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

P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / telephone: (415) 821-2090 / fax (415) 282-2369
KIT Staff U.S.: Ramon Sender, Charles Lamar, 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 reflect those of KIT editors or staff.
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March 1997,Volume IX #3

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

-------- Table of Contents --------
Ann Button
Kingston Daily Freeman
Excerpts from the Innerland Discussion
KIT
Blair Purcell
Susie Wurtz Stewart
Lee Kleiss
Adolf & Evie Pleil
Bette Bohlken-Zumpe
Jay Streeter
Norah Allain - Life Story Part VII
Oakwood Hutterian Brethren book review by George Maendel
AFF Spring Conferences
Congratulations to Steve Button and Gina Lowe, Ann Button and Dean Goodnight, who will celebrate their double wedding on Saturday, April 26th.

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Ann Button, 2/21/97: So much has happened to me since I last wrote (or ranted). I will be marrying Dean Goodnight on April 26th, and we have a two-year-old boy, Joshua. The day after Thanksgiving we met at a mutual friend's party standing around a campfire in the woods. We started talking about stars and mountains, and it went from there. In January Dean and Joshua moved in with me and we have been learning and growing together as a family. What a fun, challenging and fulfilling experience! Talk about a 360-degree change -- close to a religious experience!

Before meeting Dean, I went through a couple of months of questioning what my purpose/role in life would be. Not that I as unhappy, I just wanted to make a contribution. I was seriously thinking about taking on a foster parent role. Then, lo and behold, I get a gift of true love and a beautiful boy who wanted a mommy. What a powerful experience!

1996 was a year of regaining control and leaving anger and resentment behind. I left a bad two-year relationship and spent time alone with my brother Steve. I became centered again.

I think all who listened when I ranted and/or was under the influence, who responded kindly and with understanding. You are the ones who helped me find healing. Thanks and Love to all,

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Kingston Daily Freeman

Excerpts: "Local Bruderhofs Split from Hutterians"

by Maria Harding, 2/23/97

Leaders of the local bruderhof community say it is because of strong philosophical and spiritual differences that the Hutterian Church of the Dakotas has "excommunicated" nine bruderhofs and told them not to refer to themselves as Hutterians any longer.

"Though we have used the Hutterian name in our localities for the past 20 years, we wish to make it known that we acknowledge the excommunication, that we no longer wish to be associated with the Hutterian Brethren and are a separate entity," wrote Joseph Keiderling, a member of the Woodcrest Bruderhof in Rifton.

The Rifton Bruderhof is one of nine affected by the change... The actual split took place two years ago, but it was formalized only recently with the Hutterians informing the bruderhofs that they may not use the name Hutterian when referring to themselves in the future.

Keiderling said difficulties began when bruderhof leaders observed trends in Hutterian communities that caused concern. After addressing these concerns in an issue of the bruderhof magazine The Plough, an act that didn't sit well with the Hutterian elders, the bruderhofs were excommunicated. A primary area of concern, bruderhof members said, was the large number of Hutterian teen-age girls who were becoming unwed mothers.

"We feel very strongly about purity, and we thought this needed to be addressed," Keiderling said. "But they thought they didn't have anything to learn from us."

Keiderling said the Dakota communities had become very "permissive and loose" with their young people. "It was the high number of unwed mothers -- we were concerned about their approach to children's education."

The Dakota communities, which were the Hutterian communities that the Bruderhof had the most interaction with, also chose a more isolated way of life, rather than being involved in the local community, as the bruderhofs are, Keiderling said.

At issue, too, was the extent of education granted to Hutterian youth.

The Dakota Church believed in educating every member only until the age of 15, although some did go on to college. In the bruderhof communities, all youths are encouraged to finish high school and go on to higher education, Keiderling said.

"They felt threatened by us," he said, "and they didn't like us commenting on what we were concerned about."

In the article that caused the stir, written on behalf of all bruderhof members, Christoph Arnold of the Rifton Bruderhof wrote about how in "many Hutterite colonies in Canada and the Dakotas, members withhold money and other goods for themselves in spite of their membership vows to relinquish private property and share everything."

"Some work outside the community to earn money for their own personal use," Arnold wrote. "Communal work departments have become independent 'kingdoms,' and a sense of common work and a common purpose has been lost. There is little or no spiritual leadership, and ministers are no longer true servants of their flocks but lord it over them, seeking to increase their personal authority. Young people no longer receive clear guidance and direction from their ministers, teachers and parents. ... Alcoholism is rampant, even among some community leaders, premarital sex is widespread, and there are illegitimate children."

Arnold called on the Hutterian leaders to change. "We all need to change, and ... this change must begin in the leadership of the church," he wrote. "Sadly, our pleas have been rejected and deeply resented."

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Looking Back -- Nostalgic Tidbits

From the March KIT Issues in Previous Years

March 1990 - Michael Caine: I remember my first Ausschluss, I was seven years old -- the long interrogation: "What were you doing with yourself in the bathroom?... What were you doing with the girls? Do you love Jesus? Your mother's sin is in you!" (I was born illegitimate, and it was never the sin of the father, only my mother) And the endless beatings with his bamboo stick. Heini really taught me the art of hatred. With him being such a creature, it is not surprising that he found more of his kind. No matter how big the jungle is, one monkey will always find another monkey, and that is how they managed to smash up the Bruderhof!

March 1991 - Don Rene Bernard: I graduated from the Bruderhof only a year after graduating from Kindergarten, but I can still remember getting my mouth washed out with soap for saying the equivalent of "shit." And getting caned on the back of my legs unmercifully for spitting or biting by my caretakers who were not part of my family. So I can understand some of the hostility that surfaces in KIT three decades later.

March 1992 - Woodcrest: Dear KIT Participants: ...we invite you to a meeting which is also attended by what could be called a "non-KIT and non-Bruderhof" person... who may be trusted by all meeting participants as one not directly involved with any of the issues that come up and who may help find a clear expression of different viewpoints and common ground... We invite you to Woodcrest from Friday to Saturday, April 10-11. We very much long that we can come close together to each one.

March 1993 - Katherine Brookshire: What was said about Miriam [Brailey's] refusal to swear allegiance to Heini as spiritual and temporal leader was new -- almost unbelievable to me. What I find hard to believe is that Miriam was the only one to refuse. Where in the world were the heads of the others? That seems as brainwashed as Jonestown. Would they have taken poison or shot themselves if Heini had asked? I wonder, if I had been there, if I would have had the guts to refuse. I hope so, but I know how strong peer pressure can be. I think I'll plant a 'Miriam Brailey Memorial Garden' in my yard.

March 1994 - Balz & Monika Trumpi-Arnold: Dear Christoph... On December 14, 1990, you signed a "State of New York Pistol License Application" as a Minister of the Hutterian Brethren Church. You applied to carry the firearm concealed and stated that a license is required for the following reason: "For self-protection and protection of community members." All four character references were given by people who do not belong to the Bruderhof... Though it is legal, you have violated one of the fundamental principals of the Bruderhof and the Hutterian Brethren Church. Christoph, it is high time that you lay down your service before you do much more damage.

March 1995 - Bette Bohlken-Zumpe: I think it was not good and not wise for the Bruderhof to write the letter they did in the last Plough: "...The [Hutterian] young people today no longer have the clear guidance and direction from their ministers, teachers and parents. Many young people are baptized with burdened consciences. Many young couples enter marriage with burdened consciences. There are illegitimate children. Premarital sex is rampant. In other words, the Hutterian Church has lost its salt and has become as shallow and superficial as any other world church."

This summarizes the Bruderhof's arrogant spirit, not only towards the old Hutterites (500 years) but toward all churches in the world! This is the Pharisee in our time. People that think they have caught up God the Almighty in their little church -- this is what made the Bruderhof a cult!!

March 1996 - editorial: The progression whereby people are weaned from a naive belief in the Bruderhof community has been called the "KIT process." There is no set end to this highly individualistic progression, or a particular pathway through it. Many folks have made this journey all by themselves before there ever was such a thing as KIT. They may have involved themselves in other churches or participated in other institutions such as the army, the PTA or the ACLU. The process of mental and emotional readjustment is a gradual and natural one, which should not be forced in any way. After all, there's enough coercion inherent in the situation already without anyone trying to standardize the KIT Process or define its goal.

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KIT: By now the whole world, including the Bruderhof, has certainly heard of the "Internet," which is the technique whereby almost any computer can be connected up with most other computers throughout the world. The Bruderhof has made great use of this technology with extensive materials about themselves available on line. And so has KIT. As most KIT readers know, the newsletters are posted each month on one of the Peregrine Foundation "pages" of the World Wide Web. Web pages, email and Usenet, all put together make up what is called the Internet. Usenet newsgroups are interesting inasmuch as the unmoderated ones are very democratic. Any idiot with a modem and an Internet account can wade in and hold forth. Paraphrasing Forrest Gump: newsgroups "are like a box of chocolates. You never know what yer gonna get."

One of the more recent additions to the list of usenet newsgroups is alt.religion.christian.anabaptist.brethren from which the following recent exchanges have been excerpted, first by one of the participants, and then furthur edited down for KIT.

Chris Faatz, 1/5/97: Blair and I no doubt differ, but I find the Peregrine Foundation's attacks on the Bruderhof, while heartfelt, distasteful. I think there are indeed some serious problems with the group, but Peregrine's perspective seems to be that there's nothing positive at all, and they devote an awful lot of time to that proposition. Why not take the same time to articulate a positive theological stance rooted in Anabaptist testimony if the Bruderhof's so bad?

Bill (Pete) Peters, 1/7/97: Somehow, I don't think you read much of the Peregrine Foundation site. There are, in their KIT pages, many nostalgic accounts of former life in the Bruderhof. If some persons' criticism seems harsh, perhaps they are reacting to harsh actions against themselves.

Arnold may have started with a clear vision, but it has become stained by decades Machiavellian manipulation aimed at maintaining an Arnold Dynasty surrounded by faithful servants. The successful sons have removed family and outside competition by a system of exile, The result of this is a very perverted parody of Christianity practiced by these Hutterian wannabe's.

I will look in on your book discussion in February.

Charles995: Dear Fellow Readers: Do you really want Mr. Purcell to take part in these discussions? To me he seems to have a chip on his shoulders and thus he could possibly hinder fruitful discussions. What do others think. I am ready for anything. Love, Charles

Charles995: For the new week I have very serious reservations if Wayne Chesley should take part in the discussions about the book Innerland. The name he left the last Discussion was really very distasteful. Only a question. Please help me.

Bill (Pete) Peters: Charles, I am appalled at the tone of your discussion! I had hoped to gain understanding, not to pass your evaluations. Call me rash, but if you are a fan of Eberhard Arnold's book Innerland and you have such a wrong spirit, then I am concerned about the fruits of this work. There is no need to try to browbeat people because they do not meet up to your standards. It is rather to show kindness and patience. Your discussion of the introduction and the inability to stick to the agenda strikes me as most immodest. I am making this reply to you in public because that is the forum in which you have been handling your affairs.

Also I want to make sure you can't kick me out, too. Frankly I have found this long-winded icon a poor substitute for just reading the words of Christ. Rather than face your wrath, Charlie, I think I will just let you blow your whistle.

As the great philosopher, Groucho Marx, said, "I would never belong to a club which would have me as a member."

Sorry, folks, but I call 'em like I see 'em....

Thank you for your posting, Pierre. I had been hoping for this kind of discussion, but, quite frankly, I feel that this "guide" [Innerland] does not speak to poor seeking souls, but only for the most retentive. Jesus spoke in simple, yet eloquent language, so that the average Joe could pick it up. These learned discussions of "How to read the Bible" cannot substitute for just reading it. Living it is much harder. Sometimes, maybe it is too hard. I don't know. Just a thought.

Bill (Pete) Peters: Wayne you have posed some provocative questions. Q: "Is it necessary to have a spiritual rebirth in order to understand the Bible?" A: Isn't the requirement of "spiritual rebirth" a sort of "Catch 22"? If one cannot simply read the Bible to obtain understanding, then who must lead us there? We are instructed to place our faith in the teachings of Jesus. They are very clear. Do we need still another intermediary to gain the grace of God? Aren't there too many "men" trying to tell us that their way is all there is, and that those who do not join their club are condemned? What about the huge majority of the world's population who do not have the privilege of receiving these "guides"? Did God create so many pure and innocent souls on the earth to simply cast them off like so much flotsam?...

On page 2 Arnold states:

"Therefore today (1932) at the eleventh hour it must find a voice more urgently than ever before. If in a revival of nationalistic fervor Germany's calling is to be exalted again as it was more than a hundred years ago, it must not be forgotten that the highest and the ultimate calling, even of Germans, is to become true men. This book is meant to help us consider man's calling."

The sacrifice of personal prosperity to the good of the whole was a main theme of National Socialism. I wonder how Eberhard was influenced by that trend at the time he was writing between the wars.... If poverty is a prerequisite, then perhaps we should look to the unfortunate poor of the world for our guidance. Couldn't Jesus teaching have more to do with attitude? Might the admonition to build up treasures in heaven rather than on earth be an advisement on value judgments. (not to place great importance on riches). A popular saw is "You can't take it with you."

Charles, your personal e-mail and your subsequent posting confuses me. Who is 'Christof,' another member of your group? Are Charles995@aol. com and carnold210@aol.com the same account?

Charley994: In the book Innerland Eberhard Arnold warns us that the last persecution of the true Christian Church or those truly wanting to be Christians will be undertaken with the Bible like it was 450 years ago when the Anabaptists broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. We will experience again the irony that men with the Bible in their hand will cause heads to roll; and that in actual fact the Bible is the greatest weapon of the Devil. This alone is a very frightening thought to me. What do you think?

Eberhard Arnold says that the Devil uses the Bible constantly and that with the Bible he kills the souls of people and children. He says the Bible is not the Word of God when one speaks out of the Bible. The Word of God is so great that it cannot be handled and printed and sold from a Bookstore.

Pete Peters: Wow! Charley. You are really stepping off the deep end. Are you sure your medications are working? First your buddy Phil and you say you don't want a "theological discussion" and try to eject more participants. Can you do that???!!! Show me.

Eb's book was written as the thesis for his Doctorate of Theology. Isn't this correct? That would seem to make a "theological discussion" appropriate. Correct me if I am wrong. I am certainly trying to find some value in this very shallow and boring book. So far it reads like a cheap street corner tract.

Then you wholeheartedly condemn the "BIBLE" as the works of the devil? You say "Bible is not the Word of God when one speaks out of the Bible."

Then you go on to:

"When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and said to the Tempter, 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every living Word that comes out of the mouth of God.' It is this that is the Word of God. God speaks to you."

Where did that come from? Help me out here, Charley, I am really trying to follow you.

Charley994: To the Peters Family Posting you are wrong to assume that Innerland was written for Eberhard Arnold's Doctoral theses. It was not. Innerland was the very last book which Eberhard Arnold wrote. In fact he actually did not finish it. Eberhard Arnold's doctoral thesis was on Nietzsche.

Bill Peters: I have been asking for more information regarding the origins of this book, since I have come across conflicting accounts. Maybe you can clear this up. Isn't it important to know the source and authenticity of any inspirationally devoted piece? In my personal copy, there is neither credit for translator nor notes supporting additions, deletions and changes from the original text. It is difficult to reconcile the claim that it was Eb's last book with the evidence in other writings, that it was written in 1913-14 as "Innenland: The War, a Challenge to Inner Life" and that parts were published during that time as magazine articles titled "Greetings from the Mountains" and the existence of an earlier edition in which I thought it was claimed to originate as a doctoral thesis. I will try to get that copy and reread the forward. Also, The Peace of God was published in 1940 by the Plough Publishing House. This book was advertised as a translation of a chapter of "Innerland: A Guide into the Soul of the Bible."...

Emmy Barth (Woodcrest): Whew! OK, Bill. You asked for it. Here goes. First of all, there is a footnote on p. 501 of the book describing how the book was finished after Arnold's death. Re: the early editions of the book, let me quote Markus Baum's biography of Eberhard Arnold again:

"In spring and summer 1914 Eberhard Arnold's thoughts already returned at times to Germany; he felt himself sufficiently recovered and wondered if he could take up his preaching and ministering tasks again in the autumn. The doctors urged him to spend a second winter in Tyrol. First and foremost he devoted himself to writing a series of articles. They were to sum up his spiritual insights. Two contributions were printed in the newspaper "Auf der Warte" (On Guard): "Sin and Pride" (May 1914) and "Soul and Spirit" (August 1914).

A further eight articles were all printed in the Evangelical Alliance magazine. The first appeared in May 3, 1914, under the title "Inner Experiences" and began almost word for word where Living Churches ended, with the Kingdom of God. The other articles followed at two-week intervals: "Peace and {Stimmungen}," "The Inward Life" (Kutter!), "The Conscience, Its Origin and Activity," and "The Conscience, Its Restoration to Health through God," "The Inner Light," "The Living Word within Us," and finally "The Temple of the Spirit and our Inner Heart."

"With the final article, in July 1914, the Evangelical Alliance magazine announced the simultaneous publication by P. Ott, Gotha, of the book "Inward Life" by Eberhard Arnold. But it all turned out differently [because of the war]."

Eberhard describes this himself in telling about Else von Hollander after her death in January 1932:

"Then in 1913 when we went to the Tyrol, it was clear to us that while we were there we had to be given a deeper clarity about our deeper responsibility toward public life, that we must press forward to an inner life that permeates the entire structure of society.

"Else occupied herself with Jakob Huter and his influence, with the mystery of the experience of God, and above all with the Bible itself. The book Innenland then came into being."

Markus Baum describes the war version of Inner Land. Baum is critical of Arnold's attitude during World War I. He shows how Arnold was swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the day.

"Eberhard Arnold worked through his book Inwendiges Leben {Inward Life}. It was already prepared for press, but he completely revised it by introducing patriotic undertones. It came onto the market with the title Der Krieg,ein Aufruf zur Innerlichkeit {The War,a Call to Inwardness}. The cover was adorned with a billowing black, white, and red flag displaying the iron cross, and it differed in no particular from dozens of other books that appeared in those days in support of the "just and righteous {wahrhaften}" war. With this book, as with all the others, the flag masked the truth; nationalistic feeling clouded insight into historical reality; side-swipes about "the enemy's crimes" promoted nothing but self-justification and limited the work's contemporary significance to the immediate present {auf den Augenblick}.

Bill Peters: Thank you for your cogent and well researched reply to my missive, Emmy. I am so tired of listening to people just banging the gong. It is refreshing to hear a new voice with a mind capable of handling more than vain proselytization. You are absolutely right about the footnote on page 501! I hadn't read that far. Do you know who actually did the rewrites and the translations? Is it possible for you distill Innerland into something useful for cognitively impaired folks with a low threshold of boredom, like me?

I could not help but notice that you are from the Bruderhof. Is that correct? I know that there was some concern voiced earlier about discussions about the Bruderhof. The Bruderhof, though, is apparently the fruit of this man, Eberhard Arnold's, greatest work and thus is relevant living testimonial to Innerland. I hope it will be acceptable to ask how Inner Land has had a direct effect upon you, your life and your community. It appears paradoxical that a book with a "billowing black, white, and red flag displaying the iron cross" in its history could produce a harmonious community. In what ways could the nationalistic origins of Eberhard's works have influenced the directions of today's Bruderhof? Thanks again,

PhilBrad (Woodcrest): On 09 Feb., Peters family writes "The fact that Arnold was influenced so much by Nietzsche is interesting in that Nietsche was the philosopher of National Socialism. I am veering far from calling Eberhard Arnold a Nazi, for I know that he took great efforts to avoid supporting the Hitler movement, but it does present a good argument that Innenland was influenced by the politics and sentiments of that time (WW1-WW2) in Germany."

Hello? Bill, is anyone really home?

Bill Peters: Here you go again, Philbo! Every time anyone in this discussion makes a comment that you don't like, you or your buddy, "Charles" (AKA "Johann Christof Arnold", grandson of Eberhard Arnold, AKA "senior elder of the Bruderhof, AKA editor-in-chief of the Plough") tries to mount a distasteful personal attack and kick them out of the discussion.

From what I have read, you do that at home in the Bruderhof, also. What a sad situation. I hope that you do not impose any of your shunnings or exclusions on Emmy for answering my questions with honesty. Look, Philbo, we are discussing the book. We are not trying to sell it. If you need to push it that badly, then I suggest that you discard your computer and go find a street corner to stand on. You can't kick me out! Get it? I suggest that you simply do not read my postings any more. Then you will not feel so unkindly disposed.

PhilBrad: I'm afraid, Bill, your comments really beg the question: have you actually read anything in Innerland.

Bill Peters: Yes, otherwise, how would I know that it is painfully boring, vague and suspicious? I am reading chapter two and I have to admit that every time I put it down, it gets harder to pickup. I have been forcing myself to read Innerland by making sure it is the only book in the bathroom.

PhilBrad: What makes you feel "Arnold was influenced so much by Nietzsche?"

Bill Peters: Well, Duhhh! Don't you think the fact that Eb did his "doctoral thesis" on Nietzsche, might just indicate that he was influenced by this man?

PhilBrad: What is the point you're trying to make here? Elsewhere in this news group you characterize Innerland as "boring" and lacking depth.

Bill Peters: I guess you got that one pretty straight, Philbo. According to Emmy's research, Innenland was so boring that the Nazis didn't bother to ban it.

PhilBrad: You're certainly not reading the same book I am.

Bill Peters: That may very well be the case, since it has been rewritten so many times. See the notes at the bottom.

PhilBrad: Perhaps you've got some other issues to deal with which are distracting you from getting any benefit from this book.

Bill Peters: How presumptuous of you! Of course I have received "benefit" from my copies of Inner Land. I am sure that you receive much more "benefit" for the "spam job" you are trying put over.

"Phil Bradley" Your address is listed as "Phil Bradshaw". Regards, Bill (Pete) Peters (not a pseudonym)

Charley994: Dear Friends: What impresses me about Innerland that it is kind of an undiscovered treasure which is still to be unearthed. My only plea is that we stick with this discussion and really get through with it. We should also tell our friends about it so that many more get involved.

Bill Peters: I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

Charley994: Dear Blair Purcell I would really appreciate it also you Wayne Chesley that if you take part that you from now on stick to the topic matter and not deviate anymore like in your previous postings. I am getting sick and tired about your postings which actually only hinder further searching of the truth together.

Bill Peters: Charley, don't read their postings and you will feel better! You should also check with your doctor. Large doses of reality can have uncomfortable side effects if you are not used to it."

Blair Purcell: [posting on a slightly different topic] It is interesting that Christoph has completely failed to respond to the reasonable questioning of the identity of Charles. Just ignored it -- in the hopes that the question will just go away.

The sad part is that Emmy Barth and Milton Zimmerman continue the charade. It was to have been expected of Johann Christoph Arnold.

Charley994: According to Doug Moody's introduction: "One of today's writers and scholars in Germany wrote us in July l974: "Eberhard Arnold is one of the most impressive witnesses for Christ in this century."

This to me is an amazing statement. If this is true why is Eberhard Arnold so unknown to American Scholarship today"

There is so much change so much struggling going on in America for a better or a more just Society. Just yesterday we where at a memorial Service for a Black Sister who had died of Cancer. The Community Center of the town of Ossining was used. There where about 400 people there. The testimony this woman was given was just amazing. She was a true revolutionary of which our country needs many more.

Bill Peters: What part of Germany is "Ossining"? You did say you were in Germany, didn't you? Maybe that was another "Charles"."

Charley994: Dear Wayne [Chesley] this is meant in all love ... Aren't you a very unhappy man underneath? You could so much more joyful that one would feel it in your postings. Something from Christ himself would radiate out if your postings really come from your heart.

And perhaps is that not the reason "Why you left the Community? So my plea to you dear Wayne is take Innerland more seriously. Forget that you are an MIT Graduate Summa Cum Laude. In the eyes of God this means nothing. Anyhow here are a few unscattered thoughts. Feedback is always appreciated.

Bill Peters: Now you know all about what God sees! Maybe you should write a book, Charley. You could call it uhhh, I Tell You a Story or It is a Mystery to Me? or "Begging for Truth and Clarity"."

Bill Peters:...I am going to stray from the questions again to say that chapter 2, "The Heart", is about the most strained 30 page metaphor I have ever had the discomfort of reading. Eberhard must have been getting paid by the word to waste so many of them on such a simple proposition.

I did find a couple of excerpts worth quoting in light of the current situation.

"In the Scriptures, anyone is marked as unhappy who has to hide himself in an armor of lies and dishonesty because he wants to appear different from what he really is. Whoever gets entangled in hypocrisy and deceit cannot open up and pour out his heart even before God." p. 43

"The heart is the inner character." p. 55

The essence of chapter 2! It would have saved a lot of paper to start and stop here.

PhilBrad: Though I had resolved not to dignify some of the more obnoxious postings appearing here recently with a response, I feel moved to make a suggestion at this time:

Most of us, I believe, would prefer to discuss Innerland on its own merits, and we're really not interested in personal attacks or broad complaints about any group associated in some way with the book.

Bill Peters: If you respond to the "more obnoxious" postings you would be talking to yourself, Philbo. Are you referring to the "most of us" that are in your club, Philbo? Are "personal attacks" different from your "corporate" attacks"

PhilBrad: Bill Peters, if it should be that a majority of us participating in this discussion would prefer that you resolve your gripes directly with the people involved rather than in this public forum, would you agree, out of respect to the rest of us, to limit your postings to comments on the book?

Bill Peters: I will if you will, Philbo. Go ahead, take a vote. Just tell me, does "Charley" get to vote 3 times?"

PhilBrad: I realize you are free to post whatever you want here, so I'm really asking this as a favor from you to the rest of us.

Bill Peters: Excuse me, Philbo!! I didn't realize you represented such a following!" Is this sort of like one of those call-ins, where everybody decides what to do with "Larry Lobster" (Cook him or set him free)? Well, get the pot boiling, Philbo.

The question is: Do we "shun and exclude" Bill Peters so Philbo can be happy and sell books? Or do we let Bill continue his candid, honest assessment of this long tract posing as a book."

Markos99: [here the writers take up a different topic] Is there any place to learn more about the Bruderhof on the Internet?? There own web page was quite good and I also read the one by Wayne Chesley. Wow - what a story!

Mark Fawcett: First let me say that I'm not a member of the Bruderhof. The opinions expressed are my own. Secondly I think it is well to remember that folks leaving groups such as the Bruderhofs do so with strong emotions. They tend to carry a lot of baggage with them. Their stories are hardly objective. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing anyone of lying, just that their stories may be distorted by the emotional baggage they're carrying.

If you want a rounded view of the Bruderhofs, I would suggest reading several books that present a positive point of view. There are several out there. I have found two in my own library. They are written by outsiders. It easy to jump on a group because we don't agree with their views. At least give them a fair hearing. I'm sure others would appreciate the titles -- in all seriousness.

Russ Eanes Spring Valley Bruderhof: Dear Mark, Thanks for your refreshing reply. I think that what you have said about people leaving groups is very true and is something that needs to be heard. It certainly balances out the picture. I would encourage you to come for a visit to one of our communities if you want to "round out" the picture. We have nothing to hide. Much better to form your opinions on a personal visit than on a lot of gossip and slander. You can contact me if you are interested.

Blair Purcell: Gossip is that which you don't know from your own personal experience. Slander is the spoken word which is provably untrue and which impugns and maligns the honesty and good reputation of a person or entity entitled to protection of the law. Libel is more or less the same action(s) but in written form.

If the Bruderhof is able to disprove any of the following statements to the satisfaction of any mutually selected third party, I will donate $500 to the Christian charity of their choice -- other than their own.

1. Over two thousand harassing phone calls in about thirty days were received at an 800 number established to provide assistance to former Bruderhofers. These calls came primarily from the various Bruderhof locations in Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, as well as the golden 'hof itself in Rifton, New York or from (mostly) nearby phone booths outside their fenced properties. A few came from Canada and Puerto Rico, several from Savannah, Georgia (where Gulfstream Aviation was holding an owners conference -- guess which religious sect owns a Gulfstream jet aircraft?) and other locations throughout the United States. For serious students of harassment campaigns, I will be pleased to furnish a copy of the billings.

2. A tape recorder was discovered under the front porch of the home of an ex-minister of this sect in western Maryland. I saw the phone tap personally. Conversations recorded there "came back" to the participants from sources which almost certainly resulted from distribution of the tape recordings -- guess where and by whom?

3. When asked about the harassing phone calls, the elder of the Bruderhof explained, in a WCVB -- Boston TV interview, that the children (of the Bruderhof?) may have done it but he could not control them. There was also a spluttering comment about the importance of knowing what others are saying about your family.

Now, this is not gossip. These are a few of the things I know and can prove (would I dare not be able to prove -- because I have been sued by this Anabaptist (?) group already). If you repeat what I've said without examining the proof, that's gossip. If what I've said is untrue, I guess it would be libel -- in which case I'm liable to be sued again. And, as for slander, I'm willing to repeat each statement personally in any public forum to which the Bruderhof is willing to send a representative. I know who they won't send -- the man who courageously blamed the children of his community for the phone calls -- instead of accepting personal responsibility as a man of integrity would have done.

PS: I received a phone call yesterday from one of the corporate officers (Christian Domer) of the Bruderhof asking me to stop posting as I have done. I promised him I would stop when the Bruderhof began to allow former members and their families to visit relatives inside the Bruderhof (now you understand why I am so irritated with the Bruderhof). I also asked to meet with him in a mediated setting. He flatly refused that invitation.

For the Bruderhof, the weapon of control is access to family. For me, the weapon of persuasion is the glare of unfavorable publicity. This is not a religious question; Christians don't behave as these people do. To argue with them from a religious perspective is to offer them a status from which I believe they have long ago declined. Bill Peters: [referring to Russ Eanes' earlier posting] Russ, is that an open invitation? I mean, would I be welcome to visit the Bruderhof? Also, I know some people who would very much like to visit their families. Can they come, too? I would come almost anytime, but summer is better.

Wayne Chesley: [In response to Mark Fawcett's earlier post] I would not be quick myself to call the Bruderhof a cult, but I think it is reasonable to note cult-like characteristics and activities of the group. I do not think community of goods or "unity" are cult like characteristics, where they are especially based on plain scriptural principles. It is the (secret) behavior of the group, especially contrary to their professed beliefs and scriptural groundings, which is what I would call "cult-like". If the group maintaining those practices is honest about them and consistent in applying them, then perhaps not.

I certainly acknowledge that I'm not likely to be the most objective person. But of course neither are the Bruderhofers. There is little "objective" information about the Bruderhof. So anyone interested has to look at the "facts" presented by each side, each subjective in their own ways, and ask the right questions. When I was seeking I found little alternative material on the Bruderhof and the Bruderhof steered me away from what I found.

Agreed [about 'emotional baggage]. But don't write ex-members off so quickly. Some of us are victims calling out a warning to others. I wish I heard from ex-members before I joined. Experience was my teacher.

Again, agreed [about giving the Bruderhof a fair hearing- ed]. But you will not find a well rounded view in just reading the "positive" literature about them, written by "outsiders". A visitor planning to write a book about the communities is likely to be presented with a very nice picture when he visits. Hey, I was presented with a very orthodox, lovely picture when I was visiting. I thought I got a balanced view before I joined. But one who spends several weeks at the Bruderhof is likely to see things differently than one who has actually experienced "the life." Don't think they have a more balanced perspective than an ex-member. Don't write off the experiences of ex-members just because they conclude some negative things about the communities. Of course the other alternative is to go and join yourself. Then you will know the truth, on way or another. Peace,

Charley994: After you all now know who Charles is let me take the opportunity to express something about the chapter of "The Heart" which for me is one of the most precious and possibly one of the deepest chapters of Innerland. Wayne, would you not agree that this chapter deserves a lot of attention and most of all a lot of prayer.

Charley994: Dear participants I want to make one thing clear. My name is Christoph Arnold but I am going to post as Charles. If anyone has a problem with that, well that is too bad. I would like to stick to Innenland when I post and not to my name. I love the book Innenland much too much for that. It is a book I refer to again and again.

So if I have offended anyone, please forgive me. Wishing everyone the best. By the way I am on Chapter 4. It is really now getting exciting and I hope our discussions are accordingly. Looking forward to the future.

Markos99: I have been reading these sharp attacks on Charley995 with disbelief. Now I find it really difficult to understand why Christof Arnold would actually try to pretend to be someone he is not.

Over and over he has pronounced how great this book is without ever telling how his grandfather came to write it. Tell us about that please. Only you can know that so well and deeply.

Charley994: What happened to the Innerland discussions. They were going so good. Let's continue. All the best,

Bill Peters: Yeah, Boy! The discussions sure are better than the (yawn) book. Charley, I read your book. I know you are shy about it. You shouldn't be! You are a much more entertaining author than your grandfather. Maybe we can roll over into a discussion of that one after (sigh) Innerland.

[From a second 'thread' or conversation on the Bruderhof from the same news group:]

Mark Fawcett: What I would like to see in this thread is a dialog between some folks from the Bruderhofs and those who take an opposing view. It probably won't solve anything, but I prefer dialog to one sided views.

Wayne Chesley: I think that would be a fine idea. It is one reason why I started this thread. I've already made a few points, as have others. Perhaps Russ or someone else at the Bruderhof would discuss some of these matters, or other issues.

I think Blair Purcell' list of incidents begs the questions, why did the Bruderhof take these actions (harassing phone calls, phone taps etc...) and will they turn away from such policies and practices as not allowing contact from outside family members who read the KIT newsletter or associate with the Bruderhof's critics? Will the Bruderhof engage in mediated dialogue with representatives of ex-members and outside family members?

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KIT: When Blair Purcell earlier in the above discussion first challenged 'Charley' to reveal himself as Christoph, part of the dialogue went as follows:

Charley994, 2/16/97: Dear Blair: Whoever I am is completely beside the point. We are supposed to discuss Innerland. Will you do that or not? That is the question. Charles.

Blair Purcell: Dear Christoph, Whoever you are is not beside the point. You are the grandson of the author of this book -- which gives you a unique and valuable perspective in its discussion. Your input as Christoph Arnold would be insightful, respected and revealing; instead you post as Charles or Charley and set about pretending to be that which you are not.

You are behaving in a manner that reflects very poorly on the Bruderhof. You and those who would post to news groups under false names to achieve higher goals simply don't realize the damage you do to the Bruderhof and what it should stand for.

If you choose to hide your identity that is your business. When you hide behind a veil of self-serving hypocrisy and attempt to deceive others who might be drawn to the Bruderhof as a way of life, then I will continue to simply tell others what you are doing. And the kind of life they might expect.

That's called free speech.

I honestly believe a basically decent man like yourself with the world experience you have gained should more clearly understand the advantages to the Bruderhof of resolving outstanding differences between your church and its outside children (and their families). Why don't you and I personally work on that - by private e-mail?

Or, better yet, in the company of the Mennonite Conciliation Service? They are the professionals in this field. Think how good the Bruderhof would look in the eyes of this widely respected religious community (small "c")? Let your real light of love and forgiveness shine through.

And, if your new book is to be on forgiveness, let the first chapter reflect the actions you have taken to bring your families together again. Think how still your critics would become. Think how many of those books those on the outside would endorse and sell on your behalf.

Remember one thing: As a group and as individuals there are many former Bruderhofers who will never abandon their families or their principles. We admire your way of life -- until that way of life drives wedges between father and daughter, mother and son, between uncle and niece, grandfather and grandchild. Our families may find themselves forced to abandon us but we will not abandon them. Ever. As a matter of principle.

And if the reconciliation we seek never comes about, let me assure you that most of us will still forgive you. As a matter of principle. That doesn't mean we won't continue to speak out; we will. Love,

KIT: As of March 1st, Christoph Arnold's pseudonymous 'Charley' account was not responding to e-mail.

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Susie Wurtz Stewart, 2/28/97: For seven years I was, as Susie Wurtz, a member of the Ark of the New Covenant Community reported on in the February, 1997, issue of KIT [p. 6]. I was for the nineteen years prior to this a resident of the Glendale and Sunset Hutterite colonies in South Dakota. The Argus Leader article "Breakaway Hutterites Return To South Dakota Roots," reprinted in KIT, was actually first published in that newspaper in the fall of 1996. I was well aware of its glaring misrepresentations then, but the KIT forum now gives me a good opportunity to respond publicly.

James Wainscoat seems to be painting a picture of the Ark group as little more than a band of former Hutterites loosely gathered together in hopes of being "educated" and prepared by him for successful individual living in the outside world. He was the worldly-wise 'father' figure training the ignorant Hutterite 'Rip Van Winkles' in the ways and expectations of mainstream society. If this were true, it would certainly make me appear a most pathetic student since I spent an entire seven years with him and the group. His version is, in fact, a bold-faced lie.

My parents were put out of the Sunset colony in March of 1988. At age 19, I was still at home and I had a part in establishing a life outside the colony. Within the first two months before going to join Wainscoat, we had found a place to live, had money in the bank, a dependable family car, and my dad had a nice job. We were not longer dressing as Hutterites and were getting more comfortable relating to the people around us. As anyone even a little bit familiar with Hutterites knows, most who leave the colonies do incredibly well, especially financially, based on the skills acquired -- sewing, carpentry, farming, livestock-raising, and the strong work ethic instilled. Farmers and builders located in proximity to Hutterite colonies consider themselves blessed when able to hire ex-Hutterite employees. The reputation of these skilled laborers precedes them. The idea of ex-Hutterites, of all people, need help 'making it' in the world is ridiculous. The thing that ex-Hutterites are often victims of is not homeless or employment. It is exploitation, particularly of a spiritual nature. This is where James Wainscoat comes in.

Why would a loose knit group of folks learning about American society 'choose' to call themselves "The Ark of The New Covenant?" That is an awfully boastful religious title, don't you think? Why would they hold all their property and income in common? Why would they design plain clothes uniforms (including head coverings for the women) to wear? Why would the husbands and wives of the group sometimes be forced to separate from one another for months at a time? Why would people in the group be asked to shun anyone who questioned their behavior, including members of one's own family? The answer is because this group was nothing more and nothing less than a religious cult.

James Wainscoat was our unquestioned leader. He was the one who said the group needed a name and chose "The Ark," claiming it was the name revealed to him by God. It was Wainscoat who demanded the communal economy, setting himself up as the sole unaccountable steward of every penny we earned. It is he, with the help of his daughter, who put us back into the uniform dress that my family had thrown off. It is James Wainscoat who determined the 'measure of faith' of each individual, dictating even at times whether or not married couples were 'compatible' enough to sleep in the same bed.

From the very beginning of the community, we were taught by Wainscoat that we were the one remaining remnant of God's people and that others would one day be added in large numbers to make up the body or the Bride that Christ would return for in his Second Coming. He taught us that he was God's 'apostle-in-the-making,' and that only obedience to him would keep us in right standing with Christ. Because I do believe that Christ will someday return for a body that is united physically as well as spiritually, I put my trust in James Wainscoat's interpretation of scripture and also his assurance that we were in the will of God with him as our shepherd.

The Argus Leader article says, "Wainscoat said he tried to guide the former Hutterites slowly toward the outside world." But in fact, his religious doctrines and his dress code alienated us as much from the world around us as anything we ever practiced as Hutterites. He never ever encouraged us to leave the group and seek independent lives. He told us instead that our only hope lay within the group where we were preparing ourselves, under his instruction, to receive what he called "The Infilling."

Quoting Wainscoat from The Argus Leader again, he said, "The Ark of The New Covenant community was never anything more than a few families of ex-Hutterites. They would find their way and it was just beautiful because it was like a bed of varied flowers blooming." Having been a devoted Ark member from the beginning to the end, I know how untrue that statement is. If Wainscoat really felt like we were a "bed of varied flowers blooming," why then, when anyone left, was his greatest wish that the "flower" wither up and die? Those who left the group and his authority were "turning back to their vomit." Not one single person, including myself, left the group with Wainscoat telling them that he was glad we were now able to make it on our own and no longer in need of his guidance. Instead, all were condemned as unfaithful to the spirit of Christ and some, like my uncle Samuel, left with Wainscoat casting a curse over their future lives.

I quite admittedly put my trust in Wainscoat's spiritual discernment for the full seven years I remained with the group. I even heeded his counsel initially in my relationship with John Stewart, the man who is now my husband, when Wainscoat told me that John was a deceiver and would take me to destruction right along with himself. It took me some time to see who the real deceiver was, and a bit longer to get up the courage to apologize to John. There is still a rift between one of my sisters and me because of the intensity with which I defended our spiritual beliefs and turned against others, with no fruit to back up my claims. All of these things I would not have given myself to under the counsel of someone who was merely trying to help me make it in the world-at-large. That would have made me a fool. My participation in The Ark of The New Covenant community was, from beginning to end, however misguided, an attempt to be faithful to Almighty God. I am not ashamed of this. I believe that God powerfully rewarded that faith by bringing to me the man who is now my husband

I would almost certainly still be in California under the sway of James Wainscoat if it had not been for the month that John spent with the community in the summer of 1995. Many people before John had been critical of James and the beliefs of our group, and I rejected every one, strongly defending our community's faith. But John didn't come as a harsh critic. He came to us in California as a simple act of his own faith, knowing very little about Wainscoat and the true authoritative nature of our group. John very quickly became concerned about the fruit in our lives and began putting some deep questions to Wainscoat and the rest of us.

John was not throwing the baby out with the bath water, as so many Born Again Christians had done. He tried to scripturally separate the wheat from the chaff, showing us the things we believed that were not truly founded, and showing us how the doctrines we professed that were truly founded were not actually being lived out in our daily lives. He did all of this in a spirit of love and humility. He had been seeking the Kingdom for many years of his life already, and desperately wanted to see us all come together and begin living a genuinely holy life as brothers and sisters. I was struck to the heart in a way I had never been before by his insights. Though James quickly condemned John as a divisive "David Koresh type," and told John it was best that he pack his bags and go, within seven months I made my break with Wainscoat and began again the correspondence with John that I had severed (under Wainscoat's urging, of course).

I was truly shocked to the core by James Wainscoat's comments in The Argus Leader about the group that I knew firsthand, the group that he started and led. I had, before the publication of that article, come to see the man as a self-deluded religious hypocrite (a Hutterite preacher), but now, I am afraid to say, that definition does not apply. Having been in the middle of the Ark from the beginning, I see there are only two possibilities. Wainscoat is either a mentally disturbed psychotic, possibly a result of his service in Vietnam (this is what his ex-wife and daughter now believe), or an absolute deceiver and con man, as my husband put it in the article, who took us "on his own personal ride." It has to be one or the other. Only God knows for sure, and I am glad He has the power and wisdom to execute His justice accordingly.

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Lee Kleiss, 12/20/96: I do hope to hear from many of you for since my world has closed in tight around me, I need letters and phone contacts. The most helpful have been from another post-polio syndrome sufferer who can only crawl and a blind friend who told me: "You are strong, I see you already scooting around on a scooter."

The summer of 1995 was great, and a greater repeat was planned for 1996. I drove with my grandchildren on two 2,000 mile trips. In early summer, to Friends General Conference in Kalamazoo Michigan, visiting many Friends along the way, including a swim at Friends Lake Community, and ending with Yearly Meeting in Greensboro. Our second trip took us to NY State and Boston to attend the ex-Bruderhof KIT conference and visit my daughter Susie in Boston. We spend Friday evening from five P.M. to closing at the Children's Museum and headed straight for Ithaca, NY, with just a short sleep and a berry-picking break, to visit my German cousin married to a Chinese with a lovely daughter, Sonja.

Twice that summer I fell flat on my face when I stubbed my left toe, but tended to catch myself when I stubbed my right one. October, 1995, I then went for a routine check-up but mentioned the occasional discomfort in my left hip and the falls. Prescription -- a high dose of Ibuprofen -- and that really did me in. Within two weeks my walkability left me. Instead of looking forward for the freedom of retirement, travel and possible service in the Peace Corps or else, I am nearly confined to the house. With the precaution of hand controls on my car, I can still drive. I enter and leave the house by the rear, where there are only two steps to climb. Especially last winter I had the added fear of collapsing there and no one knowing. Tina and the children had moved to Memphis on October 1, 1995. October 22nd I had collapsed inside my front door and it was a half-hour before I could even drag myself inside and pull myself up into a chair. Now that I am more cautious and do not push myself, the falls and collapses are rare.

My hopes kept running high as I was passed from primary care physician to orthopedist to neurosurgeon who declared after an MRI and Mylogram that it was operable only to declare on the next visit: "I can't do anything for you -- you just better get used to it -- come back in six weeks!" What for? To line his pocket? Then I tried a neurologist who tried various medications and acupuncture and I kept getting worse. He finally did declare it must be post-polio syndrome, as he has three other cases with this condition. It took the insurance company six weeks to get me a walker, but cannot find any with wheels or with seats for resting. As no one was giving me any useful advice, I requested at least to visit a physical therapist who put me on the wrong kind of pool exercise, even though I had given her a reprint of an article on exercise for post-polio victims. It took three people to get me out of the pool and get me to the dressing room. No grab bars anywhere, not even in the slippery shower. Again I did not return, but we had a good laugh over the facility that exists to provide therapy for the handicapped!!

I had to buy a scooter, and taught only two courses last spring, but was still hoping for a miracle. So much was planned for the summer of 1996 -- with FGC in Canada, a visit with my Canadian cousin, the long-planned Bruderhof reunion in Germany with the added visit again with my last aunt, Mother's cousin, Mile Braach. Added to all this came an official invitation from People to People to visit China as a Physical Chemist I had long dreamed of teaching there or in South Africa upon retirement. Now, I want to put retirement off. I can still teach with the help of a scooter, our lab assistants and knowing what equipment and facilities we have here.

Now for the good news. My tenant in the mountains is worried for her future. Her health is preventing her from climbing in the mountains, picking galax, and then dragging the hundred-pound load back to their camp area. On top of it she has taken on the responsibility of raising her youngest grandchild. She hopes she can stay in the River House with its efficiency apartment, and I hope she stays. Again we stayed with her this summer, and shared the excitement of the birth of the baby girl.

Life is truly more novel than any novel.

Susie has recently moved in Boston to Harvard street in Cambridge, a much safer area than Roxbury, even though the view from the hill was nice, but also cold and chilly in winter winds. She seems much happier in her new location.

Tina wants to move back to Raleigh some time this Spring, but is hesitating giving up a good salaried job. The grandkids are thriving. Jacinta is now planning to join Arthur Morgan School in the mountains by Celo Community next year for her eighth grade. Stephon will return and live with his mom, and I will be searching for a roommate in exchange for room and board and perhaps tuition. Any suggestions? 2/24/97: Tina will be returning to Raleigh within a week or two. She was shocked at the cost of renting a truck to move, much higher than when she moved to Memphis. My calling ended with much cheaper rates, because they allow me to use my AARP discount -- 60% of the other rates quoted. As we all age, it is worth while joining AARP!

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Adolf & Evie Pleil, 2/15/97: In response to the February newsletter -- dear Carol, yes it is a shame that you are good enough to buy and hopefully sell the Bruderhof's "Death Book," but still are no closer to your parents. Such a book does not deserve any praise. Since when is Christoph Arnold such a pastoral figure? I wonder what they [Christoph and Verenli -- ed] could possibly offer to people that need counseling! From what I understand, you need special training to be an effective counselor. I wonder what certification they hold? It sounds like Christoph and his wife are afraid of dying and need counseling themselves.

Christian Domer's letter to Mr. Waldner is very arrogant and lofty. The Hutterites deserve to be treated with respect. Why doesn't the Bruderhof sweep in front of their own doorsteps for once instead of accusing the "West" all the time? What goes on right under their noses? Have things changed that much since 1976? For us there was no forgiveness or confidentiality. Every trespass was recorded in a file. People are stamped for life for their misdoings and, worst of all, one has to live side-by-side with one another. That's too close for comfort!

Even in our days, Mark Kurtz received a phone call (while interrogating Adolf) in his office and went right to the files to look up the "history" of whomever he was called about. This is repulsive! Has this really changed?

The Plea For Purity book leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. For someone who does not know the ins and outs of the Commune, it sounds so wonderful. But our experience was different. The word 'sex' was never mentioned in all our many years there. Not even before our marriage were we informed about anything. Since when is "sex" a religion?

Wolfgang Loewenthal's mention of the Legend of the Urutau reminds us of our own life on the Commune. Legend has it that this bird is mourning for a home to call its own. The mother bird does not have a nest for her eggs and holds them in her claws until the chicks hatch. One Urutau that Adolf and I remember, we saw by the bell in Isla Margarita, clutching one egg in its claw. No home, no nest, and the constant fear for her family being snatched away. That was how life was for us on the Commune. Keine Heimat. Greetings to All,

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Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, 2/23/97: We have been here in our beach house on Ameland Island for almost ten days now, and will leave for Drachten tomorrow. I just needed the rest as both my eyes' optic nerves are inflamed due to the MS. There is little I can do about this. The Prednisone once a month does help the inflammatory area from forming scar issue to such an extent that blindness would follow (I hope!!). Nevertheless, it is painful and very irritating when reading, and writing becomes so difficult, but I think I should be thankful that I am the way I am! It is lovely here, with spring in the air. I noticed the first snowdrops in our garden this morning, and the forsythia has big yellow buds. So let's hope that winter will soon be over! Today the skies are very blue. I can hear the sea and the seagulls, and this morning we had three deer in our garden!

I managed to read the February KIT bit by bit, and have the feeling that the letters are getting better and better, with something in them for every person. I enjoy reading Leonard's 'Primavera History" stories, and a lot of childhood feelings return. Somehow I would really love to write to everyone, but that is not possible. I remember Katherine Brookshire well from Woodcrest days, and admire Hans Zimmermann for trying such a big marathon in the mountains. I think it is wonderful for every person to give their ideas and share their thoughts with all of us. Carol's letter to Joe Keiderling was very courageous, and it was good to see Konrad's name again, as well as Hilarion's! I laughed about the V.I.P.-poor-Will! I wonder who wrote that one! I never knew that Nicky Maas also had a daughter. I met her in Woodcrest, 1961, and always thought she only had the two boys. So sad to hear how you are made to suffer by people that believe that they are really Christians!

The letters that really impressed me are the letters from Cornerstone Magazine in answer to Christoph Arnold's stupid and inflated letter, and the letter from Tarrel Miller to John Hostetler. Dear Tarrel Miller, thank you for letting your letter be printed in KIT. It is a help to all of us who still would like to call ourselves Anabaptists. It is a scandal that the leaders of the Bruderhof today have such a close affinity with the Roman Catholic church and brag about their 'great contacts' in such a way! Cardinal Ratzinger has a very bad name in Germany, as he was a great follower of the Nazi regime and helped with 'the finals solution' for the Jews. He now has a great part in the leadership of the Roman church.

There was a little article in the paper last week that the pope wants to take Martin Luther out of the Ban on the visit the pope is planning for Germany in the near future. He wanted to visit the Wartburg in Eisenach to see the place where Luther translated the Bible into German and lift the Ban after so many centuries, as he feels that Luther was really very much ahead of his time and age, and actually a great help to the church by his daring opposition. Ratzinger advised the pope not to do this and the German bishops signed under Ratzinger, so the pope's idea was torpedoed.

I feel the close work with the Roman church to be a dramatic change in Bruderhof history, and not for the better. It's something so far from the ideas of my grandfather and the early Hutterites that it makes me terribly sad. I think you have to understand that Johann Christoph Arnold never had any theological study or training, and that he just rolled into the leadership by inheritance (as if the Spirit of God can be inherited by any of us!). He is very naive about all churches. In the Roman Church he found people that stand for some of the ideas he feels he needs to stand for, such as abortion, separation, divorce, remarriage, euthanasia. He feels this to be a terrific discovery because as a Bruderhof child he knows and knew nothing about the beliefs of other churches. So it is this naivete that makes him work closely with people he feels think alike.

If he had some knowledge about the Roman church, he might just think and act differently! I feel it to be of the greatest importance that all association with the name of the Hutterites be forbidden to the Bruderhof people. The Hutterites should take a clear and open stand against the Bruderhof as long as the Bruderhof practice their religion is this manner. I would like to say, though, that the ordinary brother or sister in the Bruderhof knows little of what their leaders are up to and mostly are very afraid of being shunned, excluded and separated from their families. Also they are so brain-washed that they would not dare to think a thought of their own. This may be the worst part of the Bruderhof today. We need all of you to help us find a way to make this clear to the Bruderhof. They demonize us, their own children., for reading and being "KIT." They need us to be their enemy in order to feel righteous about their actions.

I have nothing against the Roman church, nor against the Bruderhof people who need to live the way they want to, but I feel very bad about mixing up the two! Also I feel it to be a great wrong to be so harsh on people who see no way other than suicide or abortion their fetuses as long as the Bruderhof make themselves guilty of separating couples, children from their parents and, above all, speaking evil about us and thinking that in "fighting the devil," everything is permissible and allowed, such as tapping our phones, using a telephone help line for abuse, and harassing those that they sent away in the first place.

In all these things, it is clear that the Bruderhof no longer follows the way that the Bible taught us, but their own primitive feelings of hate and love without any reverence towards our human lives! This is most certainly not what Eberhard Arnold died and lived for.

2/23/97, To Cornerstone Magazine:

Dear friends: thank you for your very good and lengthy reply to Johann Christoph Arnold's letter from December, 1996. Please understand that Johann Christoph does not represent all of the Bruderhof. He knows little about theology and theological thinking. He acts on what we were brought up to believe and that is, that living in community of goods is the way God wants his people to live. Therefore the Bruderhof is always a little step ahead of any normal church or vision. For the cause of Brotherhood, therefore, it is permissible to do all the things that other Christians would normally reject. I will give you the example of my parents:

My father led the Bruderhof communities through the times of trial and tribulation, the time of being forced to leave Nazi Germany, the time when we left the safety of England to start over again in the backwoods of Paraguay with nothing but our bare lives. The Bruderhof 'hero-worshipped' my father in a way that would not be good for any man, and he fell into adultery. He confessed to his sins and was given a ticket to Germany and $20 to make a life away from his family. My youngest sister was only 8 years old. He repented, begged to return home and speak with my mother, all to no avail. He was never visited, his letters never answered. He was completely rejected and never given a chance to reconcile with my mother. He died 14 years later (20 years ago) without being allowed to make peace with his church and family. Now the Bruderhof can used the scripture to tell the world that divorce is sinful, but is it not even more sinful to prevent a sinner from repentance, or shall I say making peace with those he loves in this life?

Another thing that happened many times on the Bruderhof is that one parent wanted to join and the other did not. So the family was separated "for the sake of the faith." I know of at least two mothers that stayed behind in England during the war with their children while their husbands left for Paraguay. Is that not also separation and divorce?

I thank you for taking Christoph Arnold's letter seriously enough to give it such a long and theological answer. Sure, we can find enough in the bible to justify anything we do, but it is important, I think , never to forget the most important thing, and that is love! Love like it is taught to us in the Letter to the Corinthians:

13-1: "If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal! If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God and if I also have absolute faith which can move mountains but have no love, I amount to nothing at all! If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing!

"This love I speak of is slow to lose patience. It looks always for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive, it is neither anxious to impress not does it cherish ideas of its own importance!

"Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.

"Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen!"

I wrote out the whole part because it seems to answer all I want to say about the Bruderhof, where it seems that LOVE is lost and has been lost for many years.

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Jay Streeter, 1/14/97: Dear Mutual Aid Society, please use the enclosed $20 to help people maintain some civil relationship and possible contact. To an 'outsider' who respects both those who made a go of the communal lifestyle and also those who have been rejected, ejected or self-selected to go it alone, either way a degree of courage and hope is most necessary so that people may live the circumstances that life deals them with some degree of hope and dignity.

Often it seems that KIT readers are twice refugees, once fleeing the worldly society in hope of a better one and having committed themselves, thrust from hence without any material aid. But there may be some degree of consolation in that many of you are free-born American citizens who can seem your constitutional heritage that gives assurance of rights of association, free assembly, ownership of personal property. That one can voluntarily suspend these personal rights to share the lot of a communal society does not abrogate the common rights of a citizen who may choose to live where and how he likes as long as his actions conform to civil law.

As a KIT association, you are free to communicate, to help one another, to set up a credit union or a cooperative, or associate with those that do whether the Bruderhof endorses this or denies it. Your personal responsibility as American citizens is to be aware of and exercise your rights so dearly purchased by the signers of the American Declaration of Independence. Whilst an inalienable right, the pursuit of happiness presupposes an actual effort to seek and to find one's personal happiness. The possibility of finding happiness is a personal responsibility, not one of the church of state, which are institutions of spiritual and social order.

For those with Internet access or possible library or university access, I am recommending a search of alt.religion.unitarian/universalism. humanism, with a particular focus on the Treaty of Torda, the first religious offer of personal liberty in a political state, and the Racovian Confession as a statement of ethical responsibility within a Reformation world view. I also recommend a careful reading of The Radical Reformation by G. H. Williams. Contact the Center for Free Religion, 1012 Bryant Avenue, Chico, CA, 95926, which traces the Transylvanian struggle for religious liberty with translation from the Hungarian into English by Dr. Judit Gellerd. Any travelers seeking a Unitarian/Universalist fellowship 'down under' are welcome to ours. Contact Dr. Nevel Buch, Ph.D., 23 Brendon St., Tarragindi, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

It is noteworthy that some Italian humanist refugees in eastern Europe in fellowship with Adam Pastor, a former associate of Menno Simons, were interested in an Anabaptist lifestyle and sought instruction from the Hutterite colony who recruited them for their community -- and there they stayed.

I am hoping that what I've written may be helpful to someone, and welcome any feedback from your readers who may write me at 86 Bald Hills Rd, Bald Hills, Qld 4036, Australia.

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Life Story Part VII -- El Arado

by Norah Allain

The only other big family at the small El Arado Bruderhof when we arrived was the Dyroff family, consisting of 10. We had nine children, and in spite of us having agreed together that for the sake of the task we would avoid having any more for the time being, Clara was born just nine months later. Otherwise there were Charles and Hella, with two older children, Phyllis Hayes, a spinster of 50, Walter Illingworth, also about 50, a guest or two, and a sprinkling of Bruderhof youth, both boys and girls. Altogether, to begin with, we were about 40, and I very much enjoyed this small circle.

We had a house to ourselves, a square cement construction just built, consisting of three rooms and a bathroom. It was a tremendous event to have a real bathroom, with a shower and lavatory which worked. The children used to have fun slithering about on the floor of the bathroom after their shower. These were very different surroundings from those in Primavera: right from the start it became necessary to learn the language, as not only were there a few permanent guests among us, Ariel and a Spaniard who used to do the baking in an old outdoor oven, but also many guests used to appear at weekends.

I worked in the little laundry, but also in the kitchen sometimes. Winifred was Housemother and taught the small school children. The kindergarten children were looked after by one of the bigger girls. We found the little farm altogether delightful, with its grapes and apple trees, and outside our house were two big pear trees. Then there were some lemons, plums and peaches and olive trees bordering the path from the road, as well as one or two tangerine trees. Apart from that, we had vegetables for our use and some for sale, and later we began to grow strawberries, which were a great financial success. Down below in one corner was a little eucalyptus copse, and then a bit of a meadow where the famous cow was put to graze, which became flooded when it rained a lot.

When we first came there was only the old farmhouse, where the Dyroffs lived as well as nearly everyone else, our house, and some old galpons where school took place and some single men and boys lived. There was a pig or two and quite a lot of hens in a fenced-off place just by our house. Fairly near the back of our house was the boundary, beyond which was 'grassy lane,' the favorite walk. There was a line of eucalyptus trees there too. Along the lower boundary of our land flowed a little stream, which you had to cross to get on to grassy lane. Ebo used to find little baby turtles there, and there was a small wood on the other side where the children made a bench or two for a circle. In short, the place was small enough to be really homely, and yet we were out in the country.

It was 15 kilometers from Montevideo, which all of us occasionally visited in consequence. Once or twice a week we sold our produce at the market, and our boys, as they got old enough. were given a chance to go and help there. They found this good fun, though it meant long hours. All the children and most of the grown-ups used to help at certain times in the garden, for instance, harvesting strawberries and grapes, and didn't we enjoy the fruit, though we couldn't just eat it all ourselves. The best was for sale.

However, the first winter proved to be a very great trial for us on account of the cold. We weren't used to it and were not properly equipped against it either. Our cement house with its tiled floors proved to be icy cold and damp. The moisture oozed out of the floor, dripped from the ceiling, ran down the walls and condensed on the window panes. I had to keep on mopping it up, and the house was invaded by little gray damp beetles. I can still remember Christophe going into ecstasies about them, so that I didn't dare to kill any when he was around. But I kept sweeping them up and stamping on them by the dozen.

The worst time was when practically the whole community went down simultaneously with the flu. I had it and so had all my children, and I had to get up and wander about taking their temperatures and looking after them, although I had fever myself and was feeling lousy, because there simply wasn't anyone left to look after us.

Some time during this year Ivy Carroll arrived from Wheathill and Erwin Weiss. Paul and Peter Trapnell arrived from Primavera a few months after us. There was some complication about Paul's birth certificate which had to be cleared up before he could travel. Then they went to some technical school in Montevideo and also worked on the farm. Soon they were known as Pablo and Pedro.

Of the young people who soon became part of our circle or were already there I remember Klaus P., Andres Jaime, Klaus Meier, Grace B., Irene H., Dorothea G., Rosemary K., Emmi Z., who were all having some kind of training, Emmi and Rosemary as nurses and Klaus as a doctor. Fred C. was also there working as an accountant at the British hospital. Then there was Elias B. who went to work as baker and confectioner at this famous place where we sold the strawberries. The two Irenes became added on to our family for the small meals, and Pedro as well very often, so we were a great crowd.

For Clara's birth I went to a small sanatorium in the city. This was a new experience for me. I was in the same room as four other women, all of whom had visitors in plenty, and they were standing around and even sitting on my bed just one hour after Clara had been born, making comments about me and the baby and giving me advice about when I should feed her, etc. Some even scolded me because I didn't pick her up and feed her the moment she began to cry. They rolled the poor little babies up like sausages so that they couldn't even move their arms, and I used to surreptitiously loosen Clara. At night the babies were taken away, and if they cried they were given water, but they didn't change them often enough. As for me, I just didn't get enough to eat and drink, and had to ask Roger to bring me something, but I quite enjoyed watching the other women and their visitors. They were quite friendly to me, but I couldn't yet speak or understand much Spanish. I remember I was the only one who ever read or knitted. They just talked endlessly.

Clara was a nice big baby and very bonny, and so she continued. I came home after four days, and Winifred had done her best to fit me out with all I needed, and I was ever so happy. I didn't seem to suffer at all from being up and about quicker than usual, so I felt that this was the right idea. Christmas was drawing near and this was a heavy load for Winifred, so she asked me to help her. So I gave up some of my time to helping distribute the valuable things for Christmas, see who was coming short and decide what must still be purchased, etc. I think we all had our Christmas presents together like a big family, and Clara was the baby for the crib scene.

After this, however, life became more difficult for me, as Winifred became ill with an ulcer of the stomach, and it was decided that I should take over the Housemother task from her since no one else could replace her in the school, and she could no longer manage both. It was the last thing on earth that I wanted to do; I had been so happy to let her be the "mother", and a really capable and motherly person she was, but there seemed to be no way out of it for me. They made it a bit easier by saying that Winifred should still be the Housemother, but I should carry out her tasks, consulting her when I needed to. She encouraged me all she could, saying that I really had it in me to do this. There were some aspects of it which I quite enjoyed, such as the business of sorting out all the second-hand clothes which people gave us and deciding which could be made to do for whom. I also had to buy cloth or have it bought, and I used to do the cutting out and sewing of whatever needed sewing. Likewise I enjoyed looking after the single men and boys. I shall never forget the awful state of the shed in which Pablo lived and my vain attempts to clean up there, and trying to tidy up Fred's things!

About this time, I think, Stan and Hela and their two or three little girls were sent down to help El Arado, and Felipe arrived as a guest and stayed. A second floor was built on to our house, which became used for the Housemother room, a room for Charles and Hella, a tiny room for Ivy and a small room for Jean-Pierre and Tommy. The new dining room building was going up quite near our house, too, and by the time it was finished we acquired the Magees from Primavera.

At the same time, I think, Hildegard N must have arrived. Tommy was the son of a family of German origin whom we got to know through other friends in Montevideo. They very much wanted him to live at El Arado and go to school with our boys, because he was somewhat mentally backward and on that account had suffered very much at the hands of other boys in his school. He was about the age of Jean-Pierre and Ebo, so we accepted him into our family, since he would certainly not have been happy with the Dyroffs -- their boys would have treated him just as badly as any boys outside.

Now our oldest children were going to the nearest state school, an innovation which had come about partly through need (Winifred could not continue to teach the whole lot and we had no other teacher) and partly because Roger thought we should gradually become more and more integrated into the country in which we lived. The brotherhood agreed. Meanwhile Ivy took over the teaching of the very young ones Isabel had her -- and Hildergard took the kindergarten and managed amazingly well. For a time I was doing the work distribution as well, and then it was decided to relieve me a bit and let Lottie do that.

After we'd been in El Arado about a year-and-a- half we began to feel a bit cut off from the main body and to long very much for someone to visit us, at least. A few people did actually pass through on their way to or from Wheathill and I think Hans M. was there once on a visit. Then came the famous conference, for which Roger went to Primavera and Hans Zumpe came from England and Heini from the States (all sorts of things happened there during this time). Hans Z. came to visit El Arado on his way back. I remember that while he was there our family had a day out and he went with us on the camionetta to some famous seaside place whose name I forget. Clara was 13 months old and could just walk, and he was very impressed with her and called her the brave baby. In fact, she was a delightful child who made no fuss about anything and just walked straight into the sea.

It was fine having Hans with us for a bit. I remember how surprised I was when Roger told me how Hans simply loved being in the city. Personally I enjoyed our being fairly near a city, so that guests came to visit us and we could go and see other people and generally find out what was going on in the world, but I always loved our country life. I remember how thrilled I was when we discovered that blackberries grew wild somewhere near the farm, and a group of children would go out and pick some for jam. The lanes around the farm reminded me a little of Devon, and the climate more nearly resembled the English.

The second winter seemed much less severe to us, because we had become acclimatized and because the building of the second floor of our house seemed to make it less damp, and then we had a big stove in the new dining-room. The stinking oil stove we had in our own house was pretty awful, nonetheless. Pablo and Pedro tried to warm their freezing room with a little coke stove one night, and shut the window, and Pablo might have lost his life if the man in the room next to his had not heard him fall on the floor when he fainted. In fact, of course, we were insufficiently equipped for the rigours of winter in Uruguay, where it never actually snowed, but it froze and there were bitter cold winds. There was, however, the compensatory joy of seeing a real spring.

What I enjoyed about our life in El Arado was that it was less organized, less rigid than in Primavera, and consequently more alive. But there was one element in our midst who was rigidity itself, and that was Hella H. Winifred and I both had trouble with her all along, and she got into trouble with the whole brotherhood. I was aware of the fact that she had wanted to be the house-mother herself, and that she was jealous of me. She had actually had this task for a short period in England when she had been the only woman left behind, and of course on the face of it she seemed in a much better position to do it than I, seeing that she had only two teenage children, whereas I was overburdened with a large family, including a baby. We gave her the task of being responsible for the stores and going into town once a week to do some shopping for the house. She liked this, but often got into difficulties with the young girls who took turns at the cooking. They could not bear her.

There was another difficulty in El Arado (and in all the Bruderhof) which, as time went on, assumed ever greater proportions, and that was the question of what to do with the adolescent boys and young men who were sons of Bruderhof members but did not like the life. The Dyroffs had four such boys who created all manner of difficulties for us. If they really wanted to go away, well and good, arrangements were made for them to get some training away from the Bruderhof. Then they wanted to come back and visit their family, which sounds only reasonable, but as they came and spread deliberate unrest and dissatisfaction amongst our youth, attempting to persuade them also to leave, it was extremely difficult to know what line to take with them. On the one hand they would oppose us and on the other hand demand help. They would refuse to take our advice and still expect full support and financial aid. So we wavered between trying to be fair to them and trying to prevent them from infecting the younger ones as well.

The worst of the situation was that it affected the parents, who were caught in a continual conflict between the brotherhood and their children, and August Dyroff began suffering from a painful inferiority complex on account of his children and also because he was very slow to learn the language and consequently felt out of his element. He was meant to be Roger's right hand, whereas he was so often tied up in knots with himself that he was a hindrance.

I was pregnant again, and two years after Clara, Tina was born. Winifred was not there to take over from me because she had been sent to England on account of an inheritance some months before. Just before she was due to leave there was a very painful incident concerning Paul D. We had had all sorts of difficulties with him already, and one day he suddenly arrived and asked if he could stay at the Hof. Roger was not there, being on some mission in Buenos Aires at the time, and Charles H. was in charge. He felt uncertain what to do and asked me, and I, in accordance with the latest talks and decisions of the brotherhood, said 'no.' I was having visions of Paul landing himself on us on a more or less permanent basis, creating more trouble and having to be sent away again.

By now I was entering on the second half of pregnancy, and there was no Winifred to go to for help and advice. I had the full responsibility particularly for all the young girls, and I didn't feel really sure of myself. Grace B. was a big problem, and then we had Esther Keiderling, who had gone away, and eventually married some man in Montevideo. Roger and I went to see her once. There was also Tobias, who had likewise left and got into trouble and was in prison. Roger and one or two others went to see him sometimes. Further, there was Klaus P., who had been separated for years from his family in Primavera on account of the military service, and who had as a pretty young boy been with prostitutes. This had been 'cleared up', but eventually he was found to have been intimate with one of our girls and to have made an attempt with another, so he was sent away. The girl was soon sent back to Primavera, as he was caught hanging around after her by night. Had she not been so terribly young, I should have felt like letting them get married and both leave. I really don't know what else we could have done, but I felt bad about it.

When Tina was born, Hela E. came along with me and was allowed to remain in the room, while Roger waited outside. I spent the next four days in the same room with a young Mennonite mother, wife of a missionary to the Indians, so we were able to talk quite a lot. Her husband came to see her, and it was not long afterwards that this poor young woman lost her husband, who was speared by one of the Indians in the Chaco. She sent me a photo of herself and three small children standing by the dead body before burial. I wrote to her, but never heard any more.

Christmas came before the end of my six weeks, and although I don't remember it very well, I know that I became exhausted, especially as Tina turned out to be a very difficult baby. Tommy's mother Ursula was concerned about me, and offered to have me for as long as I could be spared to stay at their flat and have a rest. So I actually went there for four days and had a wonderful rest, going down to the beach with Ursula and sitting out on the terrace reading in the sun. The palpitations I had begun to suffer from stopped for a while. However, I went back and had to carry on, and I remember Johnny even suggesting once for some reason (I think Lottie was not proving very satisfactory as a work distributor) that I should do the work distribution as well, and I pointing out to him that I was already much too overburdened as it was. I came under a terrific tension in the struggle to cope with everything and manage Tina without spending too much time on her, all the time being aware that I was overstrained and must try to relax more or my nerves might give way. Roger was so terribly occupied himself that we hardly had any time together.

Sunday afternoon walks were the best time for me. I still remember all the country around El Arado where I went walking at various times with the children. One little oasis during this time was a visit to Colonia Waldense to stay a few days with Reubchen. We went with Pablo and Irene H. and Tina. I just loved her old house, and it was wonderful being there just so few of us. No one who has not lived in community could appreciate what a treat it was.

I realise that I left out a rather significant episode which happened earlier, and must go back a bit. When Winifred was still with us we had an epidemic of measles, and Klaus M. and Winifred wanted the children to be put all together in the old house, so as to be cared for better and isolated. I thought there wasn't much sense in it as they would eventually all get it, and then there would in any case not be room for all of them together. So why turn everything topsy -turvy instead of letting the children stay at home from the start? But Klaus and Winifred were fearfully down on me for not being communally minded. Klaus went so far as to say that a mother was the last person who should be entrusted with looking after her own children when they were ill. I knew that this was certainly not true of my children, and I just didn't want anybody else (particularly not a young inexperienced girl) to be given charge of Clara when she was ill and would most need me. Clara had developed asthma a few weeks after the birth of Tina, and had truly terrible attacks. I had gone through some awful times with her already, and this had strengthened the naturally strong bond between a mother and her small child, and I knew quite well that my place was with her when she was ill.

So I let Hela and Winifred put their children together, but I left Clara at home, since in any case I had my house full with the four boys who were also ill, and they were joined by Emil D. But Klaus never forgave me for having held out against him. Further, I became aware at that time of a fundamental difference of attitude between me and Hela towards the question of sickness. I took it much more calmly and had a natural feeling for whether it was serious or not, whereas both she and Lottie seemed to get almost hysterical with fright when the simplest thing was wrong with a baby or small child. They both made an inordinate fuss about their children, and I got thoroughly fed up with it at one time. It was clear, however, that they thought I wasn't worried enough and was irresponsible, and how I wished myself free of the wretched house-mother task. All I wanted was to be allowed to look after my own children the way I thought best and let them do what they jolly well wanted with theirs.

Before going on to the final crisis in El Arado, I must mention my memories of short holidays which I had with Roger and the children which were very enjoyable. Twice we went and camped by a river, once with the family and once alone with Tina as a tiny baby. Then there was the time when we went with Cisco in the old Borgward looking for a suitable place for a second Bruderhof. That was at the time when we were still thinking of expansion. Once Hardi and Sekunda were there for a short visit, and I remember we were looking at the neighbouring farm, which was for sale, and thinking of how we might make use of that. Such thoughts of expansion kept us all pretty happy and optimistic. Not many people actually joined us in Uruguay, but we had a very interesting contact with the little Comunidad del Sur, and there was quite a circle of friends, also from Buenos Aires, who regularly visited us.

Pablo and Irene H. and a few others were about to be baptized, and we decided, although the Wheathill Bruderhof was reported to be having difficulties with their school children, that we would celebrate the Lord's Supper. I presume that the difficulties in question were, as so often, connected with sex; some children had been found to be involved in sexual games of some sort. This was never tolerated at the Bruderhof, but always severely punished. Our own little Jean-Pierre, when only six or seven, had been taken away from the family for a week and excluded from the other children for some such offense, and gradually I came to have a stronger and stronger feeling that his attitude was wrong. It seemed to me that no child should be punished for such a thing -- one should merely try to distract the attention to something else.

Anyway, we had no feeling at all for allowing Wheathill's difficulties to interfere with us. I remember that in the talks before the Lord's Supper I expressed my feeling that the house-mother task was too much for me and I wished that someone could be sent down from Primavera. I knew I was not doing it adequately. No one expressed any criticism.

Then sometime in May or June there arrived a letter from Winifred in which Roger and I were pretty strongly attacked. This letter was read out in the brotherhood, and I knew nothing about it beforehand. We were asked to say what we thought about it. The boy, Paul D., had also gone to England and had made complaints about the way in which he had been treated in El Arado. Much of it was quite false. Winifred's letter was that of a mother quite incapable of being objective, simply believing at its face value everything her son said and rushing to put it down on paper. She had also spoken to Hans Z., of course, and influenced him. Well, being terribly surprised and shocked, I just said how the letter struck me. Roger tried harder to see the point.

The next day I was taken to task in a small circle for not having made any attempt to see my guilt. From this time onwards we were marked as the scapegoats, and everyone proceeded to attack us. But whereas Roger nearly fell over backwards trying to "see his guilt," I proved refractory. I just couldn't admit guilt merely because other people thought I ought to. Roger got mad at me as well, but it was no use. When Peter C., who had taken over responsibility, tried to point out to me that my attitude was endangering my husband's service, it was worse still. To my mind that was tantamount to a threat, so I told him that and refused to say anything more when he tried to talk to me. I was excluded and had to work by myself. No one could talk to me except those whose special task it was. I had refused to talk to Peter, so Hela tried to help. I was grateful to her, but I can't say that it really helped. I noted that she asked me whether I minded that Kate had taken over the Housemother task from me. It was obvious how little they understood me.

Meanwhile poor Roger was alternating between depression and fits of rage. He wanted to go off and get drunk! One evening Stan and Hela invited us to their room, unofficially, and made a pathetic attempt to break down the barrier and be natural with us. By this time several weeks had gone by and I was in a hopeless state. I wept continually whenever I was alone. I didn't exactly know why I was so utterly desolate, but I just felt that something was happening from which I would never recover. The role of Kate C. was particularly sinister, since it was as plain as a pike-staff to me that she was impelled by motives that were the very opposite of Christian. She wanted Roger and I ousted, so that she and Peter could take over. In the midst of all this, Clara had a fearful attack of asthma. We went on and on having talks and clearances, confessing to lack of love here and there. I particularly remember the last talk with August, who was to go to England with the whole family, because it moved me very much. Dear old August! We really told one another everything and I felt at peace with him. It turned out otherwise with Hela H., who continued in an accusatory vein, refusing to see any responsibility on her side, until the bitter end. Finally, not knowing what to do with us after making such a stink (I had still not admitted to anything except those things which I myself saw had been wrong), they decided to send us back to Primavera. We were to take Tina and Clara and leave the other children there, pending a final decision as to whether we should come back or not. That was the last we saw of El Arado. The Cavannas moved into our house, and their children were sent down to them.

Arriving in Asuncion, we were met at the airport by Andreas M. and someone else, and Robert and Olwen were house parents, and little Robbie was there, a baby a bit older than Tina. They were very nice to us, and behaved much more naturally than anyone in El Arado had still been capable of doing. However, we were only there one night, and were sent on posthaste the next day by boat. We were to go to Loma Hoby, and I remember how the old familiar landscape began to grip me, but how wild and overgrown Loma looked, even right on the hof near the dining hall.

Gwynn and Buddug were Servant and Housemother there, and they were kindness itself. We had a couple of rooms in a new house near the hospital, and Lisbeth and Wolfgang lived in the other part. There was even a fireplace in the living room, and as it was winter then, we really enjoyed ourselves making it cosy. We began to find it rather fun not to have to go to brotherhood meetings, but to come home after supper and sit by our own fire! I was sent to work in the laundry with Kathleen Marchant, whom I liked ever so much, but I forget what Roger was doing. We had several talks with Gwynn and Buddug, together and separately, and we told them everything as we had experienced it. There was nothing of a moralising or accusatory attitude on their part, and Gwynn explained to us that he had been in the same situation before, so he knew well what it was like. One thing became evident to me, however, and that was that they didn't really understand any more than we did what the whole business was about.

At one time Buddug called me and said that a letter had arrived from Kate about me, and she read it to me, giving me a warning first not to get too excited over it. I could hardly believe my ears than anyone in her senses could write such a letter, still less that such a woman should now be House-mother. It was a spiteful, cooked-up accusation against me for having given my own baby things to eat which were not in accordance with the prevailing teaching of the Primavera babyhouse, etc. To me she had never said a word, of course. Buddug just wanted to ask me about the facts mentioned before she brought the letter before the other sisters, and the result was that eventually Kate was called to task for this and had to apologise to me. I read between the lines of her letter and knew that she wasn't really sorry, and sure enough, later on when it was decided that our children should be sent back to us because we were to stay in Primavera, she was extremely nasty about not sending back the things I asked her to send.

This was a great grief to me, because I so longed to have everything forgiven and forgotten, and it continued to hurt for a long time. In fact, after all this, I was physically run down for about two years. Emotionally I seemed to recover my balance quicker than Roger. We were taken back into the brotherhood after three weeks, being merely asked to say that we felt no resentment against anyone. This felt like an anticlimax -- something was missing, and I didn't experience the joy I had expected to feel. However, it was a relief to have everyone feel at their ease with us again.

A little later I suffered badly on hearing that Francisco, Ebo and Jean-Pierre were to remain in El Arado. Ebo was only just 13, and at the best they would only come home once a year. Furthermore, they were left in charge of Peter and Kate. But I just had to swallow this. Roger felt the same.

Soon I was asked to take charge of the laundry, and Roger got the job of moving the archives to Ibate. We moved to a different house in Loma, with a view out over the camp. I rather liked it, though it was an older house. The Whittys were our neighbours. I remember Clara and I going to pick mulberries at vesper time and eating them by the plateful. Roger was sent for three weeks to Ibate with the archives, so I was left with Tina and Clara. I remember taking her down to the laundry to have a bath on Saturday afternoon. Tina continued to be terribly difficult over food, and Margaret S. examined her and said she was suffering from lack of protein. Liesbeth was in charge of the baby-house, and she really did her utmost with Tina and I never had any difficulties with her or tensions due to difference of opinion. I discovered that ideas about the care of babies were less rigid than they had been. So I was quite happy in Loma and rather disappointed when I heard that we were to move to Ibate when our other children arrived from Uruguay.

We moved into the first brick house near the original dining-hall, now a school room, and the Rimes family lived in the same house, but without the parents, who were still in Asuncion. Christine was in charge of them, and a lively lot they were. Erna was House-mother and Hans M. the Servant, I believe, Georg and Moni having been moved to Loma. I think Margrit M. mas helping Erna. First I was put in the kitchen, but I found it so exhausting that I finally went to Erna and begged to be let off.

So I was sent to the sewing room for a while and then landed back in the laundry once more. I was co-responsible for a time with Waltraut, and then she was removed, and I had my old friend Hildegard there, and Hilde Marsh, who had come over from England while we were in Uruguay. I had Leslie Holland as laundry man, who hadn't much push, but was quite nice to work with, and afterwards I had Leo, who had too much push, and there was the awful incident of the coloured washing which he boiled, and swore I had told him to do it. I had an awful row with him, but afterwards we made it up again.

Leo was certainly not above telling a lie, but he wasn't such a louse as Karl K., with whom I had my other classic rows. You could make things up with him, whereas the incidents with Karl proved to be my first real disillusionments with community life. There was no moral basis there with him. I was forced to recognize this fact, but couldn't fit it in to the brotherly life. He really didn't belong and shouldn't have been there at all, and yet he not only remained, but was actually elected as Servant in Ibate together with Hans. I had a strong feeling that this election was a sign of decadence, but ever since we returned from Uruguay I continued to feel slightly apart, as though the affairs of the brotherhood were not altogether my affairs, and from time to time I thought about this and tried to analyse what had actually happened.

Roger was chosen very soon to be in charge of the Ibate school, very much against his will, but they really forced him to accept this post. I got threatened with being elected work distributess, but I simply refused. I wasn't going to have the brotherhood insist once more on my doing something for which I didn't feel fitted, only to tear me to pieces afterwards for not doing it properly. Of course my refusal wasn't very well accepted -- one was supposed always to obey. But I didn't care. I remember having a talk with Hans about it in which I explained just how I felt, and I remember another occasion when there were several witness brothers there as well, including Robert R., who seemed to me very understanding. During this period various people were continually getting into difficulties for all sorts of reasons: there was Waltraut, who got so desperate that she ran away and hid one day, and half the community was out searching for her, and there were Ivy Staengl and the Hollands, who were always in trouble about their children. Such things were making me more and more uneasy. What had come over us?

Then it was Roger's turn again. For some reason he became absolutely disgusted with his job as headmaster and went to Hans and swore he would not do it any longer. (Maybe this had something to do with the fact that the adults were so often being made to stand for something in the brotherhood, and the wretched children, of course, always knew it, and had no respect for them.) I know Roger felt strongly about this, and I agreed with him. Well, Roger's way of laying down his position could, of course, not be accepted, so he was excluded and we got a few days at the river to think things over. We quite enjoyed the time, till the last day, when we looked at one another wryly and wondered what we were expected to have thought about! I got ticked off roundly by Olwen in the next brotherhood for not finding anything to say. I should feel more responsible for my husband.

Finally he was taken back in again and then had the task which he most enjoyed in those last years. He was to oversee the rice project, which had been begun about a year before, and this was a task which he loved. I was so happy seeing him once more full of enthusiasm, getting up earlier than necessary and hurrying off the rice fields bare-footed and in shorts. Often on Sunday afternoons we went with the children with a wagon down past the represa to the rice fields, and when it had rained a lot the channels were so full of water that boys were fishing and we bathed and even swam in places.

Jean-Pierre and Ebo came home for the Christmas holidays, to our great joy. The first year they had to live in the school wood, because we had no room, then back they went for another year. They seemed quite happy there on the whole, though I think they realised that we missed them. It was decided that Jean-Pierre and Ebo should return to Primavera and finish high school in Asuncion, where at least we could be sure they would come home for the long holidays, and Roger might me sent down to Asuncion at some time to do some job for the community and could see them.

When they returned for the holidays we had moved to another house near the hens, where we had room for them, and they brought Tommy with them to spend his holidays with us. He insisted on going around barefoot like the other boys, although he burnt his feet on the hot sand, being quite unused to it. Still I think he was happy, and I enjoyed having him, as it reminded me of El Arado. This last house of ours was more modern -- it had glass windows in the living-room and a brick floor! Then there was a small vine arbour where we had an outdoor table, several eucalyptus trees, orange trees, and quite an extensive garden, where I enjoyed myself growing tomatoes. There were a lot of raspberry bushes at the back, and then the fence of the hen department.

To go back a bit: some six months after my return from Uruguay I had trouble with the left eye, which went almost blind. I could see a lot of black dots continually floating about before me, and my head ached. They sent me to the hospital to have my blood tested, and finally I was sent down to Asuncion to see an eye specialist. Peter Mathis was there with Anni, and he brought me to the doctor, and informed me, by way of preparation, that the blood test had revealed syphilis! I was staggered, but somewhat incredulous, for where could I have got it from? If my memory is right, I didn't really take too much notice of this. Anyway, it turned out to be wrong, and the specialist ordered another blood test and diagnosed an infection of the eye itself direct from the blood. I was to take certain medicine and come back for a check in three months' time.

I didn't much enjoy this stay in Bruderhof House, on account of Anni, who wasn't particularly friendly, and asked me to do some sewing for the house, when this was a great strain on my one good eye and the last thing I wanted to do. After this I suffered two miscarriages in the early stages, and was sent, at Cyril's instigation, for a rest of one week to the mother house in Loma. This was a real treat, getting up late, just reading and knitting and going for little walks and visiting one or two people and having nice things to eat. The family came to see me on Sunday. This was the last chance I was to have of being in the Mother House, as it was not long afterwards that the hospital and Loma were abandoned. [to be continued]

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Oakwood Hutterian Brethren

by Tim and Harry Wipf published by the Plough Publishing House Hutterian Brethren [sic], Farmington, PA reviewed by George Maendel

Harry and Tim Wipf are two Hutterite men who grew up in South Dakota and moved from Rolland Colony to a new enterprise called Oakwood in Minnesota in the late1980s. They now live at the Bruderhof. They are said to be the authors of a booklet published by the Bruderhof titled Oakwood Hutterian Brethren that pretends to be their account of a ten year struggle to start a new Hutterite Colony.

They don't go to a great bother to give the reader any sense of the origin and development of their infatuation with "the brothers from the east," also known as The Bruderhof. In reference to the Bruderhof, they say: "We spent a lot of time looking for a place where we would be closer to the brothers in the east." "We always had a great longing to accept them----, and totally mix together." And then: "What is the alternative of mixing so much with the east? There is none."

With the above words, Tim and Harry feel the reader should be satisfied with the truth and beauty of their feelings for the Bruderhof.

That explanation out of the way, they lob this accusation: "Most colonies have accepted as teachers of our children hirelings of the devil, a shocking fault and sin that not even the Catholics practice".

After accusing an untold number of people of being "hirelings of the devil," they don't bother to state any reasons why they have reached this conclusion, or what should be done to investigate or prove their bold accusation. Instead they turn from that statement and come up with their next complaint:

"[Hutterite] mothers of little faith are simply not up to having as many children and stop bearing them".

"Thus they go against the divine command: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."

Then Harry and Tim deliver an obviously well-rotted piece of reasoning which some brother from the east has stuffed into their mouths: "and so (by refusing to bear as many children) they block the waiting souls who by God's grace are being called to increase his church."

This idea did not originate with a couple of humble brothers from South Dakota. The Bruderhof has a funny way of delivering their sick and contorted theology to the "brothers in the west".

They conclude their lament on the decline in the Hutterite birth rate by saying: "to bear and educate children is the greatest commission the Lord has given".

With these examples of lucid thoughts in prose, they go on to tell about disunity and sin, and the evils of the democratic process.

Oakwood was established, but it was bound to fail; it didn't have a new charter to replace the one its members found out-of-date and unworkable at Rolland Colony.

While cursing the democratic process, they neglected to select a dictator. They called out to the brothers in the east for help, and "help" was sent. But there was dis-unity, and eventually, all those who liked the Bruderhof moved east. The Oakwood property was given back to the Hutterite Church.

One mystery about this little publication is why the Bruderhof feels they have to slip their ideas along to the Hutterites in this deceptive way. "Here, dear Hutterites, listen to Tim and Harry!" It seems obvious that the whole of this little publication was not written by Tim and Harry Wipf. Why the deception? What is the Bruderhof really after in its relationship with the Hutterites?

To make their toys, the Bruderhof harvests timber from the hardwood forests of eastern North America. Perhaps they view the Hutterite colonies as ripe for harvesting as well!

The tools they use to gather their human quarry are as old as deception itself. "Look, you've lost your way, turn now to the Lord! Follow us!" If they get their foot in the door, the game is on, and there is no way it will end without them getting at least some of the subservient human quarry they are after.

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The American Family Foundation will hold four conference events on May 30 and 31 this year at the Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium, 10th Street and Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Conference I's theme on Friday, May 30, will be "The Abuse of Women," and the conference fee (including lunch) is $120.

II: Friday night a special free program, "Crazy" Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work? will be presented by Dr. Margaret T. Singer and Janja Lalich, co-authors of a book on that topic.

III: On Saturday an all-day session on Cults: Theory and Treatment will be held. Participants in the symposia include Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D.; Paul Martin, Ph.D.; Arnold Markowitz, MSW; Lorna Goldberg, MSW; Steve Dubrow-Eichel, Ph.D., Thomas Keiser, Ph.D. (moderator); Michael D. Langone,Ph.D.; William Chambers, Ph.D.; Arthur Dole, Ph.D.; Benjamin Zablocki, Ph.D. and Mike Kropveld (moderator). The conference fee is $120, including luncheon

IV: Also on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., AFF will hold a workshop for families, spouses, and loved ones of those who have left cults or are still in groups, "How to Help a Loved One Affected by a Cult." This workshop is private -- only families, spouses, and loved ones of present or ex-cult members may attend. This workshop will help the above to assist in their loved one's recovery process, understand the cult experience, communicate more effectively, better cope with their own feelings, and to explore alternatives to deprogramming.

The fee for this workshop, including luncheon and dinner, is $160. Attendees who register for both the Friday conference and either the Saturday conference or the Saturday workshop receive a multi-event discount of $20.00. Those who register before April 15, 1997 can get an early registration discount of an additional $20.00 per person for each paid event (a total of $60.00 off of all registration fees).These programs provide seven (7) hours of APA CE Credits for each conference.) To obtain CE credits, there is an additional fee of $20 for each conference

Please make your own room reservations directly with the hotel at 1-800-424-0291. When you register, ask for the special room rate for these AFF events of $89.00 per night for single rooms, $99.00 per night for double rooms . For further information about these programs or to obtain a registration form, contact AFF at P.O. Box 2265, Bonita Springs, FL 34133, 212-533-5420 (telephone), 212-533-0538 (fax), or via e-mail at affny@worldnet.att.net.

Books/Articles Currently Available:
Through Streets Broad and Narrow by Belinda Manley
Torches Extinguished by Bette Bohlken-Zumpe
Free from Bondage by Nadine Moonje Pleil
The Joyful Community, by Benjamin Zablocki
Each $17 postpaid U.S./Canada, $20 Overseas
KIT Annuals: 1989-1990 @ $17 $20 Overseas
1992 1993 1994 1995 each $25 / $30
All in larger type, spiral-bound with index
"Expelled Members Speak Out" by J. A. Hostetler $1/$2
"Open Letter To The Hutterian Church," by Samuel Kleinsasser, with added articles, 120 pages $5 / $8
"Our Broken Relationship With The Society of Brothers," by S. Kleinsasser, 16 pps $1/$3
"My Years In Woodcrest 1988-1990," by John Stewart (reprinted from KIT April 1995) $3/$5
Click here for hard copy ordering information.

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