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 / (415) 282-2369
KIT Staff U.S.: Ramon Sender, Charles Lamar, Christina Bernard, Vince Lagano, Dave Ostrom;
U.K. : Joy Johnson MacDonald, Susan Johnson Suleski, Carol Beels Beck, Ben Cavanna, Leonard Pavitt, Joanie Pavitt Taylor, Brother Witless (in an advisory capacity); Europe: Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe.
The KIT Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion. It encourages the expression of all views, both from within and from outside the Bruderhof. The opinions expressed in the letters we publish are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of KIT editors or staff.

February 1996 Volume VIII #2

quotes & internal links improved 2/29/96

--------------"Keep In Touch"--------------

From time to time the staff of KIT ponders what we are trying to accomplish by publishing the newsletter. For seven years we've been riding this bucking bronco without either saddle or reins, wondering if the glue on the seat of our pants will give way or not. Many of the same problems come up over and over again. People ask us not to print 'sex stuff.' "Don't print stuff that isn't 'positive'." "Don't print material that isn't 'true'." "Don't print material that isn't 'helpful'." And, sometimes, "Don't print material that isn't 'Christian'." But we then must remind ourselves -- and our readers -- that our only job is to hold up a mirror to the whole Bruderhof/ex-bruderhof situation. Hopefully it's a true mirror with no cracks, no ripples, no cloudy condensation. And whereas we are not in a position in many instances to tell what is true or not true -- and never will be -- we are in a position to polish that mirror by facilitating the possibility for anyone who feels they have something to say, to speak up for themselves in their own words. As concerns what is true, positive, Christian, etc. everyone must be their own KIT editor.

Several familiar problems: 1) Passive aggressiveness on the part of readers who don't want to write unless they see what they like already in print. 2) The fact that many people don't write unless they feel upset. 3) The fact that the newsletter tends to take on the tone of frequent contributors. 4) The fact that the desire to belong, which is universal and not limited to the Bruderhof, causes people to feel they 'belong' to KIT, and they try to censor other people. These are not problems that the editors can resolve. These are problems only readers can solve. So take up your pen and write, especially if we haven't heard from you in a while. And if you have never written, let us hear from you in 1996. It can be about anything in your life, both good and bad! Don't be shy. To paraphrase the inimitable Dr. Bernie Siegel, "If you feel you're just totally depressed, you can still be a success by serving as a bad example to others!" But to do that, you still have to write it down!

-----The Whole KIT and Kaboodle-----

-------- Table of Contents --------
Gretel Gneiting's death announced
ITEM: Oilers Divorce Bruderhof & Response
Christoph & Verena Marriage Counseling
Name Withheld: "Unconscionable Behavior"
Name Withheld: Grandchildren's letters
Andrew Bazeley
Name Withheld: "Reporting Abuse"
Lou Scheggia
Dave Ostrom
Jon Greenwood
Andy Harries
Ben Cavanna & Ramón Sender - COB Report
Konrad Klüver
Kingston Daily Freeman
Leonard Pavitt
Alfred L. DeLeo
Barnabas Johnson
Hilarion Braun to Stan Ehrlich
Hilarion Braun to Christian Domer
Hilarion Braun - Confession of an Agnostic
Professor Holger Schweigegebot
Professor Gottfried Denckenklos
David &Wendy (Alexander) Dorsey
KIT: WTIC transcript
Bette Bohlken-Zumpe - "In Remembrance Gretel Gneiting"
Norah Allain - Life Story Part III
Jere Bruner - Poem
Norah Allain -Poem
Hannah Goodwin Johnson- Poem/Essay
Vance J. Youmans
Johanna Patrick Homann

ITEM: Oma Gretel Gneiting passed away on January 13 within the Bruderhof communities. None of her five grandchildren living 'outside' nor two daughters were informed until after the burial, and then only by a brief card. Two letters from 'Names Withheld' in this issue pertain to this ongoing theme.

It also has been reported that Wilhelm Fischer asked for, but was refused, burial at the Darvell Bruderhof.

ITEM: The "divorce" letter from the 'Oilers' to the Bruderhof mentioned in January's KIT and dated November 16, 1995, came from an October 25, 1995, meeting of all the ministers and stewards "under Jacob Kleinsasser's leadership." It is addressed to "brothers and sisters and to all it may concern."

It states in part: "A lot of your deception, deceit, impudence and false accusations that have come to light through your own words and deeds were discussed at that meeting, and it was agreed at the meeting that it does not make sense to call one another brother and sister anymore..."

"2: Likewise, look at all the different letters you have written and published, spreading propaganda all over the world, labeling the West as unchristian...

"3. Your Brotherhood meeting of November 8, also expressed... professional ridicule, mockery and criticisms through which the whole brotherhood is being poisoned...

"...6: Then also the many untruthful letters from brothers like your sons-in-law and many others, with no sign of respect but well-written for slander, based on rumor and gossip.

"7. The spirit of the Oakwood case reveals itself clearly in the end results, revealing the power for money and property hoarding, even worse than it was in the Forest River case. The same still stands in holding the claim of the one-million-dollar note that belongs to the Oakwood Colony, now named Haven Colony. These is no sign of the spirit of God but only technicality and carnal legalism.

"8. The same spirit revealed itself in the Palmgrove case, making total mockery of the commission of Jesus who commanded his followers to go out and preach the Gospel, but instead the effort was to engage courts of law to confiscate property.

"...10: The spirit of dishonest, deception and greed for money is clear by withholding and claiming fraudulently the money you owe to Crystal Spring. The Scripture quotes the wicked borrow money and will not pay it back. Look also at the deceitfulness of the way you dealt with Elm River, ruining families and community. And now much worse, the criminal offense and swindle of using Jake Vetter's or Crystal Spring's telephone calling card number since 1994 and 1995.

"...Whomever does not feel the darkness and abominable sins in all such points must have reached the point of no return. Scripture quotes upon such closed hearts, full of pride and deceit, are useless.

"Since with these actions you have stated your separation and excluded yourself from the Hutterian Church, it was decided at the meeting that we do not want to associate with you in any way or form, until you being to clear up these matters. With great pain and cry of the spirit we reach out to you all,

"Signed, Jacob Kleinsasser, Elder; Michael Wollman, S. Waldner, Michael Waldner.

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A letter in response was mailed December 11, 1995, signed by roughly 110 former Western colony members (now Bruderhof members). Some excerpts:

"We know that you have no concept of this kind of unity, and we also did not have until we faced our own past and our sins and repented from them and still go on repenting every day...

"We also know that the KIT letter and the people connected with it are your main source of information used against us in the East. The lies and twisted facts that many of you gossip and write about are nearly identical to what they publish... We believe you know what KIT is and represents as well as we do.

Signed by all from the West living in the East"

ITEM: Elder Christoph Arnold and his wife Verena have a new career as marriage counselors on the Internet's World Wide Web! The Bruderhof's home page invites anyone who has problems in their marriage or is "losing touch with your teens" to e-mail Christoph and Verena for advice. Claiming "many years of experience helping brothers, sisters, and children to find -- and keep -- Jesus in the center of their relationships," readers are invited to share their question, need or concern.
Name Withheld, 1/22/96: Late afternoon or early evening of January 19, 1996, I received a phone call from a well-informed friend about the death of the grandmother of another friend. I was tremendously upset because the grandchildren were not informed until after the death and burial of their grandmother.

After the initial shock had passed, I realized it was because they were Hutterians and ex-Children of the Bruderhof. In my opinion, this is sad excuse for such a horrendous act of ignorance and hypocrisy from people to claim to be Christians and family oriented. This is neither Christian-like nor a caring family, particularly when the son of the deceased, Jacob Gneiting, had spoken to a family member the night before the note arrived to inform them of their beloved Oma's death and burial. This is unconscionable!

I do have to state further that this seems to be a normal act of cruelty by these people because, just mentioning it in passing. I heard a lot of other horror stories that seemed unreal. It is not something I could conceive of doing to my worst enemy.

It is surprising how many talk and ask questions about the Hutterians even in small town and larger cities. I have to wonder how they can do what they are doing and still sleep at night. In my estimation, these are the kind of Christians that give Satan a good name and make him so inviting to so many of our young people. It never ceases to amaze me what people will do in the name of Christianity, when in fact it is Satanism.

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Name Withheld, 1/7/96: I have copied out the following letters from my children exactly as they are. The unbelievable pain! The attitude of those who put themselves in authority in the community is truly evil. Yes, we are very hurt. Another of my children cried inconsolably. His tears are written on my heart -- not on paper. I believe if members of the Bruderhof were faced with this evil, they would throw it straight back at us saying that we caused it as, in Mummy's words, "You have cut yourself off from me, you mother, and from your dad by aligning yourselves with KIT!" !!! Who has done the 'cutting off'? Having seen the TV broadcast 'Chronicle,' there are many comments I could make in connection with our children.

I'll pick up on one of Christoph Arnold's remarks: "Deep down they love the Community, but they don't want to take the commitment on themselves."

Deep down we do not love the Community, but we do love the people, the individuals living there. Yes, he is right. We love the people if that's what he meant, and yes, he's right again -- we do not want to take on the kind of commitment that is being expressed in the Community life. We want to be committed to working in the way that we are called to do now, as individuals.

I hope Christoph does not feel too sorry for us, thinking that we 'have lost the way.' On the contrary, the path opens up more brightly, clearly and beautifully as we try to follow our true hearts and callings, and this in spite of the pains so often inflicted on different folks by what I can only see as the fanatical, pharisaic, arrogant attitude of some other folk. Lots of love to you all,

Does Grandma love me any more?

How do I answer my children's question? What can I say to them? Their Grandma, my mother, visited them some time ago, and they got to know her a little and love her dearly. After the visit, they exchanged letters and little presents. I told the children we would try to arrange to visit Grandma at Christmas, but if not, they could phone her. Then the letter arrived. My mother did not want any more contact with my family! You can guess why. My mother wants to dictate to me who my friends may be, what I may read, etc. -- i.e., impose Ausschluss' conditions on me and my family. I cannot allow that. I accept my mother's choice of life, surely she could accept mine. Does she have the right to inflict such pain on my children? What have they ever done to her except love her? The depth of this hurt and cruelty is expressed better by the children themselves than by anything I can say. When I told them that Grandma did not want us to phone her, they decided to write to her. Here are their letters:

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"Dear Grandma:

"Knowing how hurt my Mummy was when you wrote that letter, she cried all night for the sake of her Mummy. I really hope my Mummy does not do such a thing to me when I grow up. Did you ever cry all night for the sake of your Mummy? But I will warn you, if you go Itty-Bitty about this letter and rip it up, you don't seem to love God and Jesus well enough. I know it is not either your fault or Uncle _____'s. But I know whose fault it is and I don't care how rude or insulting I am being, but it is somebody else's fault for leading you into this, and one thing I forgot to tell you, the most important thing of all, even the whole of your family reads KIT, even Uncle _____ [living in the community]. And I love God very very much, and that my Mummy and Daddy want to lead you in the good,. But somebody else doesn't seem to. Lots of hope, _____ xxx"

"Dear Grandma:

"Our family decided to phone you for Christmas a little while ago. Now that it is getting near Advent, I asked my mummy if we could phone you and she said 'No.' When I asked why, she said because you wrote and told her not to communicate with you. Now I ask you, would you rather be loyal to your family or to that kind of people like a few I could mention but will not. I just hope my mummy will not do such a thing to me, even if I do wrong. Please do not believe all the things people tell you about Mummy and Daddy, because they are not true. You do not know the number of times we children have cried because we cannot visit you. The memory of you is very faint in our minds. If you didn't know already, my mummy and daddy love and serve God and Jesus, and we all love God very very much and we also love you. from _____ , xxxxxx"

The worst part for me, I think, is that this attitude has now implanted a doubt in the children's mind about my loyalty to them. If my mother can do this to me, could I, their mother, do it to them? How do I reassure them? Does my mother have any idea of the damage she is doing?

I am sure there must be others of you out there who have suffered similar pain with your children's relationships with grandparents still on the Bruderhof. Please share them via KIT. How have you answered your children's questions? How have you dealt with this situation? Even if no one has a solution, it would help just to know that we are not alone.

For obvious reasons, I feel that I cannot identify myself on this occasion. You know, this whole situation reminds me of a story from my childhood about a little girl with a red-hooded cloak who wanted take her grandma something special, but when she arrive at Grandma's house, a wolf had gotten Grandma. Unfortunately our story does not have a happy ending. My children's dad is unable to 'rescue' Grandma, however hard he tries.

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Andrew Bazeley, 1/21/96: I, Andrew R. Bazeley, of sound mind and body, do hereby report the following! On the 17th of January, 1996, I walked on to the New Meadow Run Bruderhof in an attempt to speak with Jakob Gneiting about our previous dialog and promised materials in regards to my personal files and memoirs of my mother's passing. I proceeded to walk straight to the main house where I remembered the servants' offices to be. I walked right into my Uncle Paul and David Mercer, with whose family Mother and I lived for years. They cottoned onto me like glue and followed me incessantly, in, out, up, down, for what seemed like hours.
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I looked, but failed to locate Jakob, and caused a great stir. It turned out later that Jakob was in Deer Spring at the burial of his mother. Finally we evolved into quite a large crowd of concerned brothers (me too) outside the dining room. Steve O. Wiser became the head coordinator and told me I had five minutes to vacate the property before they had me arrested. I waited the 4 minutes and in the last minute dashed for the highway fence. I cleared the first one, ducked under the second and was in the 'no zone.' One could tell how much they wanted to arrest me because they tried to block me bodily without any success.

Name Withheld, 1/30/96: There have been several reports in the KIT newsletter recently concerning physical and sexual abuse of minor children within the Bruderhof. One assumes, of course, that such abuse is considered by the leadership to be "sinful behaviour" when describing the activities of the abuser and is dealt with as such. It would be hoped that such offenses would be reported to the civil authorities as well -- as required by law.

However, it also appears that the victims of such abuse are considered to be as guilty as the perpetrators -- with responsibility for "provoking" the attack in the first place. This blaming of the victim is absolutely outrageous. And the abuse is NEVER reported.

How can these victims be protected? The fact is that physical or sexual abuse is a crime. Under the laws of the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, it appears that representatives of any institution (such as a church or medical care facility) who become aware of alleged physical or sexual abuse have specific responsibility under criminal law to report each occurrence to the appropriate civil authority for investigation. Failure to do so is a crime.

In addition, it would be a particularly egregious offense if the church leadership moved an abuser out of the jurisdiction in which a criminal act occurred in an effort to avoid embarrassment to the Bruderhof.

In summary, failure to report alleged abuse to the civil authority subjects the leadership of the Bruderhof to BOTH criminal and civil liability. Children living within the confines of the Bruderhof Communities are surely entitled to the same protections afforded other young people -- and their abusers are subject to the same penalties.

It is time the Bruderhof recognizes its collective responsibility to these young victims and the often difficult rehabilitation of the offender -- by reporting ALL alleged offenses to secular authority in a timely manner.

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Lou Scheggia, our roving reporter in Wharton Township, Pennsylvania, has been looking into other lawsuits as well as wondering how the Bruderhof can litigate the word "Bruderhof" when, at the same time, the Hutterian Church keeps telling them to cease and desist calling themselves 'Hutterites!'
Dave Ostrom, 1/25/96: It is time that a few points be clarified regarding the EuroKIT perception of the "...whole American way of jumping into lawsuits...". With respect to legal action and the Bruderhof/SOB, it is a matter of public record that the whole "legal scene" began with a threatened lawsuit by Heini Arnold, a German, against Marvin Crites in California in 1952 for the $3000 that the Maas family, who had joined the Bruderhof, had invested in the Greedly community.

There are probably earlier cases not known at this time. Heini and Company 'did in' Forest River, Macedonia, and who-knows-how-many other 'communities' with legal ploys or the threat of litigation. Most recently, if one follows the contributions in KIT, the present ruling Arnold regime attempted to raze the Hutterian Church through legal maneuvering, including the fiascoes of Palmgrove and Michaelshof.

On a personal level, there are many cases, at least six that are personally known about, where the Arnolds and 'hit crew' have threatened, intimidated and terrorized individuals with legal action and harassment. The Bruderhof has, for the entire time I have known of it, utilized legal action as a means of coercing its will on others. It is only with the advent of KIT that these actions have been exposed. Americans DID NOT start the legal war. The SOB did and KIT exposed it!

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Jon Greenwood, 12/20/95: Time again for our annual Christmas letter. The children have all been well this year. No broken bones or hip problems to report. Clara's 15 years old and a freshman. She surpassed Linda in height this summer. She is still involved in 4-H and again competed at the Fair in public speaking. She cooks most of the evening meals. She loves cats, and most small mammals, and enjoys reading.

Ben is 13 years old and in 7th grade. He's no longer restricted because of his hip surgery last year. He drove the tractor this summer for chopping haylage. He was Linda's partner in the sweet corn business.

Ted is 11 and in 5th grade. He played peewee baseball and soccer. Our good friend Etta took him to the games. He likes Nintendo and the 4-wheeler. Ted does very well in school, especially in math.

Linda still milks every morning. She continues to manage the cows and take care of the calves. She is also active in her writers' group. At the elementary school, she continues to work with 'ag' in the classroom. A big project planned in the spring is planting 1/2 acres of pumpkins with the 2nd graders. The land is school property. She enjoys selling sweet corn, and planted 4-1/2 acres of sweet corn this year.

Things never stay the same on the farm. Cow numbers went from 200 to 275. A 4,000-gallon bulk tank was added. With the two tanks, we have the milk picked up every other day.

Jon continues to fight the federal government over a "wetland" violation on rented land. He is busy with other activities besides the farm, and continues to serve as a county legislator, which takes quite a bit of time. He also finished his first year as vice president of farm bureau, which caused him to be away over 70 days this year. He also served as chairman of the American Farm Bureau dairy committee. All this allowed him to do more traveling, which he enjoys. He was in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, San Diego, and all across New York.

The whole family took a trip to Washington D.C. the last week of June and visited most of the sights. Jon's parents and his sister Mary came up for a weekend this summer. Jon's brother Glen and his family visited several times during the year. We put Glen to work repairing the equipment. Linda's parents also visited several times this year. Our family wishes your family the best in 1996,

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Andy Harries, 1/10/95: I started writing this last November. I find KIT really good, again in the November issue there were lots of good articles and people's stories. Everybody who writes contributes something new and special, which only they can. I am grateful for every contribution. Not that I agree with all. Nobody can agree with everybody's views and never will, but each view and angle of looking will hit a chord with somebody else.

That is of course where we have a problem with the Bruderhof life. There everybody is expected to think the same and to believe the same. This is of course not possible. So ways have to be found of persuading, coercing, forcing, etc. everybody to think, act, believe, behave, dress and so on, the same. If somebody thinks differently, they are in the 'wrong spirit' and must be brought into line. We cannot have somebody challenging the leadership. That threatens the leadership's power. That is not permissible. That could lead to the eventual collapse of the whole thing. I think that is where the very strong dislike and also hatred of KIT comes in. We are all saying what we think. That is a big threat. If they allow or accept some criticism, then the leadership will lose some power and authority -- and where might it all end? Put yourself in their shoes. This is of course my own view, not KIT's. KIT does not have a view or a belief or a way of life. We are all different individuals with different beliefs, and we all live quite different lives. I think it is very important for all of us to remember this, and also for any on the Bruderhof who may read the KIT newsletter or who have contact with ex-Bruderhofers who receive KIT. We are representing ourselves and our beliefs, not those of other contributors. Belonging to KIT does not make us members of a society which has a certain way of life or which holds certain beliefs. What I am writing here now is all mine. Nobody is telling me what to write, and nobody is censoring or controlling or having to allow me to write this. To those on the Bruderhof who read KIT I say, "Why do you read it?" If it is so evil as you say, then you are going to become contaminated by that evil.

Going onto another subject, a subject which has come up a few times lately, sex and love. Oh dear, I have said the dreaded word. I thought the letter from 'Name Withheld' p. 8 in the November '95 KIT was a good contribution. I was asked by someone some time ago to write about this subject and I did not feel it was the right time, but now it has come into the open. As far as I could tell, all those people who have written so far in connection with this subject seemed to have joined the Bruderhof later in life and weren't born there. I think this says something. Those people had a previous outside life with different normal values, not so inhibited. For us who were born there, it was such a no-no subject. A "mustn't talk, think, certainly not do" subject. After all, it is a known fact that the first five years of life are the most impressionable. That's when we learn most of our values. So if we come out as adults, it is very hard to change those values and fit in with the rest of society.

This is a subject that I have always felt is treated wrongly on the Bruderhof. Sex and love and romance belong together, so why should we deny it? Why deny something which is there, which we all do and want? Why not have pleasure in something so beautiful? We can have pleasure in hobbies, in sports, social occasions, cycling, walking in the country or whatever. But not in sex and love! Why not? Because somebody has told us not to? Well I don't go along with that, and I am talking of course in a marriage situation. I believe it is an important part of marriage. If we can improve our love life and our relationship with our partner; it will improve our whole relationship and our quality of life. Surely that's something good and positive. This isn't always easy. Two people get joined together who have quite different backgrounds and values.

The writer of the anonymous letter brought up two of the sort of problems one can have in a relationship which can cause friction. There are obviously many more. I don't think that going to somebody like a servant on the Bruderhof is very helpful, He is not a trained councillor, and a lot of his advice will be based on his interpretation of Bible sayings or on his own experiences of life. Maybe the master plan behind getting people to work long hours and attend long meetings and have lots of children is that then they have neither time nor energy to think about enjoyment and romance in their love lives.

We can work on any problem or difficulty if we want to. There are many good, helpful books around, for example. The important thing to understand is that we can have pleasures together. There is no law which forbids what we do in the privacy of our own home, if it is something we are both happy with. It is not only a problem for ex-Bruderhofers to feel free about this subject, it is a common problem, but we do often have special problems because of our strictly controlled upbringing. What I have written here are my beliefs, so I hope any people who think differently will not feel it necessary to criticise because they disagree. We all have our own beliefs, but, of course, positive feedback would be valuable. As the song says "Die Gedanken sind frei," "My thoughts are free." Greetings,

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Ben Cavanna & Ramón Sender, 2/3/96: Meetings continue between the COB attorney and the Bruderhof's, with positive signs that both sides are in agreement on certain basic issues. There also has been an initial meeting with a magistrate judge. Since he will not be the trial judge, he has been acting more informally as a mediator. Each attorney will consult with his clients for the next few weeks. Please bear in mind that because COB is not yet a fully formed membership organisation, any action individuals undertake with regard to the Bruderhof might be construed as being a COB action and make negotiations more difficult. Thank you for your help in easing the negotiations, which we hope will lead to improved relations with the Bruderhof.

Konrad Klüver, 1/7/96: A prosperous and a Happy New Year to all the KIT staff! Since the return from my trip to Paraguay, some months have passed and I still have not thanked you for the copy of Nadine Moonje Pleil's book. It surely has helped me already on various occasions when consulted on The Bruderhof Way of Life. Thank you ever so much!!

I too would like to extend my personal thanks to all of the KIT staff for their time and efforts sunk into this project which surely helped and continues to help hundreds, if not thousands, of people confronted and exposed to similar or related experiences.

Dr. H. Braun, I don't understand what you're driving at with your diatribes, but your inconsistencies remind me very much of the dialectics of Bruderhof leadership. So much to that. Sincerely,

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Kingston Daily Freeman - 1/29/96 "Hutterians Take Towns of Esopus, Hunter to Court" by Maria Harding, Correspondent Ulster Park -- The Hutterian community has taken the towns of Esopus and Hunter to court because applications for increases in their tax-exempt status were denied. The case is now in State Supreme Court.

While both the Esopus and Hunter town supervisors have expressed concern about the loss of revenue in their communities, spokesmen for the Hutterian community say they are not seeking full tax-exempt status and will continue to pay taxes on their manufacturing businesses. They say that they continue to be good neighbors and only want what is fair.

Christian Domer of the Woodcrest Bruderhof said the community has had a "casual" arrangement with the town of Esopus regarding their tax status, with certain parts of their bruderhofs, such as their schools and churches, not being taxed. Domer said that the group requested an increase in their tax-exempt status for other properties that are used for religious purposes, but were denied any change. Previously, he said, the town of Esopus had worked things out between the two groups on the town level.

"We are not at loggerheads with these towns," Domer said. The Hutterians think the decision not to increase their tax-exempt status was a "politic one. It was election year," Domer said of the application which was made during July, 1995. Domer said that the community's only recourse was to take the application to court. "We are interested in knowing what we should have been paying in taxes all along," he said. "Our organization is very unique. We don't fit in the pigeon holes that local government and national government set. We are not just a church only, not a monastery only, a school or a playground only... but we have all of these," he said.

The Hutterians have two bruderhofs in the town of Esopus, one in Rifton and the other in Ulster Park. According to Esopus town assessor Dan Terpening, the properties total 590 acres in all. Domer said he believes the communities currently receive about a 20 percent exemption. The community paid $260,000 in school, county and town taxes in 1996, according to Brother Bill Wiser. Terpening said about $82,000 was in school and county taxes.

Espous Town Supervisor Ray Rice was hesitant to discuss the case because of legal concerns. But he said that he finds it "disturbing."

"There's not a lot the town can do," he added.

Hunter Town Supervisor Anthony Bucca estimated that the Elka Park Bruderhof in his town paid about $45,000 in taxes in 1995 for their 462-acre property. Bucca said he and former Esopus town supervisor Steve Sickler met together after both towns denied the applications for increased tax exemption. "We decided the legal issues were virtually the same," Bucca said, and the towns hired Pough­keepsie attorney David Hagstrom to represent them.

Bucca said the Hutterian request was denied because "their properties are not exclusively used for religious purposes." He said he is less concerned about the impact to the town than the impact to the school district. While the Hutterian community doesn't cost the town anything extra in terms of increased services, such as police and highway, there could be a loss in income for the Tannersville High School since the Hutterians send their high school aged youths to public school.

Phyllis McBride, director of the Ulster County Real Property Office, said that the law is very clear regarding tax-exempt status and that it upholds the right of religious groups to be tax free. She pointed to the fact that when the town of Red Hook tried to tax the Unification Church, "the case went all the way to the Supreme Court," which granted the group tax-exempt status."

Richard M. Zuckerman, the New York City attorney representing the Hutterians, said that no court date has been set yet. "The Hutterians have been and continue to be good neighbors," Zuckerman said. "This is something they value greatly, their relationship with the community." He added that they are taking the case to court "because they would like to be accorded the same right other groups such as theirs are."

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How Times Have Changed

by Leonard Pavitt

In a members' meeting on the Rhön Bruderhof, Oct. 25, 1931, after two members coming home from the local bank had been robbed at gunpoint of the week's wages for the Bruderhof-employed carpenters and workmen, Eberhard Arnold talks about how the Bruderhof should react to such incidents and is quoted as saying (God's Revolution, p. 175):

"One extreme would have been to use force, which would have happened if the brothers had defended themselves with a stick, or if afterwards we had called the police [our italics -ed] or the civil authorities and given power into their hands." Finally Eberhard says, "We have to raise a strong protest against this armed robbery. The Church of God is bound to protest publicly against any injustice. This incident must serve as an example by which to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom and witness to the justice of the Church, to brotherliness, to the love of enemies [our italics - ed].

63 years later Mike Boller goes rollerblading on a bruderhof, unarmed, and they call the police!

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Alfred L. DeLeo, 1/20/96:

An Open Letter to COB Members and Friends/Readers:

Apparently I stirred up a lot of painful memories by coming forward! I see the pain in many of your heartfelt letters. I had no idea as to how I affected others in this "Oiler" story.

Many of you are looking for answers which I may not be equipped to answer. Here are the problems with which I am faced:

1) I was not aware of Don Gibb's 'exposé' until one of you brought it to my attention.

2) I was not aware of Barney Martin's demise until one of you brought it to my attention.

3) Don Gibb never interviewed me or anyone else on my side, nor did the FBI or local District Attorney offices.

4) Several of you wrote me telling me Don Gibb's 'exposé' is missing pieces to the story, amongst other problems.

To clear up matters, as well as to give you a better understanding of what role I played and the dates in which I was involved with Crystal Spring, Rosedale and Millbrook, here it is in a nutshell:

I was involved with these colonies from July, 1982, until I was terminated unofficially in January, 1984, and officially in May, 1984. Except for giving copies of my paperwork to Crystal Springs and Rosedale, and matters pertaining to a real estate situation in upstate New York, I was banished from participating in any Hutterite business dealings as of January, 1984, as per Michael Waldner of Rosedale, and Jacob and Joseph Kleinsasser of Crystal Spring. Any time period after January 19, 1984, I am not aware of nor can I address matters that occurred after that date.

As for matters that occurred between the period of July, 1982, until January 19, 1984, I can assure you of this: Michael Waldner and the Kleinsassers were aware of everything I did. And I did not proceed on any matter without their knowledge and approval. Michael Waldner testified to these facts at my trial in 1984. In addition, he also testified that I made him fully aware of prior contact with the legal system prior to assisting the colonies. I did not hide my background -- I never did. He even testified that Rosedale and Millbrook owed me a substantial amount of money for a loan made to them by me, as well as for services rendered -- which to this day still remains unpaid.

The only thoughts I have at this time is that Don Gibb's exposé should be considered suspect as to the part I played in this tragedy, at least until I have the opportunity to read it. Once I read it, I will separate fact from fiction, and try to fill in the missing pieces where it concerns me. In the meantime, I would like to hear from anyone with copies of Don Gibb's exposé, documentation, or other papers or writings concerning the Oilers' story.

Please send these copies for my review. I also would like to know the names of people (Hutterites, ex-Hutterites and outsiders) and the part they played in all this. I will let you know if I knew them or had any dealings with them.

After I review the information and the exposé, I will be more prepared to address your concerns/questions. Please keep writing me with your questions and additional information.

I hope this is of some help to you. Thank you for your openness and interest. Patiently awaiting your letters. In Jesus, your brother,

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Barnabas Johnson, Dateline Kazakstan, 12/27/95: We got about a foot of new snow during the past 24 hours, and now it is snowing again. Quite lovely. This snow, black and compressed under all the other layers, will last until April. They don't use salt around here, and "black ice" becomes very treacherous on the sidewalks, in the bazaar, at the baraholka, etc. One learns to be careful.

Driving is always an adventure in Almaty, but in winter it is ... well, different. I have a 4WD Niva, the perfect vehicle for these parts. Many people here subsidize the cost of their cars by picking up passengers, so you have to watch out -- ever alert, never relaxed -- as the car ahead might suddenly pull over (somewhat) and stop, to pick up or discharge passengers. Often cars just stop in the middle of the street. Lanes mean nothing. There is no etiquette, really. Everybody for himself. A game of chicken, played mostly by men. Women seldom get behind the wheel. The only invariable rule is that one should never drive over a manhole cover, as they tend to collapse. So cars swerve about rather crazily, especially at night when it is hard to distinguish what lies ahead. The greatest danger is open manholes. You weave along, trying to distinguish mere rough roads and minor potholes from true killers -- open manholes! -- right there in the main streets! Side streets are even more fun. Its wild! I love it. One dark night last year, in a town near China, I was easing my way along a particularly rough side street when my left front started disappearing into a ... chasm. I stood on the break pedal, engaged my four-wheel-drive and low ratio, and eased back out. "Lowry, this is why I wanted a Niva," I chuckled. Then, with the help of my trusty flashlight, I planned how to turn around and get back to the main road.

I love my Niva. In the summer I go far into the mountains on the roughest of roads -- high up, above the world. One road wound up above a major observatory to near the summer snow level! In first gear, low ratio, all four wheels churning, my Niva is awesome! I have driven tractors that would have had trouble negotiating some of the roads my Niva has conquered. Actually, I seldom use first gear, except to get through rough places where one has to go verrry slowly. Up the mountain, I use second gear mostly. On the way down, I use second also -- and almost never have to touch the brakes. I love my Niva.

It is old, a 1986. I wanted a car that I could leave anywhere without fear of it getting stolen. Most foreigners have slick Japanese or Korean cars, with the driver always sitting there to keep the car -- or parts of it -- from getting stolen. But I wanted to be able to drive myself anywhere, and leave the car anywhere, so I got an old Niva. Old but nice. Low mileage (kilometerage). The previous owner had bought it new, I was told: Kolkhoz (Collective Farm) Party Secretary, a little old lady who used it only once a week to go to her Communist Party meeting. No lie, that's what the seller said!

I told my mechanic, who helped me choose and buy my Niva at the baraholka (a huge bazaar outside town, where cars, horses, sheep, etc., are sold), to rebuild or replace almost everything that could cause problems, except the motor (which he merely retuned, adjusting the valves, etc.): new brake shoes and cylinders, new clutch, new battery, new belts, etc. To get car parts, you go to the baraholka and walk down "alleys" with stuff displayed on the hoods of cars; nothing is labeled; if you want a left-threaded framustan for your right-side katchopol, you walk around -- acres! -- until you see a good one at the right price. Of course Niva parts are fairly easy to find. That's another reason I bought my Niva. Folks who buy foreign cars ... well, I don't think it makes much sense! But lots of flashy foreign cars are racing around the streets of Almaty these days; Mercedes are especially popular among the kleptocracy crowd, whose leader, the President, is now the 19th wealthiest man in the world, according to Forbes Magazine; their drivers are the craziest of all, which is why the availability of "almost new" foreign car parts improves steadily.

Although no thief would have reason to know, my Niva runs almost like new. I would drive it to Vladivostok. It uses 76 octane petrol, and might do OK on vodka for all I know. I use cheap vodka in winter for the windshield washers, as the "proper stuff" comes from Germany and costs more than most expensive vodkas. Of course, one has to carry fuel canisters in the trunk, or on the roof, for long trips, as one can never be sure where one might find more -- and clean -- gasoline. Getting clean fuel is very important. Plockha benzine is the cause of half the breakdowns one sees along the road, I'm told. Actually, I seldom buy any fuel myself; my mechanic has a good and trusted source; it is well worth the premium I pay to get clean and reliable fuel. For me, the reliability of my Niva is of the essence. I do not want a breakdown far up in the mountains, or miles away across the steppes, or on the way to Bishkek or Tashkent or Dushanbe. This is not Kansas.

Cops stop cars at random, plus at "checkpoints" leaving or entering Almaty and other cities. This is still the USSR, basically. I shake hands, tell them I don't understand Russian (my only perfectly-rendered phrase), show them my documents, nyet problyemi! Sometimes I think the cop is trying to tell me I did something wrong, and I might even hear the word "dollar" among a parade of familiar but incomprehensible words, but since I don't understand Russian ... well ... so far, so good. I often have Lowry or other Russian speakers riding in the car with me, but standing instructions are that I will face the cops alone. I have it down to a science. Ya droogie Kazakstanskii!

Of course, I don't own my Niva. I merely have the papers that say I have permission to drive it, and to transfer this permission -- along with the car -- to somebody else. I'm not sure anyone owns my Niva. This, after all, is the Soviet Union. There is no property law here -- no credit, no mortgage, no banking system, no ... no nothing. So, what else is new? There is no real constitution, no real parliament, no real elections, no real law. Not even the facades of this Potemkin Village are worth writing about. What is worth writing about, instead, is the few people of integrity who -- with precious little help from the West, but precious nonetheless -- are trying to improve matters. They risk their lives, go on hunger strikes, stand up against tyranny and absurdity.

I highly recommend Li Zhisui's book, The Private Life of Chairman Mao. It is especially illuminating on the linkages between "the institution of private property" -- and of a society in which people are not beholden to the Party or the Government or the Beloved Servant for their livelihoods -- and freedom, including freedom of conscience. Put differently, it is especially illuminating on how and why people lose their capacity to stand up and say, "This is crazy, this is wrong, and I will not go along." Humans differ from animals in many significant ways, all of them linked, but perhaps the most significant can be glimpsed by pondering the fact that animals seem incapable of going on hunger strikes. Animals can have a desire, said Hegel, but only humans can have a desire for a desire: the desire that another recognize one's dignity, humanity, fundamental worth, unconquerability. Now my Niva and I must get out into the new snow and play "dodge 'em" with the late-night kleptocracy krowd while I ponder yet again why dictatorships thrive best where "property rights" are least secure.

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Hilarion Braun to Stan Ehrlich, Woodcrest Bruderhof, 12/10/95: These are clearly serious times, and I wanted to make one more attempt at reaching one of you before year-end. As you know, and must have given your consent to, the organization to which you belong has filed suit against COB, Children of (or off) the Bruderhof, and various others. The one biblical teaching I remember so clearly from my days of the life of my parents and my own on the Bruderhof was that Christians should not file suit against their 'enemy.' In fact, you are commanded to love your enemies.

What has happened to that belief??? Has your corporate power blinded you to ignore biblical warnings? Is the new Bruderhof the opposite of the old?

To all of these questions we have not been able to get answers. So far, you have admitted your suit only to our lawyer and to the court, but have denied it in all private communications! Why the suit and why the denial? If you have changed your ways, why not publish your activities in The Plough?

As it turns out, you did not even attempt to settle your dispute over the name COB with us out of court, nor is the suit truthful. All of this is again launched against the victims of the Primavera destruction whose financial means, compared to yours, are at beast pathetic. A few thousand dollars spent by you on a frivolous suit will not affect you financially, but brings hardship to those who have to defend themselves against charges that are false and who have not yet recovered from the brutal expulsion from the Bruderhof, who does not provide a pension to those it has disinherited. Even capitalists pension folks who have left their jobs!

As you well know, no one in KIT wishes the Bruderhof any harm, Most of us believe in a very different morality and ethic -- one that relies on a sensitive and live conscience. We, or at least many of us, believe in being personally responsible for our actions and are still very much influenced by our past.

Like a fool, I tried to believe that the B'hof was really trying to follow the teachings of Christ, not one of which defends your present life style. Not one single teaching of Christ can be used to prop up your suit against us with all its false and pompous statements.

Now I know the profound hypocrisy of your organization through the stern hand of the law, and the greed of your goons. What I, and others, are hoping is that one or two of you will stand up against this psychosis and turn away from the evil you began in Primavera and are now spreading beyond the boundary of the Bruderhof.

Nothing good will come of this, and I will defend our rights with all I have and with all the misgivings I have about settling affairs in court. How crushed my parents would have been to have witnessed this! You have left no doubt in the public eye what you as an organization, as a corporation, represent. Is this what you, as a person in Stan Ehrlich, represent? Do I dare hope it is not so?? It is the season of hope! Agnus Dei, Qui Tolis Peccata Mundi!

KIT: Hilarion's letter to Stan was answered by Christian Domer, who stated that Hilarion's absence from the communities "has proved disastrous in your efforts to maintain a significant insight into... the spiritual basis of our life together..." He went on tell Hilarion that he should be aware that his "understanding of the Bruderhof... is, at very best, misinformed and, at worst, disastrously destructive."
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Hilarion to Christian Domer: Your arrogant answer to my letter to Stan Ehrlich is very much in keeping with the many utterances of yours I have heard elsewhere, and makes me sad. How is it that you must answer for Stan? My letter touched on matters of public record. The suit you filed against COB and the arrest of Mike Boller are not Christian, as you claim, but rather barbaric and stupid. When I was on the Bruderhof, the courts and police force were considered "unchristian."

The fact that you now make use of the police force to arrest and harass those whom you dislike, and file suit against those who are trying to help those whom you have terrorized, shows unambiguously what your life has turned into. One need not read your propaganda in The Plough and your other publications which filter out your barbarism and contempt for those who know you all too well, to know what you represent.

If all the members of the Bruderhof know about your police usage and the lawsuit, and believe this to be Christian, then you are surely a non-Bruderhof. However, I know some of you and know that this is unlikely. For example, I can't believe that Stan Ehrlich believes that your lawsuit and your arrest of Mike Boller are Christian acts. I also believe that had he answered my letter, he would have either admitted this or avoided the issue rather than lie to me.

You last paragraph seems to be in error. I assume you meant to use "dissuade" rather than "persuade." In either case, you are wrong. I have long given up teaching anyone "how to live." All I hope to do is persuade my fellow man to think and to listen to his own conscience, no matter what his claimed lifestyle is. I have also learned that those who claim much about the virtues of their lifestyle or Weltanschauung usually lack virtue. Those who in their day-to-day activities represent love are the light in our otherwise rather gloomy moment.

May you be silenced for a while so that other brothers and sisters can speak their minds and be heard. You are not threatened by the likes of me and my friends, for I wish none harm, think none harm, and have no agenda. May you listen to the music of love and forgiveness, and may you finally be able to laugh at yourself and be free.

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Confession of an Agnostic

by Hilarion Braun

Throughout my years on the Bruderhof, I had a terrible time "believing" or having faith as I thought others did. This inability to believe in a biblical God and his son Jesus made me try very hard to "learn to believe." I looked for ways to minimize my doubts and to flesh out a biblical God rather than the cosmic love that seemed more real to me.

As a doubter, I was far more fanatic, I think, than those who believed. I had to convince myself while arguing the "Christian" or the Bruderhof case. In college, I was taken to task by many who claimed to be atheists, and tried very hard to hide my doubts while trying to convince myself of that which I could not truly believe.

As I read more and more about the origins of the Bible and Christianity (especially the influence of the Babylonians) my doubts no longer bothered me and I stopped defending Bruderhof dogma. I supposed what had been an attempt to believe in a particular manifestation of love ended in a sense of cosmic love and the willingness to say, "I don't know!"

What I believe I have learned from my experience is that someone who truly believes is not a fanatic. However those like me, before I accepted my doubts as valid, are dangerous fanatics who have no faith at all and who fight a constant battle with their doubts. Their intolerance of non-believers comes from their own despair and lack of natural rather than forced conviction.

I view the Bruderhof as a mixture of real believers who have no need to defend their faith and who live a straightforward, devout life, and those who have imposed a faith, or rather a ritualistic, mental prison, on themselves that they cannot honestly live in. These are the ones who cannot stand the give-and-take of KIT and COB folk. To them, only a constant tortured babbling of pietistic dogma gives them any hold on what should be a simple belief. Every challenge becomes a personal crisis in which their own lack of faith must at all costs be concealed.

I have since seen books that have titles such as: The Perfect Answer to Every Attack on Christian Faith. Recently, on a long flight, I watched a young man with such a book on his lap. The passenger next to him proceeded to confuse him to such an extent that he abandoned his book and proceeded to let his other interests have their way. She was a very attractive young lady!

This scene reminded me much of my struggles in high school, where we were expected to ignore all flirtations while having no reason given to us why such asceticism should be imposed.

It seems to me, then, that a true believer on the Bruderhof would never even think of being armed, of calling the police to arrest someone, or of filing a dishonest lawsuit against someone. In fact, the Bruderhof I lived on never filed any lawsuit at all, believing it to be wrong.

However, someone who has imposed a piety on himself without believing in it in a deep and abiding way will come up with any perverted nonsense that momentarily satisfies his confused and tormented spirit.

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Professor Holger Schweigegebot to Professor Gottfried Denckenlos, 1/11/96: Thank you for your letter about your visit to the Klapsmühle. It was extremely interesting to read what you have to write about das Volk, the people who are not in the administration! My visit to the Klapsmühle was rather a sad one as I realized that there were so many of the older people suffering under the Schweigegebot (ban on speaking). The Vorsteher looked rather troubled, because I understand there is a lawsuit hanging over them due to property tax evasion. Furthermore, I heard that the Klapsmühle administration has not paid into Social Security, which could have serious consequences for them.

I have the impression that materialistic matters are put before the spiritual ones. I was rather taken aback to find out that the organization has a large corporate jet, which the Vorsteher is very proud of! How is it possible to go from so-called poverty vows to a Gulfstream jet? I asked the Vorsteher about the different aspects of life in the Klapsmühle. He was reluctant to divulge anything, and seemed to think that as long as he could point me to certain passages in the Bible, everything would be explained. He did show me a © copyright mark behind the title page to prove that even holy scripture can be owned privately and mentioned they had a trademark on the Holy Ghost. However I found nothing in the Bible about corporate jets nor about American 'rights,' nor about the "slice of pie"!

I am profoundly interested in the lifestyle of the Klapsmühle and will keep in touch with you, Herr Professor Denckenlos, since you seem to have some insight into their way of life. Your observations are extremely interesting. I did manage also to talk to one of the brothers who resides in the Klapsmühle. He joined quite some years ago, and in fact told me that he lived with his family in Alzaprima, Paraguay. I was extremely interested to hear what he could tell me about how things have changed. He was full of praises for the present Vorsteher, I think the latter's name is Mr. Welder.

Apparently everybody admires Mr. Welder enormously and hangs on his every word. I have often wondered how things work in such a place as the Klapsmühle. I, as a professor of Sociology, have a certain amount of control over my students, but not to be compared with the control of Mr. Welder over his people. Please keep in touch, Herr Professor, and keep me informed about the court proceedings. Yours most sincerely,

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Professor Denckenlos to Leonard Pavitt, 1/20/96: Yes, I have been able to continue to enjoy the freedom of 'unshepherded' visits to The Klapsmühle Kommunity. No, I don't mind you passing copies of my letters on to your friends as long as you kindly ask them to be discreet when sharing my little bits of news with others. I wouldn't like my freedom to visit to be curtailed in any way.

To your question regarding their mental stability which you, quite understandably, wonder about: the members appear, on the whole, to be in fairly good mental health, considering the strains put on them by the hierarchy, but recently one of the sisters has been showing signs of behavioural disturbance and has been diagnosed as having 'organ disfunction syndrome.' This showed when she suddenly went off with one of their cars for three days and caused considerable consternation in the surrounding countryside by entering a number of churches at night and playing the organ very loudly. There was much local talk of "Unquiet and Unmusical Spirits" being abroad. When The Kommunity was challenged by the local police as to why they had not reported the car as missing, a spokesman said, "It is quite unreasonable to expect us to notice that one of our cars is not there. It is like expecting a poultry farmer to notice that one of his hens is missing."

As one sees from the missing car incident, The Kommunity has, I'm afraid, become rather blasé about its very considerable share of this world's goods. It is very keen on the idea of people "becoming free from the burden of wealth and private property," and nobly takes this burden from the shoulders and backs of new members and anybody else who can be persuaded "to be freed." In this connection, the Klapsmühle Gazette upset The Welder by writing (I translate): "We are reminded of the late Osho Rajneesh who, when asked about his 90 plum Rolls Royces, was quoted as saying, 'One should not only be rich on the inside, but on the outside also'." They go on to speculate how long it might take The Welder to acquire the other 89 executive jets, and then add: "It appears The Kommunity believes that large amounts of capital, property, a jet plane, etc., is only evil if it is 'private.' As soon as you can say that you have 'Community of Goods,' you can make right Communal Hogs of yourselves."

They then quote someone whom I have not been able to trace so far, a certain 7th Century 'St. Hoggett' who, they say, preached "You can't have too much of a good thing." Unfortunately for him, he found out this was not necessarily always true when he martyred himself by overindulging in chocolate Indulgences (of the Papal brand). They wonder, rather pertinently, I thought, whether The Welder might suffer the same fate by overindulging in "The Delights and Baubles of the World." They also quote from the book Cults by Shirley Harrison, p. 148, that Rajneesh "had the legend about the door, 'Leave Your Shoes And Your Minds Here.' They add (I translate) "Fortunately The Kommunity is not so autocratic in that, although it demands of its new members that they leave their minds behind when they join, they are allowed to keep their shoes."

I was extremely surprised to hear, from one of the teenagers, that despite their so-called 'common purse,' (which surely should be renamed 'The Common Colossal Coffer' because of all the money that's in it), The Welder, and many of the Savants, have their own bank accounts and, it is said, special credit cards called 'Visatation' with a hologram of the Pope on them. The interest charges that accrue from the use of these cards go into a fund for buying jet planes for needy Welders. It is easier to speak with the Brothers than with the Sisters. The latter appear rather shy and subdued, except for one I met, the wife of a Savant, who seems to have some position of authority. This one is a person, as we say in German, with Haare auf den Zähnen (hair on the teeth), a 'tough customer.' She gives the impression that if she had been born a hen, she would only have laid hard-boiled eggs.

I recently approached a Brother, with whom I had previously chatted, only to be greeted with an embarrassed look as he hurried silently away. On enquiring from one of my teenage contacts about this, I was told that he had been 'Extruded' (put out from normal contact). The unfortunate man had been heard to say, "Oh, good!" when it was announced that The Welder would not be able to give his usual three-hour sermon because of a sore throat. Apparently his plea that he had actually said "Oh, goodness" was not accepted. I suppose that after a certain time spent in 'Extrusion,' he will then be 'Intruded' back again.

In this connection, I was surprised to hear from my contact that, unlike the Catholic Church's custom of taking verbal confessions, The Kommunity insists on the offender writing it down, and this then is placed on a computer disk. So when the repentant member is taken into the circle again, instead of knowing that all has been forgiven and forgotten, he has this computerised Sword of Damocles hanging over him for the rest of his life. I have a very useful book that I think I will lend to my young Kommunity friends called How to Make a Computer Virus in Two Easy Lessons.

The KIT folk ("Kommune for Intergalactic Travel") finished concreting the rocket launch pad last week. To commemorate the occasion they invited a number of friends over, including The Welder and, of course, the local newspaper The Klapsmühle Gazette. They had left the cement on a small part of the pad soft enough to take the boot imprints of some chosen friends. They were asked to stand on the wet cement, say a few words to the assembled Kommunity, then step carefully to one side. Eventually The Welder took his turn, but at the end of his 'few words' some thirty minutes later, he found himself unable to step aside as he had sunk in a little and the cement had hardened. Someone lent him a pair of slippers for the rest of the ceremony, and it was decided to leave his boots there "as a symbol of the close ties between the Klapsmühle Kommunity and the KIT folk."

Relations are not too good between the The Klapsmühle Gazette and The Welder since one of their photographers, whilst taking a photo of him being supported by two Savants when he was "filled with the spirit," was bitten by one of The Welder's dogs, for his pains (as one might put it). So, understandably, the Gazette made much of the cement incident, pointing out that it was with considerable difficulty that The Welder was eventually eased out of his boots. Adding (I translate) "The Welder was clearly too big for them, something we have long suspected." Then, knowing that the Kommunity members spoke mainly English, they finished the article with a little poem in rather unusual English, I quote the last two lines: "The Welder caused a lot of laughter. We think he's getting daughter and daughter." Cordially Yours,

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David and Wendy (Alexander) Dorsey, Xmas 1995: Although we don't get to see many of you regularly, and have not seen some for several years, we extend warm greetings and hope to keep some degree of community by this annual letter.

This has been a year of change. On March 15, we became grandparents with the arrival of Tristen, Reuben and Jeanne's new son born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Reuben is doing an English major at the University of New Mexico, and Jeanne, full-time mom at this point, is planning to go back to school for her Master's in Social Work. They are seriously considering moving back to the D.C. area, which would definitely thrill the grandparents!

After 30 years (for David, less for the rest) with the Church of the Saviour, it became clear this year that as much as we loved the people and the missions of C. of S., it was necessary for us to find a faith community that provided a strong peer group for our three younger children. After a long summer attending a variety of churches, we finally settled on St. Stephen's and the Incarnation, an Episcopal Church in downtown D.C. St. Stephen's has a strong mission in Loaves and Fishes, a meal program, and a sense of commitment to the neighborhood children who come for tutoring after school as well as for church on Sundays -- both important factors in our choosing.

Wendy continues as Director of Kidspace House of Ruth Child and Family Development Center for families who are homeless and at risk. Recently they moved to larger quarters and currently are working hard to get the necessary approvals to open their expanded program. They are looking forward to opening a new component serving infants and toddlers and their families, as well, early next year.

David continues as Director of Finance and Administration for Manna, Inc., building and renovating homes for low-income families in D.C. He enjoys the unique combination of financial management and mission that Manna provides in building some 60 homes per year. To keep fit, David took up running this June. All was well until he recently suffered a short-term foot injury trying to run 10 miles in 90 minutes (a 57-year-old male ego is a terrible thing to behold!)

Viviane turned 12 this summer and entered middle school (6th-8th grades) in the fall. She is clearly a pre-teenager with an increasing interest in science and how things work. She and Eliana are showing their Brazilian blood by becoming top soccer players in a local community league. Eliana (11) continues to enjoy gymnastics and is taking violin lessons again this year. Paulo (also 11) raises guinea pigs, plays soccer and the clarinet, and accompanied Christmas Carols on his African drum in a special church service and as entertainment for the Loaves and Fishes Christmas dinner.

One of the joys and feats of our lives is keeping up with three very active children!

We discover ever more deeply that the message of the Christ Child for us is to be present in some very real way in the lives of the less fortunate. Our prayer is that we may all become increasingly faithful to this calling. Blessing to you and yours,

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KIT: The following transcribed excerpts are from a January 3, 1996, radio call-in show on WTIC, Torrington, CT. Christoph Arnold, Loren and Cynthia Snaveley, and Klaus Meier were answering questions. A few KITfolk took the opportunity to phone in. We thought that Christoph's exceptionally friendly tone with Ramón and others bodes well for possible reconciliation meetings in the future.

ANNOUNCER COLIN McINROE: Right now we have here on mike Christoph Arnold, Loren Snaveley and Klaus Meier. I hope as the day goes on that we can get some of the women who are here to talk as well. Before we go to some of the topics that we're going to get into, we do have one caller who's all ready to go. His name is 'Ken,' he's from Middletown. You have a question for these folks? <

KEN: I just wanted say that my mother and I spent a noon meal with them several years ago and enjoyed it very much. They gave us a tour of their community in Norfolk, and we were very much impressed, and my mother was ninety that spring, still talks about it and we really enjoyed it.

COLIN: Oh, okay. So you don't have a question as much as a comment.

KEN: I haven't seen them in quite a few years. I'd be interested if there are any changes in their toy-making, their playground equipment. We were given a tour of their shop and I know that they are very modern in that regard, yet that they live a very simple life. Having had ancestors in the Shakers, I was very much struck by the fact that their communities have managed to survive all the modern age and seem to be doing whatever it takes to get by in our hyped-up American society. They've done very well doing this.

CHRISTOPH: Thank you for your comments. We have two more things that might interest you apart from our toys and handicapped equipment. We now raise high-quality dogs, German Shepherds and English Golden Retrievers, and that is very, very interesting, the contacts that we get through that. And another thing which we have started last year is the Gulfstream Charter Service. We have a Gulfstream which flies all over the world and is open for charter service, and that also brings very interesting and fascinating contacts.

COLIN: ...Let's talk a little bit about the family. You know, the Bruderhof places a lot of emphasis on the family unit. Who wants to -- you want to begin, Christoph.

CHRISTOPH: You know, Colin, this is a very important question, because every human being has a need of family, a true family, and that is a tragedy of our times, that family life is being broken up and destroyed. There are many, many divorces, it almost doesn't pay to marry because of the laws, and children grow up accordingly. And one of the many reasons for the many youth gangs is that young people do not have a family, and youth gangs provide family for them. And that is one of the main reason why we, in community, stress marriage and family so much, because children, when they are small, need to grow up in a two-parent home where there's faithfulness between one man and one woman until death parts. And because of this I've just written a book, A Plea For Purity: Sex, Marriage and God, which has a foreword by Mother Teresa, and which we hope that it will be published by the summer. And Cardinal O'Connor of New York has also endorsed it, and we know for sure that the Pope himself has a copy of that book and will write something about it some time this year.

. . . .

COLIN: We're going to take a few phone calls here, people who have questions about this. And as I said at the beginning of the show, one of the reasons that I thought it would be good to have the Bruderhof people on today is we've emerged from our most materialistic time of year. We thought it might be interesting to talk to people who in fact very specifically, and very determinedly, very intentionally, do not lead a materialistic lifestyle. So if you have questions, give us a call.... And we're going to start with, I think, is it "Aviole?"

AVIOLE (a young girl): Yes, un-hunh. COLIN: And you have a question or a comment? Oh, your grandmother lives on a bruderhof, right?

AVIOLE: Yeah, New York -- Norfolk.

COLIN: And -- wait a minute, is it New York or Norfolk? Maybe not important. Is there something you want to say about this? AVIOLE: Yeah, like something like they kicked out my mom and her brothers and her mother, and they let her mother -- my grandmother in, and one of my brothers, Bryan, and they had to keep -- they didn't let my sister until my brothers got in 'cause she got a divorce.

COLIN: Ohh, we did talk about that too. So it sounds like maybe you're not going to wind up living on a bruderhof, hunh?

AVIOLE: No, I'm living in Plainville right now.

COLIN: Oh, okay. Well listen, thanks very much for your call, all right?

. . . .

COLIN: Thanks very much. And we're going to go to Kelly from South Windsor. Hi, Kelly.

KELLY: Hi. I had a question about -- to Christoph Arnold, actually -- and he had mentioned something about family values and family being very important to him. And I'm actually married to someone who's from the Bruderhof, who left there when he was a teenager, and we now have a daughter who is eighteen months old, and his parents have made absolutely no initiative to come and visit this daughter of ours. They have no interest in her, or us. And I just thought that was kind of strange.

COLIN: Well, maybe it is. Well any -- ?

CHRISTOPH: Thank you so much for telling us that. Give me a ring in Rifton, New York, and I will certainly go into that matter. By the way, what was your name again?

KELLY: My name is Kelly, and my last name is Zumpe.

CHRISTOPH: Oh, I understand. Okay. Just phone me up and I will go into the matter and see what we can do to correct it.

KELLY: Okay.

. . . .

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COLIN: We're visiting with... Now ordinarily we don't get a lot of calls on this show from San Francisco, but I happen to know who this gentleman is. He's a man who I think has organized a group of people who are somewhat opposed, I think, to the Bruderhof. And he apparently has been alerted to the fact that they're on the show. Do you say it "Ramón," is that how you say it?

RAMON: Yes, that's right. Hi, how are you? Happy New Year!

COLIN: Happy New Year. So you have a question or two for these folks?

RAMON: Yes, I wanted to ask Christoph especially, "Christoph, why are you suing your own children who have left the Bruderhof if you as a group are religiously opposed to going to court?"

CHRISTOPH: You know, Ramón, it's great to hear you. By the way, Happy New Year.

RAMON: Well, same to you!

CHRISTOPH: And I really look forward, you know, to have contact with you. Now the legal counsel advised me not to go into that -- for YOUR protection, and also for ours. I would love to discuss that further with you, Ramón.

RAMON: Well, we have been trying to talk to you directly for over three or four years about outstanding matters that we disagree on, and --

. . . .

COLIN: I should say that, because I'm not interested in blind-siding these people, during the commercial I saw that it was you, I told them it was you, I asked them whether they'd feel comfortable talking to you, and they were quite willing to do it.

RAMON: Well, I'm really grateful! I'm grateful, Christoph, that you're willing. We've been trying to have a dialogue with you for quite a while, and it seems to me that if we could just talk face-to-face, some of these misunderstandings could be cleared up.

CHRISTOPH: Ramón, that would be wonderful!

RAMON: Well, we certainly would like it too. I have a couple of questions for you, though, and I thought ---- one of them is, 'Why are you appealing the payment of your property taxes in New York State and Pennsylvania?' It seems to me that since you use the public schools -- the public high schools -- that you should also pay your property taxes.

CHRISTOPH: You know, unh, Ramón, perhaps you don't have the complete picture. We have our own school up to the eighth grade and at the same time pay school taxes, so actually right there, there is double taxation. And there are many, many other taxes which we do pay. Just inquire in the different townships of our other communities. We are the biggest taxpayer.

Now one of the reasons why we hope to reduce some of our taxes is simply that we -- to enable us to do more community work in our areas, to help the poor people in our areas, to help the high schools. Around Rifton, New York, there are some schools which have very low-class children, and the children are poor, the families are poor. We long to help the different black churches in our area. Now to do that takes money, and that is why we are appealing for an easement on some taxes, Ramón, not all taxes. There are still plenty of taxes which we have to pay.

RAMON: I see.

COLIN: I'm going to let you have one more question, and then I just want to get to some other people on the air. RAMON: All right, I just have one other question, and that is, "Do you pay into the Social Security?"

CHRISTOPH: That I would have to ask my accountant.

RAMON: I don't think you do, and yet you put all of your elderly people on Social Security, and I wonder if that isn't also a situation that should be corrected. And with that, I wish you all the best for the New Year, and let's keep in touch. Maybe -

CHRISTOPH: And Ramón, I really appreciate it that you called in, and it's great to hear you.

RAMON: Let's keep in touch.

CHRISTOPH: Yes, thank you.

RAMON: Bye-bye.

COLIN: So you see, you really appreciated that he called in. On the other hand, that must have been rather hard for you. He was, ah, he was, ah, certainly bent on asking you some pretty uncomfortable and difficult questions. To talk a little bit about that. First of all, why are you willing to talk to him on the air? I gave you the opportunity, since I didn't want to sandbag or blind-side you, I gave you the opportunity to walk away from that one.

CHRISTOPH: Well, we want to stress -- we have six communities in the States, two in England, we -- we -- we long to run a clean ship, and anyone is welcome to come and check us out. We are not afraid of anything. So I'm ready to -- you know -- or to any -- I mean, that's life, is to relate to different people. So it was great to relate to Ramón and to hear him again.

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COLIN: (laughing) It couldn't have been that great. Let's take a couple more calls. This is one of your neighbors in Norfolk, Richard. Hello, Richard.

RICHARD: Hi. Am I on the air? I would like to make a comment and a question to Christoph Arnold.


RICHARD: First of all, to thank him very much for being with you, Colin, this morning, and answering these questions of your listening area. It's a real chance for all of us at the Bruderhof to be a part of our area and to come closer to the many people out there who are concerned in the issues of our time.

COLIN: So you are calling from the Deer Spring Bruderhof.

RICHARD: Yes I am. I'm on my coffee break. And my question to Christoph, speaking a little about family values, I'm wondering if he could tell us if it's Family Supper tonight?

CHRISTOPH: I think it is.

RICHARD: Oh, that's wonderful! So we just want to greet you and thank you very much for being on the air today.

CHRISTOPH: Thank you.

. . . .

COLIN: Let's take a call or two more here. I think the next one on the list is Jay from East Hartford. Hi, Jay. JAY: How're you doin'? Christoph, I was wondering, what are your views on the democratic way of government, and the secret ballots and the voting, the way of voting and stuff, and how you -- you know -- (voice in background) -- choose a leader.

COLIN: You're being coached in the background, I can hear.

CHRISTOPH: I would say that the democratic form of government is the best government there is, but it is definitely not God's way. We are very very thankful, after having been in Nazi Germany and know what a dictatorship is like, and I grew up in Paraguay, South America, and experienced Alfred Stroessner, the biggest dictator in South America apart from Fidel Castro. We're extremely thankful to be here in the United States where we can live our beliefs in freedom, but it is definitely not God's way. And government to us is according to Romans 13, that it is instituted by God and we should respect it, but not when it violates our conscience.

. . . .

COLIN: ... Hi, Bill.

BILL: Hi, good morning, good morning. I've been listening to this with a lot of fascination. The caller you had from California asked an interesting question and there was a very interesting response, because Mr. Christoph in the beginning said that what they do is voluntary, that it's a voluntary giving-up of certain things, and it's a voluntary commitment to work for the benefit of everyone. And when the subject of taxes came up, the Bruderhof does not want to pay certain of their taxes of, for instance, for the non-high schools because they educate their own children in their own schools.

And Mr. Christoph referred to this as 'double taxation,' when I know as a private individual, I don't have any children. My wife and I are such an age that we will not have any children, but we pay taxes and people who send their kids to private school pay taxes to support the public school system even though they send their children to private schools. So that seems a little bit inconsistent.

Mr. Christoph also does not like what he referred to as 'budget cuts,' where the money is going to programs that he likes, the programs for the poor. But the money that comes from that is taken from people's incomes in a non-voluntary way because taxes are 'compelled' from us.

Now on the one hand, he does not want to pay taxes for things that he does for himself, even though we all do that. He does not want to pay taxes he does not approve of, but we all do that. And on the other hands, I would love to have the luxury of saying, "Well, I will only pay taxes for these things, and the other things I won't pay taxes, and I'll take the money and spend it as I choose on charities or other good works that I approve of or that I personally want to do rather than pay my taxes." I think this is a luxury.

COLIN: Let's give him enough time to answer it anyway before the news. It's a very very good question, and welcome to the world of talk radio.

CHRISTOPH: It's an extremely good question. Isn't that the dream of every American, to pay as little tax as possible as long as it is done legally? By the way, I do not handle the tax situation in the community, so I do not know all the in's and out's. But I can assure you we pay a lot of taxes.

BILL: We all do.

CHRISTOPH: Now with our school, you have to realize, we have our own teachers, and everything is funded by the community. So the school is subsidized completely by the community while at the same time we pay taxes for these children actually to go to public high school. In that sense, I meant it as double taxation. The whole tax question is a very complex one.

. . . .
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COLIN: All right, and let's talk to Julius from Bethany. Hi, Julius.

JULIUS RUBIN: Hi, Colin. I was interviewed by Gerry Renner in the Courant in the companion article to the one you did on the Bruderhof a couple of months ago. And I have a question, I guess for Christoph. His father, Heinrich Arnold, had published an important book called Freedom from Sinful Thoughts. This was published in the -- I guess it was in the early 1970s -- and it dealt with some issues in the Bruderhof at that time where people who were converted members and also adolescents who hadn't been baptized were experiencing obsessive thoughts and feelings of sinfulness, and really some of them were breaking down and becoming mentally ill. And I was wondering what the Bruderhof has been doing since the 1970s, first of all to deal with that problem, and if they have been able to correct that problem of depression that's associated with their spirituality.

COLIN: You want to talk a little bit about this?

CHRISTOPH: For sure, Julius. Greetings.

JULIUS: Hello, Christoph, how are you?

CHRISTOPH: You know, Julius, when you have two thousand two hundred people, you have cross-sections of all humankind. You have joyful people, you have sad people, and you also have depressed people. We have to deal with depression the whole time. It is just the way of life, and we still use the book Freedom from Sinful Thoughts. I would highly recommend it to any reader. By the way, Julius, we've gotten letters from prisoners -- we have been in a prison ministry -- that prisoners who were on the verge of committing suicide, and they got hold of the book and they decided differently. So it is really a wonderful book.

JULIUS: Oh yes, I agree. I think it's an important book.

CHRISTOPH: And I'm glad you brought it out.

JULIUS: Well, I would say that if I read your father correctly, he was talking about a particular problem that members of your community were experiencing, and that was that so many of them, whether it was autosuggestion or whether it was some form of compulsion, felt that they had committed unpardonable sins, felt that they had grieved away the Holy Spirit, felt that they were damned, and many of them were suicidal. And that this was happening in the process as a result of some aspect of your spirituality. It's not just a generic sense of depression that people get sick. It had to do with the way in which people embraced the faith. As you pointed out to an earlier caller, I guess one of Colin's questions, your church is one of the hardest to join. You really have to qualify. You've got to show people, the brethren, and show Christ, that you really are deserving of this. And I think what was happening, if I read your father correctly, is that many people were feeling undeserving, and feeling desolate and spiritually bereft.

And my question is, "Have you been able to confront this question directly?" Now one other thing: I had a chance to speak with Christian Domer -- oh, a couple of months ago at Yale University -- and he admitted that he believed that there was something to this, that what Heini had identified was true, and that there is a real cost to your spirituality. COLIN: Before he answers, could I ask you a question about this too? I mean, almost everything that you've said could be just as easily applied to Catholicism. I mean, people often have been made to feel terribly, terribly guilty from Catholicism, terribly, terribly unworthy. Is it -- one thing I always wonder is, when a religious movement is very, very different, when it's new, when it's small, you know when it's comparatively young. Obviously the strangeness kind of leaps out and smacks us in the face. Are you being tougher on the Bruderhof than you would be on Catholicism?

JULIUS: No, no, I mean, in Catholicism they have a term for this. It's called 'scrupulosity,' and they've known about this since the Middle Ages.

CHRISTOPH: Julius, the problem is that I think you read my father wrong.

JULIUS: Oh, I might have.

CHRISTOPH: Take 'The Sermon On the Mount.' Jesus says there, "If you look at a women with a lustful eye, you have committed adultery." Now I don't think any person in the whole world is exempt from that, and it also applies to women when they look at a man with a lustful eye. With other words, evil thought is a curse of mankind and has been since the very beginning, and that's why Jesus speaks so sharply about it in 'The Sermon On The Mount.' So I don't think it's a problem confined to the Bruderhof. I do a lot of counseling in prisons, and I have to deal with that the whole time, Julius. I think it's a much bigger problem, way beyond the Bruderhof. And we have it on the Bruderhof, definitely.


KLAUS: This is Klaus. The question to me is, do we take up the fight against them? And once we fight against them, of course it can come to a pig [garbled] sometimes. If we slide through this stuff, you know, then where is the struggle? It starts in your own heart and in my own heart.

JULIUS: I understand that the subtitle of Heini's book was Jesus alone breaks the curse, so there was a call for a surrender to Jesus and a salvation experience that would help people through this trouble and this crisis. But it seems to me that with all the different exorcisms that Eberhard Arnold did and Heinrich Arnold did, that when the spiritual solution fails, in other words when the exorcism fails to cast out Satan and where you can't say "Jesus is victor," you generally go to mental hospitals, electroshock treatment and secular psychiatry. Is that a fair statement.


JULIUS: Oh, you haven't used this in the past?

CHRISTOPH: Definitely we have used it, but not in such a general way as you describe it.

JULIUS: That's what I found out --

CHRISTOPH: No, I think, I think, Julius, I think you've been misinformed, and perhaps you need to read more of our publications.

JULIUS: I've read everything you've published. I'm looking forward to your book.

CHRISTOPH: Will you? Okay.

JULIUS: But when I spoke to Milton Zimmerman, who's I believe one of your physicians and also a physician of the soul who lives in Farmington, is that correct, in Pennsylvania?

CHRISTOPH: He's now in Elka Park, New York.

JULIUS: Oh, he's in New York. Well, when I spoke to him, I guess this was in 1991 at Elizabethtown Conference on Communal Studies, he did say that you were using psychiatric care and mental treatment and electro-convulsive shock treatment as a way of dealing with this when the spiritual cures were not working.

COLIN: Wouldn't that be a desirable thing?

JULIUS: Well, I guess what I want them to acknowledge is that they have a problem here, and it's not just a generic background problem, but there are a substantial number of their people, in the past and in contemporary times, who have been overwrought by this feeling of spiritual desolation, and it goes well beyond what might be experienced among lay Catholics or among the general American baseline population. And I think they've very slowly come to that realization.

COLIN: Would that we had more time to talk this. . . . . This is Colin McInroe. See you tomorrow!

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-------- In Remembrance --------

Gretel Gneiting

by Bette Bohlken-Zumpe

In 1929-1930, my mother Emi-Margreth Arnold was in college at Thale, a socialist women's college to help women fight for their rights. She was training as a Fröbel Kindergarten teacher and shared a room with Annemarie Wächter (later Heini's wife Annemarie Arnold). In her class also were Gretel Knott and Margarethe Böning. Both joined the Community later, Gretel and Annemarie the first to come. Gretel was a small, dark-haired, frail sister, very artistic in many ways. I remember especially the figures she would cut from Gallalit (like very fine, white plastic) to give away at Christmas.

In 1931, after my grandfather Eberhard returned from his visit to the Hutterites, many young couples married. Alfred and Gretel Gneiting, Fritz and Sekunda Kleiner, Trautel and Leo Dreher as well as my parents. This was a tremendous thing, because up to that point it had been basically the Arnold and the Braun families (and a few more). Now new families were being started and a new generation would be born. In the big Rhön house, all the new couples got their own rooms in different, very bright colors, blue, orange, red, green. When the first babies were born, it was a big experience for the whole community. Jakob Gneiting, Heidi Zumpe, Sanna Kleiner, Maidi Dreher, they were to grow up as real brothers and sisters! Then all the families had a second, third and a fourth child, and we knew each other and all the different parents well -- and loved and respected them as our own.

Gretel always worked in the kindergarten. I remember that the bright sun in Paraguay caused her a lot of bad headaches, and that is why she always wore sunglasses. As a child I used to play a lot with Michael Gneiting (now still in Paraguay), and Gretel really enjoyed having us around her. We were 6 or 7 years old, and getting 'married' again and again. Gretel would give us curtain rings out of her sewing box and something special like peanuts to celebrate the occasion! The Gneitings always lived in Isla Margarita, and we in Loma Hoby, so we lost contact later. But I do have precious memories of my early childhood when I think of Gretel.

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Life Story Part III

by Norah Allain

[continued from KIT VII #12 December]

A few weeks later [in the Oaksey Bruderhof - ed], our little son André was born on November 6th, 1940. André was quite different from Paulo, born only ten days before the time calculated, bigger and very vigorous. Roger was allowed to stay with me at his birth, and to come and have meals with me every day while I remained for two weeks in the mother-house. I was in the mother house together with Trautel, whom I found very jolly and courageous and rather outspoken. She was an old-timer, but definitely not one of the 'clique,' which seemed to consist of the Arnold family and all its hangers-on. While I was there, Annemarie gave birth to a baby too, and I was shocked and appalled to hear the screams proceeding from her room -- it was a very big baby. I remember Heini coming to visit her and Roger to see me, and Heini of course was given very nice food, the same as was provided for the new mothers. Little Phyllis Rabbits, the novice midwife, made it her business to see that Roger got some also.

It was as plain as daylight that this special treatment aroused general antagonism, especially among the English members who were a more democratic lot, but it was not until much later when Americans began to join us, and there were many new Servants of the Word with no connection with the Arnold family, that this business of 'special food for the Servants' was stopped. It included other little privileges, and was likewise extended to other people as well. In fact, my original idea -- that you should never ask for anything for yourself because the love of the others would see to it that you were properly cared for -- underwent severe modifications in the course of the next few years. Finally I came to see that a moderate amount of self-assertion was much better than to let oneself be neglected and suffer from envy and resentment on that account. I even became a bit cynical in the end and realized that it was the law of the jungle that held sway among us rather more than the law of love. On family supper evenings, for instance, it was a case of 'everyone for himself', 'first come first served', and one felt under quite a strain when one had a big family to fight for.

During this time Hans Meier and Guy Johnson had been sent to look for a country that would take us in, beginning with Canada and going always south until they found Paraguay. Just before or after Christmas, the first small pioneer group went to South America. We ourselves went in a large group in February, on the Avila Star. Winifred, who had been married to August Dyroff since our arrival at the Bruderhof, gave birth to her first baby on the voyage, so she was named Avila.

However, to go back a bit, I received a visit from my sister Marjorie, with her little son David, and from my parents, at the Cotswold Bruderhof before we left. They were sad to have me go, but at least relieved that our dilemma was resolved and that we seemed to be happy. I never saw my father again. Ironically, he had survived the First World War as a soldier, but was knocked down and killed by an army lorry in Exeter during the Second. This was a few months after our little son André died in Loma Hoby, and my second brother Kenneth was shot down in a plane somewhere in France very soon afterwards. He was 24, but I hadn't seen him since he was 13.

At the time when André died in Paraguay, there had been quite a series of deaths of babies and young children, and one grown-up, Edith Arnold, who was very young and even pregnant at the time. This was all extremely distressing for everyone, let alone for the family concerned, and so naturally we asked ourselves why these lives were cut off in such an untimely fashion. Personally, it took me five years to get over André's death, especially as he had suffered a lot and I had had to watch it. Moni was often there during the month of his illness, and other sisters also took turns to stay up all night with him, as I was expecting Jean-Pierre. At this time it was wonderful to have the support of the whole community, including children, and the love meal at which everyone remembered him gave me a lot of strength. I gathered all the cards, poems, songs and other mementos, and wrote down all I could remember about him, and this helped too.

But there seemed to be a tendency, about which I was not very happy, for our leaders to suggest that there was a connection between a death in our midst and something for which the community ought to repent. There was always this call to repentance, while it remained vague of what we were supposed to be repenting. It would take me many years to realize that the stirring of guilt feelings was a powerful weapon in the hands of an unscrupulous leader. However, I am not suggesting that all the leaders were unscrupulous and power-seeking; the guilt syndrome was a part of our reality and we were all caught in it together.

I realize I have left out Francisco's birth, and he was the first of our children to be born in Paraguay. We were living in Loma Hoby at the time, and Georg Barth was the Servant. There was no hospital yet, so I had to go to the little maternity house in Isla for the birth, and in fact I had gone to Isla that very evening in a wagon to a brotherhood meeting, and towards the end of it my labor began. In later years, the mothers were given more care towards the end, but these were the early days, and fortunately most of us were young and strong. I certainly was, and I can remember going off for a walk, carrying Francisco, for about two miles over the fields in the direction of the orange wood.

Roger couldn't come to see me much this time, but it was always a treat for those two weeks in the mother house, being looked after so well and being able to enjoy the new baby and have time to read, sing lullabies to him, and so on. Sometimes you also had the company of another mother in another room. After two weeks, I went back home to our room in the Halle, next door to Fritz and Sekunda who must have been the House mother then, unless it was Moni with Sekunda helping. Anyway, Fritz had made a real wooden door for our room, which previously only had a sack hanging over the entrance, and a lovely little baby bed awaited Francisco, complete with mattress and mosquito net. The next day he was presented to the Church, and I can only remember happy things about those six weeks with 'Cisco' before I went back to work. He was very peaceful and caused the minimum of trouble, and I was the proud mother of three, a real family. I was busy doing some of that very fine cross-stitch embroidery on little baby garments, such as most of the women loved to do. I can even remember a tiny green play-suit on which I made an orange and yellow butterfly -- it lasted for various other Allain babies.

Time passed, and more people came to Loma. An old steam engine was installed to run a sawmill and an electric generator. Roger had to take his turn doing steam engine duty during one evening a week, and personally I was always nervous, not being at all sure that the boiler wouldn't explode. Near the sawmill was the hen wood, where Waltraut was in charge of lots of hens. Sometimes they were all let loose, and there was one time when Johnny Robinson was helping her, and she went away telling him to 'let them not out', which Johnny misunderstood as 'let the lot out', so he did! At one time I helped her for a month or so. It was O.K. and rather fun, except that I couldn't stand the smell of the offal from the slaughtered cows, which got boiled up and minced for those hens. Nothing was wasted.

Once the steam engine was running and we had electricity, the hospital was started, and this was a very important factor in our life. It gave us more contact with the people surrounding us. Of course it was the hospital staff who had the most contact, but we all became aware of what was going on, and learned about the life of the Paraguayans who came. Roger also learned about them through his work in the forest, where he had to oversee a number of paid workers. One Paraguayan regularly accompanied him on horseback. Our family all knew him, but one day he disappeared. It turned out that he had killed another man in a quarrel, and was avoiding the revenge of the dead man's family. But a few years later he turned up again.

The original big tent disappeared and a long dining-room had been built in line with the original house that housed the library, with the kitchen in-between. When I think of that kitchen, I see especially Mary Causey and Marjorie Parker-Gray sweating heroically all day long. I mostly worked in the laundry, which I loved, and that was not far away on the other side of the green, below the Sonnenherz House, and our wash lines all stood down a slope beyond which extended a huge campo (grass plain). On the far side of the laundry lay the school wood, which curved to the right and included, on its outer edge, a huge tree around which we made benches for outdoor meetings. This was the famous 'timbo tree', and after that there was the Kindergarten Wood, beyond which lay another stretch of flat plain. One day a fire broke out on that plain and advanced rapidly towards the kindergarten. The whole community hurried there, and all the men and boys helped put it out before it reached the kindergarten. I have forgotten how they did it, but it was touch-and-go. The plain beyond the timbo tree also became the landing strip for the small planes that occasionally landed to collect some sick person who needed to be flown to Asunción for special treatment. I once had the experience of going to Asunción in such a plane, and was dreadfully nervous -- my first experience with flying.

While we were still living for a brief interlude in Isla Margarita, Eberhard was born, only fifteen months after Jean-Pierre, and fairly soon afterwards we got sent back to Loma for Roger to take over a difficult seventh-year class. Philip and Joan Britts were sent down there first with us and Opa Ludwig to install the library and the printing machinery in the house of the former owner. Our two families had some little primitive rooms, divided by a curtain, at the far side of a large roofed-over space at one end of the house, which was to become the kitchen. At the beginning it served also as a laundry area, and I still remember little André managing to tip a large bowl of wash water from a bench so that it fell right over him and he emerged spluttering. Later on, when the Vigar family and one or two others came down to Loma as well and there was a little kindergarten-cum-toddler group without any proper house for it, André managed to put his foot right into a pot of very hot rice pudding, which was on the ground. Dear, oh dear! How he hated having to wait in his bed until the foot got better again. He was a very enterprising little chap, and when eventually accommodations were built and enough families had been sent down from Isla to make it worthwhile to have a toddler group, it just wasn't possible to put André there, where he belonged according to age, and he was allowed to stay with the kindergarten.

Writing only from memory, it seems to me that the building up of Loma went very fast. The next thing I can remember, we were living in the Halle, next door to Fritz and Secunda Kleiner, who already had about five children, and back to back with Fred and Margaret Goodwin, who had their first little son Matthew. There was a baby-house, a kindergarten not far from the Halle, and a huge round tent which was the dining-hall, and by that time there must have been about a hundred of us. Roger was probably already in charge of the forest, and I probably in the laundry, which I loved. Hardi Arnold was the chief Servant and Peter Mathis his helper, and these few years, until André fell ill, had hardly a cloud for me. There was tremendous enthusiasm, and whatever else there was of a negative nature has utterly faded out of sight. These were the building-up years, and nothing, apparently, could stop us. We were working for the Kingdom of God on earth.

There were quite a lot of communal brotherhood meetings, which at first used to take place in Isla, as Loma was too small. There was always such a lot to discuss. After about two years there was this crisis when Hardi and Heini and Fritz and Bruce Sumner and Peter Mathis, and possibly someone else, hatched some kind of plot because they wanted a much closer union once more with the Hutterites. Frankly, I cannot remember having got very worked up or taken sides in the matter at all, though my private opinion was that Eberhard Arnold ought never to have 'united' us with the Hutterite Church. We were just too different, and needed to be independent. But what the exact position was at that time with regard to union I really don't know. The whole affair amazed me.

(to be continued)

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-------- Poetry --------

Flood (1955)

by Jere Bruner

Then the storm broke, the rain furious, stinging,
seeped into sand, filled, rivered, sweeping the sand down.
Rain sweated from the black rock, levelled the valleys, <
swelling the jagged puddles, whipped by the drops falling,
the stream clawed at houses, gently dismembered them,
floated the pieces.

People perched in the branches, infested the hillocks.
The hungry darkness crawled over their mouths, devouring.
Screams, bleats, crashes, curses, wails, shouts -- hushed.
Silence hissed gray and possessive over the earth.

The ship reeled through whirlpools,
hurled us, trusting, clinging, over the smooth unspotted waters.
Rain flogged the defeated world, merciless beyond its death.

Dawn found us, habitation of footsteps, scrapings, breathings,
small animal noises, sighs,
adrift in a perfectly silent perfect simplicity:
air, water, one line girding the round world round.

The light grew golden, tender.
We knew a power from some untasted region of the sky.

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by Norah Allain

My soul is like a hungry ghost,
Imprisoned in this place.
My soul is like a messenger --
She knows of heavenly grace,
Of peace and happiness and love,
And I may not forget.
She whispers it unceasingly,
And I can never sleep.
She feeds the flame, renews the fire,
Forever goads me on.
What is the goal of my desire?
'Tis love, 'tis union.
I would be one with my own self,
And feel the pulse of the world beat together with my heart,
I and the world as one.

October, 1968
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A Dark Day

by Hanna Goodwin Johnson

I found myself in a black rage:
I hated
The whitewashed guilt;
I can't forget the feeling
of fearless anger
rising hot and bold, or how my hatred
Whitewashed the blackness
And everything turned cold.

We were taught happy songs.
We learned to just be happy
and it was good.
But we were also told
when to be quiet
no songs, no laughter,
and it was dreary.
We were taught solemn songs:
We sang about how creation
moves with togetherness,
"... full of ceaseless harmony
Only man will not surrender
seeks his happiness alone,"
And it was a longing for joy.

I was given the choice of either surrender to 'hof meetings or go it alone. And I'm not sure if I get angry when I'm forced to think for myself or if getting angry makes me think. I'm certain of this, that putting grown people in isolation has become a bureaucratic tactic of the Bruderhof; I am concerned with the fact that an adversary in a superior position can openly demand that of someone and then accuse that someone of being selfish and self-centered for "choosing" to isolate her/himself -- "You can't make it on your own," I was told.

Then, after exclusion has destroyed the commitment to be totally involved, believers can blame the excluded individuals of being hopeless and unfaithful; even a non-committed person like myself is expected to see the error of being uncommitted and make The Commitment to the Bruderhof community before the whole world becomes chaos. That is how the bruderhöfe force the issue of Isolation and World Need, always accusing the victim (scapegoat) in exclusion as the one who is pursuing enterprises of private happiness -- "You will never be truly happy that way."...

Many find it better to be drugged by fear ("And what is fear of need but need itself?" asks Kahlil Gibran) and to "repent" in helplessness than to "loose it" and be prescribed tranquilizers and/or be kicked out. Can't I be wrong sometimes and can't others be wrong? One is made to feel as though one is the only one who can't surrender and repent, that one's isolation is self-incriminating (autoeroticism is a more normal and natural expression of masochism than agreeing with that by "repenting"). Even worse, one is made to feel that the reason for all the sin in the whole world is because one is hesitant or confused -- as though surrender to 'hof rule could end all sorrow.

That is how the excuses of "You will be doing this for all," and "The brotherhood will be carrying you," get served, and I wonder: When do they give up? (I would be deliberately leaving this ambiguous without specifying). When does the brotherhood stop "carrying" the excluded individuals? Thinking for myself, I think my seclusions are my own business now that I'm an adult: When I get angry and stressed out, I need to know how to call time out.

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As to resolving anger on earth in a court before a judicial assembly, this is the methodology on which the legal system is built. When all other methods of reconciliation fail, get a lawyer (or become one). I'm not against legal action, you know, even though I don't think I need a personal lawyer. Arnold "Church Discipline" is the whole insane Arnold methodology of "He unites... gives us authority to exclude when necessary those whom we love dearly," on and off the Arnold hof; these are the politically unexplainable ruling tactics of the Arnold aristocracy. Resolving anger is the methodology of the lawyers -- like: is an individual's anger of any importance to corporate agenda? Do individual frustrations always develop into mass protests?

There are patterns of illegal behavior in the 'hof rules: marriage, as a legal contract, gives spouses legal claims. This is more than a personal grudge. It is more than believing other people's accumulated grudges. The cycles are abusive. The repeated abuse is an insult to individual integrity, and legal action could help future victims.

There is so much 'hof talk of reconciliation and individual repentance, but I didn't cause the conflict. Let the totally resolved and uncompromising (my way or the highway fellow) close the door on little resolutions. Those who are aggravated by unresolved conflicts will keep working on legal compromises. Differences that cannot be reconciled in this world can be dealt with, step by step, in compromising legal actions...

The laws are constantly being reinterpreted and revised. The acceptable boundaries are always being tested. If hofnicks get too 'hofish, I'll not strive to subdue their hofishness; I simply feel bound to tell of my experience to the edification of others. Though I may be better off keeping my mouth closed, it makes me feel like a fake -- trying to hide from the truth.

Can choosing for myself become so full of lonely despair that I am bound to self-destruct? Does the build-up of anger determine one's self-expression -- cause one to strive for self-determination? The aspects of life that are familiar, one's family affections, one's habitat, one's work, have lasting effects on self-determination. The farther one goes from "home," the greater one's explorations, the more the longer grows to "return," to go back to things familiar and ultimately to one's parents or loved ones who have died -- and forever the unknown.

To investigate what is distant and unknown is an inner drive, for some more than others. Whether the libido runs on anger or curiosity remains to be a matter of self-knowledge. And the study of sociology can investigate if squelching curiosity is the surest way to aggravate a buildup of anger. And no matter where one's achievements lead, from any position, there is always distant sights as well as those at hand and familiar -- be it telescope or microscope.

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Vance J. Youmans, 12/11/95: I was recently given a copy of a KIT Newsletter (VII, #7, July, 1995), in which there is written a review of my book, The Plough and the Pen: Paul S. Gross and the Establishment of the Spokane Hutterian Brethren, by George Maendel. While the general flavor of this review is favorable, and I am grateful for that, there are several items on which I should like to comment.

Firstly, the purpose of this work was to attempt an individual colony history -- a case-study approach, if you will. Considering just who the elder for the Spokane colony was, and is, the book also took on a biographical element. One thing this book never claims to do, is to attempt to dissect the Hutterian culture in a manner common to anthropology and sociology, but rather to blend key general cultural factors (gleaned from these social scientists), with the historical, biographical narrative which unfolds throughout its pages.

Any person, whether a scholar, a neighbor or a Hutterite, who is knowledgeable about this culture will surely disclose the great many differences he or she notices amongst the different Hutterite groups. This information, though, in order for it to surface, must be elicited by a person who understands culture, and who knows what he/she is looking for; thus, data like this doesn't just happen. Every person in the world knows that every culture in the world has subcultures, counter-cultures and numerous other variants of the whole. Thus, I claim that my quote, "Hutterite society is a mystifying one, and the intricacies of Hutterite life are legion," stands as virtually a universal truth. I would like to add to this that I have had personal, firsthand exposures to, and experiences with innumerable cultures on five continents. I am not, therefore, as a trained historian and an intensely interested individual, ignorant of the foundations of the peoples with whom I have discourse. It is, in fact, these dynamic foundations which give rise to the unique qualities of a group, or groups, of people, and which fuel my personal interest, thus rendering me " impressed by the activity within the ...edifice." If I were not versed in the foundations of the Hutterites, I would not have written a book about them ...

Secondly, the notion that my position regarding all Hutterites as being trilingual is, in of itself, a joke. I did not write a joke book, and I take umbrage at the comment. While the term bilingual connotes the ability to use two languages interchangeably with ease and fluency, trilingual is often used more simply to indicate the "use" of three languages, nothing more. And, almost every Hutterite can indeed read, speak and write some High German (which, interestingly, is the language most often resorted to when communicating with the Amish). That the Hutterian Brethren are not encouraged to develop skill in the use and understanding of English is simply not true: While it may not be the focal point of their education, English, we all know, is studied, learned, and internalized rather well by school-age Hutterites. (Some of the best usage of the subjunctive I have heard not while in college, but in interviewing Hutterites!). Obviously, as I have stated throughout my book, colonies are not cookie-cutter entities, and the degrees to which my postulations apply may vary considerably from community to community.

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Lastly, High German is perpetually the highest form of expression for the Hutterites, because it is the language of the Bible which they use, and because all other "things religious" (including, and especially sermons) are addressed in this language. I have been informed by several experts in Hutterianism, as well as by several Hutterian elders, that there is indeed a modern resurgence of sermon writing, thus retaining intact the indispensable nature of High German within the culture. Thus, all joking aside, Hutterites continue to be trilingual.

I am mindful of my reviewer's probable close links to the Hutterian culture, and my commentary is not intended to be a scathing refutation, or a challenge to his knowledge base. It is to be considered, rather, an apology for what I feel to be logical and correct as per the experts, both academic and Hutterian, with whom I have consulted. Sincerely, Johanna Patrick Homann, 2/1/95:

I came across two paragraphs in a piece I've been reading called The Tragedy of the Commons by Garret Hardin, which really ring true when I think of how we were programmed by the Bruderhof.

"To conjure up a conscience in others is tempting to anyone who wishes to extend his control beyond the legal limits....

"For centuries, it was assumed, without proof, that guilt was a valuable, perhaps even indispensable ingredient of the civilized life. No good has ever come from feeling guilty, neither intelligence, policy nor compassion. The guilty do not pay attention to the object, but only to themselves, and not even to their own interests, which might make sense, but to their anxieties." Quoted in above article from P. Goodman, New York Review of Books, 23 May, 1968.

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