Untitled1 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 · http://www.matisse.net/~peregrin/

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

EuroKIT: Joy Johnson MacDonald, Susan Johnson Suleski, Carol Beels Beck, Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, Benedict Cavanna, Leonard Pavitt, Joan Pavitt Taylor

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 that we publish are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflect those of KIT editors or staff.

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

K e e p I n T o u c h

ITEM: The Eighth Annual KIT Conference at Friendly Crossways will be held July 25-28th. This is BIG YEAR in the USA, so let's have a turn-out! Next Year in the U.K. Let us know if you are coming and how many you are, so we can plan ahead for the meals!

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

Hallo, everybods! We are hoping to see a good turn-out for this year's KIT conference at Friendly Crossways the last weekend in July. This is the year for the big conference in the USA, with next year's planned for the U.K. Please note the dates once more, July 25-28, because the registration blank in the June issue was confusing. Miriam A. Holmes wants to remind everyone to bring their craft work, knitted goods, artwork, etc. to sell to raise funds for KIT. "After all, Christmas is just around the corner," she commented. 'Muschi' also suggested a workshop to brainstorm other methods to raise money. "It's time that we don't have to beat the bushes every time someone has a special need!" she commented.

Many people are wondering about the status of the current Bruderhof lawsuit against the Peregrine Foundation and Ramón. It is still in the preliminary stages, with interrogatories (requests for documents, etc.) in preparation. We are now represented not only by Michael J. Hutter who most ably represented COB members and others in the previous lawsuit, but also by Xuan-Thao Nguyen and Michael Villagra of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson, a large law firm based in Manhattan, who have agreed to defend us pro bono, i.e. at no charge to us.

Meanwhile, although donations for the Legal Defense Fund have been increasing steadily (many many thanks to all donors!), we have noted a decline in letters coming in for KIT publication. We want to remind everyone: "Do not be afraid to exercise your God-given, democratic, constitutional right to write to KIT and speak your mind!" The ultimate defense against the Bruderhof's lawsuits is the truth, and a united stand against their use of the law courts to harass others.

Toll-Free Phone for former Bruderhofers in need of advice and referrals: 1 888 6 KINDER
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Sam Arnold.
Miriam Arnold Holmes' book published
Bette Bohlken-Zumpe - "Friedemanns 60th"
Looking Back
J. M. Wall's editorial critical of CBS
Utopian Studies article on Oved's B'hof book
Guy McCombs to Sender and Walls
Ramsey Clark protests to CBS
Hilarion Braun to C. Domer
Lee Kleiss
Name Withheld
Name Withheld
Bette Bohlken-Zumpe
Hannah Goodwin Johnson
alt.support.bruderhof news group excerpts
Charlie Lamar

KIT: We regret to announce that Arnie Tsukroff died at the family home in Norfolk on Sunday, June 29, at the age of 65. Our sincere condolences to his wife Judy and their children and other family members. We'll miss you at Friendly Crossways, Arnie!
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Sam Arnold, 110 College Street, Woodstock, N.B. Canada E0J 2B0, 506-328-9420, Email: samuel@ mailserv.nbnet.nb.ca: Missing Person Help Needed. We are searching for our brother, Johann Hermann Arnold. He was born in Primavera, Alto Paraguay, April 15, 1943, of parents Hans Hermann and Gertrud Arnold (both deceased). Affiliation: Bruderhof (Society of Brothers), trade: carpenter and cabinet maker
Two of my brothers, Ernst and Dieter, as well as my sister Erdmuthe and I, have been searching for Johann for about 12 years. We all grew up on the Bruderhof, but left when we became adults. Johann did not make a clean break, but tried to maintain good relations with the Bruderhof while slowly distancing himself from them. He disappeared from his last address in 1983, and asked not to be contacted for a while. We honored his request, but became concerned when he did not re-appear after 2 to 3 years.
Work record: Johann was an expert carpenter by trade, who was most reliable, and fussed for perfection in his work. He was employed by Berkshire Homes in Connecticut, 1968 - 1972; then Schumaker Construction in Kingston, N.Y., 1972 - 1979. In about 1979 he changed careers, and worked as an attendant at a hospital for the chronically ill in Letchworth Village, N.Y. His last known address in 1982 was: 4800 Bielefeld 1, Haller Weg 52, Germany, or: 4813 Bethel über Bielefeld, Germany. Johann worked as an orderly at the Bethel hospital for the terminally ill. This job was arranged for him by the Woodcrest Bruderhof in Rifton N.Y. He worked there for about a year before his disappearance. He worked hard, was well regarded by management, and often used his free time to keep seriously ill patients company.
Observations: Johann was a handsome man, about 6 feet tall, and had a full head of brown hair which was combed back. He was not married, and had no children. Besides English, Johann was fluent in German, and also spoke some Spanish. He was an idealistic Christian and a pacifist, who objected to his taxes going for military purposes. He was a very loving and considerate, but a quiet and private person. I always knew him to be genuine, and also compassionate of those he perceived to be less fortunate than himself. He was serious, and sensitive to injustice, and liked to keep up on news by reading Newsweek and Time magazines.
He suffered from a mental breakdown in 1964 due to stress and mental pressures of living on the Bruderhof in Norfolk, CT. He was hospitalized at Fairfield Hills in Connecticut for a while, and his doctors urged him not to live there again. The Bruderhof is a fundamentalist Christian commune that demands total obedience to the Church and its Elders. Johann joined our family after we moved off the Bruderhof in 1965, but was partly drawn back into the community when our parents moved there again in 1967. He never joined, or became baptized, however. In 1979, the last time that I saw Johann, he told me that he was no longer content with his work as a carpenter, that he wanted to do something that benefited mankind, rather than himself. It was then that he began working at the hospital in Letchworth. I believe that he may have continued working at other hospitals after his disappearance, possibly in a third world country. However, he did not leave a forwarding address when he left Bielefeld, nor did he inform the police when he left there, as required by law in Germany. Anyone with any pertinent information about the whereabouts of Johann Hermann Arnold is asked to contact me at the above address. Information will be kept confidential, if requested.
Search efforts made to date: Bielefeld Police, German Red Cross, Salvation Army, U.S. Social Security Office, New York State and Local Retirement Systems, personal contacts.
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ITEM: Miriam Arnold Holmes' memoir, Cast Out In The World: From The Bruderhof Communities To A Life On Her Own, has just been published. 310 pages, with 44 pages of photos, color cover: $17 plus $3 shipping and handling for U.S., $17 plus $5 for overseas and Canada. Click here for a brief introduction and look at the cover.
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Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, 6/28/97: We have just returned from Germany where we celebrated Erna and Werner's diamond wedding anniversary (60th) yesterday afternoon and evening. We had a truly wonderful time! We left Friday morning and went to Oldenburg where their daughter Christina lives with her lovely family, two boys age 24 and 23, and daughter Alice who was celebrating her graduation (Abitur) and was preparing herself for the high school ball in the evening. Also, Christina's youngest sister Heide-Marie lives in their beautiful home. Christina's husband is an architect and designed their home. Christina was an English teacher, but has also studied architecture and will be finished by the second of August, after which they want to take a holiday in Chicago/USA with the youngest son, Jan.
After a little rest, we all drove over to Bremen (about 20 minutes) and met the rest of the family at their Baptist church, not far from the Friedemann home. Ingmar and his wife were there too, and we had a cup of coffee with all kinds of tasty cakes and tarts that the daughters had made for this occasion. While we were having coffee (at 3 P.M.) which went right on into supper at 6:30, the children and grandchildren, as well as the great-grandchildren entertained us with music, songs, jokes and little sketches about their parents' life. At 6:30 a buffet supper was prepared which was really very special and most delicious.
When I personally enjoyed most was the Erna and Werner seemed young and happy, and you never would have thought of them as having had 60 years, including some very troublesome ones at the Bruderhof -- and especially after when they arrived in Germany in the 1960s with their 11 children and there was no chance of finding housing. So they spent the first three years in a refugee camp which was very hard on all of them. They lived in great poverty and on hand-me-downs, but it was in those years that they found new happiness in a living faith in Jesus Christ as the help of all men in suffering, and all their children joined in the activities of the Baptist church. Most of them also married within the church, which gives a wonderful union as they all live pretty close-by and many of them see one another on Sundays and during church activities. I felt this was very unique as they are really close-knit and joyful and happy. I had not seen many of the Friedemanns for something like 40-45 years, and yet they really felt like family.
Marilie and her husband run an old people's home together, and although it is hard work, they are happy and fulfilled. They have two sons. Gretie (Margret) works as a school secretary and they have three children. Annchen (Annie) is married in Canada and came over for this special day. Irene is married to Ludwig Fischer and they love very near with their three children. Werner and his wife are also very active in the church. Stephan is married to Karola Klüver and they have one daughter, Verena. Jurgen is a Baptist minister and so very joyful and spontaneous. Elizabeth is single and works in Berlin. Christina and Heide-Marie I mentioned earlier, and that makes 11. With wives, husbands, children and grandchildren, it was a churchful! Actually the whole feast was celebrated in the church under the pulpit with long rows of tables decorated with flowers and candles. The preacher joined in the fun for the whole time!
One thing that really touched me was that when both Irene and Gretie were three months pregnant and visiting mother Erna, their youngest sister Elisabeth came home from school camp with the German measles (rubella). We never had this illness on the Bruderhof. Both babies were born deaf (one is the daughter of Ludwig and Irene and looks like a copy of Ludwig's sister Johanna who stayed on the Bruderhof, married David Mason, and died after giving birth to her 9th child. Now David is married to Roswith Arnold). The two girls went to a special school for the deaf and Gretie's daughter (who looks like a fair-haired Erna) and Claudia had great fun talking together and with the boyfriend in sign language. I could hardly keep my eyes off this happy table of young people who speak and joke by lip-reading and signing with their hands. It was wonderful to see how they really were able to join in and have real fun.
Erna will write a letter to KIT as soon as she can. She and Werner were ever so moved by the many letters and cards from old Bruderhof friends.
At about 7:30, the young people began to leave, as they had high school festivities to attend. So we old Bruderhofians began to sing the old love songs in England and in German. Irene played the accordion and we all had an extremely good time. Ingmar and his wife had come over from Sweden and we had many talks in-between. We had to leave by 9:45 P.M. to catch the ferry over the river Weser, and were home at Irene and Detlev's home in Oldenburg by 10:30. All in all we had a terrific time, changing our seats constantly in order to get to talk with everybody. It is so good and positive to see a family union that survived the rough seas of our Bruderhof past, and who take every day as a new challenge to do the work of God amongst men on the earth with joy and without any bitterness about the past! We are happy that we went! Much Love to all,
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Looking Back -- Nostalgic Tidbits
From the March KIT Issues in Previous Years

July 1990 - John G. Arnold: From my encounter with Heini, I do feel that he suffered from a great inferiority feeling. He was sent to an agricultural school while Hardi and Hans-Hermann attended universities. Heini felt left out! I personally feel that Heini did hot have the brains to be an administrator. He could not cope with the Bruderhof. Under his leadership feelings, not reason, determined what actually was decided. This is not Christian.

July 1991 - Miriam Arnold Holmes in reply to Jakob Gneiting, 5/11/91: I appreciate your effort to "open the road to further understanding and respect." Unfortunately, I feel your letter failed to do that. It merely reenforced my impression of the B'hof's shaming and self-righteous attitude. Of course we all have good and bad memories of our childhood and I have, like most of us, learned and grown through both experiences. Your opinions about my experiences, however, are totally invalid because they are my experiences, not yours., You ahve never been in my shoes, therefore you have no right to judge my feelings. Nobody has that right. Besides, it is important for everyone's well-being to have the opportunity to talk about painful memories. It's good for the soul. Maybe you people should try it sometimes.

July 1992 - Ann Button, 6/2/92: ...To address your question of canceling all KIT issues sent to the B'hof, I have some input but no answers. When you see a friend following a path toward destruction or hurting themselves, you can give just so much advice, input and encouragement. The final decision is up to the individual. You can't give someone desire. You certainly can't force a change in behavior. We all who grew up in the commune know this first hand. I do not believe that the 'servants' who wrote to KIT and canceled their subscription speak for all individuals at the B'hof. I personally will take action by contacting specific people and asking if they want to receive KIT. If I get any responses, I will pass the names on to you. I challenge others to do the same.
Stop sending KIT to the general B'hof. It is their loss. Like you said, we certainly don't want to support censorship or mind control. This UNITY that they are so proud of can be a very destructive power! I feel a very strong connection with all of you and want to support KIT further in the future. Love and Best Wishes,

July 1993 - Madeleine Hutchison-Jones, 6/16/93: The more I got into Nadine's letter, the madder I got! This is a breakthrough for me -- to actually feel anger. I just can't believe how a few people got away with playing God, or rather, the devil, and created such misery for so many. It was bad enough for the adults, but to those of us who were children, the whole scene was a nightmare. It infuriates me now that there was not ONE adult who stood up for me during times of physical and emotional abuse. Every abused child suffered alone, and this in itself is such a horrendous crime. The abusers, it seemed, were all rewarded, were elevated to 'higher' positions and never ever held accountable. While we who were abused, year in and year out, have had to struggle to survive while those who created hell for us, have never, ever had to worry about a damn thing. They have lived comfortable in their homes, always secure, surrounded by 'love.' Instead of running all over the world, it might be a good idea if the elite Bruderhofs offered to help those whose whole lives were given and who now find themselves in need.
They say they are living in poverty. Poverty, my eye!! What a bloody lie! I'm sick to death of hearing about their poverty-stricken ways of traveling all over the world. Am I angry! You bet! It's taken 30 years to feel angry, to feel anything, Well, cheers, everyone. Have a great summer,

July 1994 - Andy Harries 6/2/94: When the brothers came from America to England, in 1961 I think it was, before the big crisis, did they come to listen and understand so that we could come to an agreement and reconciliation? NO! They came to judge and accuse. Not only individuals but the whole community, two communities. Three men came over from the USA and knew better than two communities of about 400 people. That can't be right. What conceit and judging!
At Wheathill we were a happy and united community and we had a great leader in Gwynn Evans. He was a really great man and he was a true servant because he was also humble. Joe Blogs or anybody could go and talk with him about anything and one felt that he listened and cared. Gwynn never recovered from the treatment he was given at that time by his so-called Brothers. I don't think he felt a lot of love from them.
I have to say also, that if KIT is so evil, then that tells me logically that the Bruderhof is wrong, because we are all products of the Bruderhof. Greetings,

July 1995 - Name Withheld, 2/26/95: A Message From The Great Guru Of The Order of Divine Inspiration to the open-minded reader. ... Mr. J. C. Arnold, you are a third-generation Führer, Elder, Guru, or whatever, head of a multi-million-dollar corporation, no questions asked... How much have you and your forerunners stashed away? Those multi-millions must be somewhere, right? This despite the fact that all the common brothers and sisters believe that your group is living a life of voluntary poverty. They literally work off their *** for nothing (or is it for your personal benefit, Mr. J. C. Arnold?), only to be kicked out at the whim of the Führer, no questions asked... Isn't it so, Mr. J. C. Arnold, that you employ the same managerial techniques as all multi-million-dollar corporations? Wasn't 'The Nigeria Project' rather a very clumsy cover-up for the diversion of enormous funds to the exterior? And now you feel you are more needed in Russia, Japan and Korea? Aren't these now the hottest regions of heavy investment by international capital? In this context it strikes me, Mr. J. C. Arnold, that you give the same excuse for selling your place in Germany now as did your dad, the late Heini Arnold Vetter, back in the 1960s, in Paraguay: "That the Bruderhof cannot afford to keep the place any longer..." (With all those millions of U.S. $ from your corporations rolling all over this planet Earth? mutter... mutter...). For the benefit of uninformed or mal-informed readers, I am talking of multi-million-dollar investments, not of offering aid to needy ex-members or Sabras.

July 1996 - ITEM: ...It seems as if the Bruderhof members who met with COB steering committee members in Kingston, July 1995, thought they had expressed, during that meeting, their serious aversion to the use of "Bruderhof" in COB's name. However none of the steering committee members who attended received any hint of the Bruderhof's concern at that time, and were truly shocked when, a few months later, they were served with the lawsuit. This shows how serious the miscommunication between the two groups has become, and the need for a third party to be invited to participate as a Fair Witness or a mediator.

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ITEM: James M. Walls, the editor of The Christian Century, wrote an editorial severely criticizing CBS ("CBS Coverage Stumbles") in their 5/21-28/97 issue for the '48 Hours' segment on the Bruderhof and KIT. He downplayed the disclaimers Dan Rather gave (that pointed out that there was no connection between Heaven's Gate group and the Bruderhof), quoted Ben Zablocki's book to demonstrate that the Bruderhof was just another Anabaptist group, and then launched into a history of the persecution of the movement. Susie Zumpe's story he dismissed ("it's not only in religious communities that teenagers rebel against strict parents") and Ramón's ("The husband, who had started a "help" program for others who have left the community, told how his daughter married with the Bruderhof and, like her mother, refused any further relationship with her father. The daughter had several children and then died of cancer, and this news was slow to reach her father.").
Walls then continued: "Neither of these stories could possible justify the words of Dan Rather, as he made the link between Heaven's Gate and the Bruderhof communities, 'Tonight in a special edition of "48 Hours": Looking at cults, looking at when -- if -- people going their own way sometimes go too far... A little piece of heaven outside of New York City. Or is it?'...
"Rather knows full well that by presenting the Bruderhof in the same program with Heaven's Gate, and wondering, piously, if 'this little piece of heaven outside New York City' has gone 'too far,' he was making a clear and intentional linkage. Rather's 'range of things to think about' was an insult to all those devoted religious communities that 'remain apart' in Hasidic neighborhoods, monasteries and intentional Christian communities. The '48 Hours' program was, quite simply, a distorted and shameful display of an antireligious bias for which Dan Rather, the show's producers and CBS should apologize profusely to the Bruderhof community."
Responses to Wall's editorial may be mailed to: The Christian Century; 407 South Dearborn Street; Chicago, IL 60605; fax 312 427 1302.
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ITEM: The Utopian Studies Journal will publish an essay by Calvin Redekop on Israeli scholar Jacob Oved's book, Witness of the Brothers: A History of the Bruderhof. It will appear in their December issue.
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Guy E. McCombs, 6/10/97: Dear Ramón, many years have now gone by since the day that you called me in Pittsburgh to ask that fateful question, "Do you remember Xavie?" Because of the [Bruderhof's] "no contact rule," I was hesitant to talk, And, through the years, I have only been willing to keep my name on the KIT mailing list and receive the KIT Newsletter. Though I enjoyed KIT and was greatly helped by its contents, I did not wish to get dragged into a Bruderhof scuffle.
But your last correspondence, announcing the lawsuit, and James Walls' editorial in The Christian Century has changed my attitude. In case my letter the editor does not get published (due to more eloquent contributors), I am enclosing a copy for your benefit. Though it's quite tame, I trust that you sense my support of KIT's work.
And though we have never met, I am not ashamed to call you 'brother' (Heb 2:11). I shall be praying Psalm 22:11-24 for you and all that are named in the suit. Though I have no funds to help, if there is any way that I might be of assistance to KIT, please do not hesitate to contact me. My love and prayers to you all. I remain sincerely yours,
Guy E. McCombs, pastor, to James M. Walls, editor, The Christian Century, 6/5/97 (published with permission from the writer and The Christian Century): Dear Mr. Walls, in your article "Cults and Communities" of the May 21-28 issue, you were right to call to account the editorial offices of CBS in their linkage of Heaven's Gate with the Bruderhof. In so doing, you honor and continue the work of Dean Kelly (obituary on p. 508 of the same edition).
Nonetheless, you did not need to diminish those who claimed to have suffered psychological and emotional damage through institutionalized abuse while living at The Society of Brothers [Bruderhof]. The individual to whom you referred as establishing 'a "help" program for others who have left the community' has done a great service in both establishing communication between and recovery programs for Bruderhof survivors. Although he and his associates have consistently attempted to maintain dialogue with the community in order to bring about recognition, repentance, reconciliation and understanding in such cases, the Society has often proven uncooperative.
By accentuating the Society's strengths and 'soft-pedaling' its weaknesses, you may have inadvertently undermined any possibility for constructive correspondence and, thus, change. Tolstoy's admonition still applies, "Where there is great justice, there is great injustice." Perhaps, if you ate bread and salt at the table of those you diminished, you might speak the truth more fully. Respectfully,
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ITEM: Ramsey Clark, Attorney General under President Carter, (active against the death penalty and who represented some of the Waco families) also wrote to CBS after receiving a copy of the '48 Hours' program from the Bruderhof. His letter has been posted by the Bruderhof on their web site. Clark was extremely critical, saying, "Millions of Americans will never know much more about Bruderhof than they saw on your show. They will associate Bruderhof with mass suicide and mind control, because that is the only context in which they have seen and heard of it. Yet nothing is more foreign to Bruderhof than violence, suicide, coercion, or mind control."
Clark quoted a 1967 Encyclopedia Britannica article on the Bruderhof, and also the Bruderhof's own self-description before giving an intense rebuttal of CBS's inclusion of the Waco tragedy, about which he is personally very knowledgeable.
Clark ended by saying "Some statement of apology is important to show CBS realizes how unfair and harmful this program was. A monetary contribution to the victim churches is more than justified.
"Please let me know what you think and intend to do."
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Hilarion Braun, mailed to Christian Domer, 3/31/97: Your impudent, impotent suit against Ramón and his foundation regarding your public letter shows once more how abusive and criminal you are. You tell the world that you are a Christian, and yet you use moneys earned through slave labor to stifle free speech while you hide your evils behind religious protection.
I had intended to retire from actively exposing you and your cult because I thought that you had learned a few lessons and would cease court actions. Now I will help Ramón actively, not just with money but with all my resources to put an end to your disgusting activities. Your constant resorting to violence (and that is what our justice system is) will lead only to greater violence and to much grief. However you leave no alternative but for me to use all my resources to help my friends who are being wronged by you
The news and entertainment media are actively pursuing all stories about the Bruderhof, and are becoming increasingly interested in the financial aspects. You and those who encourage you to wallow in lawsuits are ruining any chance for you to retain some privacy. In the same way that you have demonized KIT and its readers, you will be demonized by your own deeds. It takes no genius to sense how friendless your life will be when all is known publicly.
If you withdraw your lawsuit and promise not to engage the "system" against us, I will retire from the scene as I had wished. Money power is hollow and without authority. It is like a bully. You as a spokesperson of the Bruderhof would be far more successful if you showed kindness and wisdom. By using the courts so frivolously and arrogantly, you alienate yourself from those who might otherwise be disinterested.
Some of us old-timers still value many of the early Bruderhof ideals, and prefer not to engage in this sort of police action. We view violence as evil, love as perfect. Once you set in motion a legal action such as a suit or a request for police action, you put all of your values aside. The judicial system relies on raw power to deal with a problem. You, as a Christian, should rely on love. You have no business engaging a lawyer in an offensive act. If your utterances in your letters, which you yourself expose to public view, must be protected, what Christian value can they have?
What value do your words have in their publication needs protection? Should your utterances not be of love? What is happening to all of you? You have alienated the Hutterites, disowned your children and friends who wanted a life away from you, and now you are hysterically thrashing about instead of asking yourselves how you might love more, not less.
Don't worry about the perceived evil of others. It is none of your business. Your own deeds are your responsibility. Turn back to love and you will not fail!
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Lee Kleiss, 6/4/97: Just a week ago I left out the back door at 1:45 to pick Stephen up from school, but my walkability was so poor that I didn't even make it the 30 feet with the walker trying to get to the car. For some 20 minutes I squirmed around scooting over on my bottom, got myself to the car, even managed to unlock it and open the door, but couldn't pull myself up to get in. I finally had to resign myself to wait for the mail-lady who comes around 3 PM. Yes, cars drove by, but they cannot really see up a long driveway. They would just have seen a woman sitting on the ground on a beautiful sunny day, not too warm, or as cold as today! 3 PM sharp, my neighbor from across the street and the mail-lady arrived. It took both of them to get me to the car! Once I'm down, I'm just dead weight, and there's no recovery in my legs if I'm sitting uncomfortably.
Next week, finally, after a years trying, I will go to Washington DC to the National Rehab Hospital to their specialized post-polio clinic. I've been asked if a couple of MDs from Chicago could attend my examination so they can learn more about. Gladly!! I especially want to advertise the effect of the high dosage of Ibuprofen, which seemed to precipitate or accelerate the decline. I will be staying with a SERVAS family as I'm a SERVAS host. Actually I've already met this family at an annual meeting.
SERVAS was initiated in Denmark by Bob Lutweiler, who preceded me in India as workcamp volunteer with Service Civil International. But it was my mother who picked up interest in it some 21 years ago. As host one offers sleeping space (which could be on the floor with the traveler's own sleeping bag!) for two nights. The idea is peace building by getting to know other cultures and people. As a traveler, after an interview, and the creation of a one page "passport" with picture ID, one obtains a list of addresses in the area one intends to travel. Stays of two nights mean one spends a day visiting whatever might be interesting in that town. Privately one can stretch the stay longer. There's an annual fee of $25 for hosting, $45 for getting a passport + perhaps some cost for the Xeroxed copy of host lists. It is really a lot of fun. One can truly say there are no strangers in this world, just friends one does not know yet!!!
Now to some comments from news in KIT. I was impressed by Norah's report on the end of Primavera. I cannot truly understand the organization in Ibaté falling so completely apart unless there was almost a planned effort to destroy any cooperation. When we first started Mt. Morris House, it was very difficult to get organized, but by the following year, newcomers had absolutely no problem accepting our "rules". When certain leadership personalities (Margit Hirschenhauser and myself) were absent, others simply stepped in. I recall the times they blew a fuse sometime past midnight. The immediate cry "Let's get Lee" woke me up. Being too sleepy to rise I also heard "No it's too late, we better handle this ourselves." I just cannot imagine lesser folk stepping in and acting as work distributor etc. Yes, we were sheep and brainwashed, but we were not that dumb. Surely, all those with brains, including Norah, had not yet been sent away. There must have been real pressure for people not to communicate, and each one's hope they could be reunited when this crisis blew over...When Fran Hall first indicated that Heini's taking over was the cause, I too couldn't accept it. Though I never met the man, there is now no doubt in my mind. Sincerely,
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Name Withheld, 6/10/97: I received my July/August issue of a Plough-like publication called Lutheran Woman Today. There is a section in each issued called "Reader Call" and, in this issue, the question posed to readers was, What is your favorite hymn, and why?" Several of the respondents said that "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" is their favorite hymn. I think that the stanza that says, "Oh, what peace we often forfeit/ Oh what needless pain we bear/ All because we do not carry/ Ev'rything to God in prayer" would be well posed to the Bruderhof as a message that it does nobody any good to force themselves to bear the pain of alienation from us, their family, nor to cause us to suffer by not allowing us to share our love and our lives with them because of some totally unfounded fears they have that we are trying to destroy them.
It would be more in keeping with their philosophy of peace and brotherhood and forgiveness if they would just put their faith in God that, in spite of our differences, if they (and we) will act as if our faith is in God, that he will see to our peace and ease the suffering of all of us are experiencing. In other words, they perhaps are not putting their faith fully in God, as evidenced by the peace (of mind) that they do not enjoy at this time in their lives, and as evidenced by the pain that even they surely cannot deny they are suffering by this self-imposed alienation from their children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.
Then again, considering the deplorable lack of logic at work, why would I think that logic would work?
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Name Withheld, 4/15/97: After viewing '48 Hours' on the California cult and on the Bruderhof, I draw certain conclusions. A former cult member says, "We committed suicide before we, or rather when we, joined the cult. We gave up our wife and children and jobs in order to join." Several men and women gave up their families and their jobs to join the Bruderhof. They gave up everything in order to follow Christ! Was that not breaking their marriage vows? The Bruderhof expects this to be done if you want to join and your spouse does not feel the same way. On the other hand, divorce is not permitted on the Bruderhof. However some of the women deserted by their husbands got a divorce from their husbands, as there was no alternative for them. These things are not easy to fathom! These conclusions leave me with a very uncertain feeling as to what is one to do -- and what does one believe? The Bruderhof says, "No divorce!" They are very emphatic about it. A man who leaves wife and children to join the Bruderhof actually commits suicide! He goes against his marriage vows of, "Until death do us part, no man shall put asunder!" How can one bring all these things together and weld them into one? One simply cannot do it! There is too much contradiction!
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Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, 6/22/97: We are back from a peaceful and restful two weeks in our home on the island Ameland! It is truly wonderful there! Springtime, the cuckoo calling, the air full of the scent of Lily of the Valley, bright blue skies, a fresh breeze across the North Sea, ducks parading the shoreline with their new families, A deer behind our house showing off the new little one. Too much to sum up. In short, we really enjoyed ourselves there! I had the June KIT newsletter sent to Ameland, so had all the time to read it. Since then I have had several phone calls about things that were wrong in my letter [June KIT, p. 3]:
1. In the book by Marcus Baum, my father's name is mentioned four times, not once as I said. One time when he and my grandmother Emmi picked up Eberhard Arnold in Bremen on his return from the Hutterites, May, 1931; a second time as the husband of E.A.'s oldest daughter Emi-Margret; the third time in regards to E.A.'s wish in hospital to see Hans Zumpe before the operation (which was not possible as Papa and Mama were in Liechtenstein), and a fourth time in regards to the last letter and E.A.'s wish that strong, clear-headed brothers like Hardi, Heini and Hans Zumpe should work together closely if he should not survive the operation.
2. Also, Georg Barth was not excluded on the Rhön Bruderhof, but had come over from Liechtenstein to help E.A. with the internal crisis of the Rhön brotherhood.
3. Regarding Bruce Sumner, he was a true friend and brother to both Hardi and Heini, as well as my father. In fact he was the friend that helped Papa in his last month of life to face the world and a new future in a London home with Kilian and Lorna. He was the one who helped us at the time to make all the arrangements for Papa's funeral, and spoke words by Papa's coffin.
4. The place in Holland was named Elspeet, not 'Eispeet', and the sentences should read "The Community was quickly divided among four places: the Rhön and the Alm Bruderhofs as well as Cotswold and Elspeet in Holland." My dad traveled from one place to the other and it was at that time that the Hutterite brothers Michel Vetter and David Vetter came and put the Service of the Word on Hardi and Georg on the Cotswold Bruderhof. Papa told me about those hectic and dangerous times when the Rhön Bruderhof had to be dissolved, the Alm Bruderhof evacuated, and rent paid and the place cleaned -- Elspeet, Holland, where some 40 people with children had found a temporary exile at the Mennonite Center and were waiting for visas and traveling permission to enter England. He was at the end of his strength when he too finally reached England."
In the piece about the Universal Life group, there are typos that might be mine, but the year Margarethe and Gabriele joined was not 1965 but 1985, which is important inasmuch as the "prophet" only started working openly somewhere around the early 80s.
I thought the KIT issue was good, and am glad, Ramón, that you have started telling your story as it also gives a good picture of the Bruderhof in those years, which were the years I made my commitment as well.
Last night I had a phone call from Erna Friedemann. Since their 60th Anniversary was mentioned in KIT, the mailman can hardly manage to deliver all the many cards and greetings from KITfolks! She was so happy! Also I had several phone calls from their children who want to make Friday the 27th a really special day. We have memorized old Primavera songs and I am sure will have a wonderful time. Hans and I will leave Friday morning and stop at their youngest daughter Christina's home on the way, where we will sleep that night also. I will report on the day as soon as we return. Much love to you all,
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Hannah Goodwin Johnson, 6/20/97: The loss of individual creativity is often used to describe a cult tendency in SOB lifestyle and child care. This is a very tricky point of criticism. Within the psychology of that upbringing, we became aware of each other as creative companions. Society was a subtle development of how to be friendly to members you didn't choose as personal friends. Close friendships became problems to the group leader or class teacher who supervised to find problems. Then it was a question: was the pleasure of friendship too distracting? The bullies were, if they were not stopped. Friends were socially cohesive. There was a revealing story in KIT from a Hutterite who told how his parents had been constantly punished by the preachers and that only made them cling closer together.
As children, we developed our own code in a glance. I've heard people say that they got their social skills in a large, romping family. So then, I thought, why didn't I? As I look back, it was the secret code in untranslatable glances. It was very personal and could either overrule what we were being fed about bad spirits or getting an individual caught for having the wrong one. It was desperately tricky, and the punitive force of finding someone to blame took reason and speech.
You were "always willing to be shown by others with more insight into the situation." Look! Who could have more insight than those whose daily social life depends on a code without language? No one in that situation can possibly put it into words. KITfolk are to blame because we were, from the get-go, unforgivable, convertible. To be shamed in isolation is the unrepentable social blockade. To be allowed to exchange glances without shame ruins the punishment. After the programming, where "all attempts founded on the present sate of men must fail. Such attempts are bankrupt..." one is told it is "normal" to find he means on one's own for food and shelter. That social requirement, for me to be "normal" to find the means on one's own for food and shelter. That social requirement, for me to be "normal" and make myself "useful," had to become the demanding blockage to get going and find a job -- and still is. I was not supposed to take that as encouragement for creativity. It was a hint-hint-HINT not to be an individual. Normally, the same goes for everyone sitting in the unemployment office -- NOTICE given to the officially "normal."
The "further" effort is just the opposite of what is said. To put forth effort as an individual is wrong -- from a bad spirit. What is not being made clear is that your personal enlightenment and insight is not on their agenda. KIT to them is bad -- the wrong spirit. We are not to attempt literary effort to console one another in their social blockage of lonely punishment; we deserve to suffer loneliness for having made eye contact in the wrong way. KIT brings back memories of exchanged glances. What I had with the individuals that are my age has been confirmed. I can live without KIT just as easily. Most of those folk are still on the hof -- none write to KIT. Still, KIT to me is very real evidence of the reality of my memories. What cannot be put into words (could in person not be said) need not be written about. Not allowing individuals to meet face-to-face leaves confusion of doubt instead of unspoken knowledgeable in a glance to become shameless, effortless.
Some KITfolks are (to prudish folk) shamelessly verbal in writing. This is as bad as making eye contact at the wrong time in the wrong way. We were wrong to possibly enjoy each other and appreciate what was then rather than remember the "Papa" who made "our now together" possible. Who made that time possible? No kindergarten mess was as shocking as revering a German man for time together -- for Father Time.
I'm not a more or less shamefully free individual for no longer enjoying "our" time, but writing. There's no way I can go back and say what had no voice. There are places I would like to see again, that were Wheathill farm and the surrounding commons. I would see things where I saw them if I went back there. I would not see my kindergarten friends again. I could see more of our childhood games if I met them in person, even though time has taken us far from there.
The code remains as tricky as ever it was, but what I write doesn't make it more dangerous. This is why I shall stay on duty doing "nothing" in punishment: I and my memory of friends, "we" haven't changed. I accepted punishment then and, for what it was worth, my time is still with them where they know as well as I that someone had to take the plunge into "the deep blue sea." I refused to let SOB childcare run their circle round me like my parents didn't know how to raise me properly. There was worry and concern in my friends' eyes, but also appreciation. How could I go wrong on 'Honor father and mother?" Given the choice of the devil or the deep blue sea is something to worry about. And the devil asks, "Can a child escape the life her parents were committed to if she truly honors them?" The attempt in the childcare to take away personal ancestors was to erase individual identity. For me to fail to get Arnold approval is, for those still on the hof, to win by comparison. My friends don't have to write to KIT and say "Thank you for being there." Their concern with a look of appreciation had no bad or wrong spirit. Fear, as I remember seeing fear, only begged me not to put punitive attention on that individual. KIT can hardly be there enough to grieve anyone with that much worry.
Read between the lines. Christian D. may be the most tragic case facing excommunication. If they could only believe that no one must be punished, then no further effort could be required. The melting pot of Arnold love is that all are "needy and wanting." What keeps the fire going is to find someone who must be too bold to play "needy" and to punish that one. Your willingness to seek is too much your own. They wanted you to seek with them and you cannot be forgiven for not joining them. When you write of needing insight, whatever "we" decide ought to satisfy you. You think spiritual communities can transgress the liberty of individuals -- that's what I think. I think we agree on this. Until it can be proven that there is the dominion of presumptuous punishment (the "right" to punish) that transgresses liberty, there is only a war in your mind. Until "we" have decided (as we write history) that what we decided (to learn from our mistakes) was wrong, "we" can have done no wrong. When I have (my personal doubts) to decide that what we decided may be wrong, will I have done wrong? If my doubts are punishable, do I have a moral contention? If my doubts are right, I have "the majority of one," as Henry D. Thoreau put it.
I have not achieved any creative liberation as an individual. My writing achievement is in memory of friends who believed in forever before hearing how "Papa" defined his community as eternal. With regards,
Daffodil flowers
trumpeting conversation
nod to each other.
6/23/97: I have very little personal news to chat about. Should be out looking for a better place to move to, but I'm still sitting around writing to you. One of the neighbor's children told me where she went in a fantasy. I play along. To stop me is a parental right. Playing along can cross from make-believe to practicing rites. So there is not Gate to Heaven on the Internet there are those minds that think feeding a computer makes words more real. If you can believe, I believe what I didn't think was believable -- it is so in that I think I made you believe. On the screen there's always a possibility that someone will fall for it. With Love,
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Introduction: The following are excerpted computer e-mail 'chats' from a new newsgroup titled alt.support. bruderhof. KIT staff has done their utmost to ascribe the correct remarks to the correct individuals, but in 'translating' the unique newsgroup quote-within-quote formats, we may have occasionally erred, for which we apologize.
Support For Victims Of Religious Exclusion
Bill Peters: This group, proposed May 27th, 1997, will provide a forum for support and recovery of families and individuals who have been separated or otherwise traumatized by their association with the Bruderhof... There is also a wish to be more public so that isolated individuals may find this support system and to provide for open dialog with members of the Bruderhof who are allowed Internet access and with their leaders. There are several published authors among this group and there have been many books written about the Bruderhof. This newsgroup would focus on support and healing and the search for reconciliation of "excluded" individuals with their families. It will explore Bruderhof history and try to find reasons for the tumultuous existence of this Community for which descriptions have varied from "Christ's Community on Earth" to "Citadel of the Antichrist". This newsgroup should prove to be very interesting and active. Topics should include, biographical vignettes, book previews and reviews, calls for help or action, open letters, Current events, searches for lost persons. The core of this should be presented by a very verbal non-organization of individuals. Please allow me to thank you in advance.
Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran): I dunno about this. I believe Bruderhof to be a more sensible organization than it has so far shown on the net. I would not find it in any way a "fair fight" for the net to beat bloody a slightly nutty anabaptist sect. Scientologists are one thing, these guys, I hope will behave more reasonably. If nothing else, should they continue, they can be enlightened with 'the archive of ars.' I doubt these Bruderhof guys are so foolish as to declare war.
Rob Clark: One would think so -- but where is the evidence? What they do is what they are!
Bill Peters: The Bruderhof is now threatening me with a lawsuit for "infringing" their "trademark". Could someone please direct me to information about similar actions? It appears that the Bruderhof is taking aggressive legal and possibly illegal action against anyone who dares to be critical. All advice will be appreciated. I will be glad to send further details to anyone interested. Thanks.
Blair Purcell: Bill Peters, a Viet vet in remission after a bone marrow transplant in '95, is not asking you to beat the Bruderhof bloody -- he's asking for help in defending himself from a group that has filed lawsuits twice in the immediate past against former residents/members, had one arrested and jailed for four months, arrested another for being on their "private" property during an open house, refused to sit down and negotiate differences after a direct invitation from the Mennonite Conciliation Service. He has nieces and nephews there (he thinks); he doesn't want them beat bloody -- all he wants is help!
Bill Peters: I just thought I would post a transcript of a letter the FEDEX man delivered today. Boy! if 39 lawyers, four PhD's and a chemist can't get your adrenaline up, then you are dead! I have been trying to be nice. I am inviting the Bruderhof to join in open discussions with those both friendly and critical. The Bruderhof is welcome to participate in the FAQ. I really don't have any say over the matter anyway as this is an unmoderated NG [News Group]. As a matter of fact, as a true peace offering in keeping with the "Sermon on the Mount"; Mt:5:40: And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. I am going to give this newsgroup to the Bruderhof as a gift. It is yours, Christoph. You need help about as much as anyone, and a lesson in Democracy. Enjoy! Of course I will help maintain it and I will lurk and post when an interesting thread evolves, and other times. I mean, we do still have a first amendment in this country (USA) and of course, the Usenet spans (spams?) the world. My suggestion is that if the Bruderhof wants to avoid bad PR then they should stop generating it by trying to intimidate everyone who is critical of them. I mean how can a bunch of "Christians" attack and deny their brothers and sisters support? Stay tuned this could get interesting.
June 16, 1997
Mr. William L. Peters, 5811 Lauder Street
Ft. Myers Beach, Florida 33931-4227
Re: Infringement of BRUDERHOF trademark
Our ref: 1206/54077
Dear Mr. Peters:
We represent Bruderhof Communities in NY, Inc. (previously known as Hutterian Brethren in New York, Inc. until a name change approximately two months ago, and which will be referred to herein as "Bruderhof") in intellectual property matters. Our client owns the BRUDERHOF trademark to indicate membership in an organization of religious communities, which is the subject of U. S. Trademark Registration No. 2,038,399. A copy is enclosed for your reference. Bruderhof recently learned that you have established a newsgroup on the Internet with the name "Newsgroup alt.support.bruderhof". Bruderhof further advises that it has not authorized such a use. It also appears that the purpose of your newsgroup is to disparage Bruderhof where you wrote in electronic mail published on June 6, 1997, that the newsgroup is for persons "who have been separated or otherwise traumatized by their association with the Bruderhof". As you likely are aware, Bruderhof is protective of its trademark rights as the law requires it to be. In this connection, please know that Bruderhof litigated against Children of Hutterian Brethren a/k/a Children of the Bruderhof International over the unauthorized use of "BRUDERHOF" in their name, among other things. A judgment was entered in that case by which the court enjoined the various defendants (many of whom you have contacted to participate in your newsgroup). The defendants were permanently enjoined from using the term BRUDERHOF and from injuring Bruderhof's reputation and diluting the distinctiveness of the BRUDERHOF mark and other acts were enjoined as well. A copy of the judgment is enclosed for your review. Your use of Bruderhof's federally registered trademark is a clear infringement of Bruderhof's rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1051 et seq, as well as at common law. Accordingly, we demand on Bruderhof's behalf as follows:
1. That you immediately cease use of the term BRUDERHOF in your newsgroup's name and that you not adopt a term which is confusingly similar to, or a colorable variation of, BRUDERHOF; and,
2. That you acknowledge your cessation of use by confirming to us, in writing, that such use has ceased.
Please be advised that if the requested written acknowledgment is not received by June 27, 1997, we will have no alternative other than to counsel Bruderhof to commence a lawsuit against you for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, trade disparagement and any other available claims. If litigation has to be recommended, we would further counsel our client that it seek injunctive relief as well as the full remedy of monetary relief available to it, such as damages caused by your acts, Bruderhof's attorneys' fees and its costs for maintaining the action. Additionally, if your infringements continue after receiving this letter, we will also recommend to our client that it seek punitive damages on account of your continuing infringement being willful after your receipt of actual notice of our client's rights by this letter. We look forward to hearing from you within the time indicated. Should you not respond, then further steps will be taken in this matter without further notice to you. Please guide yourself accordingly. Very truly yours,
by: Robert Horowitz
cc: Bruderhof Communities in NY, Inc.
Eugene Massamillo, Esq. (via fax, w/o encs.) --
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Tilman Hausherr: What an amazing lot of crap this pseudo-legal letter is. Has the 'ho' (Helena Kobrin) cloned herself and produced 39 similarly clueless lawyers, or have these folks decided to participate in the yearly contest in attorney stupidity and that their chances are higher by submitting 39 applications? Ignore these morons and go on with your life. I am proud to say that I linked to COBI when they existed, and I will link to other Bruderhof cult survivors.)
Frank Copeland: A short description of what 'Bruderhof' is would be nice.
It seems you have heard about $cientology's attempt to rmgroup [remove] alt.religion. scientology, with trademark infringement being one of the grounds. Have a look at URL: http://www.thecia. net/users/rnewman/scientology/usenet/rmgroup.html.
Claiming trademark rights in a newsgroup name is bizarre, especially when it appears that the newsgroup has yet to attract any traffic at all. IANAL, but I could give you several reasons why trademarks don't apply in this case. Unfortunately since the Bruderhof has gone straight for the legal threat option, you don't need amateur legal advice, you need the real thing. I think you should talk to the Electronic Frontier Foundation URL: http://www.eff.org/ as soon as possible, and I've crossposted this to comp.org.eff.talk. Their mail address is .
Keith Wyatt: I understand that a group of former Hutterites is now using the law to harass former members of their group. Well I want everyone to know that this is not a Mennonite tradition, but a Scientologist tradition.
L. Ron Hubbard, a former associate of Aleister Crowley, wrote: "The law can be used to harass..."
I understand what Scientology is based on, "The Faith of Satan", but how can a Christian community whose ancestors were murdered by the state now use the same tools used by it's oppressors? An Anabaptist community turns to Satan for help in oppressing it's critics.
If I was a Bruderhof, I would find out if any of the leaders of the community have studied Dianetics or Scientology. If your not familiar with Scientology I suggest you check my web page http://www.teleport.com/~kewyatt/cosindex.html
I want you to know that I believe in freedom of religion. I'm not opposed to Scientology at all, but I just want the Bruderhof community to know who their leaders are now acting like.
Are your elders serving God or Satan?
The threat of a lawsuit for someone creating a newsgroup with Bruderhof in the name is laughable. This is another Scientology tactic.
Congrats to the Bruderhof leaders. I'm sure you will soon receive the KOTM award. 'Kooks of the Month' is a very honored tradition on the Internet and it's reserved for people just like you.
Keith (P.S.) I attended a Mennonite Church for two years.
Tilman Hausherr: Scumbags. But what are they asking for? A rmgroup [remove group] is impossible, as the 'ho' already knows. Even if you lose the lawsuit, nothing will happen.
Tilman (who remembers that Bruderhof already used litigious tactics against ex-members, and who will now subscribe that newsgroup)
Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran: I believe somebody already mentioned this, but start at news:comp.org.eff.talk
Ok, now IAmNotALawyer, but in the US it is normally almost impossible to win a trademark lawsuit unless there is "convincing evidence that the two entities could be confused." For example, Sun Microsystems cannot sue the island of Java over the name, since there really isn't a whole lot of chance that the average person is going to confuse an island with a programming language.
Based on the letter they sent, their attempt to sue "Children of the Bruderhof" is proper, since anybody who didn't know better would think that the two groups were related.
Personally, I would say let it go to court, drag in as many newspaper folks as you can, and then subpoena lawyers for IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, etc.,to discuss the amazing lack of legal frothing-at-the-mouth that these corporations have [indulged in with] their trademarked terms being used on the Internet.
Make sure you mention over and over again that's it's a supposed religious group that's suing you. IAmNotALawyer.
Visit http://www.dimensional.com/~janda/
Deana M. Holmes: Dear Cooper & Dunlap, LLP (attorneys for the Bruderhof)!
I think you ought to contact Helena K. Kobrin, Esq., of Los Angeles, CA. She attempted herself to eliminate the newsgroup this is being posted from, alt.religion.scientology, at the beginning of January, 1995. She was rebuffed. She tried the same argument as you all did, that the Bruderhof somehow holds a trademark in the word "Bruderhof" and can control where it's at, everywhere. It got the attention of a lot of people.
And now, here we are, 2 1/2 years later, and so many Sekrits of $cientology are now known that we didn't know then. We didn't know about Xenu. We didn't know about "there is no Christ." We didn't know about the Gorilla Goals and Incident 1. Let me give you a free clue here, which you may pass on to your clients. In the last 2 1/2 years, the net.opinion of Scientology has gone from somewhat benign and not very well known to fairly hostile and well known.
Additionally, in ways that I don't completely understand (I still don't get how a remailer works) Scientology secrets have been plastered all over the Net. I would suggest that if the leaders of the Bruderhof don't want their deeds spread hither and yon, commented upon by people who don't have any connection to their group, then you might want to tell them to drop this now. Because pursuing this is only going to p-- off free speech activists such as myself. And, like Tilman Hausherr, I am now subscribed to alt.support.bruderhof, if only to keep an eye on your clients.
While you may not have it in your best interest as a law firm to pass this information on to your clients (after all, suing is very profitable for attorneys), I'd suggest that they really need to know this.
Plus, aren't Anabaptists forbidden to go to court against people? Have a very nice day.
Deana M. Holmes alt.religion.scientology archivist since February 1995 NEW! 4/97
and 4/96 Poster Child for Clueless $cientology Litigiousness mirele@xmission.com
Joe Harrington: I think there are some constitutional issues involved here since the plaintiff is using the Trademark laws to restrict the religious freedom and free speech of a heretical group. In my lay opinion, I believe this is prohibited by the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act.
In addition to the EFF, I'd suggest you find a good Constitutional Law attorney and get a free consultation on the merits of your case, as regards the 1st Amendment issues. You might also contact the chapter of the ACLU in your state.
Dave Bird --St Hippo of Augustine: So, the Bruderhof want to be the next bunch of bullying religious fanatics to follow $cientology down the tubes, do they? Have they any installations in the UK or Europe that could be picketed??
Bill Peters: NOT these "Anabaptists." They are also suing the Peregrine Foundation for, among other things, publishing a threatening letter directed from the Bruderhof to a variety of Hutterite ministers in the west. This publication appeared online at: http://www.matisse.net:80/~peregrin/knsltrs.html The letter was removed by editor Ramón Sender pending resolution of the pending litigation. For excerpts of the letter, you may contact me directly.
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Joe Harrington: If someone has a copy of this threatening letter, could they please post it so we can comment on it? Or send me a copy via e-mail and I'll post it myself?
Deana M. Holmes: I really want to know what's up now...
Blair Purcell: It appears, from what I've heard, that the Bruderhof leadership may have extracted confessions from former Hutterites now married to Bruderhofers or otherwise living in the east for various misdeeds or inappropriate personal activities while they lived, previously in the western colonies. Whether accurate or not, confessions of this sort seem to be a set policy in the Bruderhof and records therof are carefully maintained for future use -- even after many years.
Rob Clark: Are they really out to destroy the Bruderhof?
Blair Purcell: (Quoting from Wayne Chesley's website) "In a meeting of the brotherhood, Christoph Arnold triumphantly tells the brotherhood of a recent contact with Ramon Sender where he stated clearly that he is "out to destroy the Bruderhof as long as we follow Christ". (which Ramon denies saying). In an interview for television, the husband of a woman who grew up in the Bruderhof says he is "out to destroy the Bruderhof under its present leadership" (a choice of words for which he later apologized)."
The husband referred to here is me and I did apologize, both to the Bruderhof and to former members who took me to task for the choice of words. I truly doubt if any inside the Bruderhof (except the leadership who apparently intercepted personal mail directed to my in-laws) know of the apology.
"A minister from the Bruderhof brings this up to me in a conversation in an 'I told you so' manner, evidence that the Bruderhof does indeed have enemies working to destroy them. The 800 number, we are told in the brotherhood, was set up to "draw our children away", "it is a threat to the very future of the communities".
My wife and I set up a toll-free line to provide information and assistance to former Bruderhofers who might need advice. From the moment we announced the line in the KIT newsletter, we were barraged with harassing phone calls -- over one-thousand seven-hundred in the first twenty-one days of operation, over two-thousand in the first month. They stopped only after a police detective from Howard County, Maryland called a Bruderhof official and, essentially, threatened him with arrest. The elder, in an earlier television interview conducted shortly after this harassment ended (WCVB - Boston), stated that children living at the Bruderhof might have been responsible for the calls - such grand courage, to blame the children.
A novice member of the Bruderhof took exception to the policy of telephone harassment at the time it was being discussed at the Catskill Bruderhof. He was asked to leave the Brotherhood. By this means unity is maintained! He then asked to leave the Bruderhof itself (with his family) over this and other issues. Others have since left who certainly have knowledge of the harassment. By the way, were you aware of a recent "constitutional" change at the Bruderhof which gives the Brotherhood the power to remove the Elder from office but only by unanimous vote? Yet the Elder may remove any member from the Brotherhood at personal will. Real or invented, the common brotherhood members believe they have enemies who are out to destroy the Bruderhof. There are some who put the worst spin on their stories about the Bruderhof in order to make the Bruderhof and its leaders look as foul and foolish as possible.
The Bruderhof itself seems to do this so well. There are many people who have been hurt by the Bruderhof, who are still being hurt when the Bruderhof denies them contact with their loved ones inside the communities. Ex-members and people who grew up there have a growing list of grievances and a sense of real frustration at the Bruderhof's continued harassment and attempt at control in their lives. Some of them may lash out at the Bruderhof, hoping to wake the Bruderhofers up, to move the brotherhood to deal fairly with their grievances.
A fair analysis from someone who left in 1995. When one hears some of the stories of ex-members and children of the Bruderhof, it is almost surprising that so many still speak well of the Bruderhof, or that they want nothing more than simply to be able to write to and visit loved ones inside. The Bruderhof's "enemies" include many who wish no harm to the Bruderhof (which, after all is their "family"), but because they associate with the Bruderhof's critics they are regarded as being no different in quality from someone "out to destroy the Bruderhof as long as we follow Christ". We frankly wonder why the Bruderhof itself has not been sued in the case of the organized harassment campaign against "The Children of the Bruderhof". It is peculiar that, being supposedly out to destroy the Bruderhof "as long as we follow Christ", some of its enemies have behaved in a more Christ-like fashion than the Bruderhof communities. (It was proposed to us that the Bruderhof instilled certain values in their children who later left the communities. The Bruderhof has collectively strayed from those values, while many children of the Bruderhof have not. So the children of the Bruderhof still consider it unthinkable to sue someone -- and were quite shocked that they themselves were sued by their kin.)
Valid to a point -- the patience of those harassed is beginning to wear dangerously thin! Twice, going on three times, may have been the last straw. The majority of those considered enemies of the Bruderhof do not desire to do it any harm. Many would rather see the Bruderhof return to the values it once held (and still professes to hold). Any who would actually want to destroy it are too few and too powerless (compared to the Bruderhof) to do any real damage. The greatest damage done to the Bruderhof is that its reputation is soiled by the truth of many of its critics reports and accusations. The Bruderhof does further damage to itself by its reactions to these reports.
This seems accurate as reflected by their decision to sue Ramón Sender and threaten Bill Peters. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...". - Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount.
To quote a recent correspondent who left the Bruderhof years ago and remains a devout Christian: "My mother used to remind me that Jesus said if we loved family members more than him we were not worthy of being his followers. Now, interestingly enough, it is some of us ex-B'hofers who have paid the price of complete loss of contact because we loved Jesus enough to dare to speak up for what we knew was not the way of Jesus! We too, can quote the above passage with equal integrity!"
Don't do to the Bruderhof what they have done to their children; call them if you must -- politely. Don't picket them. Don't boycott their products. We have family there and have no wish to harm them or those they love. The leadership must simply understand that former members are not going to put up with this crap anymore.
I can tell you from the bottom of my heart (and the hearts of many others, we appreciate your support! You're the good guys in a tough and cynical world. Thanks,
Deana M. Holmes: If someone has a copy of this threatening letter, could they please post it so we can comment on it? Or send me a copy via e-mail and I'll post it myself? Ok. I'm now going to take bets. How long until this letter approaches the notoriety of OTIII and Xenu?
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Deana M. Holmes: Why was this letter written? Is this letter blackmail?
Rob Clark: From what I've heard of the Bruderhof, I wouldn't be surprised if it was blackmail. What have you heard of the Bruderhof? I've heard literally nothing about them, ever, except maybe in a list of "Mennonite" groups, though they don't act like any Mennonites I've ever seen. I know literally zero about them, besides their current conduct in this matter, which is deplorable enough to prejudice my opinion heavily against this organization which may be a cult, and is certainly acting like a cult in this affair....
Joe Harrington: I hope this thread will not turn into some crusade of ridicule against a small, quaint religious community that for the most part wants to remain outside the mainstream of the public and exercise their religion as they see fit.
My concern is the action of mercenary lawyers employed by the Bruderhof who apparently are attempting to use threats of litigation to stifle free discussion of the issues and religious dissent on the recently created newsgroup.
Lets not turn this into a vilification of a religious minority whose internal problems are being exploited by outside lawyers.
Dave Bird--St Hippo of Augustine: ...A newsgroup is essentially a discussion group and to say, for instance, The Attack-General Electric Club will meet today does not give GE an excuse to destroy them because it is named therein. And you can even write a book called, What's Wrong with General Electric, or Is Chrysler Run By Cretins Because They Withdrew From Advertising on Ellen? and still not infringe their long-established trademark. That is not at all the same thing as using the word Frigidaire when you mean "refrigerator" or Escalator when you mean a moving staircase or Levi's when you mean bluejeans. Frigidaire kept its trademark, Escalator lost and Levi's scans the press diligently and sends gentle but firm warning notes that they want your help to keep their trademark safe.
But none of that precludes books with the names of the company in the title or a discussion group like alt.religion.scientology where the bastards get walloped by the codfish of truth-- bony, salty, and nutritious-- every time they poke their faces into the sunlight of open discussion.
...I mean, how long has it been since the paid Minions of the Merciless Munge showed up to laugh at Flash, Dale, and the rest of the heroes who are saving lives and destroying evil every day these court cases continue in public view? Don't think any of the alleged insiders with their alleged info on cult battleplans ever actually projected this development, but, as we all know all too well, I have been wrong before. Comments welcome.
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Marny Helfrich: I had never heard of Bruderhof until I happened to stop by their booth at "Stand for Children." It seemed like such a lovely organization.
However, I have heard of and used their two subsidiaries (or whatever) Community Playthings and Rifton. These make wonderful equipment for child care settings and for special needs children.
So basically, what I am wondering, is how evil are they? Should I be looking for alternative sources for equipment? Thanks,
Xmudder@xenu.com (Ex Mudder): Check out www.zippo.com - they are fighting a trademark infringement / dilution against Zippo Manufacturing.
Rob Clark: (excerpted from http://www.explore maine.com/~wbchesley/bhof/bhof.htm -- does this remind you of our own pet cult in any way?) "Who are these enemies? The principle enemy of the Bruderhof (as far as the Bruderhof is concerned) is "the spirit of KIT". I asked a minister (after we left) what this "KIT" is, he said: "It is the Spirit that has resisted God from the beginning." This is a mighty strong statement to make against a group of mere people with common Bruderhof experiences who want to "Keep In Touch" by subscribing to and writing for a newsletter. This de-humanizing demonization of its enemies gives the Bruderhof license to do what they feel is necessary to deal with its enemies, even if they act toward these people in a way contrary to what scripture teaches. It is still unfathomable to us how the Bruderhof can act the way they do against some people except that the Bruderhofers believe they are battling "demonic forces" and are not considering the humanity of their opponents. Jesus never dealt with people this way. It is a very dangerous trap to fall into."
Joe Harrington: The "demonization" of religious dissidents and the creation of a subset of "Suppressive Persons and their Potential Trouble Sources"? Christians have their "Scriptures" as their "standard tech". Scientology and Christianity are very compatible in the methods that they use to manipulate people.
Dave Hitt: There is one very big if... if you have the money to fight it. I lost a trademark suit simply because I couldn't afford to fight it. I ran a 21 line BBS named Electric Avenue, after the Eddie Grant song. Montgomery Wards claimed it infringed on the trademark of their rinky-dink electronics department (which they also named after the song was released.) When members of my board complained to them, they added additional several demands, including one to read everyone's E-Mail for a year! Nothing like a major corporation demanding you commit a felony. My lawyers, trademark specialists, gave me a 95% chance of winning if I fought it, as there was no way anyone could confuse a BBS with their store. But it would have cost a minimum of $125,000 in legal fees, none of which would have been recoverable. Needless to say, I folded and changed the name. Having literally been there, done that, I can say that legal rights are meaningless if someone with vastly bigger pockets than you decide to strip them from you. You are only allowed as much justice as you can afford to buy.
----------I am Pentium of Borg. Division is futile. Prepare to be approximated.
Rob Clark: Ah well, guess it's time to weigh in. All this material Bruderhof is offering to sue over. Please send it to me and I will Web it in Australia. Then they can try to sue me here. Also, if anyone has the name and full address to notify, I will issue a booster newgrouping for alt.support.bruderhof and send a printout of the message in question to the Bruderhof Corporation and their lawyers by registered mail, so that they may sue if they wish.
http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~gerard/ (European mirror)
http://www.prysm.net/~cuthulu/fun/ (US mirror - fast!)
Frank Copeland: They are suing over: a) the mere creation of a newsgroup with 'bruderhof' in the name. b) a somewhat threatening letter sent to another religious group, which Joe Harrington posted in a.s.bruderhof a couple days ago. It's still on thingy.
Also, if anyone has the name and full address to notify, I will issue a booster newgrouping for alt.support.bruderhof and send a printout of the message in question to the Bruderhof Corporation and their lawyers by registered mail, so that they may sue if they wish. ... BTW, I went to the Australian Intellectual Property Office yesterday and established that BRUDERHOF is *not* trademarked in Australia. Let the legal hounds loose.
Deana M. Holmes: Maybe you should register it?
Martin Hunt: This sounds a lot like Scientology, and it is also a violation of priest/penitent privilege. The people so blackmailed would probably have good cause to sue the Bruderhof over this. Can someone post a short summary of what the Bruderhof is, what they believe, how large it is, where its centers are, and so forth? The more I read about this, the more parallels to the litigious, confrontational cult of Scientology I see.
The leaders fly around in a private jet? Ye gods. What have the collective wise men of Usenet said about the cancellation of the new newsgroup, alt.support.bruderhof? I vividly recall what they said to Scientology when the advanced the exact same argument. a collective "shove off!") BTW, there are newsgroups with IBM and Microsoft in their name, as well as hundreds of other trademarks; the very idea that newsgroups could be shut down via this means is absurd.
Would the Bruderhof attempt to sue The New York Times when they ran a story on them under the headline "Bruderhof engages in lawsuit with the Internet"? Ludicrous. There's one Charles A. Bruderhof here in Victoria. I think we should create a newsgroup called "alt.fan.bruderhof". I hear he's a cool guy.
Wayne Chesley: I don't think they are victims of mercinary lawyers, their actions are home grown. The very fact that they have hired lawyers to sue their opponents (remember they claim to be Anabaptists) indicates to me that they have slid way off the mark. No lawyer advised them to make the 1700 harassing phone calls to the COBI 800 number, or to plant a phone tap on an ex-minister's phone.
If the Bruderhof did not deceive the public with their "vow of poverty -- every decision made unanimously -- pacifist devout Christians" facade (which might fairly represent many of the members individually, who would become ex-members if they didn't go along with the private jet flying leadership's litigation and other harassments) then there would not be any alt.support.bruderhof newsgroup. But I have recently seen intelligent people rally to the defense of the Bruderhof in essence blaming the victims of the Bruderhof's repressive system rather than looking hard at the facts.
I really don't want to see the Bruderhof beat up on. I would like to see them drop their lawsuits and negotiate their differences with us "outsiders". I would really like to see them become honest and perhaps to reform themselves, to become what they claim to be. Peace,
David Gerard: ...Of course, I won't draw any comparison to the blatant commercial nature of $c*nt*l*gy or anything, because that would be *mean*. Bruderhof is reading this newsgroup and wondering what the goodness-me they're going to do about the reaction they have started. Well, my dear fellows, you have a read of the pages below on $c*nt*l*gy and realize that bozos like you are treading the same path to an equivalent set of pages about yourselves.
As those of us who understand that dropping a rock causes it to fall can tell you:
1. Don't mess around with the Net -- it is bigger than you and it bites.
2. Quit the legal harassment immediately. immediately. And don't do it again
3. Those of us who, really truly, do support freedom of religion nevertheless do not support abusive groups within society. This is a multicultural world we live in, and the rule of a multicultural society is that we all *have* have to get along. That includes you. Now is all that absolutely clear, or do I have to draw a diagram? (And web it at the URL you had a look at, of course.)
http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~gerard/ (European mirror)
http://www.prysm.net/~cuthulu/fun/ (US mirror - fast!)

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Charlie Lamar: This is an approximate transcript of the interview that Joy did with me last year at Friendly Crossways for her Master's thesis. The transcript is unchanged except that in one or two places I have removed a remark that I thought was too personal. Other than that I just cleaned up the syntax a little and added a few words to what I said to Joy originally. Talking into a tape recorder is a very easy way to get things down, especially when someone else does the typing as Joy did for me. Thank you, Joy.

J: It is up to you to say anything you want to about your experience ...not necessarily what happened or led up to it, but what it felt like when you got out of the community, and how you coped with adapting to the outside world, and any thoughts on whether and in what way counseling can help people adjust to a new world outlook ...what that experience felt like.

C: It's probably important to remember that people believe in the Bruderhof life, at least to a certain extent while they are there, and that the Bruderhof wasn't, and probably isn't, all bad. So in my experience of leaving the Bruderhof, spiritual, intellectual and philosophic survival was paramount, as it probably was for many others as well.
While I was at the Bruderhof I was always listening, -- "Little pitchers have big ears" -- to the things they read aloud in the dining room, to the things that they believed. I was always checking and criticizing intellectually and philosophically. So in addition to my own spiritual experience which was private, personal and somewhat apart from the Bruderhof, I acquired a basis for somewhat discounting parts of the Bruderhof belief system even while I was there. So when I came to leave -- well I was actually kicked out and never left, because I didn't have the emotional strength to leave without being thrown out -- it was important for me to find something to replace the Bruderhof, something to believe in, something to lean on, something to coordinate with and go for.
This was in the 1960s. I would have been 17 or 18. Martin Luther King was still alive and there was a Civil Rights Movement, when the hippie 'Summer Of Love' and the "60s" were happening. So there were some things outside for me to feel I could go along with. That's what helped me. But what actually catapulted me out of the Bruderhof was the fact that I was gay.
I believed along with them that heterosexual monogamy for the purpose of having children was a ritual sacrament, if not of the church, of spirituality and life itself. So I believed I was intrinsically blasphemous in my very own personal nature. It was completely and totally important for me to be turned from gay to straight in order to be holy.
I had realized that this would not be possible in the Bruderhof, with Bruderhof people or to the Bruderhof philosophic way of life. It was entirely obvious to me that a sexual problem requires a sexual solution, whereas all that they had presented to me was a moral solution. When I told the man in whose family I was at the time that I was gay, he said, "This has grip. In the two or three years that you're praying to get out of this, it will be a very hard struggle."
Well, totally wrong, totally wrong approach, totally wrong idea. It turns out that all they actually did in this connection was try to ensure that I wouldn't see any man naked, as though that would make a difference. And that's laughable. Whereas if anybody wants to be or is going to be turned from gay to straight it will be, if I can put it succinctly, only because they can see Jesus naked. But there was certainly no Jesus to be seen naked in the Bruderhof, if I can express myself metaphorically. Their vision was a failure, and I always knew it.
There were other ways and reasons their vision was a failure. I knew that their private property-community thinking was absolutely bogus, and I have explained that. If in this connection you want to refer to anything I've written in KIT that's fine, because I talked about private property one year, about that little garden, do you remember?

J: Yes.

C: OK. The essence of the matter is that if you don't have anything, you can't give anything away. You have to have private property in order to share. The idea that things are automatically shared already is a contradiction in terms. So those were the kinds of big, fat issues that were hanging over my head as I looked out over the world. And whereas the Bruderhof had been a total failure in this connection, so had I; I should be turned from gay to straight.
I began to explore the spectrum of psychotherapy, psychological science and philosophy that was out there. I eventually made the discovery of Wilhelm Reich, but the actual pathway was from Teilhard de Chardin through Edgar Casey and the Aquarian Gospel, the Seth Material, that sort of thing.
A lady turned me on to Wilhelm Reich. I thought that was great because whereas before, Freud had had one disciple in Carl Jung who found the subconscious in the spiritual aspect of life, now he could be seen to have another disciple in Wilhelm Reich who found the subconscious in the body. Either of those two perspectives is inadequate on its own, so I was therefore prepared to look for our consciousness, to look for something that is positioned in between the physical and spiritual manifestation. Human (moral) consciousness, rests on a chemical, electrical system below and involves and touches a spiritual universe above, the spiritual universe being perceptible as values per se, electrical and chemical phenomena as factual per se. In between is me; in between is mind of which I am conscious, although not conscious directly of either electrical or spiritual phenomena. At least that's the view I have now.
So I looked at Wilhelm Reich and the huge question was, 'Why did Wilhelm Reich go crazy at the end of his life?' That was a troublesome question to me if he were to be useful in my progression.
I'd gone to Washington DC to be involved with the civil rights movement which at that time was becoming the black power movement which turned me off, and I became less politically involved. Among the circles I was in there was this psychotherapist who was doing group psychotherapy. He had a very good reputation and I began to be involved with that. However, I did not completely trust the process, in as much as I was convinced that I had to challenge the theoretical framework he was working in and test it and check it out. But that challenging test was never really completed. Nor did the psychotherapist really meet the challenge that I wanted to make. He was trying to franchise his practice into the McDonalds of psychotherapy, whereby he would have group therapy centers all over the place and he would be in charge of the corporation that did psychotherapy. He passed his practice on to somebody else in whom I had no trust. I suppose the word transference comes into play. I did not have positive transference to this other psychotherapist, so I just dumped the whole thing.
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J: How long were you there?

C: A year and a half maybe. So I was very unhappy, very lonely and very isolated. I was with an unexceptional circle of people, hippies, who more or less did drugs and lived common, I was going to say bourgeois lives, but they weren't really bourgeois. They were non-conformists but not very creative, not very intellectual... not people with whom I have very much contact at the moment. They weren't long lasting relationships. They did an awful lot of marijuana, LSD and mescaline which I did as well. Although the peak spiritual experiences of my life were not on drugs, some significant experiences were. But it so happened that my dope dealer's dope dealer passed along a book which he in turn had gotten from Jean Dixon which was called The Urantia Book but which none of them had read.
When I opened up The Urantia Book and started reading I said, 'Whoever wrote this book is smarter than whoever wrote the book I was just reading. How will I know if this is true?' I became a little frightened, but I recalled the words of Alexander Pope, "A little learning is a dangerous thing, drink, deep or taste not the Pirean spring". I said 'Charlie, it's been too late for you, long, long since.' and I read The Urantia Book through as though it were science fiction. But fairly soon I became convinced that it was fact. I tried to shove The Urantia Book under everybody's nose, now that I recall, even people who were illiterate. I had no idea that it would be inaccessible to many if not almost everybody. I was pretty much alone as a student of The Urantia Book for a long, long time. Only subsequently did I begin to meet other students of The Urantia Book. I met some people that were Republicans, who were pretty fun to know. They were middle class people during the time Richard Nixon was falling from power.
I began to realize that I was all finished with DC. There was nothing more for me there. But I didn't want to go out to California until I had my feet on the ground. So I thought, 'Now I have The Urantia Book -- all right, now it's time to go.' And with $35 in my pocket and food stamps, I took a ride out to San Francisco in 1972 in a Washington DC cab with the light still on top. We arrived in San Francisco with the light still on, rush hour in the morning, crossing the Bay Bridge with the other commuters. The commuters laughed their heads off at these freaks with the cab with DC plates, full of garbage- luggage, crossing the bridge.
I had gotten one phone number the night before I left Washington DC of someone in San Francisco who was supposedly a student of The Urantia Book whose number I called. And after spending nights under this that or the other person's roof for about I think maybe two weeks or a week I landed via this phone number contact in the apartment that I now have. I became the building manager because the guy who had been the building manager was getting open heart surgery from which he subsequently died. I thought the students of The Urantia Book would provide a social context that would help me to work through my changes, but they certainly did not.
That was a long and painful discovery. I tried to create among the students of The Urantia Book something like the intellectual and philosophic community I had come from and which the Bruderhof was supposed to be, but It most definitely did not work out. At this point I am deeply cynical about the people who do study The Urantia Book, although some of them are interesting and for whom I have respect. There are many, many for whom I do not. I began to have this life that was more focused on the neighborhood where I live, on a recycling center where I work and on KIT, for one thing ...because of a lot of reasons, some of them emotional and sentimental, some of them because this intellectual detachment that I seem to have, comes into play in a way that I think is useful, and for other reasons I have yet to explore.
As far as therapy or whatever, in addition to that first psychotherapist I've seen another one who was absolutely useless. He was merely snockered by everything I had to say. His jaw simply hit the floor and he was useless. All this while I was drinking wine in huge maintenance quantities, a liter a night. And working in the recycling center where I do, there were occasions when I felt very depressed, also behind the alcohol. So I got myself checked out because I was very unhappy you know, by going through the regular medical establishment and being diagnosed psychologically. I wanted to get free therapy through the local mental health system. So I got diagnosed as having Schizotypal Personality Disorder, of which I am now pretty well convinced that I do not. But the diagnosing shrink said that if they were going to do anything for me, I would have to stop drinking.
It so happened that Dr. Louis Thomas was tall, young and very good-looking, and dressed in the very latest, most expensive fashionable clothes. That was all I needed to quit drinking, notwithstanding that he was an idiot. So I pushed along with the bureaucracy until I got a therapist who was of some use to me. That was simply because this new guy was a little more aggressive than the last one. Even though he made mistakes, he was a little bit proactive. It didn't hurt that he was experimental; it didn't hurt that he tried the eye movement (EMDR), thing. But my interest in psychotherapy has diminished because I am going to explore RC -- Re-evaluation Counseling. I already have taken one class. However none of the people in that class have worked out as counseling partners. I am pretty much disgusted by the politics of RC. I think its entire involvement in politics is simply an enormous pitfall for the movement, and that RC would be of great benefit to a wide spectrum of people if they would simply stick to counseling and stop trying to make themselves into some kind of world betterment, government overthrow movement that they seem to think they are.
I will be doing that (exploring Re-evaluation Counseling) this fall again. I think people helping each other on a reciprocal basis is far more valid philosophically than people helping each other professionally unless there are legitimate medical problems involved. And in my own case, as far as anybody knows, there are not any psychiatric problems per se which would amount to me needing to see a medical doctor. Basically, I think people can do for each other just as well by helping each other rather than having somebody do it professionally if one is not perhaps schizophrenic, and even then I don't know.

J: Is that the main good thing about Re-evaluation Counseling, that there is no power imbalance, that you are working in partnership?

C: Well the power imbalance isn't so much what I am driving at as that the people mutually transform each other, in other words, if this, that or the other isn't working, you get to design your own strategy.

J: But do you have to be able to assume that the person with whom you are working is in any way equipped to...

C: Not only must you not assume anything, you have personally to choose them and then teach them. There is no way that anybody from as complex a background as I come from, can just walk into any old situation and have this, that or the other person automatically be the right one to heal them, obviously not. That's just the way it is.

J: Are there other things about Re-evaluation Counseling that you feel are particularly beneficial?
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C: Oh, yeah, you know, one thing that they do very well is cut through barriers between men. That's one of the huge, huge issues of my life, which I never did go into but I could.
I was the son of a woman of then 40, religious and intellectual, not a virgin, if the only thing my father ever told me that I believe is true, and a father who was an antisocial personality for sure. He checks out in the DSM 3 and 4, as an antisocial personality in every single possible category. He checks out in spades. And she divorced him before I was born. So here's this religious freak, from a New England Victorian background verging on gothic, on a spiritual pilgrimage that eventually wound her up in the Bruderhof, bringing along a gifted child that she had screwed up to the point of no return, and joining the Bruderhof when I was ten. So my life has been basically about fatherhood replacement in response to a formative situation of emotional incest and intellectual overstimulation, both to an extreme degree.
I have written in KIT about how much I like to fly airplanes, not actually fly them but how much I like to ride in airplanes, and I now know why. It's because somebody is flying that airplane. But who is flying that airplane? A man is flying that airplane. What kind of man is flying that airplane? One who's not afraid of heights, of large quantities of explosive fuel, of complicated technology, the most demanding cultural and technological involvement, all the things that my mother never was, of course. A man (who should have been my father). That is the most important issue for me.
It's been at least a generation, quite some decades of feminism and socialism, which from my point of view are both limited ideologies. So I find myself (and this is part of the problem with Re-evaluation Counseling) at odds with just about all the idealistic people of my day who are all busy trying out social experimentation of a type that is transparently ludicrous in my opinion. Just as small intentional communities are pretty pathetic from where I come from.
So it's a generation of women's liberation. To some extent, I agree with it and go along with it, but not to the extent of any kind of unisex philosophy, or equality in the sense of sameness between the sexes. I think it's ridiculous. But I'm not comfortable, however, with allies among the fundamentalist traditionalists, although they are just about the only people who have anything going along these lines. It's just paradoxical that's the case. So intellectual allies are few and far between, it's hard for me to come by anything along those lines. The thing I wrote last year in KIT expressed that.

J: Yes. But why did you say that you were intellectually over stimulated?

C: Oh, when I was a little kid, my favorite book was Aristotle. If I asked my mother a question, she would say, "I don't know. Why don't you look it up in the encyclopedia?" Yeah.

J: I wasn't sure if you were going to say that if you should ask a question, she would answer it with a heap of answers and you were constantly in this environment ...

C: She didn't answer. She used to make me mad. You know, I would ask some simple question, 'Ma, sure you know this.' and "No!" She didn't know it, because she didn't know the theory of relativity. She didn't know everything whatsoever, and any answer she did give me was so open-ended and so, you know "Cover your mouth when you sneeze, cover your mouth." you know, 'Why?' "Because germs, it has been proven, can go so many feet. When I was in nursing school I had to walk through the Boston subway and open a petri dish as I went down the escalator and close it on the way up, and the following germs appeared in the...." You know, 'Where do babies come from?' "OK, here's a pamphlet." It showed a clay model of a women split in half with the fetus inside. It was all too much. That was all when I was five. "Eat your vegetables, blah, blah, blah... the starving children in Africa." "There was a missionary in China. They served him their greatest delicacy. It was a live bug under a watch glass. And so committed was he to the principal of cultural relativity that he ate it, and you should eat your spinach."

J: So what's the connection?

C: Well, the connection is that it was all much too much. But what I was looking for throughout the Bruderhof experience and never found there I found in William Blake. The Bruderhof was very anti-sexual but the William Blake poem said, "Abstinence sows sand all over the ruddy limbs and flowing hair, But desire gratified: plants seeds of life and beauty there." This was an enormous contradiction to Bruderhof philosophy. I remember thinking about things like, 'Why do we get up in the morning? It's because the sun wakes us up not because there is some kind of rule that we have to get up or whatever.' 'Why do we go to sleep at night? It's because it's dark.' 'Why should the B. children be quiet at their dinner time? It's because the food they are eating tastes good and eating is what they want to do rather than wanting to run their mouths.' So I would cook family supper. I would put garlic and shrimp and spices in it and none of the little B's. said anything during dinner. In fact, everyone was just shoveling in the food. It was wonderfully silent. If anybody else cooked, George would spend the whole meal shushing his kids. I was thinking about, 'If things can only be the natural way.' That's why it was clear to me that there had to be a sexual solution to a sexual problem. A moral or a religious solutions to a sexual problem is a contradiction in terms, and won't work. The Bruderhof was not able to deal with any of this. They were an extreme, fanatical, constrained, contradictory and unworkable attempt even then, even back then.
I would listen as I said to what I was allowed to hear in the dining room. I would listen to the defense of community over private property, but when it came down to crunch time, Eberhard Arnold's argument fell flat on its face. There was nothing there, it was not... all he did was refer to the word privare meaning "to steal" (in Latin), there was nothing else. He did not have anything at all. So the whole thing was a very well intentioned, but very, very spectacular charade. Notwithstanding that, there were an awful lot of cultural byproducts that were really, really, wonderful in some respects.
But, I've become more or less happy in life I live now. And it's a whole variety of things... psychotherapy and whatnot, that have played a small part in that. But a far larger part that's been played, as far as psychotherapy and whatnot goes, is the fact that I was always looking for what was culturally relevant and transformative. As far as my generation or the intrinsic questions of my life are concerned, throughout my entire life, and in this, I am not unique in the circles of people from KIT, because you could point to several different individuals around, who looked for philosophical survival. Quite a few of them. Quite a few nutcase people have survived intellectually somehow or other. **** comes to mind.

J: So you felt if you were surviving intellectually at least it would also help in some way in the sort of practical...

C: Oh, absolutely paramount.

J: So in a way did that condition all your survival mechanisms? You related to people if you had the intellectual connection?

C: Well, you know, in assessing whether I would get involved with any situation or with any people is whether there would be some use. Where I live in San Francisco, it's not a bad place for that sort of thing, because even if people are extremely foolish, they are sincere in what they're doing.

J: You made it sound very smooth. You took an enormous risk, a leap in the dark to travel across the continent with $35 and a telephone number. But almost with the next sentence, you were in the apartment you are still in, in the job you are still doing.

C: That's exactly what happened, with the phone number I had gotten the evening before I departed, $35 and food stamps, I landed in the apartment I'm in now.

J: You had three things and in a way, it set you up for life.

C: Yeah. And The Urantia Book, which set me up for a lot of heartache for the next 10 or 15 years until I completely processed that situation.

J: It sounds as if you found it wanting.

C: Oh, The Urantia Book circles of people are as promiscuous a collection of egregious a******* as I have ever encountered in any connection.

J: So, although they were no help...

C: Saying 'no help' is not quite fair. One of my closest friends is one of those people, somebody I turned on to RC. This is a person who is very close to me, but he has traveled in my wake.

J: Right. But back at the beginning where you said that your problem with the Bruderhof was that they simply couldn't cope with you being gay, and that you were going to find a sexual solution rather than a moral solution because you had figured out...

C: I have yet to explore the potential of RC in that connection. But I am looking forward to it, because of all the philosophical systems that I have come across, of all the practical systems, RC has the most potential. They're not afraid of men being close with men. Harvey Jackins' theory is that homosexuality is unnatural and that fully healthy people would be beyond it... Obviously, the crux of the problem and where I don't agree with him is that he leaves out the genetic component. But RC leaves out the genetic component of human life altogether as do many...
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J: So it's not discriminating the homosexual?

C: Well, no he's not. They leave out the fact that people are genetically different. They try to start from the position that everybody is equal, and all the differences between people come about from the way they were treated. This is the same thesis that Communism had. It's the same thesis that Rousseau had, it's the egalitarian thesis. It is inadequate. People are genetically different, male and female are genetically, physiologically and mentally different. And even though the fact that the individuals that compose any given group are also each different may obscure a discussion of these things, no two human beings or two human groups are ever anything other than different. That twin study stuff is perfectly true. Of identical twins raised apart, if one of them is gay, there is a bigger percent chance that the other one will be too, regardless of any difference in the environment, 30%... way above the statistical likelihood for unrelated people, but not 100%. So homosexuality is not 100% genetically determined, although in a percent of cases it might be. It might be hidden in that 30%. There might be some of them that are 100% certain to be, I don't know. Certainly homosexuality occurs in all races and all cultures to some extent. But I think it fluctuates in percentage according to the amount of social change in the marriage mores at any given point in time. Obviously, ours are under enormous stress. But I always felt that my homosexuality was more environmentally determined than anything else, I could be wrong, but I felt that way. I felt that way always.

J: And that environment being...?

C: A gothic, moralistic, Victorian, Jesus freak, intellectually fanatical mother on a costly and risky spiritual and intellectual pilgrimage that led through the Bruderhof as we know, which was a wildly disastrous, wildly unsuccessful social experiment of great brilliance and the garden-variety of emotional incest.

J: What about the Bruderhof's very puritanical stuff?

C: Remember what I told you... They tried to bring a moral approach to bear on a sexual problem, a moral and intellectual approach. It doesn't work. That's why there is much more hope for something like RC. Because at least the approach there would be emotional. I already know enough from the very little counseling I have done in this connection that the potential for great success is there. Plus RC can only be expected to evolve, break up and evolve again. There's enough in that. ...What could be simpler than human beings helping each other?

J: What about Harvey Jackins -- his stated belief that homosexuality is unnatural?

C: His stated belief echoes very strongly with my personal belief that mine was environmentally caused. But his stated belief is that all differences between people are the result of how they were treated because everybody's genetically the same. So his problem with homosexuality is a subset of his problem with human genetics, and the problem with human genetics is the basic problem between socialism and capitalism at this point in time. Socialism has become identified with the egalitarian, materialistic causation theory of human behavior. People behave according to how they are treated and according to their material advantages and disadvantages. The capitalist theory is associated with the idea that individuals have differentials of talent between them. So (as far as the government is concerned, at least) let's just throw them out there and see who sinks and see who swims. Given the preponderance of the socialist in my immediate circle of people, I'm about as capitalist and republican and right wing as anybody you're going to come across.

J: But I'm still not clear, are you saying that if he's right, then maybe the Bruderhof's idea that you could, after maybe three years of struggle, be changed from homosexual to heterosexual?

C: Yeah, but not by their methods.

J: But are you saying that Re-evaluation Counseling might be the method?

C: Possibly...

J: And are you looking for...

C: Not at the age of 49. I don't know what I'11 find at the age of 49. I'm not 20 any more, even though I feel like I am 20. I'm not, and I don't care. You know, my own life and human generalities are two different things. When I was younger, I felt my own life and human generalities were far more unitary. I thought that I was much more important than I think now.

J: Don't we all. So, Re-evaluation Counseling is not primarily going to solve that problem.

C: I don't know whether it will or not and I actually don't care. It feels good. It enables me to deal with some of these things on an experiential and personal basis. And at this point in my life, I'm not concerned with any theoretical outcome. The idea that I would ever have a child is remote, not quite as remote as the idea that I would ever rejoin the Bruderhof, but approaching it. OK? It's remote indeed.

J: If I were to respond to what you say, it sounds as if you have really coped because you have thought about things deeply, intellectually and come to conclusions about a whole heap of ways of being in the world. And that in doing that, you have, if you like, made peace with yourself, and the way you are in the world and hang the rest of them.

C: Well not really hang the rest of them.

J: Well you will sort of conform and go along with laws and the values and that sort of thing but they will have to be the ones that suit you.

C: Well I have always thought I had more of a grasp on both spiritual and material reality than almost anybody that I knew, in fact anybody that I know.

J: Right, and in fact just knowing that..

C: It's very lonely...

J: But it's a very, very strong coping mechanism because if you really are in touch with reality then you have a head start on the other guys.

C: Absolutely. Not that it may do you any good in this, that or the other circumstance, but you do. The first and most important thing that I had to fathom, and as a matter of fact... and this is what I mean by intellectually over stimulated:
When I was little, 5 years old or less, I was afraid of death. And my idea of death was from watching soap bubbles. All the little children wanted to pop the soap bubble. But why would You want to pop a soap bubble? Then it's gone, and it's so pretty. It's so beautiful, then it's gone. I didn't want to pop soap bubbles. So popping soap bubbles was my metaphor for death, and I was terrified by the thought of death ...until I had a worse fear. That was the fear of insanity, which would be unlimited horror of experience, whereas death was no experience at all, in my concept. And this was when I was 4 or 5 years old.

J: And you had figured out those two...

C: When I was little. This is what I mean by intellectually over stimulated. I was hooked into thinking about, not Kirkegaard by name, but the philosophy of Aquinas, Kirkegaard and Aristotle, and all the intellectual ideas my mother made have grappled with when I was small.

J: You had the intelligence to be able to do it, but you also had something else that drove you to do it because really intelligent people can grasp things quickly but they may not be in touch with reality, they may not be grappling with these sort of philosophic questions at whatever their age or maturity, and yet you actually had it at that very early age.

C: I did. And as to why, well it's just the kind of person I happen to be.

J: When did you know that you were so head and shoulders beyond other people in your ability to grasp concepts.

C: Oh, I always thought I was terribly smart.

J: Did you get any validation of that?

C: Yes, of course.

J: So in fact not only did you know it, but the way people reacted to you reinforced over and over again that you were smart. But what about the Bruderhof

C: They thought it was awful and put me down for it. So I wouldn't learn anything in school. I just daydreamed and drifted away and did rotten in school. I wouldn't learn the multiplication table for months and months and months. It was this horrible, horrible thing. Finally, C******, D**** W********'s wife said, and it was entirely outside of Bruderhof propriety for her to say this, she said, "How come a smart boy like you doesn't know the multiplication. table?" And of course, the next day I knew it.
I didn't forget that. This was part of my anti-Bruderhof ammunition. I was concerned with their philosophy of people having no ego. I disbelieved this philosophy. I did not agree with it. I don't know if I then formulated or since formulated the metaphor that an ego is like a skeleton; without it, people are merely puddles. But at least I knew back then that without pride I had no existence. In other words, the things that they were putting down were necessary things. I knew this and I did not buy their line at any point. Now I wasn't there from infancy. I wasn't programmed by them as many people were from infancy on. I had been very, very heavily programmed in some other way by the time I got there at the age of ten.
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J: What difference would it have made.

C: I think that my ego was terrifically strong. It had been very, very much reinforced but in its own way, in a paradoxical fashion, but by the weird background that I had. I was extremely stuck up.

J: You said that your ego was very strong, and then was reinforced. It strikes me that you would have been, as a baby born in the Bruderhof, a child with a huge ego, with certainly a clear acknowledgment to yourself, of your value, your smartness, your perceptions and stuff like that. Although it would have been drummed out of you as much as possible, it sounds like it might have been there and continued to...

C: One of the things my mother said that I can't disagree with is, "Stay out of the subjunctive." I have no idea on that one. But she always said, "Stay out of the subjunctive." She's got an awfully smart mouth, if you ever met her. I don't know whether you did.

J: I can't remember if I did. I feel that I should've because I believe you were in Woodcrest at the time I was there... So really you actually had all the equipment you needed right inside yourself. However damaged, beaten about, programmed, and it sounded as if very little of it got through to you, you nevertheless walked away from the Bruderhof with so much of yourself intact. But I'm wondering about the emotional impact?

C: Well, I've left out the emotional damage. I have not discussed that, the extent of that.
J: Have you used your intellectual ability to cover over the emotional stuff, to rationalize the emotional damage as much as possible?

C: Probably, but I'm not really sure what you mean by that.

J: Well, for example we heard where S******* was saying something like, "I just have to get on with my life. Sure, other people have had worse things etc., etc." A minimization, a rationalization, a way of not having to say, "Ow, it hurts a lot."

C: When I'm in an RC session, I may indeed look at feelings per se. I don't often do that. Sometimes I do... But I enjoy life, I enjoy having a cup of coffee in the morning. I enjoy going to the work I do which I love and which is very simple work. I get to do manual labor. It's a great pleasure to me. I get to ride around the city in a truck and see all different parts of the city. I start my week in a beautiful valley park pulling barrels of recyclables out of this wonderful glade where they have classical music concerts, pulling the champagne bottles out of the vineyard, as it were. I love doing this, so probably the reason I didn't talk about the emotional stuff to you is that it was just something I got through. I was telling you the way I did it. You know, I did understand and do understand, have always understood that it's the ideas of a culture whereby people believe and get through life. The ideas and ideals of a culture are responsible for human experience. Although my experience was miserable, I knew that if I remained connected to the ideas that I would find a pathway, or at least that it was my only chance of finding a pathway through. Indeed, I have been very, very, very, lucky. ...So that's what happened to me.

J: You had already figured out well before the age of 5 that you were much more in touch with reality than anyone else and also that you were very smart. That's a powerful combination.

C: Well it produced an almost magical, you know, a superstitious belief that I was more important than I was.

J: You have also just said how much you like your job and feel very fortunate in having it. But I wonder if you had been in a different environment, a very intellectually stimulating environment or if you had carried on living with your mother and she had not joined the Bruderhof that you might have ended up as, what, as a Professor of Philosophy.

C: If my mother had kept me and not found the Bruderhof. I would probably have wound up a basket case. They took me away from her after about two months.

J: Two months of age or two months after reaching the Bruderhof.

C: Two months after I got to the Bruderhof.
Within just a few months of my arrival in the Bruderhof they saw that I got a splitting headache when she'd speak to me in the morning, for example. So they put me in another family. The only thing I was afraid of was that I would ever have to see her again. I did not hate her. I just wanted never to see her again

J: So realistically what would your future have been if she had not joined?

C: I can only imagine I would have been insane. I would have gotten so f***** up I don't know what would have happened. I would have been a total nutcase. I can't imagine.

J: Even though at that age, once kids go to school they spend much less time with their mother?

C: I don't know whether I would have been able to cope with, high school. I have no idea, I just don't know, I couldn't stand it. See, that's just one reason that it was hard for me to disbelieve in many aspects of the Bruderhof any earlier than I did. The Bruderhof did far better by me than it did by almost anybody else, you see, because they had been so wise in taking me away from her.

J: You know, I'm thinking this is really very interesting. Who was intuitive enough to make that connection and respond to your needs?

C: Heini!

J: Heini?

C: I mean it was under his scrutiny that this all took place. And D*** M*****, whom I have no doubt was just as evil as people say he was, was involved in putting me with Jack Melan¨on who was the brilliant protégé (of Heini). This was some kind of psychological experiment, an attempt at Christianity on their part. And they failed. But there was some sort of legitimacy to what they were attempting, even though we all know what we know about Heini's motivations.

J: Well, this is particularly interesting because you would have been a marked kid, the minute that you arrived, because you were an only child, your mother was a woman with just one child and no husband. You would have stood out like a sore thumb...

C: I stood out like a sore thumb intrinsically as well as being marked as just one child with a mother and no father. But there were other women with one child that came along.

J: Were there? Did the Bruderhof have many?

C: Not necessarily many, but there were single women with maybe several kids. There were the S*******, there was K**** B*********, a woman and one child. K**** did not last in the Bruderhof; my mother did. K****'s relationship with her son was good; mine with my mother was not. K**** actually had two; the other son stayed with her former husband.

J: I think you were extraordinarily fortunate, that you were treated in this way, not in fact stigmatized.

C: Well, I was stigmatized, as I thought, intrinsically, in as much as I did believe in the sacramental concept of human sexuality at that point. And the questions of whether there were such things as genetics and differentiating people intrinsically was an open question in my mind, all that while. I was fascinated by the aristocracy and ancestors. I had asked my grandmother when I was little who my ancestors were, because I hoped they were aristocrats. My mother's mother stomped her foot. She was a school teacher, and her modus operandi was to be writing on the blackboard or whatever, and if something was going on behind her back that she wanted to bring to a halt, she would stomp her high-heeled, old-lady boot, you know. So she stomped her foot and said, "I think they're Irish." Which was like saying 'I think they're scum, pond scum.'

J: When did you learn that you were gay?
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C: Oh, I knew for sure that my feelings for men, of which I had been fully conscious all along, were homosexual, I knew that around puberty. I started looking things up in the encyclopedia. The last time that I had sexual feelings for a woman was when I was in the second or third grade. I was watching a woman who had recently given birth and had very big breasts, nursing a baby. That was the last time I had sexual feelings for a woman. That was one particular woman and one particular occasion, by the way, not just anyone. That was the last time.
Oddly enough, I now realize I can recall having sexual feelings towards my mother on several occasions, but they were creepy. That's the whole basis of my belief that my homosexuality was environmentally generated. I thought when I read Freud that the Freudian mechanism for the explanation of homosexuality made complete and perfect sense to me, as far as my own understanding of it was concerned regarding my own background and my own self. You do see different boys under different circumstances with different mothers coming out in different ways and it is all very problematic. But I do recognize... What I told you about the twin study stuff: there is a 30% larger chance. A big chance, but it is not 100%. So I always thought it was this creepy screwed up background. My mother was very extreme, moralistic and intellectual. She was into all this health food stuff according to the amount of calories and vitamins and whatnot that was in the food, not how the food tasted. And if she wanted to cook something that tasted good, it was sweet and sour spare ribs, ugh! Or like English food, cold baked beans. They had them at Andover until I intervened.

J: They never!

C: Yes they did, your sisters! I said, 'It's not possible that they want these cold.' They only got heated up because I heated them. They were going to open those cans and sling it at the people just like my grandma.

J: So, you were 10 years in San Francisco before you met up with Ramón ?

C: Probably more than that. When did I meet up with Ramón, '89?

J: Not before KIT? I thought he did have just this small circle of people that he knew.

C: Yes, Vince.

J: Did Vince know you, or what was the connection?

C: Ramón thought, as he thought back on the community, that I must have been gay and that if gay, was very likely to be living in San Francisco. So he looked in the phone book.

J: Sherlock Holmes! So Ramón knew you in Woodcrest as a child and he then later sussed that you might be gay. That's pretty incredible.

C: Not rocket science.

J: Well, probably not for him or for you. But I would have thought for the Bruderhof, homosexuality almost did not exist as a definition...

C: Well, he came from outside.

J: You mean, he was knowledgeable about a lot of sex stuff and so on.

C: Probably not with men.

J: No, no but what I mean is he was...

C: Sexually sophisticated? Not necessarily.

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