhof. Heini revitalized the movement in separation from the world as an introversionist sect, emphasizing evangelical pietist conversion models and extreme emotional fervour and devotionalism."...

"The Bruderhof and Hutterites ... are organized as inclusive Church-communities, where the exercise of administrative and religious power is concentrated in the hands of Church leaders who interpret the Spirit and word of God."...

"The Bruderhof members have passed down control of their movement to Eberhard Arnold's son and grandson in hereditary succession of office. This traditionalism is legitimated as emanating from the will of God, whose divine order has also created a hierarchy of patriarchal relations between husband and wife, parent and child, and leader and follower. Authority patterns are believed to have originated with God; leaders serve as his instrument, providing spiritual and temporal rulership over the congregation."

"The promises of salvation are inextricably tied to the surrender to God's will and the believer's submission to divinely-legitimated hierarchical authority. In this manner, the Bruderhof instils habits of unquestioning obedience to the authority of the witness brothers and the servant of the word."...

"Those persons whose ideas or individual consciences endanger doctrinal orthodoxy; those who stand against the leadership and threaten unity; those who cannot or will not repent and reform from sinful thoughts and conduct, must be punished. First offenders or members who commit minor infractions are prohibited from attending the Gemeindestunde (prayer circle). The 'small exclusion', or Kleiner Ausschluss, allows the offending member to remain in the community, but under extreme social ostracism. The 'great exclusion', or Grosser Ausschluss, involves expulsion from the community."...

"The threat of exclusion proves a powerful and dreaded method of social control in the Bruderhof... Exclusion invariably disrupts families as those who remain must shun the offending brother, or watch helplessly as their loved one is forced to depart the community. The trauma of ostracism, exclusion, family disruption and shame is shared by the family, falling most heavily upon children. Paradoxically, the Bruderhof stresses joyful surrender and abiding love, yet imposes the most severe penalties of civic-religious 'death', mental suffering and unbrotherly rejection of the unrepentant sinner."...

"The concentration of spiritual and political power into an elite leadership group of servants, ever-obsessed with unity, has resulted in the continued and systematic abuse of Church discipline as a political device to expel members, who because of individual conscience, question or oppose community policy. Such persons stand charged with sins of pride, selfishness and egoism, and are said to be motivated by 'the wrong spirit', or to have luke-warm zeal. The abuse of Church discipline as a political tool to stifle dissent or to redirect the movement... has marked Bruderhof history."...

"Bruderhof teachings manifest an ambivalence toward childhood, simultaneously perceiving children as sentimentalized, angelic creatures and as tools of Satan - points of entry for demonic attack. Leaders have been obsessed with issues of sexuality, simultaneously seeking to repress sexual impurity from this age of innocence, while projecting onto young children and adolescents accusations of homoeroticism, bestiality and adult heterosexual misconduct."...

"All too frequently, elders have labeled rebellious, intellectually curious, creative and idiosyncratic children as fallen angels, possessed by an evil spirit."...

"Young women confront the issues of powerlessness and gender inequality in spiritual and temporal roles, and severe limits are placed upon their aspirations and participation in the community."...

"According to Bruderhof belief, the Devil looks to make inroads into the community by attacking the spiritually weak brethren, the emotionally unstable members, those who are tempted by the sins of the flesh, and those haunted by obsessive guilt, blasphemous thoughts and religious melancholy."...

"Religious despair, suicidal inclinations and obsessions with unpardonable sin afflict many Bruderhof youth."...

"When pastoral care failed to cure... spiritual sicknesses, Bruderhof elders turned in desperation to psychiatry, with the regimen of major tranquillisers, electro-convulsive shock therapy, and institutionalization of the most severe cases."...

"Bruderhof true believers and ex-members alike have suffered from the harsh, joyless aspects of the regime - exclusion and family disruption; the trauma of community crises, interrogations and clearances; sexual repression and the obsession with childhood innocence and sexuality; haunting fears of demonic attack; self-abnegation in the pursuit of conversion; self-denial of a woman's aspirations in conformity with the patriarchy; and immobilizing despair when judged by others as unworthy of membership."...

"Submission to the patriarchy for women, and self-annihilation for all believers, has demanded the sacrifice of autonomous individual identity and self-determination - a significant cost of religious vocation."...

To try to refute each of these statements individually would take a lot of space. However, if you were to speak independently with any cross-section of current Bruderhof membership, you would discover that the Bruderhof of Dr. Rubin's creation does not exist. Particularly galling to the young people at our Bruderhofs was this statement: "Religious despair, suicidal inclinations and obsessions with unpardonable sin afflict many Bruderhof youth." This one statement alone is so wildly inaccurate as to throw into question Dr. Rubin's entire thesis. I cannot fathom how Dr. Rubin arrived at this conclusion. If it were not so insulting, the statement would be almost laughable.

And then there are the numerous quotations which reflect Dr. Rubin's tenuous grasp of Bruderhof history (which I did not even include in the selections above). Two people come to mind immediately who would be able to provide you with a far better appreciation of our history, and in particular, the role of Heinrich Arnold in our history. Chris Zimmerman is the editor of our quarterly, The Plough, and has worked extensively in our archives. [Name deleted], for the past five years, has been writing a meticulously researched and annotated history of the Bruderhof with a particular focus on the life of Heinrich Arnold, in part to respond to the vilification Arnold has endured at the hands of Dr. Rubin and others.

How do I refute statements which are simply untrue? How do I present to you an accurate picture of life on a Bruderhof today? I sincerely believe that a face-to-face meeting with me or any representative of the Bruderhof would go a long way to demonstrate to you why Dr. Rubin's assessment is so fundamentally flawed. To meet a current Bruderhof member would begin to show you the value we place on each member's individuality and how, rather than suppressing this individuality, the Bruderhof way of life provides a place where individuality flourishes.

If you were to visit one of our communities, you would find people from an astonishing variety of backgrounds and nationalities, people with widely varied interests. You would discover children (I have six of my own) who enjoy a remarkably rich educational curriculum and who grow up to lead lives of personal fulfillment and extraordinary service to others. I could easily arrange for you to speak with, for example, a Bruderhof mother who also happens to be a physician, a college student who is taking a year off to work at a homeless shelter in the Bronx, another student who is enrolled at St. John's University Law School (and doing very well there), a Bruderhof mother who joined in the 1950s from Manhattan where she worked as an editor, another Bruderhof woman who is now a licensed dentist and works in our medical clinic, a Bruderhof father who joined five years ago leaving his post as a professor at a prestigious theological seminary in Denver. All of these would testify, I am sure, to the sense of fulfillment they have found at the Bruderhof. They would also tell you how differing opinions and new ideas are encouraged within the Bruderhof, how members are urged to speak their minds on any issue.

Moreover, a visit to the Bruderhof would help you acquire a sense of the breadth and depth of social concerns and intellectual pursuits fostered by the Bruderhof way of life. You would meet people deeply concerned about current social issues such as the plight of the native Mexicans in Chiapas state (we sent a delegation of members to meet with Bishop Samuel Ruiz one week before the December 22 massacre took place), the effects of the U.S. embargoes against Cuba and Iraq (a group of Bruderhof members traveled to Cuba last May in violation of U.S. policy to deliver humanitarian aid to Cuban children), and the use of the death penalty within the U.S. criminal justice system (our school children sponsored a "Crusade to Death Row" in western Pennsylvania last August which captured headlines around the country). In short, you would find a group of people actively engaged with the world to try to improve the lives of others less fortunate. Does this sound like pietism? An "introversionist sect"? How does Dr. Rubin arrive at these descriptors?

On the other hand, you would have a difficult task if you tried to find any evidence of the melancholy, depression, or suicidal tendencies which Dr. Rubin writes about. This is not to say that depression is non-existent at the Bruderhof; only that Dr. Rubin's portrayal of an emotionally and intellectually stifling environment is wholly at odds with reality. It is also irresponsible.

Considering the inaccuracy of the quotations I have included above (which are only a representative sampling taken from the entire text of the chapter), imagine our concern over the prospect of a book-length treatise by Dr. Rubin on the Bruderhof.

Thankfully, when we appealed to the publisher of Harmful Religion, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), they were quick to recognize their error in accepting unquestioningly Dr. Rubin's analysis. A statement from SPCK will be forthcoming, and I would be happy to provide you with a copy.

Though much of what Dr. Rubin writes may well enjoy First Amendment protection, we feel confident that as a publisher, you are primarily interested in a fair and accurate presentation. Once again, I appeal to you for the opportunity to simply meet in person and discuss how we may assist in providing you with a measure of balance in your forthcoming book on the Bruderhof. I would be prepared to bring people to our meeting who can speak from varied backgrounds about their experience with the Bruderhof.

Once again, I look forward to hearing from you or another representative of Oxford who would be in a position to hear and understand our concerns.

Yours sincerely, Joe Keiderling

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January 13, 1998

Cynthia A. Read, Exec Editor,
Oxford University Press

Dear Ms. Read: In my last letter to you of December 29, 1997 (which I trust you have received), I mentioned that SPCK, the publisher of the book Harmful Religion in England, was issuing a statement regarding the chapter by Dr. Julius Rubin contained in that book The Other Side Of Joy.

Since then I have a received the text of that statement. Though I have requested that SPCK send you the full statement directly from their offices in London, I am concerned enough about any possible future publication of Dr. Rubin's that I would like to bring their comments to your attention immediately. The two editors of Harmful Religion, Andrew Walker and Lawrence Osborne, write as follows:

"It is difficult to think of a radical Christianity which has inspired Christians more than the Bruderhof. As one of us wrote recently (A. Walker, Telling the Story: Gospel, Mission And Culture, SPCK, 1996, p 199), 'Eberhard Arnold and the small bands of Bruderhof communities resisted the Nazi regime. They accepted poverty and refused to bear arms. Such examples of Christian witness are uplifting not merely because of their bravery, but because of their love and holiness.' We believe the Bruderhof still exemplifies the highest ideals and will remain an inspiration to the rest of us for many years to come.

"Of course, their commitment to high spiritual values and the group solidarity so necessary to their successful maintenance inevitably clashes with the autonomy of the individual, which is so highly stressed in the twentieth century. This clash can, in turn, lead to disenchantment for those who will not or who cannot stay the course. There may be great hurt for those who leave and great pain for those who stay and see their loved ones depart. It does not follow, however, that there is anything intentionally abusive about the Bruderhof.

"We are sorry if Julius Rubin's chapter, "The Other Side of Joy" in our Harmful Religion: An Exploration Of Religious Abuse (SPCK, 1997) might lend credence to the idea that in some sense the Bruderhof is intrinsically abusive, heretical, or some kind of new religious movement. We certainly as editors of that book deny that the Bruderhof communities are a cult: they are radical, but orthodox, Christians.

"We applaud the aims, commitment, and dedication of the Bruderhof movement. Their way of life is a high risk strategy with no guarantee of success for those who set out on that path, but that is what radical discipleship entails. The Bruderhof at least can claim their moral imperative from the gospel. Many of us in the cosiness of our mainline denominations need to remember that."

In addition, I thought the comments contained in the letter attached were instructive. [Name deleted], who incidently holds a degree in psychology, has been visiting one of our Bruderhof communities since January 2, while she and her husband find employment in this country after several years working abroad.

If I am not mistaken, you have also received a letter from [name deleted]. Reading his comments made me think of many other Bruderhof acquaintances who, I am sure, would write equally supportive letters refuting Dr. Rubin's claims. Among those who come to mind immediately are [names deleted]. Once again, Ms. Read, I request simply the opportunity to meet to discuss our concerns about the accuracy of Dr. Rubin's observations. What possible harm could there be in meeting a current Bruderhof resident who may be able to offer new insights into Bruderhof life and practice?

Yours sincerely, Joe Keiderling

April 8, 1998

Cynthia A. Read, Exec Editor,
Oxford University Press

Dear Ms. Read: As you are certainly aware, John Grillos, Oxford University Press' General Counsel, phoned me a month ago to tell me that Oxford is still considering my request for a meeting concerning the planned publication of a book by Professor Julius Rubin.

In the event that such a meeting takes place, I want to provide you beforehand with a few additional comments or observations that may be instructive.

Several years ago, anticipating a personal meeting with Professor Rubin, I purchased a copy of his book Religious Melancholy And Protestant Experience In America in an attempt to understand better his interest in the Bruderhof. In other writings of Professor Rubin, I had encountered several examples in which he distorted reality to conform to his thesis, and I was concerned about what I perceived as a general bias against religious experience.

After reading Religious Melancholy, I decided to see what Professor Rubin's peers had to say about this book. I was surprised to find some of my concerns confirmed in the academic press. Permit me to provide a few examples:

In The Journal of American History, (June 1995), Jon Pahl of Valparaiso University writes:

"Rubin makes no pretense of balance: within the first five pages Protestant experience is associated with 'obsession,' 'psychopathology,' 'fascism,' and, borrowing a phrase from Doris Lessing, 'a prison in which believers chose to live.' A reader expecting objective treatment of the psychology of historical Protestant experience is likely to be disappointed. The irony of this work is that it is Rubin's narrative, as much as history itself, that creates the prison of melancholy into which he condemns each and every one of his subjects.

"...[T]he work has too many flaws to warrant simple recommendation. First Rubin ahistorically equates Protestantism with evangelicalism and consequently overgeneralizes on the basis of his 'representative' sources. His occasional attempts to include 'liberal' examples of Protestant melancholia do not persuade. Second, he omits any comparative perspective that might test the causal link he draws between Protestant ideology and melancholy experience... Consequently, Protestants get bashed, when Christians writ large might be the better target. Little mention of secular melancholics - or were they all happy? - appears. Third, Rubin omits or distorts details from his evidence that are uncomfortable to the prison of his thesis... This is a prison with surprisingly lax security." (emphasis added)

In Contemporary Sociology (March 1995), Charles Cohen writes:

"Rubin tends to overgeneralize - 'Protestant' really means 'evangelical Protestant' - and his notions about religious melancholy stamping American 'collective identity and individual temperament'... need qualifying: Not all Americans are Protestant, not all Protestants are evangelicals, and not all evangelicals fall into despair. Assessing what proportion do is critical, for the argument that melancholy is essential to evangelical experience relies on a notion of typicality that Rubin never defines... [B]y not confronting the sampling issue, Rubin cannot demonstrate that he has penetrated to Protestantism's dark heart and not just scratched its dirty surface... Finally, Rubin admittedly educes no evidence for the assertion that evangelical theology supported a 'pathogenic' system of childrearing that encouraged abuse."

In the Journal Of Social History (Winter 1995), David Hackett of the University of Florida writes:

"More serious [than the author's narrow focus] is the causal relationship the author persistently sees between evangelical Protestantism and morbid, suicidal states. At times the study verges on becoming a diatribe against conservative Protestantism rather than documenting the history of religious melancholy. Rarely does the author shed light on the psychological hope, identity, and security that Protestantism also offered its followers... Rubin never quite disentangles himself from the conviction that Protestantism is the cause of religious melancholy." (emphasis added)

And finally, E. Brooks Holifield, writing in Theological Studies (June 1995), has this telling comment:

"R[ubin] depends heavily on secondary accounts and he has some difficulty whenever he descends into Protestant theology."

These comments quoted above help explain why we are concerned about Professor Rubin's treatment of the Bruderhof. Unfortunately, the "distortions," "omissions," and "flaws" detected by these academics become far more serious, in my view, when applied to a contemporary phenomenon such as the Bruderhof; we are no longer concerned merely with faulty scholarship.

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to stress that we are not dealing with censorship here; we are concerned with accuracy. I believe a meeting between representatives of the Bruderhof and Oxford University Press will ensure greater accuracy in Professor Rubin's analysis.

Yours sincerely, Joe Keiderling

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Julius H. Rubin, 12/17/98: I believe that it is shameful for Joseph Keiderling to have written these letters and to have made telephone calls to my editor at Oxford University Press. The intent is clear - a tactic of intimidation directed toward a respected international academic press to bully them into stopping the publication of my book The Other Side Of Joy.

What Keiderling does not relate is the fact that Oxford University Press contacted him in 1998 and demanded that he stop this intimidation. What Keiderling does not relate is the fact that the Bruderhof had their friends in conservative Roman Catholic circles, the editor of a major Catholic publishing company and others write letters to Cynthia Read questioning Oxford's publication of my work. Throughout these letters, my professional reputation and character were impugned and attacked.

Is this the behavior of a sincere, believing Christian who is instructed to love his enemies, to place his abiding faith in Jesus? Or is this the behavior of a bully looking to suppress freedom of speech and academic freedom?

KIT, 12/30/98: Mel Fros e-mailed Joe K. to ask how any sort of meaningful dialogue could occur if Joe posed as 'Jay Ortiz' on the newsgroup. Joe replied with a 'no comment' on the newsgroup posting, adding that he had "nothing to gain by entering into a 'dialogue'" with Mel about the letters. Joe claimed that they would speak for themselves to anyone who was prepared to listen, his emphasis.

Mel Fros, 12/29/98: Dear Dr. Ortiz, I understand you are a pediatrician; working in a branch of medicine that deals with the care of infants and children. Therefore, in keeping with your professional calling, I would like you to pass on this message to one of your patients. Please tell him the following (and make sure he understands this is no "JoeK").

1. If Joseph Keiderling wishes to discuss these matters with adult participants in this forum he is encouraged to do so, provided he leaves his childish antics at home.

2. It appears Mr. Keiderling's postings are a last-ditch attempt to salvage the reputation of the B'hof. If I am mistaken, then Keiderling would do well to present all dialog between himself and the other parties involved. Further, Keiderling should be encouraged to lead the discussion of these matters and not just drop them in our laps. After all, he is the one concerned enough to bring them to our attention.

3. Mr. Keiderling should know that I take a very personal interest in religious melancholy, states of mental depression, and suicidal tendencies resulting from abusive "religious" practice. I witnessed three family members dealing with aftereffects of "harmful religion," and I am not going to stand by idly while Mr. Keiderling makes light of these matters by allowing you to be his "mouthpiece."

If Mr. Keiderling wants to address matters related to Dr. Rubin's writings, he is welcome to do so provided he speaks and acts like an adult. Otherwise, he is wasting my time. Thank you for passing this message to him. Sincerely,

Peter Forde, 12/16/98: Methinks I'll have to buy this book and read it. I would tend to query two aspects of it on the basis of the above reviews:

1. That people choose such a religious prison. In my experience both from personal life and study of cults, psychological coercion makes any "free choice" a hobson's choice between compliance and a horrendous guilt trip. In other words people don't freely choose but are being mind-enslaved. In context with Bruderhof particularly I take no issue with the social reform programme they are involved in, but do take issue with their books on themes like forgiveness and purity. These books are innocuous in themselves, but as a leader towards Bruderhof they begin the process of mind-stilling and brainwashing practiced within the cult.

2. Melancholia, depression and mental illness within protestant religious groupings are in my view a product of a form of strict discipline which aims to annihilate free-will and free-thinking, subverting the victim's mind to total obedience to the group leaders. Such practices are not christian, and Jesus in no way attacks free thinking or free will, and he slammed the Pharisees for just such practices. What produced severe distress and suicidal ideation in me by age 11 was just such strictness as enforced by employees of the Church of England in one of their orphanages.

That similar destructive strictness exists within Bruderhof is evidenced by their own book Discipleship which details the indoctrination process. In peace,

Paul C. Fox, 12/15/98: Joe Keiderling wrote: "With this in mind, it may be instructive to list a few of those statements of Dr. Rubin's contained in this chapter that are either false, inaccurate, or, at very least, misleading."

Well, let's have a look at these so-called 'misleading' statements. We were expelled recently enough to have an accurate recollection of how things are in the Bruderhof - unless things have changed drastically. [Quotes from Dr. Rubin are numbered, Dr. Fox's replies have his initials PCF.]

1. "[The Bruderhof] enforces purity of conduct, thought and intentionality in the hearts and minds of true believers... Their ethos strictly regulates all forms of conduct, belief, appearance, dress and demeanour, with particular emphasis upon the repression of premarital or extramarital sexual expression. Brothers and sisters are prohibited from gossip or idle chatter... Church discipline requires public confession and repentance of sin, and exclusion of the errant sinner into the world."
PCF: I am at a loss to understand why Joe would want to deny this. "Unity of heart and mind" and "sexual purity" are key ideals of the Bruderhof, as is the claim that the Bruderhof is "a whole life." The statement is not couched in standard Bruderhof jargon, but it is completely accurate.

2. "The Bruderhof members have passed down control of their movement to Eberhard Arnold's son and grandson in hereditary succession of office."
PCF: The fact of this succession is indisputable, though Joe may disagree with Rubin's interpretation of it. It will certainly be interesting to see who will assume the Eldership after Christoph.

3. "Authority patterns are believed to have originated with God; leaders serve as his instrument, providing spiritual and temporal rulership over the congregation."
PCF: The Bible and the Early Christians are frequently cited to justify the form of leadership exercised at the Bruderhof, as well as the special spiritual gift of the Elder to discern "what spirits are at work in the Brotherhood," and his authority to silence or expel members who 'bring in a wrong spirit.'

4. "The promises of salvation are inextricably tied to the surrender to God's will and the believer's submission to divinely-legitimated hierarchical authority. In this manner, the Bruderhof instils habits of unquestioning obedience to the authority of the witness brothers and the servant of the word."
PCF: Just try questioning the authority of J. Christoph Arnold, and see how long you last!

5. "Those persons whose ideas or individual consciences endanger doctrinal orthodoxy; those who stand against the leadership and threaten unity; those who cannot or will not repent and reform from sinful thoughts and conduct, must be punished. First offenders or members who commit minor infractions are prohibited from attending the Gemeindestunde (prayer circle). The 'small exclusion', or Kleiner Ausschluss, allows the offending member to remain in the community, but under extreme social ostracism. The 'great exclusion', or Grosser Ausschluss, involves expulsion from the community."
PCF: This is the exact procedure followed in the expulsion of our family and many others - although expulsion is sometimes not preceded by lesser steps. There are hundreds of Bruderhof exiles who will testify to the accuracy (in a general way) of Rubin's description.

6. "The threat of exclusion proves a powerful and dreaded method of social control in the Bruderhof."
PCF: It sure does!

7. ..."Exclusion invariably disrupts families as those who remain must shun the offending brother, or watch helplessly as their loved one is forced to depart the community."
PCF: Okay, so not invariably. Some of us were lucky enough to be expelled with our families intact.

8. "The trauma of ostracism, exclusion, family disruption and shame is shared by the family, falling most heavily upon children."
PCF: Too true! Joe, I hope your children need never suffer the kind of pain that ours went through when we were expelled.

9. "The concentration of spiritual and political power into an elite leadership group of servants, ever-obsessed with unity, has resulted in the continued and systematic abuse of Church discipline as a political device to expel members, who because of individual conscience, question or oppose community policy."
PCF: This is a matter of opinion - however, it's an opinion I agree with.

10. "Bruderhof teachings manifest an ambivalence toward childhood, simultaneously perceiving children as sentimentalized, angelic creatures and as tools of Satan - points of entry for demonic attack. Leaders have been obsessed with issues of sexuality, simultaneously seeking to repress sexual impurity from this age of innocence, while projecting onto young children and adolescents accusations of homoeroticism, bestiality and adult heterosexual misconduct."
PCF: This doesn't particularly agree with my experience - though I have met some who grew up in the Bruderhof under Heini who affirm it. Perhaps some things have changed for the better. However, the Bruderhof notion of 'childlikeness' is often pretty artificial.

11. "According to Bruderhof belief, the Devil looks to make inroads into the community by attacking the spiritually weak brethren, the emotionally unstable members, those who are tempted by the sins of the flesh, and those haunted by obsessive guilt, blasphemous thoughts and religious melancholy."
PCF: I have heard similar sentiments expressed in Brotherhood meetings by J. Christoph Arnold himself.

12. "Religious despair, suicidal inclinations and obsessions with unpardonable sin afflict many B'hof youth."
PCF: I would question the "many."

13. "When pastoral care failed to cure... spiritual sicknesses, Bruderhof elders turned in desperation to psychiatry, with the regimen of major tranquillisers, electro-convulsive shock therapy, and institutionalization of the most severe cases."
PCF: I did not experience anything of this kind during our five years in the community. However, I did on many occasions hear J. Christoph Arnold proclaim in Brotherhood Meetings that "depression is a sin" - which was hardly a help to those brothers and sisters who were struggling with clinical depression. I would add that depression, in the medical sense, is about as prevalent (neither more nor less) in the Bruderhof as elsewhere - and that it was treated with appropriate anti-depressant medications. The attitude of the Servants toward depression was pretty inconsistent: sometimes it was a disease to be treated medically, sometimes a sin to be confronted spiritually.

Certainly, one could argue with some of the details of Rubin's descriptions, or the language used; and it would seem that most of his interviewees exited the Bruderhof 15 to 20 years ago, so that some things may indeed be different. Nevertheless, the accusations made against him by Joe Keiderling simply don't hold water.

Blair Purcell, 12/17/98: "Toeless Joe" Keiderling strikes again. The nickname "Toeless Joe" seems apt; he's shot himself in the foot so often that there can be few of those nether extremities left! While Toeless patiently explains to Ms Read that "none of these things" happens at the Bruderhof today, he declines to acknowledge that they happened in the past. Read the banned article here:

As to their not happening today, the continued phone calls to our help line indicate otherwise. Few are ready to share their stories publicly - it took years before "Faith" (see article mentioned above) rebuilt her life sufficiently to have the confidence to share her experiences openly.

My wife and I were once challenged by a Bruderhof person in regards to an assertion that Bruderhof women had often considered suicide. The challenger appeared totally unaware or uninformed in regards to the question. My wife was able to come up with twenty names of those who either had actually attempted to do so or had been hospitalized for psychiatric help. One particularly poignant story involved a young woman who attempted suicide by hanging herself with Christmas lights - shortly after having been removed from the Bruderhof to an isolated apartment in another town on her own when they knew she suffered from suicidal tendencies.

She later died in hospital from an apparent overdose of medication administered by hospital staff.

Contested Narratives
A Case Study Of The Conflict Between
A New Religious Movement And Its Critics
by Julius H. Rubin, Professor of Sociology
Saint Joseph College West Hartford, CT 06117

This paper was presented at the annual meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November 5-8, Montreal, Canada. The final version of this essay will be published in a forthcoming book, Misunderstanding Cults, edited by Benjamin Zablocki and Thomas Robbins.

"The battle has been about free speech, and free speech is about disagreement. And so we disagree." Salman Rushdie, regarding Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1989 religious edict charging blasphemy and authorizing Rushdie's death for Satanic Verses. [1]

This essay examines the strange and troubling story of how one new religious group has attempted to suppress freedom of speech for apostates and social scientists who have published critical analyses, raised troubling questions, and made serious charges about the institutional practice and individual conduct of members of this religious group. We will consider the masterful public relation efforts where this sect has manipulated the media to produce puff pieces that have supported their protected and idealized image. We will detail the strategies employed to attack and quiet the voices of apostates and academic critics, branding them as the demonic "enemies of the faith." This story reveals an irony: to protect their religious brotherhood the sect has engaged in unbrotherly actions as they oppose their critics and the organized resistance of apostates.

The group in question, the Bruderhof, is a high-demand Christian community of goods. Within their church-community, they struggle to create and maintain the absolute unity of their brotherhood. The faithful surrender in radical discipleship to the mandate of the Holy Spirit, as mediated to them by their leadership. The Bruderhof cleaves to a single belief system, a dogmatic orthodoxy. The leadership prevents their common brothers and sisters from enjoying unrestricted access to newspapers, radio, television, popular culture and the Internet. Within the sect, they do not tolerate open debate, but instead demand unquestioning conformity to community standards of belief and practice.

Within their religious community, Bruderhof true believers may indeed choose to abdicate liberty of conscience and free speech. However, they have attempted to impose their narrow orthodoxy and understanding of the "truth about the Bruderhof" upon the outside world. In an open, democratic society founded upon the constitutional principles of freedom of speech, citizens enjoy a broad spectrum of protected speech. In the academy, a sociologist of religion, has the right to pursue theoretical and empirical investigations of the discipline even when this inquiry takes the researcher into areas of controversy and conflict between orthodoxy and apostates.

Learned Hand articulated the underlying constitutional principle that forms the foundation of academic freedom in the academy and freedom of speech - the open marketplace of ideas in the public sphere. He writes that "the interest, which [the First Amendment] guards, and which gives it its importance, presupposed that there are no orthodoxies - religious, political, economic, or scientific - which are immune from debate and dispute." [2] The actions of a religious group that seek to impose orthodoxy and abridge freedom of speech and academic freedom are a threat to the fundamental tenets of liberal democracy.

The Bruderhof Communities

[History of the movement is given here] ... In strict conformity to the teachings of Jesus, the community enforces purity of conduct, thought and intentionality in the hearts and minds of true believers. The Church community keeps close watch to ensure that members hold to their religious ethos, motivated by the leadings of the Holy Spirit. They practice the brotherly watch to purify themselves from sin. Their ethos strictly regulates all forms of conduct, belief, appearance, dress and demeanor, with particular emphasis upon the repression of premarital or extramarital sexual expression. Brothers and sisters are prohibited from gossip or idle chatter. Should differences or conflicts arise between members, they must go directly to the person or persons in question and strive to bring a peaceful and loving resolution of these differences or 'un-peace'. Church discipline requires public confession and repentance of sin, and exclusion of the errant sinner into the world. Only by fostering absolute unity, the Bruderhof maintains, can it collectively form a vessel to capture the Holy Spirit in childlike joy, humility and surrender to Jesus. ...

The Bruderhof members have passed down control of their movement to Eberhard Arnold's son and grandson in hereditary succession of office. This traditionalism is legitimated as emanating from the will of God, whose divine order has also created a hierarchy of patriarchal relations between husband and wife, parent and child, and leader and follower. Authority patterns are believed to have originated with God; leaders serve as his instrument, providing spiritual and temporal rulership over the congregation. They also believe that God decreed an organic social order where men exercise authority over women, and parents over children.

The promises of salvation are inextricably tied to the surrender to God's will and the believer's submission to divinely-legitimated hierarchical authority. In this manner, the Bruderhof instills habits of unquestioning obedience to the authority of the witness brothers and the servant of the word. Church discipline derives from the book of Matthew, enjoining brothers, motivated by love, to engage in fraternal correction and admonishment of the offending member, urging the offender to seek repentance, reform and return to good standing within the community. However, those persons whose ideas or individual consciences endanger doctrinal orthodoxy; those who stand against the leadership and threaten unity; those who cannot or will not repent and reform from sinful thoughts and conduct, must be punished with increasingly severe forms of church discipline.

The threat of exclusion proves a powerful and dreaded method of social control in the Bruderhof. A brotherhood member's baptismal vow to the community takes precedence over any natural ties of blood to spouse, children or kin. Exclusion invariably disrupts families as those who remain must shun the offending brother, or watch helplessly as their loved one is forced to depart the community. The trauma of ostracism, exclusion, family disruption and shame is shared by the family, falling most heavily upon children. Paradoxically, the Bruderhof stresses joyful surrender and abiding love, yet imposes the most severe penalties of civic-religious 'death', mental suffering and unbrotherly rejection of the unrepentant sinner.

The members of the Bruderhof are, by their own account, "authoritarian with respect to Christ" requiring the undivided loyalty of their members. [3] The concentration of spiritual and political power into an elite leadership group of servants, ever-obsessed with unity, has resulted in the continued and systematic abuse of Church discipline as a political device to expel members, who because of individual conscience, question or oppose community policy. Such persons stand charged with sins of pride, selfishness and egoism, and are said to be motivated by 'the wrong spirit', or to have lukewarm zeal.

Many Bruderhof apostates recount childhoods marked by family disruptions when one or both parents were excluded. Children suffered beatings, administered by parents, as ordered by leaders, with the purpose of using physical discipline to "win the children to the life." [4] Others tell of times in childhood when adults conducted interrogations, known as 'clearances', to garner confessions of sexual sin and impurity.

Young women confront the issues of powerlessness and gender inequality in spiritual and temporal roles, and severe limits are placed upon their aspirations and participation in the community. Women especially bear the burdens of Gelassenheit, resignation and self-renunciation to the will of God, as enforced by the patriarchy.

Many journalists, visitors and guests have extolled the virtues of this Christian community by writing uncritical accounts of the Bruderhof. In the past five years, more than fifty articles in local and national publications such as Sojourners, Christian Century and The New York Times have presented an apologetic, uncritical, idealized and sentimentalized portrait of the community. [5] Local newspapers in American communities adjacent to Bruderhof settlements print a seemingly endless series of human interest stories that, for example, portray blond and fair children weaving garlands of flowers in celebration of nature and the coming of spring. Somber, bearded men in plain shirts, suspenders and trousers march in a 'peace witness' against nuclear war or the death penalty. Women with heads covered in polka-dot kerchiefs and attired in long, modest dresses go about their daily routine with heads bowed in humility. High-minded men and women unite in Christian community as seekers of God's Kingdom. I term these one-sided accounts of the Bruderhof, telling the "Bruderhof story" as a public relations exercise that presents the community in an unreflective and uncritical light. The community has attempted to preserve the Bruderhof story as the only credible and legitimate presentation of B'hof history and social reality by suppressing and discrediting the voices of apostates and academic critics.

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Who Controls the Interpretation of Bruderhof History?

I began my research for a book about the Bruderhof in the spring of 1991 when they were called the Eastern Brotherhoods of the Hutterian Church, and were still affiliated with the Hutterites and Anabaptism. Hutterites have actively cooperated with social scientists who have conducted community mental health surveys. Hutterites have developed a folk psychiatry to diagnose and treat the spiritual affliction, Anfechtung, where believers suffer religious melancholy. [6] The Hutterite confession of faith enjoins them from using the state or courts of law. I assumed that the Eastern Brotherhoods would, like their Western co-religionists, allow me to study their group, freely acknowledge the propensity of the faithful to suffer religious despondency, and view the use of lawsuits of anathema to their faith commitment. I was mistaken on all counts.

The Bruderhof has steadfastly opposed my research and refused to assist me. At the beginning of my research, I informed the Bruderhof and ex-members of my belief that the spiritual crises of Bruderhof young men and women were related to the central tenets of their theology, practice, church discipline and communal life. The Bruderhof disagreed and found this critical perspective unacceptable. They did, however, grant permission to the Israeli scholar, Yaacov Oved, to write an authorized history, Witness of the Brothers. Oved wrote a celebratory and uncritical account that reflected considerable editorial and scholarly control exercised by the Bruderhof. [7] The issues that divided my research from Oved's scholarship were control and academic autonomy. The Bruderhof opposed all scholarship where they did not control the questions asked, the evidence made available for investigation, the interpretative framework employed, and the conclusions drawn.

Who "owns" Bruderhof history? Who has the right or the power to articulate the "authentic," "true," and "objective" interpretation of the Bruderhof movement - their doctrine, communal organization, and church practice? Who controls the collective memory about the Bruderhof? Who can speak with authority about their "invented traditions" - Bruderhof rituals, ceremonials and commemorations? [8]

From the founding of the first American Bruderhof, Woodcrest in Rifton, New York in 1954 until 1989, the Bruderhof religious leadership controlled their collective memory and the interpretation of their tradition. Through their publishing company, the Bruderhof has printed their canonical writings and two histories of the sect. A monthly magazine, The Plough, advanced the "Bruderhof story." Employing skillful public relations with the national media, the Bruderhof has garnered endorsements by renown theologians and religious leaders such as Thomas Merton, John Yoder, Henri Neuman, and Mother Theresa; and sociologists John A. Hostetler and Pitriam Sorokin. Sympathetic politicians and church leaders extol their community. These efforts have fostered a climate of opinion that casts the Bruderhof as quaint, "Amish-like" folk who embrace religious brotherhood and community.

Each year the Bruderhof welcomes a diverse ensemble of guests: religious seekers, people from the margin, curious neighbors, reporters, and persons from a broad spectrum of religious beliefs and spiritual politics from the left to the right. Many guests are predisposed to see and experience a confirmation of "the Bruderhof story." The Bruderhof appears to them as a remedy to the social problems of modern societies. I marvel at how the Bruderhof has served as Rorschach test, an ink-blot for individuals and groups who are troubled by frustrations, malaise, and insecurities and use the Bruderhof as a screen to project their deepest spiritual aspirations. Reporters and guests are taken on limited tours of the community where they experience the joyous aspects of group solidarity - communal dining, working, and singing. (They do not attend brotherhood meetings and do not see the exercise of church discipline. Guests are not prevented from free access to books, news media, and information.) Their first impressions after a staged, carefully scripted and supervised visit, invariably confirm the "Bruderhof story."

Mainstream Americans typically live individuated lives, pursuing careers in a competitive, capitalist market economy. Our postindustrial mass society has demonstrated a genius for commodifying all aspects of material and symbolic production (including religious and secular holidays) under the ethos of consumerism. We pursue festive retailing in malls - our secular cathedrals. Here we shop for what the mass media packages as lifestyles - claims to prestige and happiness - ideas, "value and belief systems." Participation in institutional religion is compartmentalized and limited to major holidays and sabbath worship. "Spirituality" has become a privatized, individual exercise of the consumption of commodified avenues to the transcendental, to healing, and self-realization, largely cut free from ecclesiastical and theological moorings.

The Bruderhof story alternatively, speaks to the highest ideals of Christian religious vocation and appears, at first glance, as an antidote to the crisis of modernity. In place of subjectivism, individualism, and relativism of belief, the B'hof calls for an absolute commitment to ultimate values. In place of consumerism, the B'hof demands a simplified life of all things in common, an end of private wants and property. In place of violence, competition and coercion, the B'hof promotes the ethic of brotherhood and love espoused in the Sermon on the Mount.

In 1989, Ramon Sender began publication of KIT (Keep In Touch) a monthly newsletter of the memories and accounts of Bruderhof apostates - persons expelled from or who had left the community. For the first time, the Bruderhof faced an organized opposition to their collective memory and public image. Sender, an excluded novice who had to leave his wife and young daughter in Woodcrest in 1957, discovered by happenstance that his daughter had recently died. The community had for decades denied him the right to visit, telephone, or correspond with his daughter. He learned of her death a month after the funeral. Sender wished to learn more about the daughter that he had been prevented from knowing, and to write a book to commemorative her life. He explains:

"When the Bruderhof leadership turned down my request to interview Bruderhof members, I began to search for ex-members... By the end of the month, I had talked to more than thirty and personally visited four. By the end of the second month, I had spoken to over sixty. They all asked about the others I had contacted and wanted their news and addresses." [9]

Soon, the ex-members began corresponding with one-another in a round-robin letter which Sender and a small editorial group instituted as a monthly newsletter. He explains: "The KIT newsletter started as a modest two-sheet page sent to thirty or so names, but within four months it expanded to ten-thousand word issues mailed every month to over one hundred addresses. As the volume of incoming mail grew, four Bruderhof graduates and survivors formed the newsletter staff. By 1990, the newsletter grew to 20,000 words per issue and was mailed to over 450 addresses. Most of the copy consisted of letters received from ex-Bruderhofers scattered all over the world." [10]

KIT now operates under the umbrella of a tax-exempt Peregrine Foundation, (founded in 1992) hosts an Internet web site and sponsors annual reunions. In 1993, KIT added a summer reunion in England for European ex-members. KIT also publishes book-length memoirs of apostates under the imprimatur of the Carrier Pigeon Press. Since 1992, the press has published Roger Allain's The Community That Failed and Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe's Torches Extinguished, Memories of a Communal Bruderhof Childhood in Paraguay, Europe and the USA, Belinda Manley's Through Streets Broad and Narrow, Nadine Moonje Pleil's Free From Bondage, and Miriam Arnold Holmes, Cast Out Into the World.

The letters printed in KIT express their outrage at the official Bruderhof apologetic where KITfolk, as bearers of a contested collective memory, reveal the traumatic events of the Great Crisis and more recent Bruderhof history. Many define themselves as survivors, "graduates" and exiles who are compelled to remember and inform an indifferent world that the truths about the Bruderhof must now be told. These truths have to do with abuse of church discipline resulting in the disruption of families, and refusal by the Bruderhof to permit family reunions and visitation by former members.

KIT and the Bruderhof wage a war over contested collective memory. For example, Plough Publishing publishes Torches Rekindled as an apologetic defense of Bruderhof doctrine and history, while KIT publishes the counter-claim, Torches Extinguished. This battle continues over the Internet with competing Bruderhof and KIT home pages on the World Wide Web, [11] the newsgroup bruderhof and websites created by other Bruderhof apostates.

KIT public relations effectively used Internet, print, and electronic media to challenge Bruderhof orthodoxy. By 1992, KIT sent "media packets" containing reprints of articles about the Bruderhof to reporters and news outlets that were writing about the Bruderhof. KIT had become an institutionalized opposition to the commune, contesting many of their claims to be a loving brotherhood of disciples of Jesus. Bruderhof religious leadership considered KIT and those who possessed the demonic "KIT Spirit" to be avowed enemies of the faith determined to destroy the Bruderhof and all those who surrendered their lives to Jesus

The Attack Upon the "Enemies of the Faith"

During the 1990s after their schism with the Western Hutterite Church, the Bruderhof evolved into a series of secular business enterprises and a charitable 501d organization known as the Bruderhof Communities. They secured trademark protection for their name, instituted a legal affairs office, named corporate presidents and vice presidents of their manufacturing, aircraft leasing, and business ventures. For the first time in Bruderhof history, these corporate officers, with the knowledge and consent of the religious leadership, could use the courts and legal strategies to defend themselves against KIT and all perceived enemies of the faith.

The Bruderhof instituted new policies in the 1990s that appear to contradict their history of pacifism and Anabaptist belief that Christians must not use the courts or police to defend themselves. In the past, the Bruderhof advocated that they must place their unconditional trust in Jesus. Although they might suffer injustice and even martyrdom at the hands of their enemies, they must bear witness to their profound faith commitment.

In 1990-1991, Johann Christoph Arnold, the head religious leader, secured a permit to carry a concealed weapon in New York and purchased two hand guns. (The Bruderhof maintains that Arnold has since disposed of these guns.) Bruderhof corporate presidents aggressively pursued their right to legal self-defense. The leadership called the Connecticut police to arrest an ex-member for trespass when he attended a Bruderhof Open House in 1995. The commune pressed criminal charges for fraud and extortion in 1996 against a disturbed ex-member who threatened to write a book about the community unless he was granted the right to visit his family living inside the commune.

By late 1995, Bruderhof corporate and religious leaders believed that KIT had acquired the customer mailing lists and subscriber lists to Bruderhof enterprises and constituted a dire threat to the economic survival of the commune. At this time, KIT public relations and criticism of the Bruderhof had broken through to regional and national media markets. In response to what the Bruderhof perceived as ominous threat to their existence, they began a campaign of harassment and litigation against KIT and Bruderhof critics.

In October, 1995 the Boston ABC television televised a report critical of the Bruderhof in their Chronicle news program. The Chronicle report investigated charges that Bruderhof elder Johann Christoph Arnold had secured a concealed weapons permit and purchased two handguns in 1991, and allegations that the Bruderhof practiced forms of church discipline that refused to allow apostates contact with family members inside the commune.

Following the Chronicle broadcast, two Bruderhof corporate presidents requested a meeting with me which took place on October 25, 1995 at Yale University. During our two hour conversation, the leaders again emphasized that I did not have their permission to study the community or write a book about the Bruderhof. The message was clear: stop speaking with the media and do not proceed with your scholarship.

In the spring of 1995, a small group of KIT activists formed a membership organization, "Children of the Bruderhof, International" (COBI). They initiated a toll free telephone number intended to assist persons inside and outside of the Bruderhof who wanted information or assistance. COBI's help line appeared in the New York telephone yellow pages nestled between Bruderhof and Hutterian Church numbers. The community responded with more than two thousand harassing telephone calls. The billing records reveal that these calls originated from Bruderhof community telephones or public telephones adjacent to their hofs. Printed fluorescent bumper stickers with the COBI help number were printed and distributed at several airports, giving the mistaken impression that this number was a free telephone sex line:

"SWEET TALK - Joella and Karen are
Waiting FOR YOUR CALL - 24 Hours - 7 Days." [12]

Bruderhof spokesperson Joseph Keiderling attributed the phone calls to Bruderhof adolescents acting outside of the control of the leadership. [13] Bruderhof officials deny responsibility for the SWEET TALK advertisements.

In September 1995 , the Bruderhof filed a civil lawsuit in federal district court in Albany, New York charging COBI with trademark infringement over the use of the names "Bruderhof" and "Hutterian" in their Yellow Pages help line advertisement. The Bruderhof sought $50,000 in damages and hoped to compel COBI to change their name and refrain from using the Bruderhof trademark. The B'hof reached an out-of-court settlement with COBI in the summer of 1996. The settlement protected the B'hof trademark, ended COBI and the help telephone line, and dismissed any B'hof claim to monetary damages.

In March, 1996, the Bruderhof sponsored in Philadelphia, the first of a series of planned regional debates regarding the death penalty in America. The Bruderhof leadership met in New York City, on September 13, 1995, with attorney Leonard Weinglass and Ben Chaney, brother of the slain civil rights leader, James Chaney, to form an ad hoc coalition under the umbrella agency, the National Commission of Capital Punishment (NCCP). The NCCP advisory committee included notables such as Sr. Helen Prejean, of Dead Man Walking fame, actor Edward Asner, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and numerous organizations that promote social justice for the poor and advocate for minority rights. The NCCP's mission was to revisit the question of capital punishment, twenty years after the Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions. The Commission hoped to educate the public and foster a national conversation and debate that would lead to legislative efforts to end what the Bruderhof considered to be "the ultimate revenge." The Bruderhof formed a tax-exempt Bruderhof Foundation to solicit contributions for their Death Row Inmate Legal Defense Fund. The community formed a youth folk band, "Just-US" (pronounced "justice") and produced a first album, "Within the Justice System." Most important for the Bruderhof, they scheduled the first of a series of regional hearings under the auspices of the NCCP in Philadelphia on March 25-27, 1996, centered, in part, upon the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1982 of the murder of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, and has spent more than a decade on death row, appealing the conviction and awaiting execution. He has written his memoirs and become a national cause celebre.

Ramon Sender contacted Philadelphia media and the Fraternal Order of Police, (FOP) before the hearings, providing them with the KIT public relations packet. Sender argued that the Bruderhof, as an authoritarian group, does not respect the individual rights of its members, and does not value democratic process. They should not mediate the public debate over the controversial issue of capital punishment. The Bruderhof had scheduled the first hearings in Philadelphia City Hall, which gave the appearance of official, political endorsement of their stand in the Jamal case. The FOP, under the leadership of Richard Costello, held a news conference on the morning of March 25, airing the video tape of the Chronicle report and calling the Bruderhof a "cult." Local newspapers, television stations, and a late night radio show recounted KIT allegations. News accounts with interviews of Bruderhof leaders counterpoised by questions raised Sender and other KITfolk, and by sociologists Zablocki and Rubin, made the Bruderhof religious controversy, not capital punishment, the center of public debate. Although the Bruderhof mobilized political and religious groups to defend them, the remaining regional death penalty hearings were canceled and the NCCP disappeared from the website.

In March 27, 1997, CBS New magazine "48 Hours" televised a report critical of the Bruderhof, broadcasting this piece together with a sensational breaking story about the Heaven's Gate religious suicide. As background to this news story, The Malek Group, a Manhattan public relations firm then contracted by the Bruderhof, had contacted CBS in October, 1996, urging "48 Hours" to film a short piece on the beauty of Advent and Christmas at the Bruderhof. I received a telephone call from the executive producer who had just returned to her offices in Manhattan following a visit to the Woodcrest Bruderhof outside of Albany, New York. The news crew taped a Christmas musical program with Cardinal John O'Connor in attendance as the Bruderhof's 350 voices united in four part harmony to celebrate Advent. She told me that she found the performance transporting, moved to tears by their simplicity, unity, and joyous religious brotherhood.

The producer demanded to know how I had the audacity to criticize this group or to associate their spirituality with depressive illness. "Why are you their enemy? Why do you oppose their commitment to Jesus?" she demanded. "You know nothing about this group and yet you persist in attacking them!" This harangue continued for thirty minutes until she had vented her anger. The Bruderhof had supplied her with my name and telephone number, characterizing me as an "enemy." The Bruderhof leadership had urged CBS to contract me and KITfolk, apparently, believing that the national media might effectively discredit my work. I urged CBS staff to investigate a variety of news sources both critical and supportive of the Bruderhof when they researched their story.

In the ensuing four months, CBS had interviewed scores of KITfolk, Benjamin Zablocki and me and had reached a more balanced, albeit critical story on the Bruderhof/KIT controversy. The Bruderhof strategy of using the media to discredit their enemies had failed, bringing unfavorable national notice to the Bruderhof.

The Bruderhof mobilized to defend themselves. They contested the facts of the news account and protested the association with a "cult," calling upon famous and influential friends to denounce the story, CBS, and Dan Rather who narrated the program.

On April 7th, the "Refuse and Resist" website allied with the Bruderhof's campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and end capital punishment, posted a broadside urging supporters to protest against CBS, listing the address and telephone numbers of the producer.

James M. Wall, executive editor of The Christian Century, wrote a lead editorial in the May 21-28 issue, characterizing the program as a "distorted and shameful display of an antireligious bias for which Dan Rather, the show's producers and CBS should apologize profusely to the Bruderhof community." [14] Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, now a prominent New York Attorney and Bruderhof associate in the NCCP, sent Dan Rather a scathing letter on June 11, 1997 (also posted on the Bruderhof website) demanding an apology and stating: "The program was a great disservice to truth, an assault on the right of everyone to freely exercise a chosen religion and an insult to the common sense of the American people."

According the Wall, Clark and others, when CBS broadcast a story that raised probing questions about Bruderhof church discipline and treatment of former members, or asking if the commune had become "cultlike" in ways that resembled Heaven's Gate, then CBS was guilty of dishonesty, antireligious bias, and abusing the public trust. Apparently the Bruderhof and their friends believed that only an uncritical puff piece that restated "the Bruderhof story" constituted the responsible exercise of freedom of speech in a democratic society.

CBS did not retract the show and apologize to the Bruderhof. On June 15, 1997 the Bruderhof brought legal action in the Manhattan Supreme Court seeking discovery and disclosure of reporter's notes, unedited video tapes, and materials from the many persons and sources used in this story. According to CBS sources, the Bruderhof attempted to discover evidence of slander and defamation from the reporter's sources and interviews as a method of gathering evidence to prepare a defamation lawsuit against CBS, the KITfolk, and social scientists interviewed for the story. On August 5, 1997, the case was dismissed.

During the dispute with CBS, the Bruderhof launched a many-sided attack upon their perceived enemies. On March 24, 1997, the Bruderhof served Ramon Sender, editor of KIT, with a suit for copyright infringement in federal District Court after he reprinted a letter sent by Christian Domer, a Bruderhof corporate president, on January 23, 1997 to Michael Waldner, a Hutterite living in South Dakota. The Hutterites, as is their practice, faxed Domer's letter to scores of separate colonies. Eventually, a fax reached the KIT newsletter. KIT publishes opinion and news about the Bruderhof/Hutterite schism as an integral part of KIT's public service as a tax-exempt organization.

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In late July, 1997, the Bruderhof filed a 15.5 million dollar defamation lawsuit against Ramon Sender, Blair Purcell, myself and the Peregrine Foundation, sponsor of the KIT newsletter. Sender and Purcell were sued for writing allegedly defamatory statements in KIT. I was charged with defamation for remarks that I made during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station in March, 1996 where I questioned their sponsorship of death penalty hearings and raised questions about their participation in the Social Security System. (The suit was dismissed in November 1997 and the Bruderhof dropped their appeal on December 20, 1997 and withdrew the copyright infringement lawsuit against Ramon Sender.)

The Bruderhof strategies in dealing with KIT and academic critics first attempted to quiet them by private persuasion or manipulating the media to discredit them. When these efforts failed, the Bruderhof mobilized the Internet, and influential friends to bring pressure upon the media to retract critical stories and apologize. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the Bruderhof began a series of lawsuits intended to punish their critics and to prevent the publication of my book.

'You Do Not have Permission to Study Us'
(From an interview with two Bruderhof corporate spokespersons, Yale University, October 24, 1995)

In February, 1997, Oxford University accepted the second revision of my manuscript, The Other Side of Joy, Religious Melancholy Among the Bruderhof, (OSJ) and issued a contract for the publication of this book. By early June, the work had entered the production process. Oxford University Press advertised the work in their fall catalog and secured a copyright and ISBN with the Library of Congress., the internet book seller, listed the title as a forthcoming work in their database. The anticipated November 1997 publication of my book became public knowledge. (The book was taken out of production in late June after I informed my editor of the lawsuit brought against CBS. The manuscript has been vetted by an intellectual property attorney and is currently being revised before returning to production and manuscript preparation at Oxford University Press.)

The Bruderhof devised a concerted strategy to prevent the publication of this work. The defamation complaint filed against me constituted a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) that was intended to intimidate me, to prevent me from speaking and writing about the Bruderhof, and to frighten my publisher. Increasingly, costly and burdensome lawsuits have been filed against individuals and groups who speak out about public issues over real estate development, the environment, consumer issues, and new religious movements. In what has frequently become an abuse of the courts, corporations and religious groups use their economic power to sue their critics thereby transforming public debates about political and social issues into narrowly defined, "private" disputes over libel, slander, and defamation. In this manner, the debate is removed from the public sphere. Now private citizens and grass roots community organizations, without access to wealth and political influence, must defend themselves in expensive lawsuits, ever confronted with the threat that the court will award monetary damages. Even if the lawsuit is dropped or dismissed, the defendants frequently are "devastated, drop their political involvement, and swear never again to take part in American political life." [15] As George W. Pring and Penelope Canan argue: "Normally thought of as the protectors of constitutional and political rights, courts are being used, in SLAPPS, to transform public political disputes into private judicial disputes, to the unfair advantage of one side and the disadvantage of the other." [16]

In early August, a Bruderhof spokesperson called my Oxford editor, informing her of the defamation lawsuit against me and their belief that I had accused the community of committing criminal acts. Thus began a round of telephone calls and letters from the Bruderhof that have continued into 1998, urging my editor to reconsider the publication of OSJ. The Bruderhof also sent me copies of these letters so that I would aware of their tactics of intimidation. In December, 1997 a Bruderhof corporate president asked me to pressure Oxford to meet with their representatives.

In 1998, the editor had Oxford legal counsel instruct the Bruderhof to stop these "harassing" communications. The Bruderhof has repeatedly requested a meeting with Oxford to discuss these matters assuring the editor that once the facts were know about my work and the truth was presented about the Bruderhof, that Oxford would reconsider this book.

Strange, unsigned reviews of the yet-to-be published book appeared on on November 1st, when OSJ was originally scheduled to appear. One review read:

"A Reader from Albany, N.Y. , 11/01/97, rating = 3D1: I would rather read The Readers Digest then this book. Professor Julius Rubin should be ashamed about this s book. To me it is garbage because he writes about something he does not know anything about. To top it all of this comes under the name of [sic] Scholar ship. I pity all those students who study under him at St. Joseph's College in Hartford. I have read the manuscript and it was a complete waste of my time. They are being greatly deceived. Julius Rubin should give them all a refund for the tuition they have paid. A book to be ignored. "

In late November, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, (SPCK), a respected British publisher, mission society, and charity with a three-hundred-year history as a patron of the Queen in association with the Church of England, published my essay about the Bruderhof in an edited book, Harmful Religion. This book was sold only in the UK and Europe as SPCK did not have a North American distributor.

Harmful Religion presented the proceedings of a 1995 academic conference at King's College, London that involved Pentecostal, healing and deliverance ministries in Britain, the abuse of religious authority in new religious movements, and allied topics. Although I had not attended the conference, the academic editors, Lawrence Osborn of Cambridge University and Andrew Walker of King's College, commissioned my essay on the Bruderhof.

The book was advertised in the KIT newsletter in November and entered the SPCK bookshops in the UK in early December. (SPCK would sell the work directly to American customers by special order.) Several weeks later, I received an e-mail from Lawrence Osborn on December 18, 1997. He wrote that his co-editor "just had a visit from a nice man from the Bruderhof. He tells us that they have been advised to sue us over your paper, but, of course, they are too nice to want to do anything like that."

One month later, in frantic efforts to prevent a libel suit, SPCK had removed Harmful Religion from their shops and distributors and sold the entire first printing run to the English Bruderhof communities. These actions allowed the publisher to recoup their production costs, avoid a lawsuit, and make the disingenuous statement that the book was temporarily out-of-stock with no certain date set for the second edition printing. Through these strong-arm strategies, the Bruderhof successfully suppressed my writings and the publication of a critical essay about their sect. Threats of litigation and the tactic of buying out the print run allowed the sect to use their economic power to stifle academic freedom or freedom of the press when the writing was critical of their community.

Martin Wroe, a correspondent for The Observer in London broke the story in March 22, 1998, in "A Cult Best Seller. . . And Why You Can't Read It," He quoted one of the authors who stated that SPCK "decided the book was not worth going to court over... It looks as though it will come back on the shelves without that chapter."

Osborn and Walker wrote a "statement of clarification" to the Bruderhof. A spokesperson for the English Bruderhof informed a senior official of the University of Oxford that SPCK had taken the book out of print because it contained my essay. (Oxford University Press is a division of the University.) This university official informed top officials at the Press who then contacted my editor in Oxford's New York office. The American Bruderhof spokesperson had sent her this information, adding to the pressure to drop the publication of OSJ.

On December 29, 1997, a Bruderhof leader again wrote to my editor at Oxford informing her that my essay inHarmful Religion was filled with false, inaccurate and misleading statements. He listed three pages of objectionable material. The letter further stated that when the Bruderhof appealed to SPCK, they quickly realized their mistake in printing my words. The Bruderhof did concede my First Amendment right to publish, but urged Oxford, in the interest of fairness and accuracy, to meet with the them and publish a balanced work.

Two weeks later, on January 13, 1998, Oxford received a follow-up letter from the Bruderhof with the SPCK statement of clarification, written by Osborn and Walker. They lauded the Bruderhof as an inspiring example of Christian witness to pacifism and religious community, embodying the highest ideals of faith and ethical practice. They explained that there is nothing inherently or intentionally abusive or wrong with the Bruderhof, that they are not a cult. They apologized for any negative inferences that might be drawn from my essay.

Appended to this letter was a statement by a clinical psychologist who stated that case studies taken from Bruderhof history have no relevance to the contemporary community. The Bruderhof letter concluded with another appeal to meet with Oxford and with an offer to provide additional letters from distinguished journalists, academics, editors, and Catholic theologians. Oxford received several letters from these friends of the Bruderhof who discredited my writing after having had read excerpts from my chapter in Harmful Religion. Each correspondent lauded the idealism of the Bruderhof communities and denounced my critical essay as erroneous, mean-spirited, and flawed social science.

During the spring of 1998, the Bruderhof sent my editor copies of critical reviews of my first Oxford book, Religious Melancholy and Protestant Experience in America as further evidence my problematic scholarship. The Bruderhof also contacted and shared their concerns with the General Editor of Oxford's "Religion in America Series," a distinguished professor at a major American research university.

The Bruderhof had formulated a concerted strategy of pressure to stifle my voice, first by suppressing the SPCK essay and then by using this small victory as a leverage to attempt to pressure Oxford to reconsider the manuscript. Finally, they commissioned letters from prominent friends who would discredit my work.

The Bruderhof attacked another critic and threatened legal sanctions to suppress public criticism. In June, 1997, Bill Peters, the husband of a Bruderhof apostate, created Bruderhof, an Internet newsgroup. The newsgroup provides a free and uncensored forum that hosts threaded discussions to air complaints and ventilate anger about the commune. On June 16th, Bruderhof attorneys sent Peters a letter charging him with trademark infringement for using the term "Bruderhof," demanded that he remove the newsgroup from the Web, and threatened legal action should he fail to comply by a two-week deadline. (Newsgroups, once initiated, take on a life of their own and cannot be removed. Bruderhof threats could not change this curious fact of the Internet.)

News of this controversy and the threat against Peters spread on the NET. Frank Copeland, a critic of Scientology living in Australia, took up the conflict between the Bruderhof and their critics. Copeland posted a web page with the story of the news group conflict, information about KIT, and the story of Harmful Religion. He posted a web page with my out-of-print chapter that browsers could download.

Chris Stamper of The Netly News broke this story on July 7, 1997 in "The Great Bruderhof Newsgroup Fight." He interviewed me for this story and I explained: "They want to use legal remedies to stop criticism... They don't want to see any critical statements made by anyone." [17]

In July, 1998, Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, the granddaughter of the Bruderhof's founder and author of the critical history, Torches Extinguished, presented a paper in Amsterdam at CENSUR, Center for the Study on New Religions. Before the session began, she was confronted by her brother Ben. She reports that he threatened to "expose me as a liar and traitor." [18] Shaken by this intimidation and reduced to tears, Bohlken-Zumpe did not want to deliver her paper in an atmosphere of intimidation. Yaacov Oved, author of Witness of the Brothers, an authorized history of the Bruderhof reassured her: "We are academic here, this is a University and we invited you. We did not invite Ben... Just calm yourself and I will do the rest!" [19] Her paper was delivered without interference by her brother and sister-in-law.

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During an extended conversation in 1995 with two corporate presidents who are part of the sect's core leadership, they repeatedly told me, "You are not listening." This phrase meant that I disagreed with their account of the facts, their interpretation of events, and the motives attributed to the actions of others. Inside the Bruderhof, when a leader tells a common brother "You are not listening," the brother must hurriedly change his belief, attitude, demeanor and behavior to comply. Inside the commune, leaders have the authority to interpret social reality and the power to make their interpretations stick. However, the enforcement of a single belief system and total unanimity of thought, belief and practice does not apply in mainstream society. The Bruderhof continually chafes at their loss of control over the interpretation of their movement by KIT and academics, and the freedom of public and academic discourse that openly questions orthodox accounts. KIT publications, the internet, academic conferences, and university presses can contest the once-unchallenged public relations promulgated by "the Bruderhof story."

The contested narrative of the Bruderhof and their critics is neither new nor unique. American religious innovation in the past two centuries has fostered the emergence of a seemingly unending diversity of sects and utopian experiments from the Second Great Awakening in the first decades of the nineteenth century until the counterculture of the 1960s. New religious movements, formed in response to ethical prophets who have proclaimed that they serve as the instrument of divine will or as the emissary of a transcendental other, have institutionalized their charismatic messages, actively proselytized, gathered new converts and issued challenges to the wider society. Not infrequently, public controversy, contested narratives, and litigation result. The charismatic origins of the Shakers and Mother Ann Lee, the Mormons and Joseph Smith, the Oneida Perfectionists and John Humphrey Noyes, and Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy, are four groups from a list that could include many lesser known sects. Each exemplifies the common theme of contested narratives, public controversy, and conflict between true believers and critical outsiders.

The case of Christian Science proves instructive. In 1907-1908, McClure's Magazine, known as a leader of muckraking journalism, accused the Mormon leadership of again embracing polygamy, and they published a critical biography of Mary Baker Eddy and history of Christian Science. Written by Georgine Milmine with considerable editorial assistance and co-authorship by Willa Cather, this expose largely discredited Eddy as the absolute head of the church. Harold S. Wilson writes:

"A parallel between authoritarian religious institutions and the trusts was quickly drawn in McClure's articles exposing the Mormons and the Christian Scientists... Mrs. Eddy was touted as the 'priestess,' the 'old queen,' and the 'absolute ruler' of the church." [20]

The magazine series was reprinted as a book in 1909, although this work quickly disappeared and remained unavailable for sixty-two years until the publication of the second edition in 1971. Christian Scientists purchased all copies and kept the book on permanent loan from public libraries. [21] Here, a new religious movement devised strategies to silence the critical reporting of muckraking journalists.

Using similar tactics ninety years later, the Bruderhof has responded to critical accounts of their sect by demonizing these enemies of faith. From the sect's increasingly extremist position, they feel threatened, attacked by forces of evil, struggling for the very survival of their religion. Melvyn L. Fein argues in Hardball Without an Umpire, The Sociology of Morality, that religious sectarians, in defense of orthodoxy, can become extremist. Here morality is "systematically immoral. It is an unregulated contest in which skulls get cracked open..." [22] Groups defend orthodoxy by recourse to legal and extralegal measures, violence and intimidation of their enemies who are portrayed as increasingly dehumanized monsters deserving of destruction. Conflicting groups are divided into a "good-guy/bad-guy" dichotomy. Fein explains:

"The good guys must prevail. Whatever it takes to win, they must not shrink from the effort... As the only ones fit to make a decision, they must grind the bad guys into the dust. Were they to abdicate this duty, the depravity of the black hats would generate waves of pollution that might engulf society." [23]

The good-guy/bad-guy syndrome of polarization and extremism can also apply to apostates who aggressively criticize and attack the Bruderhof, seeking to discredit them as a "cult." Jeffrey Kaplan argues in Radical Religion In America that the anti-cult movement and watchdog groups form as a dialectical opposition to the religious group; a highly motivated cadre of opponents dedicated to the task of 'exposing' the alleged dangers of the movement. The jury associated with court of public opinion may be a religious denomination, but it may as easily be the general public or the agencies of local, state, or federal government. Often, not content with merely publicizing the iniquities of the movement, these watchdog groups may organize to harass, intimidate, or even outlaw the target group. [24]

The Bruderhof, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce their critics as the demonic enemies of faith and adopt a complex legal, public relations, and extra-legal strategy to quiet their those who disagree with them. The courts become the tool to punish those who disagree by costly litigation and SLAPP suits intended to intimidate critics. Alternatively, KIT apostates, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce the Bruderhof as a "destructive cult" and attempt to discredit them in the court of public opinion. In the escalating conflict of dialectical opposition, the exercise of free speech and academic freedom is held hostage.

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[1]. Sarah Lyall, "Rushdie, Free of Threat, Revels in Spontaneity," The New York Times, September, 1998, A7.
[2]. Learned Hand, "International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 501, v. NLRB,181 F.2nd 34 (2nd Cir. 1950), 40." Quoted from Frederick Schauer, "The First Amendment as Ideology," in David S. Allen and Robert Jensen, Freeing The First Amendment, Critical Perspectives On Freedom Of Expression, New York: New York University Press, 1995, 10-28.
[3]. Merrill Mow, Torches Rekindled, 9-11.
[4]. Nadine Moonje Pleil, Free From Bondage, 219ff.
[5]. See Francis X. Clines, "Thou Shalt Not Traffic in Demon Gossip," The New York Times, March 2, 1995. Joyce Holiday, "The Stuff of Life, A Visit to the Bruderhof," Sojourners, Vol. 13, No. 5, May, 1984. Connie Nash, "Bruderhof Women: A Testimony of Love," History Today, Vol. 44, No. 7, 1994.
[6]. See also Joseph W. Eaton and Robert J. Weil, Culture And Mental Disorders, A Comparative Study Of Hutterites And Other Populations, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1955. Bert Kaplan and Thomas F. A. Plaut, Personality In A Communal Society, An Analysis Of The Mental Health Of Hutterites, Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas, 1956. John A. Hostetler, Hutterite Society, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.
[7]. Yaacov Oved, Witness Of The Brothers, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1996.
[8]. See Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, for the discussion of the social and cultural dynamic of group collective memory and collective representations. See also Hobsbawm, The Invention Of Tradition.
[9]. Ramon Sender Barayon, "The Evolution of the Peregrine Foundation," http://www.
[10]. Ramon Sender, "The Peregrine Foundation Brochure."
[11].The KIT internet address is http://www.perefound. org/ The Bruderhof address is
[12]. KIT, Vol VII, Number 7, July, 1995. p. 200 Annual.
[13]. Blaise Schweitzer, "For Hutterians, There's a Storm Before the Calm," Kingston Daily Freeman, July 27, 1995.
[14]. James M. Wall, "Cults and Communities," The Christian Century, May 21-28, 1997, 500.
[15]. George W. Pring and Penelope Canan, SLAPPS, Getting Sued For Speaking Out, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996, 29.
[16]. Ibid., 29.
[17]. Chris Stamper, "The Great Bruderhof News group Fight," The Netly News, July 7, 1997. (http://www.cgi.,2334,12554, 00.html)
[18]. Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, "Report on CENSUR," KIT, Vol X, No 8-9, August, 1998, 15.
[19]. Ibid, 15.
[20]. Harold S. Wilson, McClure's Magazine And The Muckrakers, 303.
[21]. See Steward Hudson, Preface to the Second Edition of The Life Of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1971, xv. I am endebted to Cynthia A. Read, Executive Editor, Oxford University Press for bringing this example to my attention.
[22]. Melvyn L. Fein, Hardball Without An Umpire: The Sociology Of Morality, London: Praeger, 1997, 150.
[23]. Ibid., 152.
[24]. Jeffrey Kaplan, Radical Religion In America, Millennial Movements From The Far Right To The Children Of Noah, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1997, 127.

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