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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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For those of you who access the newsletter on the InterNet, we expect you to be willing to continue on a honor system and mail in your subscription regularly. Please give more or less, as you can afford. Thank you.

May 1997,Volume IX #5

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Reminder: Mini-KIT GET-Together U.K.
Rocky Gap 4th Annual Get-Together
Hans Bohlken
Margot & Blair Purcell
Lawsuit Update
Barnabas Johnson
Ben Cavanna
Looking Back
Kingston Daily Freeman on B'hof kids to Cuba
New Paltz Herald on B'hof Excommunication
New Paltz Herald on '48 Hours' program
Winnipeg Free Press on Hutterite help for flood
Inno Idiong to C Domer
Judy Tsukroff
Newsday on JCA visit to paralyzed policeman
Hilarion Braun
Wayne Chesley Newsgroup excerpts (a)
Blair Purcell Newsgroup excerpts (a)
Mike LeBlanc Newsgroup excerpts
Blair Purcell Newsgroup excerpts (b) & (c)
Wayne Chesley Newsgroup excerpts (b)
Al Hinky
Norah Allain
Renatus Kluver to 'Refuse & Resist'
Hanna Goodwin Johnson
Leonard Pavitt
Poem by M. Satyra
Poem by Anon E. Mouse
George Maendel: 'Ginsberg at F. River'
Norah Allain - 'Life Story Part VIII'
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REMINDER: A Mini-KIT get-together is being held at Rookwood School, Andover, Hampshire, England, the venue of the 1994 KIT Conference. Date: Sunday, 25th May, 1997. Time: from 10 A.M. until the evening. Barbecue: bring food and drinks. Hot water available. Small charge: adults 3, families 5, children free. Camping available at 2 per person if you want to stay the night, or B & B.

Everybody is welcome to meet friends, talk, chat, do nothing, whatever you want. This is also a chance for those who have held back from taking part in any other get-together to come along. If you do not feel comfortable, there is nothing stopping you from leaving. We have hired a hall and the nice, extensive grounds with large trees. All inquiries to Andy & Gudrun Harries, phone 01264 353800, or write: 119 Gallaghers Mead, Andover, Hants, SP10 3BS.

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Margot & Blair Purcell: The 4th Annual Rocky Gap Reunion and Picnic for Ex-members/residents of the Bruderhof will be held Friday thru Sunday, May 16-18, at the Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland, Maryland. Camping Friday and Saturday nights. Picnic at 1:30 Sunday. Dogs Allowed! Call park office (301 777-2138) for reservations. Rates approximately $20/night plus $5 registration. Mention our name when reserving space, and ask for site "on the same loop."

Located just off I-68 about 7 miles east of Cumberland (near the little town of Flintstone), Rocky Gap will be alive with the sound of music, singing and gossip! Be prepared for rain, but expect the best -- just like every year.

Come for all three days (we'll be there Friday evening), or for any two days, or just for the Sunday picnic. If you're coming for the picnic only, please come early to visit with friends and family. Check on the park office bulletin board (near entrance) for exact location.

No agenda, no schedule (have we ever?) except the picnic. Lake will be chilly for swimming, but canoes are available for paddling or fishing (license required). Bring your bikes! Spring flowers will be blooming in profusion and hiking trails will beckon the sturdy. All Ex-members/residents of the Bruderhof welcome with family and friends. We're expecting new faces, but it won't be the same without you!

Local motels: Turkey Flight Motel (301 777-3553) and Cumberland Motel (301 724-7790). No recommendation for either. They're just conveniently near to the park.

Please share your plans with us for participation by calling (days and early evenings): 800 672-9089.

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Hans Bohlken, 5/5/97: I want to let everyone know that Bette is in hospital since April 14 with a bad viral meningitis. The days before that she already had suffered with an enormous headache and pains all over her neck and in her eyes. We went to the hospital for a lumbar puncture and she had to stay there immediately in a dark room. After three weeks, she is still in bed and serious ill. The pain can be taken away by morphine, and her immune system has to do the rest of the healing. Also the M.S. pains are stronger now.

Bette asked me this morning to thank you all for your support over the last weeks, each in their own way: cards, letters, phone calls at our address.

Among all the "get well" letters and cards that Bette received was a special one from Christoph and Verenali Arnold (her own cousins). After the usual "we send our love," they began a diatribe about "all the sins on her conscience." They accuse her of writing her book, Torches Extinguished, only to defend her father's adultery. They claim that it is full of "lies and slander," as well as her letters in KIT. Then they reminded us that when they visited a few years ago, they offered her "the complete forgiveness of the church for the adultery and fornication she had committed in her youth, but she rejected it."

It seems that Christoph's type of love still "cuts like a knife" as he once described it in his youth, so at least he remains consistent. But Christoph has to live his own life, with his own sins and lies.

The neurologist thinks that Bette has to stay another two or three weeks in hospital and then recover for many weeks at home with rest, rest -- and more rest. Last night she had a bad nightmare about black crows wearing kerchiefs that wanted to peck her to death. What does this dream mean? Is there anyone who has an answer for me?

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Margot and Blair Purcell, 4/25/97: Ann Button and Dean Goodnight were married on Saturday, April 26th, 1997 (2:45 p.m.) at the home of her brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Steve and Mrs. Gina Button near Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Local friends and family joined former Bruderhofers and their families from nine states (Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida) as well as the United Kingdom, in celebrating the marriage on a beautiful sunny day at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The bride's brother gave her hand in marriage.

So many from so far -- Dieter from Detroit as well as one of Steve and Ann's uncles and a cousin, another uncle from Columbus, Ohio. Andy and Johanna from Des Moines, Lee Kleiss and her two grandkids from Charlotte, practically all the Gneitings (including Hilda's three lovely kids, Mike Boller plus Simon and Jeff Marchant. Pedro was on crutches, having broken a foot in some sort of accident, but still bravely participating in the driving from Connecticut. Ben Cavanna from the U.K. (he drove down with us from the Washington, D.C. area). Colin and Kathy Hazelton and their little Emily. Andy and Julie Barth were there from Pennsylvania; Bill and Tiff Peters with their two children and Bill's grandson, Blake, from Florida and Ohio.

Driving down Friday evening, we easily spotted the Hale-Bopp comet from our moving car as we sped down I-81, very bright in the Virginia sky where so little light pollution exists. We arrived at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning and drove directly to our motel. Next morning, we had a real North Carolina breakfast at the truck stop -- with grits, biscuits, gravy, pancakes, country ham, eggs, fruit. We drove to Steve's (about 20 minutes up a real back road, and finally spotted the campsites adjacent to the cow pasture. Just beyond, on a sloping, wooded hillside, was Steve's new home -- a log home at that!

After extended greetings and introductions (don't forget, Steve and Ann have great family connections from their spouses' side down there -- more than equal to the number of former Bruderhofers in attendance), we settled in to admire the setting (lake, mountains, cows, dogs, pick-ups and a sip of local brew for those willing to indulge!) One minute both couples were in shorts and t-shirts, the next in suit, tie and dress.

Around 2:30 p.m., Ann appeared in a lovely wedding gown (sewn by Gina's mother) and was escorted to the edge of the outdoor patio by her brother Steve. Dean Goodnight and his two-year-old son and a best man were there to greet them, along with the minister. The ceremony was brief and moving, as Dean and Ann were joined in marriage, surrounded by friends and family. Ann and Dean each told us how much it meant to her to look around and see so many friends.

As soon as the actual ceremony was over (concluded with enthusiastic applause), Steve and Gina were back in cutoffs and t-shirts so they could get on with the barbecue. Ann and Dean kept their dress clothes on a bit longer as we had lots of photos to take. A great country spread followed: whole chickens, thick cut prime rib, veggies, fruit. Kids, dogs underfoot, gentle chaos, football games on the hillside. All this was leavened by the introduction of a small country band bringing in the sweet sounds of "Rocky Top."

Those who were there will recall Andy and Johanna doing an Iowa two-step to Carolina fiddle music -- and Grandpa (Gina's own) led most of the other women (one at a time) in traditional country dancing. Steve's parrot joined the fray with salty observations about the whole affair (someone spent a lot of time with that bird!)

Our daughter Emily and I were ready to head back to the motel by 9:45 p.m., but Margot wanted to stay for the bonfire on the campground. We all walked up and joined in the circle, Emily and me included. We left, however, before the real singing began. Ben camped out there the second night instead of going back to the motel. It rained Saturday night, sometimes a bit hard, but the campers were still in good spirits by Sunday morn. The weather remained wet the rest of the day. Breakfast was served at Gina and Steve's. We had hoped to spend an hour of the return trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the fog and rain were so heavy that it would have been pretty unrewarding.

Ben confirmed the joys of Southern cooking by ordering country-fried steak with white gravy for dinner Sunday evening in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was a really nice wedding made all the more significant by the gathering of friends and family from all over. Simpler, perhaps, than the complexities of a more formal wedding, but witnessed in the sight of God, friends and loved ones in no less an effective manner. And a new family was born -- one in which a small child gains a wonderful mother and a young widower (Dean) a loving wife.

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ITEM -- The current Bruderhof lawsuit has been answered by The Peregrine Foundation's attorney Michael J. Hutter, using a defense based both on Fair Use and the First Amendment. The Bruderhof's amended complaint has demanded a Trial by Jury, and there will be preliminary hearing before the Court in late July.
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Barnabas Johnson, 5/1/97: I phoned the Woodcrest Bruderhof from New Paltz at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 24, and asked to speak with Tom Potts. I was informed that Tom was not in, and was asked whether I would like to speak with Christian Domer. I said I would, and we were connected. I told him I was in the vicinity and wanted to talk, and we agreed to meet in a playing field nearby in a couple hours.

Christian was accompanied by Joe Keiderling. We talked for nearly three hours, first outdoors and then in a nearby restaurant. I started, and they seemed to be listening carefully. They had read my Item in the April KIT, so I was able to skip many preliminaries and get to my main point -- that "we are family" and must find a better way to resolve our differences than through litigation. They asked several astute questions, and I did my best to answer. Christian is very smart and Joe, his assistant, is quite able to hold his own on many points. The two complement each other well; when Christian pauses for a bite of his sandwich, Joe "jumps in" to develop the theme just projected; they make quite a team; I was impressed. They may be wrong, but they are not stupid.

I emphasized that Ramon had sought, obtained, and acted on my legal advice, and that if he and Peregrine acted unlawfully in publishing Christian's January 23 letter to Michael Waldner, then that was solely because I gave them bad advice. I therefore told Christian that if he or his lawyers can show me my error, I will seek to rectify it immediately. If wrong, I would be conscience-bound to apologize in KIT and accept the blame. Accordingly, I urged the Bruderhof to have its lawyers send me citations, or even one case, demonstrating my error. Christian responded by correctly noting that they have no legal obligation to do this, to which I replied that I nonetheless felt bound to make this offer and hoped he would consider it in the spirit it reflects: the search for peace based on mutual understanding. I reiterated time and again that we have to find a better means of resolving our differences, and that my offer was intended to help us move away from litigation and towards settlement.

Christian is smart, articulate, and very certain of himself. At age 41 (I think), he exudes tremendous energy, power, conviction, determination -- the head of a large business, yes, but even more, an instrument (as he sees it) of God's work. I saw no evidence that he fears he is about to fall from power, or has bitten off more than he can chew, or will lose. He reminds me of Mark Kurtz in 1960 -- a man who knows his ascent is assured. The bottom line is that he is fed up with KIT, with ex-members' books that (in his view) defame the Bruderhof, and especially with the fact that anyone searching "Bruderhof" on the Internet gets easily hyperlinked to KIT's burgeoning volumes of analysis, wide-ranging criticisms, alternative historical perspectives, and personal accounts by former Bruderhofers who -- in Christian's view -- are all somewhat mentally deranged. He sadly informed me at one point that we KIT-folk are all a little crazy; I wanted to explore this thread, for I think Bruderhof life -- then and now -- does indeed tend to foster the development of specific dysfunctions that need to be explored more fully, but Christian was "on a roll" at the time so I thought it better not to interrupt him. We had early agreed that, in this meeting, failure to challenge another's assertion would not imply assent thereto. In this and other respects, our discussion was far pleasanter, much less confrontational, than I had anticipated. I am grateful to them for this courtesy. I think such discussions should continue. Better jaw jaw than war war.

But Christian has "had it" (his phrase) with the whole kit and caboodle of our peregrinations. His focus is not pity for dysfunctional souls but determination to protect the Bruderhof from its critics, detractors, enemies. He is convinced that he is serving the Powers of Light and that we are not. We are misguided, deluded, instruments of evil; and he is on the warpath against us. This new suit against Ramon and Peregrine is just a start, he said. We have only seen the tip of the litigation iceberg, he emphasized. Unless we stop "harming the Bruderhof" (his phrase), we will find ourselves facing battles that dwarf the current suit. I can only speculate what he means. I think he might be planning litigation against CBS and others for defamation, but even that might be "just a start"; he gave me the impression he is preparing to take on the universe, and does not doubt the outcome. I took few notes, and unfortunately did not jot down any of his phrases on this point, but one phrase he used several times was something like "we are going to sue big time" and another was something like "you haven't seen anything yet"; he didn't seem to be bluffing; I don't think he is. If we don't do the Bruderhof's bidding -- which, in essence, is that we stop publishing our criticisms, analyses, and related documents -- then we will be at war.

Interestingly, sometimes I felt that Christian's words to me were rehearsals for what he planned to say, or might find occasion to say, in future brotherhood meetings. In this connection, his anger at KIT is far better controlled than is his anger at the Hutterites. For over two years, until CBS came along, the Hutterites appear to have been the dominant target of Christian's ire. He is at his most articulate best, a real Jeremiah, when it comes to the Mother Church. Being expelled has not been easy, it seems. Although he spoke of a "Bruderhof renaissance" since that expulsion -- oh, how I wanted to tell him about the renaissance of 1953, for he and Joe are clean-shaven now too -- his fury and resentment against the Hutterites shocked me. He seemed especially practiced at cataloguing Hutterite sins and crimes; KIT's activities are interpreted by him largely from that perspective, apparently; he said we are helping divert attention from the rot that has invaded the Hutterites, and that we are being "used" by them to defend against the Bruderhof's charge that there has been a complete breakdown of Hutterian life and ideals. I had the odd feeling that I had been here before -- in my father's (and many other's) nightmares about the consequences of Heini's hallucinatory marriage of oil with water, Tyrollean peasant with Weimar drop-out. This mess was predicted four decades ago, I wanted to scream, but Heini and his merry young zealots would not be deterred from his grand folly of "Unity" above common sense and simple decency. Politics makes strange bedfellows. If only, if only ... but, no, I held my tongue.

As to CBS's juxtaposition of the Bruderhof and Heaven's Gate, Christian seemed at an uncharacteristic loss for words; I think this has been very traumatic for all the hofs; but I saw no evidence that the '48 Hours' program has resulted in any diminution of Christian's power. It might even have enhanced same, because his "hard-line" stance towards KIT now seems justified, from his perspective; we are in league with the powers of Darkness represented by the Hutterites and CBS. If the Bruderhof loses in court, doubtless the American judicial system and the Government of the United States will be to blame. But Christian showed no doubt whatsoever about the viability of his suit; he said he has the best lawyers, and that they assure him he will win; and in that context, Christian emphasized, he and the Bruderhof have nothing to gain from settlement. An admission by me of error in advising Ramon will not suffice; Christian wants Ramon's head on a platter. As near as I can tell, Christian sees no point in "talks" -- whether mediated or not -- and will only be satisfied by KIT's capitulation: our promise to stop publishing our criticisms, etc. This, I said, is impossible.

Again and again I tried to shift the focus to talking, or talking about talking -- a mutual search for common ground, for "yesable propositions" that can result in further understanding, for ways to maintain family contacts, etc. I felt that they listened carefully but saw no point in further efforts in that direction. Even so, I begged them to think about an alternative to litigation; I told them that this suit will almost certainly reopen dangerous wounds and exacerbate Bruderhof-KIT disputes, thereby harming us all; and I suggested a few examples of how difficult for them -- indeed, ruinous -- this suit might become. But I never got around to telling them how desperately I, personally, dread the prospect of spending the remainder of my life mired in this bog. Every scintilla of my being revolts at premonitions of where this warring road will lead. If I have contributed to a climate of mutual misunderstanding, a gathering storm of insult and invective, I ask forgiveness. We must each examine our premises. A creative and courageous breakthrough is possible, I believe. Whether we can rise to the occasion, on the hof or off, remains to be seen.

I continue to believe that Peregrine and KIT had a legal right, and probably an institutional responsibility, to publish that letter. Joe and Christian peruse KIT on the Internet, and I therefore address them now: Help us understand why you think we were wrong; give it your best shot; and we will listen. If you can convince me, I will try to convince others; if you have convinced others, I will welcome their efforts to convince me. The "Ecology of Mind" that embraces us all will be thereby served, and if you wish to call it "God" you will get no argument from me. I have never questioned the depth of your convictions and commitments; please do not doubt mine.

Dear Christian, Christoph, and members of the Bruderhof: You are very powerful; I do not want to do battle with you; but, on the other hand, I will not be cowed or bludgeoned into submission. I believe that a solid core of responsible opinion, on and off the hof, recognizes that Bruderhof bullying is as wrong now as it ever was -- especially when directed against victims of previous Bruderhof abuse. If you want to persuade us of our errors, then only reasoned discourse will work. The discussions last Saturday did not convince me of my error, and hence of Peregrine's and Ramon's error, but I thought they were serious and potentially constructive. Let's go further on the road to mutual and earned respect. Let's make peace.

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Ben Cavanna, 5/4/97: In the current adversarial situation with the Bruderhof, it would be good for KITfolk to keep some things clearly in mind.

Ex-bruderhof KITfolk are, to varying degrees, products of the Bruderhof social, moral and educational system. This patterning, as with most socializing, goes very deep, and may sit with us in a quite unconscious fashion.

Many folks operate with the unconscious assumption that any organisation in which we take part should follow a Bruderhof pattern. Many unconsciously view the body of ex-bruderhof people a vessel containing the distilled best essence of the Bruderhof ideal, and make certain assumptions about the way things ought to be done.

The Bruderhof combined many diferent aspects: Education, Religion, Commerce, Public Relations, Family Values, etc. But there was no effective separation between any of these, or between the sacred and secular aspects of life in general, because anything that takes place in a Bruderhof setting comes under the Brotherhood with its unanimous decisions. Everything in a Bruderhof setting must be done in unity.

Ex-members and non-member sabra leavers have generally decided to live their lives by different rules whereby the various aspects of life are treated independently and with a recognition of the rights of individuals to plough their own furrows. But former Bruderhofers may or may not have processed completely the confusion left in place by the Bruderhof unity ideal and so apply inappropriate criteria when reasoning about various aspects of our affairs involving Pregrine and KIT, etc.

Peregrine is a non-profit foundation whose purposes are to support leavers, and inform the world about experimental social groups. KIT is a newsletter for ex-Bruderhof people that furthers only a part of that aim. The MOST is a newletter for one-time Morningstar people that also furthers part of the Peregrine aim. Many KITfolk have come into contact with each other via the newsletter and met at formal and informal gatherings whose main functions are generally determined by ad hoc committees or by the whole group on the spot.

One action group formed: the shortlived COB; another ad hoc group recently formed to attempt negotiated dialogue with the Bruderhof. Other ad hoc groups have formed at various times to meet needs as they occurred.

But many ex-Bruderhof people fail to see the distinctions between these different organizational activities and so apply inappropriate criteria when reasoning about them. They may say KIT should not publish something because it would upset the Bruderhof and make dialogue more difficult, or that COB should not have been so "in your face" because it antagonized the Bruderhof, or that Peregrine should listen to its "members," or that KITfolk should not be too activist because that would make it harder for other KITfolk to visit loved ones. But folks, this -- out here -- is not the Bruderhof. No, it really is not.

Ben Cavanna, 5/4/97: From the window seat towards the rear of the Virgin 747, I could gradually discern the farms, rivers and highways appearing as we descended through light cloud and mist. Ten minutes out of Washington Dulles Airport, the woods below were dotted with the bright white of dogwoods. I had had three hours sleep on the flight from Heathrow, stretched across three seats, and arrived rested and full of anticipation for my flying visit to attend the wedding of Ann and Dean and Steve and Gina in North Carolina.

Blair was waiting for me as I walked through customs, and we had a very nice ride through the spring countryside, chatting and catching up on the latest happenings. It was strange to think nearly two years had passed since I was last here. I enjoyed the ride across the Potomac on the ferry the Jubal Early, reminding me of my crossing in the other direction with Joan nearly two years previous. It was fun catching up with Emily and Margot and unpacking and inspecting the second-hand telescope I had shipped over from Tucson. The key to the scope case had not been shipped, but 'safe-breaker' Blair soon fixed that!

I spent the next day in Washington at the National Air and Space Museum and walking the length of the Mall. A whole lot more enjoyable in the spring sunshine than the oppressive heat wave last time. I spent half an hour at the Vietnam Veterans memorial and again was overcome with tears for most of that time. It is good that all those mainly young men's memories can be honored. There were as usual many wreaths, notes and tributes left at the wall. One note in a very young child's hand read "I'm sorry. Thank you." I overheard a man saying to his wife "This is not only a memorial to those who died, it is also a site of national shame." Then a walk back from the Lincoln Memorial along the reflecting pool with a school band playing 'America the Beautiful.'

That afternoon we drove down to North Carolina arriving at the motel after midnight. We had the Hale-Bopp comet clear in the sky off to our right for two or three hours, and I particularly enjoyed singing many old, sometimes half-remembered, songs with Margot while Blair and Emily slept in the back.

After an earlyish breakfast we set off down dirt roads for Steve and Gina's place, a stunning location overlooking lake and mountains. I had not met Steve and Ann since leaving Evergreen in 1971, but they seemed to remember me. People started to gather during the morning and over lunch time. There was already quite an encampment of tents and a trailer in the field above the house. I pitched my tent near the pile of firewood prepared for the evening campfire.

A couple of canoes were available and Andy, Hanna, Mike B and I had a wonderfully uproarious and soul-refreshing hour out on the lake. Partway through this, we came round a point and saw many wedding guests coming down through a field to the water's edge. Lots of greetings from canoe to shore party as people recognised each other.

As wedding time approached, more guests arrived and then suddenly Ann, escorted by Steve, processed to the spot at the back of the house where Dean and his best man and the minister were waiting, with Dean's son Josh playing on the ground in his best wedding clothes. The service was elegantly simple and just perfect in the greatest cathedral imaginable -- wild magnolia trees overhead, and lake and mountains for a backdrop.

Steve was out of his suit in a moment and back tending the joints roasting on the barbeque. The food was wonderful; I have never eaten steaks as thick or as juicy and the moonshine slipped down really easily. I loved meeting old friends and making new ones. The North Carolina license plates could very easily be changed from "First in Flight" to "First in hospitality and warmth." The band played Bluegrass and people danced, ate and chatted. I joined a competitive touch football game which probably did not do much good for the newly sown grass, but brought back happy memories of high school.

After dark, we drifted up to the campfire and started on a few old Bruderhof songs including "The Bear went over the Mountain" with full actions. After a few of these, a drawl came from over the other side of the fire: "Us southerners don't know any of them Communist songs." So we got into the good ones then, accompanied by two guitars, lusty voices and a keg.

Next day, I discovered that Moonshine is a touch stronger than I had thought, but breakfast and coffee soon put that right. Hanging out was fun and then all too soon it was time to head back north.

The following day I spent some time trying to pack the telescope plus my clothes into two cases that the airline would carry, and then Blair and I went for a "sandwich" at Roy's. I am not sure how many were on the menu, but it seems like maybe 200. I ordered something rude-sounding but great-tasting, and then Blair took me back to Dulles Airport.

As I settled down on the flight home, I drifted off to sleep with a great sense of peace and contentment at having been able to be present at a very beautiful event with such nice people. Steve and Gina, Dean and Ann and Josh, I wish you the best in your lives, and thank you so much for letting me share in your wonderful wedding.

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Looking Back -- Nostalgic Tidbits From the May KIT issues of Previous Years

May 1990 - Janetta Elston: So I ask myself, "Why did I become so acquiescent on the Bruderhof?" I think it was: 1) because I was an idealist, but not a firm, deeply grounded Christian. Bruderhof life was my ideal as a person very conscious of social ills (hence my interest in psychology). 2) Physical fatigue. By the end of the day I was always too tired to think of anything. 3) Brainwashing. Anyone who didn't agree was a traitor. Even listening to a visitor's criticisms (often valid) was taboo....

I would never have chosen to leave because I had made a commitment for life. It's interesting that in 1961 nobody considered that commitment. We were told to leave and we practically crawled away. (One reason was physical. We were both ill. But the other was spiritual. We felt like worms.) Even so, when we arrived in the USA, we were still 'loyal' (i.e. brainwashed). We felt too ashamed of the brotherhood's actions to tell anyone why we 'left.' I talked so positively of Bruderhof life (in the ideal) that finally one Quaker gentleman asked me bluntly, "If you say the life is so ideal and the commitment is for life, why did you leave?" Then we had to confess that we were rejects.

It was a devastating experience -- emotionally, physically and financially. Jack was 47 and I was 44 when we started life -- with $100 -- in the USA as aliens.

May 1991 - The Third Biannual Report: It never ceases to amaze us how KIT grew out of a few telephone calls back in August of 1989. Oddly enough, it is the Bruderhof whom we must thank, because if they had agreed to allow Ramon to interview members about Xavie's life story, he probably would not have needed to look up ex-members to learn about his daughter's life. But sometimes just a coincidence is all it takes to turn our lives around. And, as Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "Perhaps coincidence is just God's way of remaining anonymous."

May 1992 - Janet Stevens: After spending 18 months (June '57 - Nov '58) as a long-term guest [at Woodcrest], turning in my household equipment and valuables, I was sent away at a "clearing" meeting. The remembrance of Heini on a "throne" with semicircles of chairs around him and heads nodding in agreement that Benny and Esther Bargen, Mel and Margaret Butler and children, and I with five children, should be sent away, sickens me. Fortunately I had recourse to family in Michigan and found refuge at Pendle Hill for several days. While I was phoning to find a shelter, Heini gathered the group into a great roaring of laughter and fun.

That is past. We set out to build a new section of our lives, not trying to rebuild the past but dealing with what was given to us to do. It has worked out well.

May 1993 - Bette Bohlken-Zumpe: Someone phoned me from Germany (who had been a guest on the Michaelshof) to try and understand why we -- the KIT people -- are out to destroy the community!! I told him that his information was very incorrect indeed, that we were merely out to find the truth that called our parents to the communal life, but had no trust in their own children -- their own crop, so to speak -- but left them to hunger and thirst in the streets of the world, completely isolated and deprived from their homes and families. Now we are not out to destroy them at all, but enjoy the fact that we have found one another again, and realize that we hold so much in common, after all!!

May 1994 - The Mennonite Reporter: "Bruderhof Controversy" by Margaret Loewen Reimer. Waterloo, Ont: Controversy is swirling around Johann Christoph Arnold, Elder of the Bruderhof colonies which also belong to Kleinsasser's Schmiedeleut group. Former members of the Bruderhof have discovered that Arnold, who lives at Woodcrest Colony in New York State, has purchased two handguns since 1991 to "carry...concealed" on his person, according to his application for a gun. On the application, Arnold states that he is acquiring a weapon "for self-protection and protection of community members." He identifies himself as a minister of the Hutterian Brethren Church. Character references are from people who are not members of the Bruderhof. The discovery has created a passionate protest from former Bruderhof members.

May 1995 - The Mennonite Reporter: "Bruderhof and Kleinsasser Hutterites Part Company" by Wilma Derksen: A flurry of correspondence and angry letters have emerged out of the Hutterite colonies and the Bruderhof, pointing to an unexpected new controversy and possible split. This activity became public through "An Open Letter from the Bruderhof," written on behalf of all its members by J. Christoph Arnold...

This unexpected split is between the Bruderhof based in New York, also known as the Arnoldleut, and the Schmiedeleut Hutterite group led by Jacob Kleinsasser in Manitoba. In Arnold's letter, printed in the winter 1995 issue of The Plough, he criticizes the total Hutterian church by saying their "witness has been almost completely lost." Arnold writes that in many of the Hutterite colonies, members are withholding money and other goods for themselves in spite of their vows to relinquish all private property. "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... Alcoholism is rampant, even among some community leaders. Premarital sex is widespread and there are illegitimate children."

May 1996 - Bette Bohlken-Zumpe: People were kicked out again and again with large families and no means to support them. They were put on Welfare, which the taxpayer pays for, but the Bruderhof does not. The Bruderhof even interfered with these ex-brothers finding a job in order to support their families. They went out of their way to discredit these ex-brothers and make a life for them 'outside' impossible, or at least even more difficult. Wiretapping was one of the evil methods they resorted to.

A Bruderhof child (a young man) whose family still lives in the Community, was handcuffed by the police and taken away when visiting his home community. A lawsuit was started against all those who work for COBI, but the Bruderschaft and outsiders are told that Ramon Sender started a lawsuit against the Bruderhof. They just twist and turn everything around! They enjoy their riches and live at a high standard at the cost of those who were kicked out.

I am sure I could go on and on. So much has happened during these last years, and not in a positive sense at all. What is it then that we can do??? Most of us love the Bruderhof as our home. We were raised as Christians to not let the sun set before making peace with our brothers. What can we do if they do not listen to us? Just let them be -- just let all those who really believe that they are serving God in this way of life go in the opposite direction without opening our mouth?

What about this new rule that old people have to sign a paper that they do not wish their children to come on the hof when they are sick, and also not be present at the funeral? This is sheer craziness!

ITEM: The Kingston Daily Freeman, 4/8/97, reported that a group of seventh and eighth grade children from Woodcrest have announced that they will join a "Friendshipment Caravan" to Cuba carrying supplies and gifts for Cuban children. One of the girls said that she realized there were risks involved (because of the U.S. government's embargo), but added that they believe what they were doing was right and "there is no need to worry."

An eighth grade boy said that "If there is a law against showing love, we would be inclined to break it."

The Caravan will fly from Montreal, Canada.

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ITEM: The New Paltz Herald , 2/27/97, ran an article on the Bruderhof's excommunication from the Hutterian Church, citing their excommunication came "after Bruderhof members said that other Hutterite communities were rife with teenage sexuality, children born out of wedlock, hollow and antiquated religious rituals and a power-hungry elite."

"We tried to point out the problem with their teenagers, the promiscuity, the children born out of wedlock," said [Sibyl] Sender. "But it became apparent that they would rather follow meaningless church rules than be moral. It was the church's oppressive leadership that prevented the children from becoming educated." The article explained that the Hutterites interpreted the Bruderhof's "complaints, meant to be taken constructively," as "an act of agitation."

ITEM: The New Paltz Herald ("Homegrown News from New Paltz, Highland, Rosendale and Gardiner" ) published an item in their 'News Briefs' of April 3rd titled "The Morning After 48 Hours." Describing the CBS segment as 'questionable journalism,' they interviewed Sibyl Sender, a Bruderhof spokesperson.

"We are not a cult," she said... She claimed that the 48 Hours production crew came onto Woodcrest promising not to use the footage for a 'muckraking program,' and also misrepresented the community as 'isolated.'

The article ended, "Sender also took offense with misconceptions concerning child custody brought up on the 48 Hours segment. According to Sender, if a parent of a child decides to leave the community, they are still able to see their children.

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ITEM: The Winnipeg Free Press, 4/23/97, reported how the Glenway Hutterite Colony continued to fight the flooding Roseau River as it slowly inched up the sides of their dike. Glenway leaders evacuated the women and children and put out a call for earth-moving equipment to other colonies in southern Manitoba.

"Working around the clock, the men have moved thousands of metric tons of clay, reinforcing the dike which rings the colony by at least five feet. Yesterday they were one foot ahead of the Roseau, which finally was beginning to level out somewhat."

But the worst is not yet over if the Roseau backs up when the Red River (into which it drains) crests.

In the 4/24/96 issue, another article described how the men and women of the Oak Bluff and Blue Clay Colonies came out in force to help neighbors build dikes against the raging. They had been working steadily for days, the women filling sandbags and the men hoisting them into place.

Sam Waldner of Oak Bluff said that they have answered about seven calls for help, including allowing a farm equipment dealer to park his inventory on their higher ground.

"We don't care who it is -- if they need help, we come," he said. " It's a good feeling helping people. We'll be back somewhere tomorrow, we just don't know where."

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Inno Idiong, to Christian P. Domer, 3/4/97: I read with great dismay your fax'd letter, addressed to Rev. Mike Waldner and dated January 23, 1997, circulated to various Hutterite ministers.

You purportedly commanded and summoned Hutterite Ministries for what sounds like a compulsory meeting of a serious matter in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's disgusting that you have the guts to ask them to come and discuss what? With you and your Bruderhof cartel? You are not really serious. Why do you disturb these simple ministers? You are yet not satisfied after years of fooling around with the Hutterites? Imagine the heap of accusations and condemnations sadly flowing from your group through utterances in letters and telephone calls. Yet you are not happy and satisfied, though. Do you perceive achieving anything good from all these unchristian assaults? Sorry O!

If I may ask you, Christian, what are the concerns and questions you think you have to present to the Hutterites that will be worse than the deep and gross abuses of human rights that your Bruderhof committed against the poor Nigerians in Palm Grove? Today, the false teachings [and the] spiritual, moral, psychological and physical abuses and damages done in 1992/94 by your saintly Bruderhof people are still haunting Palm Grove people. Yet we have no chance to call you to discuss these religious atrocities.

The Hutterites in Manitoba and United States are more clever and smart than you Bruderhof people think. That's why you wise folks are ever worrying about what the Hutterites are doing. Why can't you mind your own business? You missed the Hutterites and their money, I can see. You are digging your grave trying to go after the Hutterian Church and their ministers. If the Bruderhof, its leadership and spokesmen are so clever, how come the Bruderhof organization is a mess? Why do you always see the sins of others and fail to see all the dots of injustice within and without your holy group, even when these dots need bleaching? Please, clean first the Bruderhof. There is too much mud, Christian. Be careful, because you are trying to act God by trying to search for sins among the Hutterites. This is like having a dead body at home and then going out to challenge a neighbor for chasing a robin. This is foolish. I challenge you to tell the world the truth about your atrocities in Palm Grove before you seek to crucify Hutterites and take their money. If those ignorant 145 men, women and children [ex-Hutterites now with the Bruderhof] would know that you are not speaking for them, but for what you can get from their Hutterian people, they would stop you fast if you told them. They may not be there tomorrow -- I mean those brainwashed 145 Hutterites.

I challenge you to account for the number of poor, hopeless and helpless Bruderhof faithfuls you have wickedly thrown out to rot in the Diaspora without any offense or reason. Yet nobody speaks for those people. Speaking for 145 runaways to the Bruderhof just for what you can get from the Hutterites is cowardice, and just like crooks do. Please note: I am not speaking for the Hutterites but for the truth. That's how it should be. We are determined to bring the Bruderhof to the reality of the damage done in Palm Grove. Respectfully,

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Judy Tsukroff, 4/29/97: This morning I was at the Norfolk, CT, library, and I checked for Bette's and Nadine's books on the new book table. They were not there, so I went back and found them on the reference shelf. I went to the librarian and requested they be put back with newly arrived books. She responded that she could not cope with both sides "coming at her," so had put all the books, including Christoph's death book, back on the shelf with all the other books on the B'hof -- among sources on religion like the Amish, etc. This satisfied me because it was seeing Christoph's book on the new table that made me request equal exposure for our side. As long as everything is back there together, I feel we are being fairly treated. The B'hof was upset to discover our side right up on the table near Christoph's masterpiece. Tough cookies! In that reference section now there are a couple of Peter Rideman tomes, Ben's Joyful Community, Bette's, Nadine's, and four annuals. So there is a lot of information there with a not-B'hof point of view.

About the crisis: Who knows? On Sunday I saw many family groups out walking the back roads of Norfolk. They were very friendly to me, smiling and waving. Several seemed to know who I was. So have they repented already? Whatever!

...In KIT, I was especially impressed by the Chesleys' letter. I wish it could be printed separately because it says so clearly, with illustrative examples, what is going there now--in comparison to the community we joined and which they still give lip-service to. That letter is really a gem.

A neighbor mentioned he had seen '48 Hours' and was really annoyed at the way Susie was treated.... As an adult he had a difficult time learning to make decisions. The B'hof was too much like that for him, and he was determined that his children have an education that allowed them to learn to make their own decisions. I hadn't personally met anyone with this comment before. We enjoyed reading of the Buttons' wedding and are happy to hear of their union in such loving circumstances...

We are sad that Bette has had such serious health problems and hope she will recover well. Bette has been a clear brave, voice for years now, which I have found very helpful. And she has suffered so cruelly by the B'hof-engineered cut-off from her mom.

Arn's health gains plateau'd this month, and he now is having cancer-related problems again. He just didn't feel well enough to go to the wonderful folk festival last weekend that we have attended every spring for 15 years. This told me more than anything that he is not doing well. And he was right because he had increasing discomfort and decreasing energy over the weekend. He goes to the doctor on Thursday for advice.

Meanwhile, I take small steps toward establishing a private practice in this area. And we enjoy a lot of old movies on video together. Happy Spring to all.

ITEM: Newsday, a Long Island newspaper, ran a photo of J. Christoph Arnold hugging a former New York City police officer, Steven McDonald, who remains permanently paralyzed by three bullets. McDonald forgave his assailant, corresponded with him in prison and worked for his rehabilitation. Because Christoph is working on his book about forgiveness, he drove to MacDonald's home to meet him and hear his views

"What power forgiveness has!" Christoph was quoted as saying.

MacDonald planned to visit the Catskill Bruderhof this past month.

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Some Thoughts on the Bruderhof.

by Hilarion Braun, 4/1/97

Even as a child I noticed that Bruderhof members had a peculiar way of answering guest questions. At that time I thought it was "the right way." Now I realize that this automatic Bruderhof talk comes from a conditioned reflex -- cult-induced. For Bruderhof members, its strongest elements are anti-individual -- pro-group, anti-intellectual -- pro non-think, and with sufficient piety to induce sympathy in the sense of "the religious." We always were given all the answers, over and over. Household meetings, Gemeindestunden, and the infamous 'talks' or Aussprache were used to drive home the Bruderhof line, which over the years has become Arnold wisdom -- or lack thereof.

The fundamental Arnold tools are:
a) Suppression of human sexuality
b) Suppression of intellectuality
c) Demonization of individuality
d) Mystification of meaning
e) Mystification of leadership
f) Maintenance of ambiguity
g) Glorification of purity

It's quite obvious from this list that these tools lead to institutionalized psychoses, and are the tools of maintaining enough confusion to allow for absolute control. Hanging Arnold portraits in Servants' offices is not considered idolatry, while pictures of nude humans is considered pornography. Such ambiguity is artfully maintained to allow for maximum maneuvering during a crisis. Those who raise such a topic as Arnold worship are quickly attacked and excluded. Guests who do not see the idolatry and Arnold control obviously won't ask questions. By the time they discover the pathetic lie, they are novices or members, and hence are subject to the rules of Ausschluss.

The enormous anti-intellectual thrust is likely to have started more with Heini than with Eberhard. Heini was quite dense, and C. J. Arnold must have inherited Heini's intellect -- or lack thereof. To JCA, just about anyone with a bright mind must be a threat, and hence a philosophy that puts down intellectual creativity is a handy way of maintaining the culture of nonsense.

The culture of nonsense happens to be very much like Madison Avenue. Take sex away from Madison Avenue [advertising] propaganda, and you get "the Woodcrest spirit." An abundance of maudlin songs, a fanatic promotion of kitsch (pretend art) and the promise of joy when you give all to the gemeinde are really the strokes of Madison Avenue -- reworded. Madison Avenue asks for all your money and future earnings in return for happiness as defined by its charlatans. Famous movie actors are peddled as wise men, while the Bruderhof has JCA, the pope and other 'theologians' to vouch for the Christianity of the Bruderhof and its products. No longer is one to consider what the Bruderhof actually does, but only what it claims it does. In the same way, Madison Avenue proclaims what is said about its products, not what they really are.

Happiness on the Bruderhof is purity and owning an airplane, while Madison Avenue's version of happiness is being mortgaged to the limit while driving an expensive car that functions no better than one costing one-fifth of what Madison Avenue advised.

There is a glut of Christian books on the market now, and some insist this is so because Americans are searching for a meaningful life. On reading some of these popular Christian products, one is left with the impression that these books contain nothing new and are aimed at ignorance. Simplistic, sheep-like people that look for answers to questions that don't exist often buy these products -- and never read them. Endless book reviews follow the publications of some of these products written by folks who make their living publishing similar stuff. These mutual adulation groups were readily tapped by JCA for his pathetic writings. Most of it sounds like rehashed E. Arnold and Blumhardt. Nothing new has happened in the published record while the 'lifestyle' has changed dramatically.

Lawyers are hired to pursue this or that. The police are engaged to arrest ex-Bruderhofers on flimsy if not false charges while the Bruderhof writings decry violence of any form. Voluntary poverty is touted in all of the Bruderhof propaganda while JCA flies around in an expensive airplane. The hypocrisy is so blatant and nauseating that one wonders when the readers of Plough propaganda will wake up to this and cancel their subscription. One might even suspect that Plough readers delight in hypocrisy?

Thanks to all of you who wrote me regarding my Phoenix adventure! I've tried to answer individually, and unless the postman screwed up, you should hear from me. My only regret is that you did not let other KIT folks hear you ideas. They are very helpful. Things are getting better, but I fear my energy and sanity will not last long enough. As the business grows, one is unable to staff adequately without at first overstaffing. This overstaffing can quickly lead to disaster while understaffing leads to burnout or worse, and I would not wish me, in my condition, on anyone. As I try to keep going, I seem to lose my life. This last sentence sounds positively nuts, and shows you how close to the edge I am!

Dave Ostrom and Katherine Brookshire were here for a get-together with Susie and me. We had a great time despite the microphones and lenses of CBS. What is so delightful about KIT get-togethers is that one always see the old ideals living on rather than, as the Bruderhof claims, a bunch of embittered losers. If and when my business fails, I will not be bitter. Just very tired! Love to all,

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ITEM: The following excerpts are from a discussion of Eberhard Arnold's book Innerland that occurred on the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.christian.anabaptist.brethren.
Wayne Chesley, formerly of Catskill Bruderhof, 3/4/97: Emmy Barth wrote: "It is deeply hurting to hear you call Christoph Arnold a cult leader. With such association you are accusing him of the most terrible, satanic darkness."

Emmy, you have seen the issues raised here. These issues have not been answered. You have seen the charges against the Bruderhof -- harassment, telephone taps, lawsuits, denial of access to family. These are the type of things which people associate with cults. Bill has been at the receiving end of some of these activities, yet not one step has been taken toward reconciliation, nor has any offer from former members been accepted. On the contrary, immediately after refusing an offer to meet for conciliation talks with a neutral party the Bruderhof sued another ex-member and a newsletter for ex-members. You, Emmy, as a common member, might not even be aware of the offer or of the fact that the law suit is a real law suit, not an injunction or other legal fiction.

If the Bruderhof is labeled a cult, and Christoph a cult leader, then the Bruderhof and Christoph can take steps to clearing up that image -- by admitting to the wrongs committed and by seeking peace and reconciliation with those whom you have wronged. Even simply answering the points raised in these discussions might go a long way. If Christoph is labeled by some as a cult leader, it is because the Bruderhof communities, over which he is leader, have behaved in a cult-like fashion -- and continue to so behave.

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Blair Purcell, (from the same newsgroup) 3/5/97: The Bruderhof has a very complex system of church discipline, which includes the lesser exclusion and greater exclusion -- which is essentially the Ban. These church disciplines are carried out within the communities. The practices of avoiding and ostracizing (and suing) ex-members and family members outside of the communities is a matter quite different from biblical church discipline.

Wayne Chesley is correct -- it is not biblical.

It appears to arise from a fear of exposure of certain policies carried out by those in leadership positions which have proven to be unusually embarrassing to the Bruderhof. If the "common brothers" were to be aware of the apparently illegal, unethical and immoral practices, they might well rise up in opposition.

One of the most embarrassing activities they have undertaken in recent times (not counting Charley994@aol.com) is the carrying out of a telephone harassment campaign designed to prevent the use of a toll-free phone number by those attempting to find out about a meeting of former members -- as described on Wayne Chesley's website. See:

http://www.personal.psu.edu/staff/w/x/wxc21/bhof/bhof.htm .

Even here, though, it appears the common brothers did participate in the campaign -- but I am certain they remained unaware of the police investigation, for example, or the newspaper stories in the Kingston (NY) newspapers describing the harassment. In all probability, those common brothers were told something like, "Well, it's a toll-free number. It won't cost us anything." In their very restricted society, they had no realization of how wrong it was to create over one- thousand seven-hundred calls in the 800 line's first twenty-one days of operation! The vast majority of these calls came from Bruderhof offices or from pay phones very near by.

So, families are split. Parents die without notification to outside children. There is no opportunity to visit ailing friends and relatives. The Bruderhof earns a reputation that is directly contrary to so many of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs. And they say families may not visit because those on the outside cannot "understand" their way of life.

Sorry, Charley. We understand all too well. But it would be immoral and unethical to allow the Bruderhof to coerce us into silence for the sake of gaining the infrequent visits to family we once enjoyed. You will attract more seekers (did the rest of you see the article in LIFE magazine -- December 1996?). And these seekers will spend important parts of their lives at the Bruderhof until they, too, more fully understand the deceptions they have suffered at your hands.

(For example, in the LIFE article, an interracial married couple was "showcased" but they have not been together for over a year. Another woman praised the Bruderhof in the December issue -- but had been expelled since September before the article appeared.)

So, when an invitation is extended to visit for a week, there are those who believe it is important to offer an alternative and balanced view of the Bruderhof. A seeker should know what needs to be left behind: Family, friends, faith.

And all for the sake of an elusive unity, achieved only by stifling dissent and the exercise of conscience. This is why it is difficult to deal with the Bruderhof on a religious basis -- religious people don't behave this way. If they do, they are not religious. Unity is never more important than being able to hear the quiet voice of God in your own heart.

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Mike LeBlanc, (from the same newsgroup) 3/15/97: Mike LeBlanc, EmBarth [Emmy Barth, Woodcrest Bruderhof] wrote: "Chapter 3 Discussion Questions: Question 3: What is the kingdom of Man? Does it differ in any way from the Kingdom of Mammon mentioned in the previous chapter?

I think Eberhard Arnold uses the terms 'Kingdom of man' and 'Kingdom of Mammon' synonymously. See the next paragraph p.79 following that quoted by Wayne:

'...These ideals of the human spirit that are separated from God have come to nothing. ...Prosperity in a people united by race is founded on property and selfish advantage. In just the same way, the worldwide economic unity of high finance has been built up on the material prosperity of individuals and their mutual advantage.'...

Eberhard Arnold built up his own "kingdom of men", with himself as leader. How else could you justify his dissolving of the Brotherhood shortly before his death. If his utopia was a true group of equals in unity, how can you justify the above action? In reading a mans words, it is so important to see what his actions showed as well. And the continuation of the Arnold dynasty is a fruit that was planted in the mind of Arnold's son Heinrich (against Arnold's wishes, if all accounts are correct). Can you argue that there has not been power struggles to keep the Arnold Dynasty alive? Can you honestly expect me and the world-at-large to believe that no one else in your group of 2500 souls is not spiritually attuned to Jesus' will that he cannot lead? And why is his grandson now Elder? What about the pain caused by the 1960 Crisis? Your community is a living legacy of a power struggle of one man's family of many others. Your power hierarchy insures the continuation of that legacy.

So often the passage about the rich young man is taken out of context. It was not the riches that made him turn away from Jesus, it was inability to let go of his "love of money". Jesus knew this was a problem area in the young man's life. Hence, it is not that "money" is the root of all evil, but the "love of money". Yet Armold uses that as a premise for dismissing private property. Arnold's mysticism of "mammon" is unnecessary. And the premise of building God's Kingdom here on earth has no basis Biblically... only when Jesus returns will there His kingdom on earth.

From what I know of Eberhard and what led him to community, he saw "mammon" as the root cause of war and the injustices of society. This is still true today -- maybe even more so. Otherwise, why does our country continue to spend millions on the military every year, agitating smaller countries to start wars? (Seeing as there is no longer a threat of communism) Why are health care programs and other services to our poor being cut? Obviously, someone is getting rich on all of this, at the expense of others.

Again, it is the corruption of men's hearts, in the love of money and power that causes actions such as war (which generates profits). Money in and of itself in a necessity of life.

This connects to Question 5: "Is this (selling everything and giving to the poor) a universal demand?" I would say 'yes.' But how this works out practically is something everyone has to answer in his own heart. We say we live in community, sharing all things in common. Yet again and again we have to recognize that we have let temporal things, be it clothing, computers, or anything else, take too important a role in our hearts.

Selling everything and giving to the poor is not universal. This was directed at the young man because Jesus knew it was a problem area. If we are following God's will, money will be used appropriately, be we rich or poor. Being poor and worrying about money is as bad as being wealthy and worrying about it. When we allow any idea(l) thought or "idol" (including our idea of utopian unity) to stand in the way of following God's will we are in error. When we allow ourselves to shift our focus away from what He wants for us we are in peril.

As for sharing all things in common, this was a short lived effort that was spontaneous. The new church communities quickly became local churches, those sharing in common dispersed. Your community doesn't even follow this ideal. Special stores, gifts, clothing and food are often given to Elders' and Servants' families. How is this sharing all things in common? Brings to mind Animal Farm, and the pigs -- perhaps a very fitting analogy.

I am finding this reading of Inner Land and the questions being asked are making me think again about things I have always assumed. Thank you.

I can only hope that truth can be shed on the terrible injustices that have happened and continue to happen in the Bruderhof communities. Your focus on communal unity at the expense of the individual soul and it's relationship to God is cause of continued concern for me. Your deification of Arnold and the dynasty legacy he left will have to be answered for... at His feet. You need an example? How about withholding my loved ones from me? This is true and utter misuse of power, pure and simple.

I hope Christoph and his close circle of power abusers someday will take the seriousness of the pain and suffering they cause, and have caused, seriously.

As a grown child of the Bruderhof, seeking to follow God's will in my life, it deeply saddens me to see the community not living up to the ideals of many of the flock, and using the Bible a guide, becoming a collection of followers of Jesus heading in the same direction together if that's what suits Him. In Him,

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NOTE: Web surfers, check out Mike's new website Graduate Good News at: http://www.monmouth. com/~mleblanc/ggn/
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Blair Purcell (same newsgroup) 3/25/97: Charley994 wrote: "What's wrong in trying to sell books. We all have to make a living. The American Dream, right? If you have a better idea please let me know. I am trying to serve the Lord and no one else. All the best, charlety" [sic]

Dear 'Charlety' : You are not serving the Lord as your grandfather might have wished. The Hutterian Brethren of New York, Inc. and Christian Domer as an individual, filed suit this week against Ramon Sender and the Peregrine Foundation complaining of copyright infringement based on publication of a letter from Christian Domer to (around) fifteen western Hutterite ministers. This letter circulated from hof to hof in the west and a copy eventually (after much public circulation) reached the editor of the KIT newsletter.

It was published in the KIT newsletter (February issue, 1997). So much for Anabaptism and Christians "not going to law." Deja vu all over again! If anyone would like a copy of the lawsuit, just drop me an e-mail note. The letter Domer wrote is attached to the suit as an exhibit in the legal papers. Since you made it even more public, Christian, perhaps you might not sue me for passing on what you have done to "protect" the Bruderhof from those who only seek contact with their grandchildren?

You are out to destroy the Bruderhof, not Ramon Sender. Charlety and Christian, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Blair Purcell, (from the same newsgroup) 3/28/97: Christoph (Charley994) wrote: "One book which Bill forget to mention is Seventy Times Seven; Stories on Forgiveness. It is really awesome . Be sure to get a copy too. "

Why do you again fail to take credit for that which you have written? Isn't this your book, Christoph, on forgiveness? How do you square the title with your decision to again sue Ramon Sender - in direct contradiction of anything any reputable Anabaptist pastor could possibly justify?

And, I say it was your decision to sue Sender because you (for the first time in my limited experience) accepted responsibility for your personal and institutional actions. I quote from your remarks on the 48 Hour broadcast last Thursday evening on CBS: "I have a responsibility before God for everything that happens here (at the Bruderhof)."

You also have a responsibility to seekers of truth (who took the time to examine the words of your grandfather) to explain your deceptions on this forum. Why did you undertake them? What were your motives? Why did you purposely lie? Why have you ignored straight questions on these and other issues? Where is your salt?

If you had any personal courage, you would face and answer these questions like a man. I do not anticipate you will do so.

In the earlier part of the '48 Hours' program, a comment was made about the Heaven's Gate cult in San Diego; I do not recall who said it: "spiritual predators on the web." And when one visits your web site (a very good one at that), one cannot but wonder what your motives truly are. You folks aren't very good at it (yet); you get caught so often in your misleadings and deceptions and dirty tricks. I fear for the time you are able to recruit some unquestioning follower who is more sophisticated, more literate and more competent to carry out these 'missions' on your behalf.

He must surely have more success than you have achieved. And I fear the ultimate outcome.

What are you doing to the Bruderhof? Where is your conscience? Where is the Christian faith of your grandfather? Where are your answers to the forum you chose to mislead?

Or do you prefer to just introduce another "awesome" book for sale?

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Wayne Chesley (same newsgroup) 3/28/97: from Innerland Ch 5, 'The Conscience & Its Health' :
"Christ's justice conducts no lawsuits (no family courts?). It does not carry on a middleman's business (no network marketing?) or any business that is to the disadvantage of another. It forgoes its own advantage, it sacrifices every privilege, and never defends a right. Christ's love never sits on a jury, never deprives anyone of his freedom, and never passes a death sentence. It knows no enemies and fights no one... The sum of all we are commanded to do is love with a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith... This is the essential nature of His Kingdom and His Church."p.158

Not long ago, after Blair Purcell and I exposed the fakery behind a number of postings in this newsgroup, the Elder of the Bruderhof questioned me about my motives for leaving the Bruderhof. More recently he accused me on this newsgroup of having a burdened conscience. I find it interesting then that he has not addressed the points raised in this portion of the Innerland discussion and that he did not comment on the posting of a portion of that book above.

In October Blair Purcell and I, in response to a published letter from the Bruderhof expressing a desire to meet, initiated an effort to bring the Bruderhof together with its ex-members (and those who grew up there but never joined) to talk about and come to some agreement about the difficulties between these two parties. The Bruderhof delayed repeatedly in making a decision whether or not to negotiate while they tightened access to these parties to their family members in the communities. They turned us down last week, while at the same time they initiated another lawsuit against a former member.

If the Bruderhof leadership would agree to discuss and settle these matters privately, as we have tried to do, there would be no need to mention them publicly. The Bruderhof communities severed their relationship with the Hutterite church (Christoph, in the persona of Charley994, says they can't stand the Hutterites any more) so that now they are accountable to no one but themselves.

Perhaps if readers and participants in this newsgroup would write to the Bruderhof (Christoph Arnold's e-mail address is carnold210@aol.com or charley994@aol.com) it might give them a sense that they are not alone and unaccountable, that there are people who care about the actions of a church that professes to be in the line of the early church and the Anabaptists, which professes to live by the words of their founder: "The sum of all we are commanded to do is love with a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith... This is the essential nature of His Kingdom and His Church."

Matthew 18 gives instructions on how we are to deal with a brother who sins against us. We are told at one point to take the matter to the church. But what if the church sides with the erring brother in a case where the offense is unambiguous? What if it is the church that is sinning against God, bringing shame to God's name? Peace

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Al Hinkey, 5/5/07: If it hasn't been invented yet, I propose the DQ (Dumbness Quotient) scale, to go with the IQ scale. There is no test for DQ. It only reveals itself through the statements and actions of an individual. We all have a DQ. The problem is that it is harder to rate in some people than in others.

Each specific statement or action is rated on a scale from 0 to 100 for dumbness. Then all the individual dumbness numbers are averaged to get the person's overall DQ.

There is absolutely no correlation between IQ and DQ. We are all high in one and low in the other or somewhere in-between in both. There is no scientific way of determining a person's DQ. It is a subjective rating applied by the observer. DQ is not stable like IQ. It can fluctuate wildly during a person's life. It will also vary depending on the opinions of the people rating the statements or actions.

Any individuals who: tap phones by putting tape recorders under porches; make threatening phone calls from airplane conventions; put up stickers in airports advertising sex lines using another organization's 800 number; orchestrate hundreds of harassing phone calls by kids to the same 800 number and then say they can't control their children; attempt to bug a public meeting in a church and then drive away in their own car; trick someone into demanding hush money and then have him arrested when they deliver the money; break into people's houses to steal documents they already have; file a lawsuit against friends and family complaining about publicizing a letter and then print the entire letter in the lawsuit; pay good money to copyright the same letter, which will never be confused with the Gettysburg Address; show up unexpectedly at people's houses in the middle of the night and say they forgot to phone ahead; have relatives arrested for rollerblading on private property in a communal settlement; take out a concealed weapon permit and buy a high-powered revolver to get rid of rabid raccoons in a nonviolent community; threaten to sue a newsletter for promoting guaranteed freedom of speech while enjoying the freedom of religion guaranteed by the same document; and then justify their actions by saying they are promoting the Kingdom of God, people like that rate pretty high on the DQ scale in my book.

I agree, however, that we shouldn't call these people dumb. They may sue us for slander, which of course will raise their DQ rating.

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Norah Allain, 4/2/97: The March KIT arrived last week, which I've passed on to Cisco (but he always brings them back). And I've been feeling for some time that I should once more try to put on paper what's been going on with me. How much of it will be able to go into KIT I shall leave up to you. There was this El Arado section of my life story in the last KIT, which gave me a bit of a shock in re-reading it. It's rather like when other people sometimes remember things about you which you yourself don't remember. But Paulo rang me and said he had been glad to read it because it helped to clarify for him some aspects of life there that had not been really understood by him. In actual fact, what my son Ebo complains of most about his B'hof years is that the grown-ups never explained to their children what was going on. So they couldn't feel involved with us, but were suddenly required to accept changes which they didn't understand.

One thing is certain, that on leaving the B'hof we never did this anymore. Children really do have a right to be told everything they can understand, and it's usually far more than we give them credit for.

While on the subject of KIT: one gets a little slap in the face occasionally, as I did from someone called Monica Arnold (I can't figure out who she is). She thought I should have had my baby daughter taken away from me because I showed my extreme frustration by throwing her a bit roughly onto the bed. I am pretty sure that even at that age Betty understood me quite well and knew that she was loved all the same, and this is an ongoing relationship that gets better all the time. Somehow Monica must have been feeling the need to let off some pent-up feelings towards someone, and anybody would do. Don't worry, there are no bad feelings on my part. It was really rather funny.

I've appreciated hearing from Hans Zimmermann about his exploits ['Mother of Marathons,' Feb KIT], which obviously hold great value for him. What struck me was that this was not a fierce competition to be the first but a wonderful experience of comradeship with all the others who took part. I remember that about 20 years ago we had an American woman friend who spent about a year in Sao Paulo playing in the orchestra. When she went home, she got into training and then went off with a companion for about 3 months walking a part of the Appalachian Trail. I would have loved to go too. She then wrote a book which made me feel that I was really there with them.

We just had a lovely weekend together over Easter. Jacques and Monica were here in their house, and Clara came from Curitaba, some 500 km away, and Betty arrived with three women friends. Phil Hazelton was supposed to come as well, but it didn't work out. He has just moved to Brasilia to do some work there, so we hope to be seeing him soon. Well, I have to say that I never before experienced anything like this weekend, with everyone interacting at such a deep level with everyone else. Nothing was planned, except that we wanted to meet. I had met Betty's friends twice before, and we clicked immediately, but no one had met Clara before, and Monica perhaps just superficially. But she invited herself up and became one of the group as well. As it happens, Monica is a psychiatrist. Clara has been doing astrology for years and is pretty good at it by now, and one of the three from San Carlos is a gifted psychic... and uses the I Ching. So I decided to try it for once, and was amazed at what came out for me. What is more, the answer comes out on the same level as the question you are putting. As Clara explains, it really is your inner self that produces the answer, and yet the clues comes as a result of your tossing three little coins.

I was so tired from all this that I slept all night for the next three nights. Now I'm back again to my semi-nocturnal state. Event he weather held out until Monday for us, and then rained, as it should have done earlier. I think of one of my favorite phrases from Seth, that "the universe leans in your direction." He says it is much easier to bring about positive things through our thoughts and desires than the opposite because the universe "backs us up." I am certainly feeling this more and more since I met Seth, and it isn't that I believe he is personally doing all this, but indirectly he inspires it through the information and the kind of thinking you find in his books. Certainly nothing I ever read before had such a profound effect upon me...

I often wondered why for many, many years, I kept on having dreams about marvelous banquets to which I was invited but, what with all the press of other people, never managed to get anything to eat or drink. Now I've stopped dreaming this. I was so hungry that I finally found my own banquet!

This all reminds me of a kind of waking dream which my mind produced recently. I'm seeing the earth from a great distance, so I can see the whole globe, and it's dotted all over with points of brilliant light. There are places where the lights group together in clusters and these begin to pulsate and radiate the light far out, and finally the earth emits a humming note as it rotates. I think of the "Music of the Spheres." We badly need such images to counteract the gloom produced by so much of what is going on. It seems that the energy of the photon belt, which the earth is approaching now, is having a negative effect on those who are already more negative, but a very positive effect on others. That makes some sense of the current scene, I think. So we have to expect a very difficult time for some years (Clara was assaulted at gun point upon arrival in Sao Paulo when she went to get some money from a bank with her credit card. Also I've been watching on TV some awful scenes of what the military police are doing to innocent people, torturing, robbing and even murdering them by holding up their cars at certain checkpoints. Somebody actually filmed all this and are creating a terrific uproar at last, thank goodness!)

My letter to Joe Keiderling was a waste of time, of course. I got a similar answer to Carol Beels Beck's, and he wants a private answer but says nothing that gives me any reason to do so. So I shall ignore it. What Leonard told me about their efforts to co-opt KIT readers into selling their books just passes all belief! They live in an illusory world of their own, and there seems to be no way of battering down the door. All this business of discussing Innenland is just another red herring. I believe that Bette understand Christoph's psychology when she says he is naive. Personally I think he must be writing these nooks quite superficially, copying Heini and Eberhard without having any of the personal convictions which Eberhard evidently had.

Ramon, you twice suggested that I might cooperate by naming the characters in Roger's book and placing my own story in-between in his chapters. Actually, the way my interests are developing, they lean towards the future and I don't feel like delving anymore into the past... I'm not an author, just little entries into a diary, and letters, and otherwise I devote myself to living and thinking about it, and when there's a chance to be with real friends, then it's a feast! But feasts here have a tendency to wear one out, so that afterwards I appreciate my solitude and the little daily routine, and music and plants and so on. Much Love,

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A brief reply to the group Refuse & Resist's website article 'CBS Attacks the Bruderhof'

by Renatus Kluver

To whom it may concern.

My name is Renatus Kluver and I was born into an intentional community which, at the time was called "Society of Brothers," in England. I was only two-and-a-half years old when war broke out in Europe. The Bruderhof was at this time well-established in England, but due to so many members being of German origin, the Home Office gave the group the choice of leaving the country. It was becoming dangerous for the group, due to rising hostilities against them by their neighbours, to remain.

The group travelled via various ships in three different groups to South America, where the government of Paraguay had given them sanctuary and allowed them to live as pacifists. The group had many different European nationals as members, but the main two groups were German and English. The Communal lifestyle was based on the Early Christians where nonviolence and Christian love were of paramount importance, and a firm stand was taken against the corrupt world and institutionalised religion.

There was a lot of interest in Intentional Community at that time in the USA and already some experimental communes in existence for a few years. Because it was too expensive for most of those interested to visit the Bruderhof in Paraguay, the group decided to start one in the USA in 1954. A property was bought near Rifton, N.Y and a Bruderhof was established there.

The problem from hereon is that the person sent up from the colonies in Primavera, Paraguay, namely Heini Arnold, one of the sons of the founder Eberhard Arnold, gradually built for himself a power base in Woodcrest, Rifton, N.Y. and began to undermine the communal efforts of the parent community in Paraguay, managing, through psychological warfare, to reduce the group in Paraguay into a compliant nothingness, where whole families were thrown out, overnight, with nothing.

The group that now calls itself the Bruderhof and claims copyright on that name, having as their corporate headquarters in Woodcrest, Rifton, N.Y., from which all major decisions are made, are a falsehood. I find it an insult to my parents' memory, who would turn in their graves if they knew what now is being done under that name Bruderhof of which they were founder members in the early 1930s in Germany.

I could go on and on, but will come to a close at this juncture. I am a teacher in a high school here in England and have a very balanced Weltanschaaung. I wish, hope and pray that the present power brokers in the Communes, which illegitimately call themselves Bruderhof communities, will change their present course of misleading the ordinary members, telling them lies about those -- as they call us _ 'The Outsiders,' and to reestablish links between us and the common members...

I have written this in response to your clip about 'this outrageous lumping of the Bruderhofs with Jonestown and other mass suicides' and suggest that it might be a good idea if you were to make your own background investigations, unbiased either for or against the Society of Brothers or ex-members or Children of the Bruderhof. Please let me know what your feelings are regarding this communication... Christian greetings of love and forgiveness, and may you prosper in your endeavor to bring about reconciliation. Greetings,

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Hanna Goodwin Johnson: Dear Ramon and Barnabas, all you need is enough pauperized people to travel on public transportation and pack the courtroom. I believe the plaintiffs will say things so unbearably funny you will all need to feed on ice cubes to stay and not be cited for contempt. The subject of the copyrighted letter is serious, "through... counseling... very important and sensitive... to be addressed immediately." The legal action is insane (not to mention that the problems address are neither new, nor can immediacy solve sex relations and family disfunctions. Maybe there's no best way to deal with the subject matter.

The legal part is where I fall out of line. Where is the confidential, trust-building aspect of privacy in the courtrooms -- the judge's chambers? Trying not to speak abusive intimacies, we set up smoke screens to baffle the public. I crack up and fall out at the language that is so very spanking long. And I roll to hear a hofnick taking himself seriously in that way -- so much too much! To pay another lawyer "in order to demonstrate to a good law firm that we take this matter seriously" only confirms their insanity as proper.

Maybe you can get a few folk to have a water battle near the courthouse -- something to break the spell. There are problems of each and everyone's gullibility; and loneliness leaves one ever in the vulnerable state. I think KIT is saying we were not all that gullible. Our doubts convicted us of not seeking enough in the truth. To go on spelling out "in" vs. "out" is not going to break it up, as is necessary.

In the name of Free Exchange, suffer Lazare Potter and Giocovas to advise their plaintiffs HBNY [Hutterian Brethren in New York, Inc.] and Domer:

That the defendants derive no advantages, profits or financial gain whatsoever [from the publication of Subject Letter].

That KIT is an information service called into account for the herein prayed return of all copies of Exhibit D.

That a religious Bruderhof member must serve the Word and not be so retentive -- that is, naughty.

That it is these plaintiffs' word against people who access information 'including' rather than 'only' of said plaintiffs.

That those who access information for the sake of information stand to gain nothing but information.

That the plaintiffs' word in court is public information -- that this talk is cheap.

Thank you for KIT, that is helping me to go on searching in the truth "That in black ink" (Shakespeare Sonnet LXV). Love,

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"Come To Think Of It..."

by Leonard Pavitt, M.A.

I suppose the importance of a book depends not only on it's contents but also the particular point in your life at which you read it. I was thinking the other day about my first reading of William James' Varieties of Religious Experiences, with hindsight possibly the most important book I have read, to date. It helped me by letting me see something that I was experiencing at the time from a more objective viewpoint.

It was in the 1940's in Primavera and it answered some very difficult, puzzling questions that had arisen in my mind during my first few years on the community, to which I had come as a young lad of twenty in 1940. I had been unable to understand how it could be that amongst a group of people having the same lifestyle, under identical living conditions, listening to the same sermons, there was such a wide range of attitudes towards, and reactions to, our earthly existence. I had questions about myself. Why didn't I feel like weeping and wailing and beating my sinful breast when Heini, who at that time was fighting a heroic battle against the Forces of Evil and Troublesome Kidneys, was emotionally exhorting us, in meetings round his sick bed, to Repent, Repent, before he was whirled aloft to join the rest of the Saints?

It was at this point in our history that I remember chatting with Gwynn Evans who, although a Servant, was always eminently approachable. I quoted from James' Varieties that "one should not assume that a spiritual value is undone if lowly origin be asserted, just because a person's melancholy about the universe is due to bad digestion, or probably his liver is torpid." I then rather daringly added that if this were so, perhaps God could speak to us through a person's kidneys. I realised that this scarcely veiled allusion to the then current 'Spiritual Battle' taking place in the community with Heini at the center was rather pushing Gwynn's broadmindedness to the very limit.

But all that happened was that he said "Leonard! Leonard!" in a cautionary tone of voice, and we dropped the subject. But I couldn't help noticing that his eyes appeared to twinkle.

But to get back to my self-questioning at that time, I asked myself why it was that I could never seem to find as much wrong with myself as some of the others? Why did my mind wander off on to considerably less spiritual matters when Heini was giving electrifying accounts, in the Gemeindestunde, of Johann Christoph Blumhardt's tremendous fights with the Devil whilst driving demons out of the unfortunate Gottlieben Dietus? And those hymns which portrayed our earthly existence to be in something approaching a 'Vale of Tears' ... why didn't I sing them with conviction? Why was I so happy in the 'Vale' and took absolutely no pleasure in the thought of leaving it?

Well, William James opened my eyes to the possibility that people experienced, reacted to, and saw things differently because there were basic differences in their very makeup., and that I wasn't necessarily in the wrong, or dreadfully unspiritual or such. I was just being me. If decided that I didn't belong amongst the extreme cases of individuals mentioned by James (p 97), those in whom "the capacity for even transient sadness or a momentary humility seems cut off as by a kind of congenital anaethesia." I did hope I might be numbered at least somewhere near the blessed lot of whom he wrote (p 173) "Some persons are born with an inner constitution which is harmonious and well balanced from the outset. Their impulses are consistent with one another, their will follows without trouble the guidance of their intellect, their passions are not excessive, and their lives are little haunted by regrets." I must admit I thought it would be nice to imagine I was, well... just a little bit like that... maybe?

In more recent times, I dipped into Varieties, and again felt helped, rather like in those seemingly far-off days in Primavera. Of late I had wondered how it was that I was able to think and write about my past times in the community with, it seemed to me, a very definite feeling of detachment. When I consider the Community these days, although I believe I retain a thoroughgoing understanding of the life and of my experiences in it, I seem to look at it almost from an 'outsider's' point of view.

It would be easy to 'humbly' jump to the conclusion that I am able to write and speak about the past without distress because I am more insensitive than others. That sort of self-abasement went down well on the Community, but I don't feel this is so. I think it is simply because I have become free from the experiences of the past life on the Community. I realise I can speak and write, not without feeling, but rather as if I am sitting on a hillside quietly looking down on it all. Not dispassionately, but aware that I am in control of the feelings aroused. They don't dominate me. I do realise that I am certainly helped by the fact that I did not grow up on the community and that I have no fondly remembered relatives still in there.

But I don't think one should mentally flagellate oneself because one does not feel as badly about the past as someone else does. As I thought in the 1940's -- I am just 'being me'. My time in the Community included some truly terribly painful experiences, but I feel I have learned from them. I see the twenty years as only a part of my life, a phase, and just like all experiences in one's life, one can learn from them and come out the other side, perhaps a little sadder but, hopefully, a little wiser. Nowadays I experience a considerable sense of freedom and calm about it all.

Again, thanks to friend James, I was also helped to see more clearly about a quite fundamental issue, that of personal belief. I came across a passage, in that same book of his, that spoke to me about the various ways in which people find a clarity that was not there before. He writes "it {the new clarity} need not necessarily assume the religious form. For example the new birth may be away from religion into incredulity." I don't think he would have minded me coining a phrase based on that observation, but I would say that since leaving the Community -- 'I have been converted to incredulity.' As he points out "In these non-religious cases the new man may also be born, either gradually or suddenly." Well, I am definitely not the 'Road to Damascus' type. Such things always happen gradually to me, but I guess the main thing is that it happens.

I can remember very vividly how I felt when I realised that I had left my former belief. I imagined myself in a rowing boat pulling away from a large liner which I had left voluntarily. I realised that I had left a large, stable, secure boat and had, knowingly and willingly, ventured into a completely unknown situation, sea all around, no land in sight. But it was not a frightening prospect. In my imagining the sea was calm, the sun shone, the sky was blue. Any trepidation I might have felt was completely overwhelmed by the feeling of relief that I was no longer a passenger destined to go wherever the liner was heading, but that I was in charge of my small boat, come what may.

And to the relief I felt, was added a touch of exhilaration, a feeling of adventure

Perhaps I can finish with a brief mention of another book God's Blueprints by John McKelvie Whitworth, a third of which is about the Bruderhof. I noted that he included a 'Chronology of the Bruderhof' in which he noted "1952 - Missionaries sent to America." Actually quite a number of Brothers had been sent before 1952, but it so happened that I had been sent that year and had never thought of myself as a missionary. For me the word conjured up a picture of some staunch, pith-helmeted gentleman quietly simmering away in a large cauldron in Darkest Africa. I was a trifle disappointed that Whitworth made no mention of my all-time record of one-and-a-half years, from Feb. '52 to Aug. '53, spent away in America 'on mission.' After all, it was at that time -- and maybe still is -- the longest period that any member had been let loose on an unsuspecting world. I had hoped to get into the Guinness Book of Records because of it. But after reading that item in Whitworth's Chronology, I consoled myself with the thought that I could now legitimately add the letters M.A. (Missionary to the Americans) after my name. Yrs Most Sincerely, Leonard Pavitt, M.A.

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---- Poetry ----

Glass Filigree

by M. Satyra P.

Trying to reconcile
with gods of aristocracy
she said, I can make do,
there's no such thing as nothing.
And they said, "What is sand?"
All the sea waves
are careless of the grains.
"Go now and try to string the sand along,
twist and bind a strand."
Excommunicated from the depths
in smothering visions
of windswept heaps,
sad is the song of the wind
but no one weeps;
happy with a playful grain
falling from her hand
she tries to twine
while dreaming that she can
pull together dancing little particles
from another place and time
- to claim someone, "Mine."
So wandering
down the shoreland
you can hear her whispering,
"Ropes, of sand,
ropes of sand,
ropes of sand..."
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Enduring Wind

by Anon E. Mouse

Fact is you are afraid.
The dream around your fear
is here for you to claim
and so to find out what this is
that is worth fearing.
Through wintry nights
in the crimson firelight
you may see things
you would rather forget.
The glow is red-gold
for you to dream around
-- wrap another dream skin 'round.
Then carry your dream
through the long hot days,
do what you can,
try something new -- dream on.
Endurance has more to promise
in keeping your dream
when you remember
an old dream
and let it remind you
that the wind still has a song
-- hallelujah.
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Memories of Allen Ginsburg at Forest River

by George Maendel

I was at Forest River Colony in the fall of 1974, without much sense of direction. My Uncle Paul was the minister, he and half the people living there were not the people who had been there when I went away to do alternative service at the Koinonia Partners housing project near Americus, Georgia. Since completing my obligation to the government I had returned to, and left this new Forest River several times.

This time I was asked what I wanted to do, stay, leave or what? My formal education had ended after ninth grade, in May 1964, the same year that Forest River completed the process of rejoining the Hutterite Church. I said that I wanted to return to school and it was decided that Forest River would support me while I checked out what type of school I wanted to attend. After taking tests for a GED certificate, I applied to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, forty miles from the Colony, where I was accepted and allowed to challenge first year courses by taking a series of tests. I earned thirty semester hours of credit through testing and enrolled for the second semester which began in January.

I planned to buy a used car and find an apartment to rent near the school. I found a used car in very good condition, it looked like new and was bargain priced too, at $800. The Colony agreed to buy it and it was registered and insured as a colony vehicle.

When it came to renting an apartment, Colony people were shocked at the monthly rental price. They reacted as though the Mafia were trying to extort money from them. There was no way they were going to pay three or four hundred dollars a month for an apartment. I was told that I could live at the Colony and drive to and from school each day.

It was hard work with the winter driving and keeping up with the studies in the five courses I had enrolled in, Algebra, Logic, Philosophy, English Literature, and Native American History. I was ready for a break when the University's week-long annual writer's conference began. They were celebrating the Beat Generation Writers. There was a party atmosphere on the campus with poetry readings, workshops and lectures. The Beat Generation writers were alive and well and they were all activists. It was like carnival time, no one paid any attention to regular classes, many of which were altered or suspended for the week. We listened to Allen Ginsburg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Rexroth, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, Thomas McGrath and others.

On Friday, the last day of regularly scheduled events, the was a poetry reading and a discussion afterwards, at which time the poets took questions from the audience. A discussion began about communes and why the beat generation and the hippies seemed to favor this type of living arrangement. When Kenneth Rexroth was asked about communes, he more or less blasted the hippie generation experiments in communal living and said that if the students really wanted to learn about communal living they should study a group like the Hutterites who have been living communally for 500 hundred years. The Hutterites, he said, knew about communal life and they practiced it without all the hype and publicity that surrounded every new-age communal experiment.

After the formal discussion ended someone told Kenneth Rexroth and others who were standing around talking that there was a Hutterite Colony just forty minutes from the Campus. "Go there and learn, those of you interested in real communal life," was Rexroth's reply.

The next day several people from the UND English Department came out to Forest River with Allen Ginsburg and Peter Orlovsky. It was after the morning tea-drinking time, so after introducing them to a few people we asked our visitors if they would like a walking tour of the farm. "Yes!, that would be marvelous!" , was the response from Peter Orlovsky. We set out to show them the dairy barns. There was a large free-stall barn which was open to an exercise yard and a south-facing shelter for the cows. We toured the clean and empty milking parlor, with Peter making non-stop poetry about everything. In the barn we turned on the automatic bunk feeder which brought rich-smelling silage from the silo outside. There was more poetry and handfuls of sweet silage were greeted with free-wheeling words of praise about harvested growing things still full of life energy flowing like a stream from warm and magical confines. They loved the kind-eyed and tame, not-even-afraid-of-a-crazy-poet, Brown Swiss cows.

Next stop was the machine repair shop where Peter jumped on one of the tractors and imagined himself in a field. He made more noise than the tractor would have had it been running. He was just bubbling over, exuberant and the large group of children following him looked like they were having the time of their lives watching and listening to him.

The poets didn't like the chicken barns, they were cramped and dusty and crowded with metal cages. "Wow, who works here?" , they wanted to know, "Is it the same people who take care of the cows? Do they like working here, who designed the chicken barns, who built all the cages and who placed the chickens in them? When do you let them out?" The dinner bell rang so we left the chicken prison and went to the dining hall.

We stopped at the house to wash and to have little glass of brandy while waiting for the second bell to ring. At the dining room, the tables were ready and waiting, the men on one side of the room the women on the other. When the tables were nearly full and it was time to pray, all was quiet except for Peter, he was celebrating the food in front of him when someone whispered to him to be quiet, it was time to pray. Peter turned around and announced to all in the room in a clear voice: "Please be quiet now, we are going to pray." When the meal was over it was time to pray again, and there was Peter: "Oh hey!, we are going to pray again, quiet please!"

Luckily, everyone was smiling at his antics, he seemed like such a lovable guy and his friend Allen, with his black beard, looked just like a Hutterite. After lunch we toured the school where the kids showed off their German school lesson books with illuminated script. Allen asked them all kind of questions about it and praised them for their work. The kids loved his comments and brought more school work to show him. Allen looked right at home in the one room school, it looked like he could easily have adapted to life as a teacher on the colony.

The children were excited by the visitors. Peter Orlovsky looked for all the world like the mythical Pied Piper of Hamlin. He could have led the children anywhere, and he had them all interacting with their environment and answering his questions about what they liked best about the their life at the Colony. Recess, the river, visitors!

The visit was a great success. Of course no one at the colony had ever heard of their poet visitors before, and they certainly had never read any of their poetry.

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Norah Allain: Life Story Part VIII

This business of abandoning the hospital and Loma Hoby was the beginning of the end for Primavera. As long as we had the hospital we were at least performing a useful social service for the neighbourhood, and it helped to keep us both inwardly and outwardly going. We had some reason for going to wealthy people and philanthropic institutions in Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo and asking for support, and we got it too. One of our young men trained to be a doctor and many girls had training as nurses. There was not much else they could do, other than teaching or kindergarten or baby care or cooking. One or two girls for whom this seemed too tame did want to go into farming -- but this was not allowed! So nursing was much in vogue. But waves of a new direction started coming in from the now two flourishing communities in the States, to the effect that it was not our task to do social work, and moreover we were continually burdened with a financial loss through the work of the hospital, so it should be given up and Loma abandoned and the people distributed to Isla and Ibate.

It was significant that Primavera, financially dependent on help from the North American hofe, finally accepted this suggestion, although I think it caused most of us much pain. It went altogether counter to the direction which had been developing in Primavera, much more liberal and out for contact with the rest of the 'seeking' world. This had led to some of our youth participating in work camps and finally to our having a work camp of our own to make an addition to the hospital. But this took place while we were still in El Arado, and Paulo was one of those sent to participate. With Loma abandoned one sensed that there was no future for Primavera, and the thoughts of many began to turn longingly to North America, or England. I suppose that if we had been sent back to England I would have been quite happy. However, I knew that if anyone at all remained in South America we would be among them, and, thinking of our children, I realised that for them it was home, and they might not fare so well by being transplanted. Also Roger seemed to have grown roots in the continent. Then I felt also that we had begun something here and should not abandon it. Perhaps it was important just for this continent that such a group should remain, even though it appeared on the surface to make so little impact.

After this there was a visit from Alan from the States (or maybe it was before), who gave us economic advice. He was quite well received on the whole, and we attempted to listen to his advice, but there was also an undercurrent of resistance, the North American brothers producing much the same effect on us as North America in its capacity of big brother wanting to help generally produces in South America.

Finally we began to hear about various people being sent on costly journeys from the States to England and back, and we raised our eyebrows as there did not seem to be a really adequate reason for it, and when we heard about a proposed long journey of Mama also, criticisms were expressed and Hans M. wrote a letter in which he questioned this journey. This led to tremendous repercussions, as evidently we had touched them on the raw. Hans M. was accused of lovelessness, and such fanatical and exaggerated devotion was expressed for Mama that my hair began to stand on end. There was a prolonged exchange of letters in this vein, and then came a telegram from Gwynn and the English brotherhood expressing their solidarity with us. This practically tantamounted to a split, but I felt exultant, so certain was I that the direction represented by Heini and the North American brotherhood was completely wrong. The end of it was that Heini and two of the witness brothers from the States whom none of us knew suddenly announced they were coming to visit us. I felt suspicious, and nevertheless for a time I got carried along with the rest and fell for the atmosphere which they produced. But only for a short time.

I forgot to mention that before the arrival of Heini there had been difficulties with two families in Isla, Bruce and Louise and the Welhams. They had ventured to criticize the brotherhood, wanting us all to really examine our actions objectively, and had stuck so firmly to what they felt to be right that it had caused an impossible tension and they were finally asked to leave. Being in Ibate, I didn't quite grasp what it was all about, though we went up for one brotherhood meeting with them, and their being sent away was just another bewildering happening serving to confuse us. (It so turned out that these two families were just brought to Asuncion and there left practically to fend for themselves from scratch. They were treated with abominable heartlessness. We didn't actually realise this, most of us, but then, of course, we also didn't bother to find out.) To ask questions would have meant to express distrust and get oneself into difficulties, and I was heartily sick of the emotional strain involved, and had begun to feel that all I asked from life was to be allowed to live in peace.

Now the first thing that Heini and company did was to make us all as far as possible feel guilty. They had come down because they were seriously disturbed about the way things were going in Primavera: Bruce had been allowed to disturb the whole brotherhood for so long, Hans Meier's attitude was cold and irreverent, and generally speaking there was a tendency to mock among us. This last was something new, and it simply turned out to mean that some had failed to look upon Eberhard Arnold and Heini as his successor as if they were the prophets of the Most High. An awful lot was talked about putting Christ first, whilst it became more and more evident that what was meant was putting Heini first. In one of the earliest meetings poor Felipe was hauled over the coals, I really can't remember why. I made an attempt to defend him, pointing out that his words were being mis-translated, but was instantly sat on, and Felipe, to his utter bewilderment and dismay, was condemned to be sent away. Roger and I were very disturbed at this, knowing that Felipe might well, in a fit of despair, take his own life. Yet we allowed ourselves to be silenced and to acquiesce. It just seemed impossible to do anything. We never saw Felipe again, as he survived a few years, but then gave way to despair and died.

After this there was a meeting in which Hans Zumpe was blackened, but so completely as to be made to appear like the devil himself. Hans had already at this time been sent away, so he could do nothing to speak for himself. We were asked to take a stand or say what we could remember about crises which had occurred 20 years earlier. I simply couldn't remember what they had been all about, but some of the older members did still remember, and it became clear to us at least that this digging up of the past signified that things had happened to Heini which had neither forgotten nor forgiven.

This procedure unleashed a terrible wave of guilt feelings, confessions, but also mutual incriminations. Hans M. was put into such a position that he had to resign his service. I felt mad about this -- why didn't he resist? He jolly well wasn't guilty! Roger and I had one talk with Heini and were told all sorts of negative things about Balz-Trumpi and his family, who had recently been sent away from one of the North American hofe. Likewise we were criticized for questioning the necessity of bringing Jean-Pierre back from Asuncion and his studies in order to join in the meetings. Didn't we think too much about education? Jean-Pierre was 16, and had just become a novice. Paulo as a brotherhood member was, of course, recalled from Sao Paulo, and lost his last year of study and so never got his diploma. I became very shocked after one meeting in which a young man confessed to his faults and was viciously attacked by a young woman for being too soft with himself. She was supported. I couldn't stand this and went afterwards to Heini to protest, and pointed out that Christ had never done this sort of thing, but they wouldn't listen to me, in fact, it was obvious later that I got another black mark.

Then the whole brotherhood was dissolved, Heini took charge, and only those members were to be re-accepted who succeeded in clearing their situation; this meant that they had to humble themselves and declare absolute trust in Heini's leadership. It was significant that the first ones to be re-accepted were the youngest members, and particularly the most fanatical. Then we heard that our friends the Brauns were being sent away, and before one could ever speak to them they were gone. This was most alarming, and soon afterwards Johnny and Betty were in the same boat, but I did just manage to speak to them. Then Roger was given a list of people who were to be invited to a meeting at which some harmless little pious story written by a member in North America was to be read. Some people, however, were not considered to be in an inner situation fit to hear it. Roger, who at that time, although not in the brotherhood, was acting as steward, was given this list, and suddenly it dawned on him that the people who were not on the list were those who were in special difficulties. In other words, these people were on a black list and were being eliminated.

That was the last straw, and he knew then that he could not stay, but at first hesitated to tell me what he thought, for fear I should feel differently, When he did, however, I instantly felt the same, only suggested that we should just wait till we had had the talk we were due for before finally making up our minds. Well, we had this talk, with one of the American brothers or both and Cyril, who sat there throughout without saying a word. They started dragging up ridiculous charges from the past and rehashing them, and we simply didn't bother to answer, as it was obvious that they had already formed a guilty verdict. So we asked for permission to speak to the brotherhood, being determined that they should not send us away without having had a chance to say our say. We had to wait some days, and then at last we got our chance, not that they really listened to us for long. I was just beginning to say something about the list when I was shouted down and we were dismissed. However, we had managed to announce our intention of leaving before they had the chance to send us away, and this rather put them out of countenance.

One of the things which had put me off very much in this time was the way in which the three had their meals brought to them in private, and they could often be heard laughing and joking together uproariously just after there had been some terrible meeting in which other people had been pretty well torn to pieces and were suffering dreadfully. Moreover they had the best of everything as well as plenty to drink. After this I began to feel a truly evil spirit abroad in the place. It became quite different, and I could not rid myself of the strange feeling that this was all a sort of nightmare, and I should wake up and find it not true.

It was agreed that Roger and Francisco and Jean-Pierre should go to Asuncion to look for work and for a house for us to live in, but only after Bruce had left. (He was going to England with his family.) It was queer continuing to live there after having decided to leave. I began to tell a few friends, since now the fat was in the fire. I remember Anna Staehl's incredulous face. The Beales were already in great difficulties, so Sylvia was sympathetic, and my good friend Hilde Marsh was obviously heading the same way as us.

The next thing that happened after Roger had gone to Asuncion with Jean-Pierre and Francisco was that the "goats" were separated from the "sheep" , i.e., we remained in Ibate with various other families in difficulties, and the rest were all squeezed into Isla, and others moved from Isla to Ibate. There was no more communal life in Ibate. Ruth and Ted were left there to organise things to some extent. There were no children's departments, just one or two single people doing the cooking, and you fetched your meals and ate them at home, and someone did some washing. Ebo was 14 and Jacques nearly 13, so they had to be my helpers in the task that was left to me, namely, to go round the empty houses of Ibate looking for furniture which we would like to take with us to Asuncion. We had been given permission to do this. So with their help I hauled heavy cupboards and tables, etc., to our house, and we added this to the boxes in which Roger had already collected things before he went.

Apart from this, we went around to the empty houses, as did the other people, and 'harvested' various things which others had left behind. I was deeply shocked to see the wasteful way in which the brotherhood members had discarded and thrown down lavatory holes all sorts of things which would have been invaluable to the poor people of the neighbourhood, mattresses, all manner of toys, some furniture, etc. We had managed to collect a few school books before the secession, and I remember going into the dining-hall and collecting a copy of each of the song books, as the songs were something precious to me.

The atmosphere of the place during these last few weeks was so strange that I often felt I must be dreaming. At least half of the people who remained behind would not have anything to do with me, because they had not left, but were still hoping to be called back to the fold. Gertie was one of those who just got left in Ibate without knowing why. As soon as I saw that she was not sent to Isla, of course I knew she was on the black list, and I broke the news to her gently. It went against the grain with me that she was so meek about it and still thought the brotherhood must be right.

After about three weeks Francisco came back to fetch us: we had got a house rented, and I think Jean-Pierre had some work and Roger some private lessons of English. So the lorry was sent from Isla to take us down to the port. We had no chance of saying good-bye to old friends, not even in Ibate. The two young men from the brotherhood who had to drive us down treated us rather like prisoners, not pausing for a moment even when poor little Tina was violently sick. We were at the back with the furniture and just had to cope with it as best we could. Arrived at the house in Rosario, it was somewhat better, because the old friend who was in charge there was not a member of the brotherhood.

Then there was the boat journey and finally the arrival in Asuncion, and Roger and Jean-Pierre waiting for us there with a lorry to take the furniture. It all seemed very exciting and strange. Our house was not very big -- a medium sized living-room, three bedrooms of medium size and a tiny kitchen which was quite open on one side, and then some kind of a little outhouse, and quite a decent bathroom with a shower. There was a fairly big garden, too, though very neglected and wild. But it had a big tree.

It was already the beginning of April, and we had to make haste to get the children into schools. The older boys found jobs and missed a year of their schooling. From Jacques downwards they went to school. We had a few more dealings with the Bruderhof, mainly of a painful nature, intended to convey the idea that we were definitely cut off, but there were also one or two more positive encounters, such as the visit of Peti and Fida when they brought us the hens, and someone else who came and brought me a parcel which had been sent from Wheathill before they knew we had left. It was still given to us. I treasured these little signs of friendly feeling, because, although I knew I would never return, still I could not bear to be thus completely cut off from people who once had been so close to me. I would have liked to maintain a friendship with some. Why Did The Community Fail?

1) It was intended to be a community based on the guidance of the Spirit, but none of us really knew enough about the spirit to be able to judge infallibly what was spirit and what was not. Consequently spiritual motives were inextricably entangled with non-spiritual ones, and at the best a kind of balance was maintained through the interaction of many personalities, and at the worst there was chaos. As I see it now, the attempt was doomed to failure, because the conditions of community life were the very ones which most interfered with spiritual development. There was a fixed set of beliefs, an extremely narrow moral code and a predetermined attitude towards most problems. This kind of ready-made answer which was so easily produced when talking to guests made any real exchange a mere mockery. Likewise the fact of not being able to speak as an individual, but only as a member of a group, made any individual development of ideas either non-existent or subterranean. Freedom of thought and conscience did not exist, and in spite of all they did exist in some measure, it was at the cost of untold suffering, so that only the strongest eventually fought their way through to freedom and abandoned community life.

2) If the problem of moral coercion was felt by those members who had joined the community of their own free will, it was naturally felt a great deal more keenly by the growing adolescents. This led to terrible conflicts, not only between parents and children but between parents and the community as a whole, the parents being often accused of wanting to protect their children,. etc. Some who wanted at all costs to stand for the community were thereby led to allow their children to be ill-treated and sent out on their own very young or otherwise drastically disciplined. All manner of very un-Christian things were perpetrated in the name of the Spirit of Love, and there was no way of escaping being drawn into co-responsibility. At any rate, if any of us at that time had been capable of escaping it, we would instantly have seen through the whole set-up and at once decided to leave. But because we were idealists, we clung so hard to our ideals and refused for so many years to face facts. There is nothing like the idealist for deliberately blinding himself; he is a sort of spiritually minded egotist, but an egotist all the same, for whom his cherished ideal is the protection of his ego.

Evidently community of such a close type is not possible for people at their present level of development. The question remains, will it ever be possible? There are such very real advantages to be gotten from social living in a small group, where all know one another, that I feel that the future must hold a place for such group living. But the individual must be completely free, nor must the group be in any sense cut off from the rest of society. The End

"Secrecy or manipulation of the facts is always a recipe for public relations disaster."

Kathleen Creighton

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