/ P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / telephone: (415) 821-2090 / FAX (415) 282-2369 / http://www.perefound.org / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
KIT Staff U.S.: Ramón Sender, Charles Lamar, Vince Lagano, Dave Ostrom, Brother Witless (in an advisory capacity)
EuroKIT: Joy Johnson MacDonald, Carol Beels Beck, Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, Ben Cavanna, Joan Pavitt Taylor
The KIT Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion. It encourages the expression of all views, both from inside and from outside the Bruderhof. We reserve the right to edit submissions according to guidelines discussed at numerous KIT conferences. Obviously, it's seldom easy to know exactly how best to carry out KIT's mission of allowing many voices and various points of view to be heard. We do not, and cannot, vouch for the validity of any opinion or assertion appearing in the KIT Newsletter. The opinions expressed in the letters that we publish must remain those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflect those of KIT editors or staff.
Yearly subscription rates (11 issues): $25 USA; $30 Canada; $35 International mailed f/ USA; £20 mailed f/ EuroKIT to UK & Europe
Yearly subscription rates (11 issues): $25 USA; $30 Canada; $35 International mailed f/ USA; £20 mailed f/ EuroKIT to UK & Europe
KEEP IN TOUCH
Faithful readers have been confused by Dr. Jay Ortiz's letter on page 1 of the August-September KIT issue. It's important to understand that both Dr. Jay and his young ward Chip Wilson are fictitious characters residing in the overactive imagination of a leadership type closeted on the upper corridor at Woodcrest. Many hundreds of e-mails plus several phone calls have been received over the past years from both these characters, starting with the flurry of correspondence to and from 'Chip' that we published in KIT VII #2, February, 1995. Since the good doctor Ortiz always has identified himself as an MD specializing in pediatrics, it's even quite possible that his channeler might find himself receiving a phone call from the AMA's fraud division. Despite Chip 'n Jay's non-existence, e-mail continues to be received from the good doctor Ortiz (see this issue). So for readers eager for more from these non-human types, we are assured that there will be letters from them in future KIT issues describing their adventures on safari in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Zululand, South Africa.
The Whole Kit And Caboodle
Toll-Free Phone for former Bruderhofers in need of advice and referrals: 1 888 6 KINDER
For ongoing discussions between ex-members, members and other interested parties, access the newsgroup alt.support.bruderhof
use "alt f" on keyboard to search by name for the following
SEE KIT X #10 PART II FOR THE FOLLOWING
Tim Domer to Ramon Sender
Tim Domer to Christian Domer
Tim Domer update on 'Fear" posting - alt.support.bruderhof news group excerpts -
Betty Chesley, Blair Purcell, Tim Domer,
Margot Purcell, Notes f/ Memory Lane'
by Dave Goodwin
Bill, Tif, Jessie and Rose Peters
Susan Johnson Suleski
Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe to JC Arnold
Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe - excerpts from a paper presented at a CESNUR Conference --- A Primavera Report ---
Mel Fros - A Song from Primavera Days
Colin & Kathy Hazelton announce the birth of their twins Kelsey Morgan and Julia Marie on June 17. Mother, babies, two-year-old Emily and proud dad Colin are all doing just fine! Always room for more Hazeltons on this planet!
Miriam Arnold Holmes, 9/15/98: With sadness I share with you the news of the death of my brother Eberhard Claus Arnold. He died on or about August 22 in a hospital in Asuncion, Paraguay. Initially my brother John in England had gotten the news via a phone call from Paraguay. His Spanish is poor, so the message was not clear. I eventually got through to the German consulate in Asuncion via phone. The consul, who knew Eberhard Claus well, informed me that he had died of complications of diabetes. Apparently he had it for a while undiagnosed and untreated. When he finally went to a doctor with the help of Ingmar, he was almost blind and in such poor shape that there was little that could be done.
Eberhard Claus was born on the Alm Bruderhof in Liechtenstein on June 19. 1935, the first child of Hardy and Edith Arnold. His mother Edith died in 1943 of appendicitis. E. Claus was 7 years old and very traumatized by his mothers' death. As an adolescent he developed a brain tumor which caused severe headaches and bizarre behavior. This brain tumor was not diagnosed until he was 26 years old. The tumor was removed and he felt and acted much better. He got married to Rocio and they had 5 children. Three girls and a boy set of fraternal twins. His children are in their late twenties and early thirties. He also has some grandchildren. He was receiving social security from the German government and his children are well educated. As far as I know he had no contact with the Bruderhof since Hardy's death in 1987. I had not seen my brother since I was 15 years old. I would like to thank Ernst for contacting Christoph a few years ago with the suggestion that the Bruderhof finance a reunion of the leftover siblings, since it was the Bruderhof who tore our family apart. Needless to say, Ernst's request fell on deaf ears. Much love to all,
In Memoriam Eberhard Claus Arnold
by Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe
Eberhard Claus, the oldest son of Hardy and Edith Arnold, was born on the Alm Bruderhof on June 19, 1935. Claus was the last grandchild that my grandfather Eberhard Arnold knew before his death. After a difficult delivery, his mother Edith remained very ill with high fevers, and the doctors thought she would not survive. Eberhard called the Gemeinde together for prayer, and slowly she recovered but remained very weak for at least a year. She could not feed him, and there were no alternatives in those days, so Marianne Zimmermann breast-fed the little boy together with her own child Renate.
Claus and I were great mates and usually played together with our teddy bears. Edith loved it if we were around her on the Cotswold Bruderhof. He and his family traveled in the first group to leave England in 1939 or '40, and landed in the Chaco in Paraguay under extreme and difficult circumstances. His father Hardy went on long trips throughout Paraguay and finally found Primavera, which was to be our new home. Our first school year in Primavera, 1941, was wonderful even though our teacher Balz Trumpi thought we were a real handful of 'wild-running' children, as he used to say. He said that the six-year-olds had experienced such difficulties in uprooting from England, adjusting to the tropics, that we were a difficult class. Edith, his mother, died in 1943 leaving four children of which he was the oldest and expected to understand and help.
Actually Claus and I felt guilty for Edith's death because we were playing at her house the afternoon she became so sick. She begged us to go and get help as she was in bad pain (which later turned out to be from a ruptured appendix). We went on our way, intending to get someone, but landed up playing with palmkulgeln and forgot all about it. On our return, Oma and Moni were in hysterics and told us that something bad happened, it was all our fault. Well, something bad happened -- his mother died -- and we were not allowed to go to the funeral, but watched from the edge of the Schoolwood all the black-dressed people pass by crying. We went to the burial ground after they had all left and lay on the grave crying our eyes out -- no one seemed to have missed us.
Then we sat in school together. I had to walk from Loma to Isla every morning. Claus lived in Isla. By that time, his father had married again with Sekunda Kleiner, and the 'Kleinold' family was a large one with little time for each individual child. Claus started protesting at that time, not in a loud voice, but by not doing his homework and getting mad every time his dad was sent on mission to beg for money. He felt hurt that his father had no time for him and he so longed for a good relationship with his dad.
As a teenager, things got even worse, and he was sent to the States to a special Quaker home where there would be attention and psychological help for him. But that is not what he wanted. He wanted his dad. As the Quaker home was expensive, he was then sent to Germany and put in an institution. This was a bad time for him, and he felt sick and suffered from a lot of headaches. When my sister Heidi and Klaus Barth married in 1958, they visited him and brought him home to Sinntal. He had a good relationship with Heidi, Klaus, and also Joseph Nacht (now I think Ebenezer) but he wanted only one thing: to return to Paraguay where he felt his soul would be at peace.
I met him on the Sinntal Bruderhof and we went for long walks together to try and make some sense of the past. His mother's death and guilt feelings came up, and then he returned to Paraguay and some horrible years followed, years of hanging around in the streets without money, without work, picked up by the Paraguay police for minor things because he was a 'gringo.' The headaches got worse, and finally he collapsed in a little bar and was taken to the hospital in 1961 with what was first diagnosed as aspirin poisoning. Later they found he had a brain tumor and operated.
In 1992, Kilian and I visited him in Ciudad del Paraguari. He was well and happy, His wife Rocio was studying law and, to finance the study, she worked in the little bar where Claus had collapsed. She had seen him for a while and felt very sorry for him. She saw to it that he was brought to the hospital and the family in the States notified. After his father and Sekunda left, she nursed him back to health and they married. The Bruderhof bought them a little chacra [farm] in Paraguari in a most beautiful area, but poverty-stricken. He worked the chacra and Rocio stopped her studies and looked after the two-room Paraguayan home. They had five beautiful children, Edith, Kathy, Lothar and Christian (twins), and Irene.
They all are married now and have children of their own. Even though they were poor, Claus was happy and a good father for his family. The German Embassy helped him and saw to it that all his children had a good schooling and professions. It was wonderful to see him like that. His wife spoiled him, like all Paraguayan women spoil their husbands. She got up early to do all the washing by hand and laid it out on the grass to bleach. She managed to get food on the table and the children looked spic and span when they went off to school. We had a wonderful, relaxing time with them and stayed in contact since then.
When Ingmar went to see Hans-Jurg at the beginning of this year, he also visited Claus after Hans-Jurg's death. He found Claus in a bad state, very skinny with a large sore on his foot that would not heal. So he took him to Asuncion to see a specialist. The diagnosis was diabetes, and the foot had to be amputated. I wrote many letters since, but never had a reply. Now Muschi informed me that Claus died some time in August in the hospital. I just hope he did not suffer too badly. We should think of his brave wife Rocio and his children and grandchildren. If only I could really speak Spanish, but I never learned it. Ingmar will translate my letter to her for me. Her address:
Oficina de Correos
Ciudad del Paraguari
Phil Hazelton, 9/16/98: I last saw Eberhard Claus (I think) some 12 years ago when Lee and I took a bus out to Paraguari with our two boys to look him up and to take him a package. We did not know where his farm was and were in a candy store asking about him when a picture-pretty young girl came into the store to buy some milk.. She listened for a while and then, just as we were heading out, she came quietly up behind us and introduced herself as one of Eberhard Claus' daughters. She took us home and we had a very sweet time under the large shady (probably mango) trees around their simple house. I was amazed how joyful he was and also very moved by the love that seemed to be in the family and between him and his wife. She, I believe, was a rural school teacher; the unsung saints of the Third World and of rural Paraguay in particular. I felt he was at peace and we really spent no time on negative reminiscences.
August Pleil, 9/24/98. I wish to share a memory of Eberhard Claus, Hardy Arnold's eldest son. Nadine and I had only been married a few months when we had a brotherhood meeting in which Eberhard Claus was discussed. Eberhard Claus was behaving in a very bizarre manner and nobody knew really why he was causing trouble. Later, very much later, the doctors on examining him found out that he was suffering from a brain tumor. He suffered so many years not knowing what was causing him to behave so badly.
After the meeting, Hans Meier came to me and told me to pack a bag, get some tools and a little food, and go to Rosario and stay there for a few weeks. He wanted me to do maintenance jobs on the house which belonged to the Commune. I was not given any money -- not one cent. By the way, the Commune did that to me several times, sending me on errands without any money at all. I then found out what the reason was for this sudden activity to do repairs on the house.
Hans Meier lowered his voice and said," Eberhard Claus is in Rosario in a hotel and we do not want him to vandalize the house there. We do not want him to know that we have sent you to be the watchdog."
Well, well, well! Here I was being made a watchdog for poor Eberhard Claus. I did not relish the idea at all, but what could I do? I had to do as I was told.
All Eberhard Claus's troubles started after his mother died when he was about 8 years old. He never recovered from that traumatic experience. He and his brother and sister were very, very lonely and their father often was sent away on so called mission/begging trips. Eberhard Claus said that he felt that there was very little feeling for the four little orphans, and he was right. This coldness affected the children very much. Eberhard Claus could never understand why his mother, who at the time was so seriously ill, was not immediately taken to the hospital. He felt that she had been neglected. It was heart-wrenching to hear him talk about his mother. I asked myself why was not more love shown to someone who was so ill?
Actually this lack of love was the cause of Eberhard Claus's troubles. The Commune in Primavera just did not feel what the death of their mother meant to these four little children and that this happening would stay with them for the rest of their lives. To add to all their troubles a crisis started after their mother's passing. The Commune was in turmoil and disunity. At the time, the Commune was virtually split in two. Eberhard Claus just did not find his way through all this upheaval and turmoil. The servants and witness brothers always tried to talk to him, but it did not help and they did not understand Eberhard Claus at all. He never got the answers he wanted. That is when things really got bad, actually went from bad to worse. The servants wanted to get rid of him. Not one of them thought that he needed help and understanding.
I had been in Rosario for about 2 days when I met Eberhard Claus. He was very friendly toward me and was glad to see me. We talked for quite a while. We got on very well together and enjoyed being together. I asked him about his mother. I personally had never met his mother. My family and I came to the Bruderhof two years after she had passed away. Eberhard Claus then showed me his most treasured possession, a picture of his mother. He did not so easily show that photo just to anybody, and I felt honored that he showed it to me. He then proceeded to tell me that his best memories of the Bruderhof were when everyone got together and sang. He loved the nature songs and the religious songs. He felt that the singing of such songs expressed the love that should have prevailed on the Bruderhof. It was obvious that Eberhard Claus was craving for love and understanding. He confided in me and felt that he could trust me, that I understood him and would not let him down.
As I had very little food and no money to buy any, we decided to go fishing. We only had a machete to fish with, yes believe me, only a machete. However it is possible to fish with a machete -- we had done it before -- and we managed to catch a bag full of fish. There were some ducks swimming on the river and Eberhard Claus suggested that we try for a duck too. I told him, better not, as they would make too much noise and we did not need the Policia on our backs. Eberhard Claus readily agreed and also felt that we did not need trouble. We both had a good laugh about that and then went to the house where we made a fire outside and fried our fish. We had a good meal and enjoyed each other's company.
"That was quite an adventure!" Eberhard Claus commented about the fishing. He had really enjoyed himself, and I was glad that he had some enjoyment as he often looked so sad.
We stayed in Rosario for about 3 weeks and enjoyed being with Eberhard Claus very much we became good friends and enjoyed each others company. During the time that I was in Rosario, a family came from Colombia SA. They were on their way to visit the Bruderhof a Mrs. Jena and 4 or 5 children. They waited for transportation to go to Primavera. Mrs Jena immediately noticed that Eberhard Claus and I hardly had any food, so she went out and bought a lot of supplies for us so that we could eat a decent meal. She could not understand why I had been sent for such a long time to Rosario with no money or food. We thanked her very much for the food and the next day Mrs found Mennonite transport to take her and the children to Primavera.
Eberhard Claus seemed to have made some arrangements for a further stay somewhere near Rosario, so at the end of three weeks I said good-bye to him and never saw him again. I was to be picked up by the Primavera lorry (truck) that came to Rosario bringing Norah Caine on her way to Asuncion. She was very surprised to see me there.
"August you have only been married for a month or two and they sent you alone to guard this house?" she said. She just could not understand the Servants at all. She never did understand them!
I remember that we lost our machete during our fishing trip, and it was too dark to look for it. We went for a last walk and Eberhard Claus found the machete in the grass. He was so pleased that we found the thing. He said, "August you might just have been in a lot of trouble if you had gone back home without that precious machete!"
Eberhard Claus thanked me for the time that I was able to spend with him and also for being a friend to him. He felt that I gave him a little love and understanding.
I had completed the repairs on the house so was able to go back home. When I got home, of course I had to report to Hans Meier and the other servants about Eberhard Claus. I told them that I felt that this young man was very unhappy and vulnerable and needed help. I told them that above all he needed love and understanding! I was told in no uncertain terms to mind my own business. I was very unhappy about that answer to my concern for Eberhard Claus.
I always remembered that time in Rosario with Eberhard Claus. and was glad that I could befriend him. I had the feeling that Mrs Jena and Norah Caine had some understanding of what was going on. So at least some people understood. I was sent as a watchdog and became a friend.
Eberhard Claus, who was declared unstable by the servants, was a victim of the machinations of the Commune. As I said previously, he was 26 years old when he finally had brain surgery and was physically healed. He went through agonies and suffered so much because he was not understood and nothing was done to alleviate the situation.
I look upon Eberhard Claus as a good friend who trusted me and gave me some insight as to what he had to go though. I will always remember him and am glad to say that I knew him as a friend and that I never became the watchdog I was supposed to have been.
ITEM: Norah Caine has died in the Darvell Bruderhof. She had been out of the Bruderhof for many years while her husband Chris remained a member. A few months ago her health deteriorated. She had suffered with arthritis for years but had also developed leukemia or a similar lymphatic type cancer. When the hospital said she could no longer care for herself, the Darvell Bruderhof invited her to stay with them and Chris came over from the States. She was 84 years old.
According to a phoned-in account, Darvell deserves much praise for the loving care they gave to Norah and the manner in which they allowed her children and family to participate in the burial.
Nadine Moonje Pleil, 6/17/98: We set out to make a trip to Falling Waters, a home built by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America's greatest architects. Our son Alvin and his wife Brigetta and two children as well as Bill and Vijaya and their two girls, and Andrea and her two children were all with us. On our way back from Falling Water and Ohio Pyle, Alvin said he would like to visit the Plough coffee shop to get a catalog of the Rifton equipment for handicapped persons. So we decided that we would drive down the hill to the commune. As we drove in, we read the sign that they had books and arts and crafts for sale.
We stopped just outside the coffee shop and a young man we did not recognize asked what we wanted. Alvin got out and said he would like to visit the coffee shop. The young man told us that the coffee shop was only open on weekends, but that he could find someone to open up for us so that we could browse, but that there would be no coffee.
Alvin, Brigetta and our grandchildren got out of the car, and also Vijaya and I. We entered the coffee shop, which was opened by two young women who also did not recognize us. The children immediately went to play on the Community Playthings equipment, and we adults had a look around. Vijaya bought a very pretty vase for a friend of ours, and Alvin got the catalogue he wanted. He then asked for a Community Playthings catalogue, but they did not have one and offered to mail it to him.
The two young women asked where he was from, and he told them he was a Physical Therapist in Sweden. He was asked if he was here on business, and he told them that he was here visiting relatives. After consulting with each other, the young women asked for his name and address in Sweden, which he gave them. They still did not show any signs of recognizing us, even after Alvin gave them his name.
I was looking after the children and kept on wondering when we were going to be recognized and be thrown out as trespassers. However nothing happened. August, Andrea and Bill (my son-in-law) had stayed in the car, and August took a photo of the sign, 'Plough Coffee Shop.' After we had taken our time to look around we went out to our cars. We did not buy any books.
We did notice that the Commune had installed a big iron gate at the entry and a camera at the entrance. We understand that the gate is closed and locked every evening at 6 P.M.
The young man who asked the young women to open the shop for us was still hovering around, and there was another man in the little gatehouse that had been built alongside the coffee shop. August told us that this young man had not left the area. Maybe he had an inkling who we were but was not sure enough to ask for reinforcements to make us leave?
We drove out, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief to be on our way again. We thought it really hilarious that we had not been recognized and that the coffee shop had really and truly been opened especially for us! It was quite an eye-opener to see the iron gate and camera, and the gatehouse at the entry. That is the place where some of our children grew up!
Mel Fros, 9/11/98: And it hath come to pass that the Bruderhof hath established a "Bruderhof radio" on the web. Will subtitles be provided so there is "equal access" for the non-hearing portion of society? And it shall come to pass, that the Bruderhof will acquire a TV broadcasting license and a conventional radio station. And these shall one day be operated from one large Super-Bruderhof.
Mark my words! :)
Blair Purcell, 9/11/98: Interesting to note that all communication with the Bruderhof leadership is one way only -- Out. There is no way to get messages In.
Blair Purcell, 9/21/98: The following message arrived today from Doctor Jay Ortiz in response to my note about Chip Wilson running away from the Bruderhof last Sunday. I wonder if they were looking for anyone at the bus station? My response to Dr. Ortiz is included.
Jayort@aol.com wrote: "Just returned from a couple weeks on the road/vacation. I don't know what's going on, but some SoB has one sick sense of humor.
Blair replied: Righhht, Jay.
Jayort@aol.co replied: This may be funny to you, but it sure as hell isn't to me. Count me out."
Blair replied: Who do we count out?
Wayne Chesley, 9/11/98: I did find it interesting that at a time when the Bruderhof has obviously (as reported in a recent newspaper article) withdrawn from the Internet (to protect themselves from the truth I suspect), they are reaching out with this new radio venture. What strikes me is some of the issues the Bruderhof's partners are advocating for. See the sponsors of their "free speech" coalition: http://www.freespeech.org/. My how things have changed.
The Bruderhof has a new web site at http://www.-REVOLUTIONCENTER.ORG/. Are leftist politics all that is left of the Bruderhof's life witness?
What is amazing is the hypocrisy of it all. If their "friends" like Ramsey Clark and Bishop Gumbleton, would realize the hypocrisy of the Bruderhof, and the brutality of Christoph Arnold's fascistic regime, they would, I'm, sure, abandon their association with the Bruderhof in shame and embarrassment. The Bruderhofers do not honor the causes with which they associate. Their hypocrisy will shame their well intentioned friends some day.
Blair, I wish there were a way to get a message in. That, I'm sure, is the reason that Christoph Arnold and his faithful disciples, Joe Keiderling and Christian Domer, do not allow contact between Bruderhofers and their family members who will not idolize Christoph (or at least be silent about what goes on at the Bruderhof). I was threatened the last time I tried to send an e-mail note to an old friend in the Bruderhof. Now the Bruderhof will not tolerate me or anyone else trying to communicate with anyone behind Christoph and CD's iron curtain.
Radio Free Bruderhof? Well, the Bruderhofers are not even allowed to have radios. They are blissful in their ignorance, which is as Christoph and his party members would have it.
-------------------- end excerpts --------------------
Johann Christoph Arnold on Peter Warren's CJOB Action Line talk show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 9/30/98 - excerpts
Peter Warren: Now here we go... The line is free, and we're waiting for Johann Christoph Arnold at the moment from upstate New York to tell you the importance of this program this morning and the controversy that it has already sparked. Let me repeat that we have had a whole pile of calls, as I mentioned right at the kick-off this morning... from people right across North America. I have one person who is vitally interested in what Johann Christoph Arnold is going to say, now hanging on the line on hold from San Francisco at his request, tuning in via the telephone line to discover exactly what this man is going to say.
Christoph describes himself as "the world's most famous EX-Hutterite," if you will. He also says he is a man who is "the most hated man in Manitoba." He has a number of books, "Seventy Times Seven," a collection of true stories of people, he says, "scarred by murder, betrayal, abuse, bigotry and war. He was recently voted one of the ten best books of 1997 by the American Library Association,
[NOTE: According to the American Library Association, the book was included in the ten best religious books of the past 12 months.]
and he is described by his publishers in Pennsylvania as "an internationally recognized peacemaker who has helped bring reconciliation in the Middle East, Central America and in northern Ireland." His latest book is called "Seeking Peace, Notes And Conversations Along The Way."
However part of this controversy involved the Hutterite leader Jakob Kleinsasser who excommunicated Christoph along with about two thousand other fellow Bruderhof members from the Hutterite Church because of "their activities in addressing society's problems." So we are loaded for bear. I will hook up with upstate New York and be back with this controversial man, right after this...
Johann Christoph Arnold on the line with us at the moment, from upstate New York, as I've mentioned, best-selling author. His latest book is called "Seeking Peace, Notes And Conversations Along The Way." Good morning, sir.
Johann Christoph Arnold: Good morning, Peter. . . .
PW: Why do you describe, or your publishers describe you, as "possible the most hated man in Manitoba?"
JCA: Well, there are many reasons why. I don't feel able to answer, Peter, but if people hate me, I wish them the best and tell them that I love them and want to be their friend, Peter. And that's why this morning, I hope, is a bridge-builder to anyone who might misunderstand me. I love Manitoba, Peter. I've been there many, many times.
PW: I know, I understand that. But you do more than just write books.
JCA: Oh yes, I'm the senior minister of the Bruderhof communities, and I'm a lot on mission all over the world. I was scheduled to go to the Middle East Sunday but I canceled because of political tensions. And I just love people and I love relationships, Peter. And I love talk shows, and make new friends.
PW: The allegation that's been put before me by other people -- "Ask him about if he still carries a concealed weapon."
PW: "Ask him about his guard dog German shepherds trained to attack." Is this garbage?
JCA: Hey, it's garbage! With the German shepherds, not completely. You know, Peter, I have loved German shepherds since I was a little child, and I have a German shepherd, and he's like a teddy bear. Peter, you'd love him! My grandchildren play with him. And it's simple that I've always loved dogs. And I do not carry a gun, and I don't know where people got it from. I haven't carried a gun for years!
PW: The Bruderhof, Mr. Arnold, is listed -- I went onto the Internet -- as a cult. How do you respond to that?
JCA: Well you know, Peter, anything unusual nowadays is listed as a cult. And I suggest that anyone who sees us as a cult just comes and finds out themselves. We have nothing to hide. We want to be there for other people, Peter.
PW: I will tell people that I have read the book "Seeking Peace," and it is indeed notes and conversations from a multitude of people, many many famous people from around the world in all walks of life, and there is a great deal to say to the book. Later on in the program this morning I'll give you a 1-800 number if you interested in reading Johann Christoph Arnold's latest book, which is, if we go by his other books, destined to become a best seller. Let's go straight to the lines, Mr. Arnold.
JCA: Thank you, I would love to talk to people.
PW: CJOB, good morning. Ramon Sender: Good morning. This is Ramon Sender calling from San Francisco. Christoph, can you hear me?
JCA: Hey, Ramon, great to hear you! Ah, you don't live in Manitoba, but I love to talk to you. What can I do for you?
RS: Well, I wondered if you could explain to your listening audience whether or not you demand total obedience from all your members.
JCA: No I don't, Ramon, and you know better than that. Ramon, the theme this morning is really on the book "Seeking Peace." I sent you a copy and you never answered.
RS: Well, I read it. It doesn't sound like your voice in the book, Christoph.
JCA: It is my voice! It -- it is my voice!
RS: The book talks of love and peace, and meanwhile you have turned down five attempts to resolve outstanding concerns in the presence of ministers and professional conflict resolution people. Is that true?
JCA: No, that's not quite true, Ramon.
RS: That's not true?
JCA: No, and Ramon, you know, what you need to do is let those in Manitoba also give them a chance to speak.
RS: Okay, well, I think they should also know that you're basically self-publishing your book. Your publisher is your own group.
JCA: Ya, but Ramon, people should also know that "Seeking Peace" is Number Thirty on the national best seller's list, and I'm not ashamed of it, Peter!
RS: I'd like to see those figures from a reputable organization.
JCA: Well, you can look it up in Ingram [Publisher Services].
RS: Oh, Ingram, I see.
JCA: Ingram, they are very very reputable. I don't know if you can get any more reputable than that!
RS: But it sounds to me like your publisher is inflating your personality and making you out to be a lot more important than you really are, Christoph.
JCA: You know, Ramon, I don't feel important at all!
RS: Why don't you just take care of your people and turn your group into democracy. That's all I really have to say to you.
JCA: Ramon, thank you! I appreciate that!
PW: All right, that's San Francisco! CJOB, good morning!
David Kovnatz: Good morning. Christoph, how're you doing?
JCA: Yes, hi!
DK: How're you going?
JCA: Fine, and you?
DK: Very well, thank you.
JCA: What's your name?
DK: It's David, Christoph.
JCA: Hi, David! Great to hear from you! What can I do for you?
DK: Christoph, I have tried to call you. Why are you allowing anyone to sue the Hutterian Church directly or indirectly? Why are you doing this?
JCA: Ah, to my knowledge, we are not suing the Hutterian Church. I'm not aware of this.
DK: Well, Christoph, you know -- we've had a letter from lawyers... and you know that the Hutterian Church has registered a copyright and you know that the Church has guaranteed to the printers that they have the copyright, and they are publishing a translation. It isn't even the same translation as yours, which is irrelevant. Why are you doing this when you are professing to want peace?
JCA: Well, David, you know, you should really read the book "Seeking Peace." That's the theme of this morning..., and I'm not suing the Hutterian Church. I love them.
DK: Well then, your people are suing the Church.
JCA: No, they're not.
DK: They're suing the Church. They're threaening to sue the Church, and they're threaening to sue the publishers who was guaranteed by the Church. It came directly --
JCA: Oh, it's David Kovnats!
DK: Yes. . . .
JCA: Ah, David, are you a Hutterite?
DK: No, I'm not a Hutterite.
JCA: Then please don't talk for the Hutterites. I know you're a Hutterite lawyer, but don't talk about spiritual things. I think Jake Kleinsasser can talk about spiritual things.
DK: Our firm has represented the Hutterites in Manitoba since 1919. If there are any non-Hutterites who have familiarity with the Hutterite tradition, belief and spirituality, or have been trained by the Hutterian Church to know these things, it is our firm and members of our firm.
JCA: David, I -- give me one --
DK: You communicated with our firm years ago. You were meeting with the members of my firm.
JCA: David, do me a favor. Tell Jake Kleinsasser his translation of the book is awesome and we love it.
DK: I will certainly pass on your message.
JCA: Thank you, David. And greet your wife and children! Great to hear you!
DK: Thank you for your time.
JCA: See, Peter, it's getting exciting and I love it!
PW: You know Wayne Chesley?
JCA: Ah, he's not a Hutterite. I'd like to hear from some Hutterites. He's not from Manitoba.
PW: He e-mailed me. He said, "I left the Bruderhof three years ago after being put out of the decision-making body by the Commune for objecting to telephone harassment campaigns against a group of ex-members. I wish you would consider taking a closer look at the Bruderhof communities before promoting Christoph Arnold's book. Many people in the media, especially religious media, have promoted and endorsed Mr. Arnold's message uncritically. We have even learned from one evangelical Christian leader how the Bruderhof approaches them time and again for endorsements and reviews, and how seldom these reviewers consider seriously what they are promoting. My wife and I lost nearly everything to Arnold's cultlike group, and we are still struggling to rebuild our lives.
JCA: Well, Peter, all I can say, the message of seeking peace -- that applies to Wayne too, to Wayne and Betty and children, whom I love very much, and if they're listening I greet. And we are not perfect people, and we are not a cult. And I encourage Wayne to read the book "Seeking Peace" ...Doesn't it have to start with dialogue, and talking, and -- like this morning, and relationship. Where -- when we made a mistake, we see it both sides and make a new start, Peter. Would you agree?
PW: Well it sounds good. Hang on the line. I'm going to put you on hold for a minute. We'll invite Manitoba Hutterites to get involved in this....
PW: CJOB, good morning.
John: Good morning. Christoph. Hi, how are you?
JCA: Yes, hi! Great, and what's your name?
John:JCA: Hi. Hey John, how're you doing?
John: I'm doing good. Christoph, my question to you is, 'How true is that "Seeking Peace" book? And when did you write it? When did you put it out?'
JCA: Well, it is just barely out a few weeks. I've worked on it for about two years. I tell you, it's a lot of work. I did a lot of research, a lot of reading. I write it out by hand and then it's typed out, put in the computer and sent back to me and I approve it. And then I read it to the Community and get their input. So it is really a product of many many people. It's an -
John: Christoph, my question is, 'All the things -- I've been through Woodcrest, I know you personally, I know your family personally. What I want to know -- I'm not going to put you down -- I love your community, I spent a lot of time there, we had a great time, but the only thing I don't like is... I don't even want to say it on the air, but when we came to visit, we got the cold shoulder. We couldn't write. You know what I'm talking about. You didn't let us write, our phone calls didn't go through. Those things really hurt, Christoph! And you'd better stop, Christoph! If you're putting that book out, you're on the Action Line now, believe me, if that's going to happen again... You know like that story when that boy screamed "Wolf, wolf!" too often? Please don't do that, Christoph Vetter.
JCA: Okay, John. Listen, if we hurt you, I'm sorry. Forgive us. I have given a message that if anyone calls for me from Manitoba, to let me know. I'm not always around, but that I can at least return the call, because I want to have contact with brothers and sisters in Manitoba.
John: So would I! We would love to! I mean, we had a good time. I really learned a lot when I was down there.
JCA: Well then, come again! Try it again!
John: But whatever you've done -- "Seeking Peace" book is true, ... you want to forgive us, allright. If you're going try better and take the phone calls, let us come and visit, I have a lot of cousins down there which include your family, a lot of them... probably you're going to catch on who I am, but I wish you a lot of luck, and nice talking to you.
JCA: John, it's awesome! That's the kind of contact I look forward to! Thanks so much!
PW: All right, we put you on hold, Christoph, and we'll back to you right after this... We return with Johann Christoph Arnold from upstate New York on the long distance line, and this board is buzzing. CJOB, good morning.
Woman: Good morning, Mr. Warren. I'd like to ask a question of Mr. Christoph.
Woman: Hi. How come Berta can't come home to her husband?
JCA: Well, that's a question you'll have to ask her, and not me.
Woman: "What God has joined together no man should put asunder." How come they can't live together?
JCA: Well, that is really a question for Berta and not for me. I've never stopped Berta from going to her husband. You have to come and ask her that. And in the meantime, read the book "Seeking Peace."
PW: What is the story on this man and wife, M'am?
Woman: Her husband is still here in Manitoba, but she's out in New York.
PW: And she's a member of the Bruderhof?
Woman: She was a Hutterite.
PW: And she's now a Bruderhof?
Woman: She's over there. I don't know. And when people try to call her, and when they mail her letters, nothing is answered.
JCA: Well, that is very sad. I'll talk to Berta.
Woman: I was a good friend of hers.
JCA: Great, and your name is?
Woman: [big sigh] I don't think I want to give my name.
JCA: Oh okay. Well, anyhow, read the book "Seeking Peace, Notes And Conversations Along The Way." You know that all these hurts are resolved, that's what my longing is. I would love to hear from Jakob Kleinsasser. Him and I, we did a lot of mission together, all over the world, and he was a very very good friend.
PW: I take it you're not such good friends now.
JCA: Well not from my side! I've tried to ask his forgiveness again and again and again, and I still ask for forgiveness.
PW: Forgiveness for what?
JCA: Well, you know, Peter, um, to tell you the truth, I really don't know, but there's always chances that we hurt one another, even unknowingly. Apparently I've offended him, and I want to clear it up, and I've asked to come but he doesn't let me come! So perhaps you can put in a word for me that, ah, before he dies, he's an old man, that we can make peace!
PW: Well, maybe you'll hear from him this morning.
JCA: That would be wonderful! I wouldn't object. . . .
PW: I warn you, when you mention Nigeria, Mr. Arnold, Wayne Chesley specifically says "There are several Nigerian-born men who have been expelled and separated from their children."
JCA: Not quite true. These men, apart from Yusef, are involved with other women and have left their wives. It's sad to say, very very sad to say. It's a very tragic story... . . .
PW: Mr. Arnold, if I can go back to the sexual allegations again, you say you only know what you've read from the Alberta court cases.
JCA: Correct. I don't know anything about Manitoba, what's happened there.
PW: I had two former Hutterites on the air during those allegations, and they made extremely serious charges of sexual molestation. They said almost as a matter of fact, on some colonies in Manitoba, which were then just covered up.
JCA: You know, Peter, I'd like to put in a plug for the Hutterites. They are not perfect, but they are trying. And I'm not saying there are no sexual misconduct there, but Manitoba should really be proud to have so many Hutterites amongst them, and I think they need a lot more respect. And I really want to put in a good plug for them. They have survived for four hundred years, and really need to respect them, and I respect them.
PW: Then why are you getting so many adverse calls this morning?
JCA: Well, Peter, that's why the book 'Seeking Peace' is so significant. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding. There's a lot of gossip, and many people think I am a cult leader, and they've never even met me! Like Ramon Sender, he hasn't seen me hardly since I was a high schooler! And then, Peter, I'd like to ask you a question. If I'm such a terrible leader, as this year I was gone six out of the first nine months away from the communities, on journeys for the communities. So how I can be such a dictator? And I really want to encourage people in Manitoba to come and see for themselves and not to believe everything we say here. Is that fair, Peter? . . .
PW: CJOB, good morning. Go ahead. Ernst Arnold: Hello, maybe it's me. Am I on the line?
PW: Yes you are. Go ahead.
EA: I'm terribly sorry. I just didn't realize I was on. My name is Ernst Arnold, I live in New Brunswick, Canada, I am the cousin of Christoph Arnold. I just heard the last minute of what he said. Unfortunately I can't get your program here. My question -- I heard him explaining something which I'm not familiar with -- but I have some questions I would like to ask him, and that maybe I should start by asking how seriously, Christoph, do you rate child abuse?
JCA: I rate it very seriously.
EA: In that case, why have you not helped resolve one within the Arnold family?
JCA: Because, Ernst, there are two sides to every coin, and you only see one side. And we all need to see two sides to every coin. And I would like to see it resolved, but there needs to be first an understanding.
EA: Have you read any books on child abuse?
JCA: Oh yes!
EA: Are you aware of the continuing anguish and pain you put a child through when you try to blame it for the actions against it by its abuser?
JCA: I'm fully aware, but the child you're referring to, um, I had nothing to do with. She lived completely on the other place.
EA: That's not entirely true, Christoph.
JCA: Oh yes it is, and it's really a question to the parents. And I rate child abuse -- I mean people ask about sexual abuse, it's the same thing -- we rate it very very seriously. And, Ernst, you know it and I think, Ernst, you should let Manitoba also talk! And you should read my book "Seeking Peace" which is in an effort to resolve such situations which you mentioned.
EA: At the same time, Christoph, I have written personal letters to you, and you have not even as much as answered them!
JCA: Well, then, I'm sorry, Ernst. Forgive me. As I said, I have traveled a lot this year, and I get a lot of mail and sometimes mail slips through. And I would love to write you a letter.
PW: Ernst, what's the story on this child we're talking about?
EA: Okay, it was a child that was accused of holding hands with another girl, another relative, and was accused of having sexual encounters with that young girl, which she says never occurred. However, as it turned out, the longer she spent with us, we actually found out that she had suffered sexual abuse by her father, my brother, incidentally! So what I did when I heard this, not having ever read any books on child abuse or any of this, being totally unaware of the subject, I was actually quite shocked.
So I called my oldest brother who is a member at the Bruderhof, and I asked him to please help. And he said, Oh, he would talk to Christoph personally and that we would then work together and arrange for a meeting. I'm still waiting -- it's been a year and a half almost, now.
PW: How is the girl?
EA: The girl -- she's having a very hard time. Christoph, thank you very much for not helping her. She is totally confused, and she's struggling through life, no money, she was not allowed to finish her high school program, she was taken out of school for holding hands with a relative, and she was not allowed to communicate with children her own age. She had to move to another Bruderhof and do menial labor, cleaning toilets, etc. etc. And I consider that psychological abuse. And now --
PW: Were criminal charges laid against your brother?
EA: I beg your pardon?
PW: Were criminal charges laid against your brother?
EA: Well that -- this is the odd thing. Christoph must have put one of his -- one of his men onto silencing me. And he suggested that I press charges. Well, the problem is that I happen to be a grandchild of Eberhard Arnold. And I actually believe some of the things that Christoph says. I actually try to live my life the way our grandfather asked us to do. Christoph claims to have these values, but in reality, he actually just hides behind those words. And when he is faced with a problem, he goes and he hides behind these two 'paralegals.' One of them incidentally, is a self-confessed hit man for Christoph.
JCA: Hah, Ernst, it's very interesting. A lot of what you say is completely new to me. And --
EA: Well, then why don't you write to me? Why don't you call me? You've got three jets. Why don't you come see me? Why don't you come find out?
JCA: Three jets --
EA: When this all happened, I said, "Clara, I'm totally unfamiliar with sexual abuse. I don't know how to help you." What did I advise her to do? "Seek counseling." We did. We found her a counselor here in Canada. She did go and see the counselor. The counselor was very very helpful to her, and it helped me understand the problem because she was able to advise books we could all read on this, and I've actually told you, Christoph, in letters, that you too should be reading these books, and if you did, you would actually have to agree with me.
PW: Christoph, what's this about a 'hit man?'
JCA: Ah, I'd like to know myself! I don't know of any hit man. You know, Peter, Ernst is a bit excited. He claims we have three jets, which we don't, and he makes a lot of statements which are one side to the coin. I don't know of any hit man, and if you think there are hit men here, Peter, you come and investigate yourself, and find out. You won't find any!
EA: Well, the hit man in question -- I can give you the name --
JCA: Yes, sure!!! Give it!!!
EA: He's your talk -- pro, ah...
PW: What do you mean by 'a hit man?'
EA: This is what he calls himself.
PW: What do you mean by 'a hit man'?
EA: I think that he's definitely out there to -- to avoid people from getting to -- and will do anything physical or whatever to prevent you from dealing with Christoph.
JCA: Ernst, you're avoiding Peter's question!
PW: Ernst, a 'hit man' in the vernacular means a guy who goes and knocking off people on a contract.
EA: I would say that's what he's referring to, yes.
PW: To death?
EA: Oh, I think so. Well, you have to remember, Peter, I don't know if you're aware of this, but Christoph himself has armed himself with concealed weapons.
PW: Well, we questioned him about it ealier, and he denies it.
JCA: Ernst, that's a joke and you know it!
EA: That is not funny, Christoph!!! A pacifist does not walk around with a Ruger .44 caliber weapon!!!
JCA: Ya, Ernst, that was five years ago! And I had it for a few months, and I got rid of it, and you still talk like as if I'm carrying around guns! And the more you talk about it the more tempted I am to go get a gun!!! I haven't carried a gun for five years or so!
PW: But there was an incident five years ago?
JCA: Well, it was very -- yes, Peter, it was almost funny. You can cry and laugh about it. We had a rabies scare, and Danny Moody, who's in Crystal Spring, encouraged me a hand gun, and he got one himself. And we got it and then I saw that it was ridiculous and I told Danny, "It's time to get rid of the guns," and Danny didn't want to. Then Danny left, and told the whole world that I was carrying a .44 which was not true. And it was printed in The New York Times -- it was almost laughable, Peter. And the more people claim that I carry a gun THE MORE TEMPTED I AM TO GO AND GET ONE BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE AGAIN HOW IT FEELS LIKE!!!
PW: Are you saying that you did not have a .44 caliber gun?
JCA: Ya, I -- I had one, but Peter, as I was partly ignorant, I didn't know very much about guns, and the minute I had it, I got rid of it....
--------- end of CJOB Excerpts ---------
Chip Wilson, 9/29/98: Maybe JCA's book title should be "Seeking His Piece," as in "I've loaded my 'piece' with ten rounds of ammo."
KIT: Dan Moody never 'told the world' that JCA was carrying a handgun. In fact, many KITfolk have heard him defend Christoph. But now that Christoph has made his "I'm going to go out and get a gun" comment, Dan says he will not defend him any more. Another Hutterite listener said, "Christoph should be asked who hates him in Manitoba. We Hutterites love him, but we just don't trust him."
Renatus Kluver, 9/13/98: At the moment I am in Illinois visiting with Mel, Janet and Family. So far I have been with Nadine and August and Juanita. There I also met Connie D'Hoedt and Klara Arnold (Hermann and Liesel Arnold's eldest daughter). One day we took off to visit with the Jaime's, who live in Ohio. We had a very good visit with them and exchanged views and memories. Vence does not speak English, which makes it very difficult for him to communicate with his grandchildren. I was, however, surprised, that the three daughters with whom he and Teodora live can speak fluent Guarani, which makes it so nice for the parents. Here I found a really caring extended family situation, where the girls have taken in their parents and built the a 'granny' flat. I was very impressed.
The trip there took three hours, but we had very good weather and not too much trouble in finding them. Vence had his veggie garden where he was growing corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, some soft-fruits. Some of the sweet-corn was harvested which we then had for our dinner, which Teodora had prepared for us. She also had made some very tasty meat loaf. The day was rather hot, so we spent the afternoon underneath the trees which are growing close to the house. Vence and Augusto shared a guampa and bombillia drinking yerba matÉ.
Connie also was able to speak with the Jaimes both in Spanish and Guarani, which I think all concerned very much enjoyed. I tried out my mostly forgotten Spanish and was surprised that I could string a few sentences together, which even made sense to the listeners. We had started out at seven AM from Washington, PA, and so decided that we would start back around five PM, since I was doing the driving and the trip out to the Jaime's had taken three hours and I did not want to drive in the dark on the wrong side of the road. We got back home, to August and Nadine's, without any mishap.
While I was staying with the Pleils, I attempted to visit with Christel, my oldest sister who is a member at the New Meadow Run Bruderhof. Nadine drove her car towards this destination until we had the valley in which NMR is situated in sight. August, Nadine and myself agreed that I should go by myself, since in this way I might have a better chance of a visit.
We parked the car under a tree opposite the garage on the hill, coming from Uniontown on Route 40. I was to walk down the hill, on my own to see if I could arrange a visit with Christel. This was the first time in my life that I had managed to go to NMR and I was curious, what I might encounter.
In front of me the valley and against the hill, opposite me, stood the outline of the old Oak Lake hotel, now having served the commune for so many years for residential and other purposes.
I entered their property from the main road, walking a gravel expanse, when a car drove in and swished in a gravel-spurting curve around me, coming to a stop between me and the building in front of me. A youngish looking bloke got out and tried to pass me, without saying anything.
I called out in a cheerful voice in studied English nonchalance, "Good morning! And how are you?" The individual concerned just brushed past me and grumbled an barely audible "Hello".
In front of me, on first story, a little office is built into the corner of that structure with an outside stair going up to it and windows on both sides offering a panoramic view of the forecourt as well as Route 40 sweeping down the opposite hillside, passing the property of the commune.
Down this set of steps an elderly, lanky individual came dashing down with incredible speed, challenging me in a not too friendly way, what I was doing there and asked me who I was.
I held out my hand to give him a good old-fashioned German handshake, but he was not too sure if he should accept. I was so unhesitatingly positive in my approach, and walked towards him, arm outstretched and smiling, that he had no option but to take my hand and very reluctantly shake it. I introduced myself to him, giving him my name, but he withheld his.
I stated that I was in the neighbourhood and would like to visit with my sister Christel. He visibly stiffened and his body language instantly created a 'Berlin Wall'.
"I don't know about this", he informed me, turning on his heels and making his way up to the office, I following closely on his heels, up the stairs and into the office, where he made a phone call asking to be connected to extension "115," bending low over the phone so I could not follow the ensuing conversation. He repeatedly addressed the person on the other end of the line with "Yes, sir," which struck me as rather odd in an outfit of 'equals'. To me it was obvious, by his monosyllabic response, that he was being given instructions that were not pointing to a visit with my sister. He then stood up, and glared at me.
First he questioned me in very aggressive tone: "Where is your car?" I informed him that I did not have a car, but had been dropped off by some friends. "Renatus, you can't visit your sister, there are outstanding issues which need to be discussed."
At first I did not know who I was addressing when he made the statement "that there were unresolved issues," and told him that I did not even know him. He angrily responded with "Yes you do", again my denial, again his "Yes you do". I then asked who he might be and only then did he give me, reluctantly, his name, Wayne Shirkey. Well, I hadn't seen that guy for 38 years and here I got such a heartwarming reception! I also belatedly found out that the person who gave the orders to Wayne was Christian Domer, and most loving and Christian it was.
I challenged him to let me know what these unresolved issues were, but he was unable, or unwilling, to oblige. I then set a framework of reference, since it was clear to me that he tried to set the agenda and so I referred to our 'common denominator' 'Christ'. I established that if both of us are Christians and we found difficulty in communicating then we should take Christ as our mediator. He insisted that "there are higher issues at stake". Incredulously I asked him "higher than Christ"??? He tried that tack twice more and on each given cue I again responded with "higher than Christ"???
I told him that Merrill Mow had written to me years ago and asked me for forgiveness for sending me away without any reason. I told Wayne that I had forgiven Merrill and that there were no other outstanding matters to be resolved. "Yes", I said, "I was chucked out of Evergreen and you weren't even there and now you control my wanting to visit my sister Christel."
Now losing his self-control he shouted at me, in a very angry voice: "Cut it out Renatus!" I think he used my name to introduce me to three other people who had by now filtered into this tiny office, surrounding me. The door was blocked -- the only way out of the office. Wayne was in front of me, Stephan Bart to the left of me, one unknown person to my right and one behind me. I was then curtly informed by Wayne that the words "chucked-out" and "control" were loaded. I, in turn told him that they were not but that they were factual, since if they did not 'control' the situation, I would be able to visit with my sister. At this stage he became even angrier and I asked him, "Why are you so angry"? He would not reply and Stephan quickly interjected that I should leave "before the situation gets out of hand". I informed him that I was not angry and, yes, off course, 'you are in control'.
I had said all I wanted to say and gave the Hindu greeting to Wayne (hands folded in front of me) and asked him, "Please, please, tell my sister Christel that I have been to see her but was not allowed to so do." Boy!!! He glared at me with so much unresolved anger and aggression. This certainly is not the happy open person I got to know in Woodcrest 38 years ago. There was so much coldness in his eyes. I truly felt sorry for him. Other than that confrontational stance there was no response from him to my request. Since I had detected a conciliatory note in Stephan's voice I now turned to him, with the same humble Hindu greeting of folded hands and repeated my request to which he responded with "yes, off course I will pass on the message". I moved towards the door and Stephan moved out of the way.
When I reached the main road I, in the biblical sense, shook "the dust from my feet" without turning back. Now Wayne had studied theology and it was for his benefit that I went through this motion, and I am sure that he interpreted the significance of this action in the way it was intended.
For me they are finished. I know that unless a miracle occurs I will never see my sister Christel again, but even though deep down I had not expected any other treatment, I still was deeply saddened by this unloving reception. I just had to try, because my conscience no doubt would have niggled me if I had not made the effort. So, that is the little saga I recently was involved in. A pity I did not have a mini-cassette recorder on me, but then, it was probably not worth it. That's all for now. Greetings,
German & Ruth Pleil, 9/9/98: Last year in one KIT newsletter it was reported that the Wiedergutmachung [World War II compensation] from the German government, I responded to it. After it, it was reported that we received DM 60,000. It would have been nice, but in my copy it shows clearly as DM 6,000, and that what it was in reality. I would like to have this corrected. You will also find a check for out next year's KIT. Greetings,
Blair Purcell in alt.support.bruderhof, 9/26/98: Four Nigerian fathers have been expelled from the Bruderhof and denied visitation with their toddler children. One has been threatened with arrest if he steps onto Bruderhof property. Two have been told they will never see their children again (the others probably have been told the same -- but I have not talked to them directly). The children are believed to have been moved from USA to UK. See report below.
Missing Children Report
There have been no additional developments which would indicate any changes in Bruderhof attitude. The men have not seen their children and Bruderhof officials have not initiated any effort to bring the fathers and children together, if only for a short visit. And it is plain that the leadership of the Bruderhof has complete control in this situation -- thus far. That will change. The Bruderhof is well aware of the very human desire of these men to be with their children and appear to be doing absolutely nothing to bring this about. On the contrary, obstacles have been placed at every turn.
The Bruderhof has no legal right or reason to prevent these fathers from seeing their children on a regular schedule. The children deserve the presence of the fathers in their lives; the Bruderhof is behaving as an arrogant schoolyard bully. The racist, fascist, dictatorial and immoral leadership continues to exhibit its best characteristics.
For more information, visit:
Christine (Rimes) Mathis to Mel Fros, 6/6/98: I can't tell you what a joy your letter brought to us -- well I can tell you! But to describe what it did to our hearts would be very difficult. How wonderful that you have a lovely wife and two precious children. I too always hug and kiss my children lots, because in our lives there was such a dearth of that wonderful God-given gift of parent-child-Christ-like-touch-love. While they are away at school each day the arms of my heart are always around them. We often find opportunities that are so precious to hold hands or hug and pray to our Jesus-Lord. Of course being human we get cross or impatient at times -- sometimes justified?! Some times not! We try to always ask forgiveness when we have been wrong or unkind because I guess, what we do to our children we do to Jesus -- what we do to any one, we do to Him. Any way, we feel to privileged and deeply joyful that we have three souls to love and care for. We had the two girls at birth and our Jonathan finally arrived with us in England when he was 1.5 yrs. old. Did I tell you that they are all Brazilians? Giovanna is now 13.5 yrs and Marcella and Jonathan are both 10.5 yrs.
We have just come home from a week away at a Salvation Army Home over on the other side of GB. And very close to where the newish Bruderhof "Beech Grove" is. The Army Home is at the sea side and is one that takes underprivileged children in for holidays -- children who otherwise have very little happiness in life. While there, we had a wonderful time with 2 other Officer-couples and their children too. We also met up with Belinda Manley, who lives in Canterbury and will be 90 yrs. old this year, and Joerg managed an evening with Bruce Sumner (Paraguay Servant of the Word) too. And Hazel (her sister)and Gary had invited us to visit "Beech Grove" for one day.
Even as I sit here thinking about that day my mind is like a ball of string that is all knotted up. So I can not report to you in sequence of events, or what was said first and why etc. But I will endeavor to give you an impression. You must realize first that it is quite some years since we were last allowed a view onto a Hof! Around 1990-91 we were able to go to Darvell on a couple of occasions when Richard Scott and most folks there were going through a "nice" mode. We had a few families there at the time, which was the visiting excuse, but in fact they were going through a catch-people-back-again period. They did try with us, but were also quite "nice" to us. When this did not work for them, the ice cold rejection treatment was used. Then a little later we were officially cut off by a letter from Mummy; a very nasty one, and obviously not her way of expressing herself. If I was to go back to the time when I was approx. 24 yrs. old when I was shoved out (I did not know why) to the present date, I can only say you would be absolutely gob-smacked to hear what all has been "done" to myself and Joerg too. I won't go into that now. But how I can identify with what you said, and poor dear Tanneken, what she must have suffered, even to being told off for wanting to kiss her dying father. My heart bleeds for her and you and all people who are so cruelly treated.
When my father had cancer, we were at first allowed to go and see him after his operation. But only once, for 3 minutes, were we alone with him. All the time my brothers-in-law kept guard. During those blessed, unguarded 3 minutes, Daddy looked at us and even though we had been unable to share any words of real privacy or heart-to-heart up till then, nor afterwards, Daddy said, "Joerg, one day the Brotherhood is going to have to see very deeply the way we gave up Primavera and Wheathill was wrong." How did Daddy know that that very issue was so deeply and heavily on our hearts? -- only God could have told him. Much, much later, in fact a couple of years ago, during a difficult phone call with my brother Martin, I was to mention what Daddy had said. Martin screamed down the phone like a man possessed, "That's my father you are talking about?" I said very gently, "He is my father too" and Martin slammed the phone down. Daddy recovered physically for some time and was sent to Darvell to be able to "visit with his family and relatives." He phoned (invited) us and we made arrangements to get off work and go to Darvell to see my parents. The night before we were to leave, Daddy phoned and said "The brothers have asked me to ask you not to come." When asked why, my father did not know. After he had seen all the other family, they went back to the USA; there my father died.
We had been denied that precious time with him. Well, to go forward to the present and our visit last week at Beech Grove. We arrived at 11:30 am and were met by Welton Snavely, who was raking leaves. He didn't recognize us at first, but just as he "clicked", Gary arrived; then Hazel. All three were very warm and kind, if a little apprehensive perhaps! I was sick in the stomach, knowing what a lot of hypocrisy I would have to swallow, also knowing of obvious lies told by those on the top rung of the ladder to those a little lower and how it all filters out to and through the innocent children.
Ours soon found things to do such as biking, football and Marcella was allowed by your sister Mechtild to help her look after the 4 babies in her group. Our Marcella was really delighted. The whole day proceeded and passed with nothing but kindness; seemed genuine enough. I must admit that throughout this kindness one felt that quite a few were "anxious". In fact that may be the wrong word, but it was as if the air some folks breathed was trembling on every exhale.
In the dining room, many came up and greeted us. Then one of these "hypocrisy" moments struck. Your dear mother with Mechtild and Irene, then Susi Lucia followed. They came up and most warmly, with beaming faces, greeted us. Your mother was genuinely lovely! My heart leapt for joy and felt crushed in an instant. In fact, my heart went through such a stab of pain, I almost lost control in tears. But God "covered" me. I was staggered to realize that this dear old lady had been purposefully misled and lied to regarding her beloved son -- you. The same as has happened with Joerg and myself and our mother. But having just received your letter it all hit home very hard. In fact we took your letter down to Kent with us to try and answer while on this little holiday. Here I had the love of the Fros family, one in my pocket in the form of your letter, and 4 with beaming, loving faces surrounding me for a few moments, and it was like the devil was rubbing his hands saying "Gotcha -- you can't fathom it, they have love, Mel has love, but I've been given the power to vice them apart." Who gave the Devil the power? -- Christoph Arnold did!
Well anyway, the meal proceeded and to be quite honest, I didn't listen to a thing that was said. I was too busy trying to keep my balance on this odd type of sea-saw, and trying to pass food around and deal with the unaccustomed clatter. Suddenly, something was announced about a wedding and we were singing all kinds of love songs. Singing being one of my fortes, I opened throttle and started to join in as the songs were all known to me. All of a sudden, I heard my loud, "joyous" voice singing, "Hei weil der Ring der fester sitzt, rings um den Halz geschmiedet ist"! instead of "um das Herz" (Translation of love song: "Yes! A ring that fits tighter has long since been welded around your neck.", instead of the correct words " around your heart".) I laughed to myself until tears were running! I had to explain to my sister Hazel my mistake. Later that evening I was beginning to feel that it wasn't such a mistake as it had appeared; that one could easily be throttled when it came down to the true nitty-gritty.
Most of the rest of the day was spent in being shown all the achievements and being told what wonderful things their children's communities were doing, i.e. rebelling against one political situation or the other; marching against so and so; telling President Clinton that he just didn't understand (which he probably doesn't). Making peace gardens for this and that part of the world (very nice?). A project looking at the lives of all those who have died since the beginning of the Bruderhof. That really quite touched my heart. Except that in retrospect, everything was so very ich-bezogen -- introspective or do I mean introverted? Well, I guess you know what I mean.
However, after a wonderful family supper and 0.5 hr before we were to leave, Hazel said did we have any problems or questions -- if so speak to Gary. I said that she knew we had loads, but there was no time left -- it could take all night. So she said, "Well, your main question is about Mommy and Anni (Joerg's mother), isn't it? I said no that was not the only issue although since talking last time just before Easter, when they came to our house, nothing had changed from the Bruderhof side. I told her that we could not feel happy until all sanctions were lifted for all people who had loved ones on the Bruderhof. At this she raised her voice and started "bossing" me! My little sister was being holier -- than -- thou and putting me in my place with an impression of a Christoph blast-off! They have spoken on TV and made a tape about what they think of the US government putting sanctions on Iraq and the endless suffering it brings. I told Hazel -- by now Gary and Joerg had joined us -- that they hadn't the faintest idea what suffering they were putting many, many people through and I said that I felt it was evil and often based on lies. Ramon's now famous, supposed speech came up about wanting to suffocate (my word) the B'hof. as long as they followed Christ. I asked them if they believed this. I told them that we knew Ramon personally and knew and believed him when he said he had never ever said such a thing. Gary snapped at me, "Why doesn't he write and say so then?" I asked, "Gary, do you ever read KIT?" "No", he answered. "Well, if you did, you would have learned the truth long ago, as Ramon did just that -- he wrote and stated the truth".
Gary went silent. At one point they brought up that we should side with them and that it was wrong to communicate with KIT folks as they were definitely out to destroy the Bruderhof. We answered them that this was nonsense. I suggested that they did not need any protection as they had Jesus, they could entrust themselves totally to Him. I said that we are often in situations of danger and we rely entirely on Christ. Somehow Christoph's revolver came up and my! did they shout!! (They claimed) The license had been forged, etc., etc. We said that for us that was not important and we held no grudge about this, but that we felt that they were wrong. Every time we spoke up it was like they were backed up into a corner and they would go quiet. This time I was not going to be controlled by anyone on earth. We had prayed and I felt that Jesus is the Truth. Therefore, if I spoke the Truth I would be in and with Jesus. I told them at one point that although I loved my parents dearly, I felt that they had sacrificed my life and certainly (her brother) Nigel's on the alter of their community and unity.
At this point, I was in tears as my whole life flashed by -- me always on this little lonely island that was afloat, Mummy and Daddy looking in once in a while with sad, loving eyes, holding hands towards me but being stopped from touching and hugging me. Then my little island would swirl round and they were out of sight again.
Unity -- do they know the meaning of the word? There is no such thing as unity with human beings -- except the true Unity with the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is chased out, there is no unity. You cannot make unity with decisions. Only He can bring unity and that, as you know, is the most beautiful uniting experience, a Holy taste of everlasting life. I have experienced this unity with the Holy Spirit in Wheathill, in Paraguay, by myself, in this church and that, sometimes with total strangers, sometimes with known people and friends. Sometimes with soldiers, sometimes with pacifists. We can't lasso the Holy Spirit and say, "We will have you as in Sannerz"!! We can only invite Him in and ask Him to be our Partner, our "Senior Partner", as (our) Pastor Chongi Cho says. Then we need to be open to be surprised by Him -- not order Him about!
As time went by, it was interesting, and I must add, comforting to note that every time we came out with the truth -- unafraid -- they went quiet. Also Gary began to gently tell Hazel that she was wrong in this and that. For instance, she said we were unforgiving. We denied this, but said we could not accept saying "let's forgive and forget" when they were unable to address that which needed forgiveness. We also let them know that they obviously didn't know what all goes on from Christoph, Christian, Joe, Dick etc., etc. Gary calmed Hazel's angry responses. He asked if we felt we could start to trust them again. We said that was hard indeed, because actions from them don't call forth trust. We said that we were rather mystified. Here in Beech Grove everyone seemed to be genuinely seeking to serve Jesus -- at least all we met. But it didn't add up with the Fruits that we have been fed and that the Bruderhof folks who write in KIT serve up. I told them point blank that the nastiest letters seen in KIT were those written by Bruderhof people, i.e. Joe K, Domer & Domer, Christoph, Chris Z. They did not reply. Gary in particular, was genuinely seeking to find common ground and showing real love and concern by the end. He said he knew with God everything was possible and with Him things would come right. He meant it with faith and love.
I told them of this vision I had had. The Bruderhof becoming a wonderful light and beacon to the Lord, but that first there would be terrible anguish and breaking of hearts before the warmth and fire and great love could break through and reach from earth to Heaven. I see this vision in my mind's eye now, just as it was, but it's difficult to describe in words. Gary and Hazel were very quiet. Perhaps I should not assume to receive visions from the Lord? or were they really moved and perhaps shaken? I can't pretend to know. All I know is that one felt their hearts warm, then shrink, then warm. Gary said something at the end which made my heart pull together and not pump out for a moment -- it felt a touch of ice. He said, "don't worry about what's been shared here tonight, we will give a good report to the brotherhood." I felt a desperate need for God to take the power. Was Gary trying to be kind? We didn't care what the brotherhood thought about us. I even had said that we would have to stick with the Truth even if it meant never having access to Mummy again. Was Gary giving all this power to the brotherhood? I couldn't leave without giving all power to God.
So I said, "Would you mind if we prayed together?" There was what I would guess to be a "stunned" silence. Hazel said, "You mean with the children in there?" I didn't. I meant just us 4 out here! But I was looking for the answer when Gary said, "NO, let's pray in here; Joerg, would you pray?" Joerg did and he asked God to take this whole situation in hand as we can't carry this any longer and he asked for guidance for the Bruderhof and all of us; to allow the Holy Spirit to come in and take over as we could not manage this any longer. He prayed also for God's Kingdom and some more. I also prayed, so did Gary. We ended and I gave Hazel a hug of hugs as I feel that she is like a misled child and my heart was in such pain for this trapped, beautiful song bird. She is still hard outside, but inside there is a puzzled child. She is really lovely -- but so conditioned that she would still be ready to die for the cause, I feel, and before dying in the battle may still be ready to maim others.
Mel, this is a badly written letter, but if you wanted to share it with any one feel free. I wouldn't want it printed (for the time being), as we first want to write to Gary and Hazel and perhaps -- yet again -- to Christoph. He's never answered us, but Gary has every confidence he will! "Try again", says Gary! We are not sure and time is often short. One could say that so far Christoph has spurned every effort. We will see.
To say a little to your letter. I believe that Wayne has a very justified question as to whether the leaders of the Bruderhof have experienced the saving work of Christ. For a long time now, I have sensed that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is alien to many and that they do not know and claim Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Perhaps its a head belief? That's no good, really. If the leadership were going "in and out" of Christ the Door, and "finding pasture" with Him, they would have absolutely no fear what so ever of being persecuted and having fear of what may happen to the Bruderhof future. It chills my heart with sadness, but I have come to accept that some have not ever yet experienced the saving grace of Jesus. Perhaps they have never realized that you need to invite Jesus into your heart, into your life. I pray for this to happen. In fact, I don't think -- may I be wrong -- that Christoph knows Jesus. He knows of Him,. Joe and Christian know of Him, do they know Him? The solution to the problem would be for each person on the Bruderhof to want to claim Jesus as their personal Savior. I don't believe that you can claim and know Jesus personally "as a group". Because "our" creed is such and such doesn't mean that "we all" know Jesus. Also the blanket forgiveness thing doesn't give any one the chance to ask Jesus' personal forgiveness. To put your sins at the foot of the cross you have to recognize them. Jesus will take them and God remembers them no more. But it becomes watered down when you make a conglomerate heap of unnamed sin. One person pulls at the bag its all in, and tries to hide it under a tree, another pulls the other way and tries to leave it with Jesus because he knows Jesus died for him; another wants to make it look not so bad by giving it all a little wash himself before handling it to Jesus and there is no such thing as a conglomerate heart -- so the sin bag is not from a life that's become Christ's broken bread. I believe deeply in a personal relationship with Christ. I don't know either how the Bruderhof leadership can sleep with a good conscience. I am at a total loss as to what to do.
I didn't stand up to them, I cowered beneath threats. To this day, I feel sad for my family. Maybe my trouble is that I need to ask God's forgiveness for this. But then my mind makes excuses and says, "Oh, but you were brainwashed, you didn't understand." One day God will give me peace of heart. But dear Mel, we love you for the concern you have. Please give Tanneken our warmest, deepest love. If she ever could come to England, we'd love to have her visit. Same for you of course. And Haensel! Much much love and may God bless you and yours richly and abundantly. Your brother and sister in Christ Jesus,
Christine (Rimes) Mathis to her sister Hazel and brother-in-law Gary at the Bruderhof, 9/98: You asked us to write, and I must confess that I am having a hard time to do so and even though time is scarce, yet there is something else that holds me back that I can't quite understand and put a name to. The day spent with you was quite remarkable in many ways. I was very glad for it and again thank you for every moment of sunshine and truth. Yet my heart is heavy regarding the many issues we raised. The heaviness I believe stems from the many points where we were unable to meet and where we feel that truthful answers and actions are not forthcoming and not evident.
Gary, I can honestly say that your heart and longing for trust really touched me deeply. Yet it would seem that this God-given heart must be in a bind and torn? You desperately long for us to trust, yet even now I have to ask myself how I can trust you all as a group. The actions of the "Brotherhood" or "community" as a group don't add up to something I can completely trust. As an example and to take just one issue, we have been refused any contact with either of our mothers for some 2 or 3 years now. We have spoke to you about this and you really put the responsibility for this at Mummy's door. At the same time you claim to be a "united" Brotherhood. Therefore anything that Mummy undertakes of such magnitude must be understood by and condoned by the "Brotherhood". Or, as this action of Mummy's is clearly wrong in the sight of God, then you need to speak to her in a loving way about her actions. This I assume would be the case if it was indeed Mummy's idea in the first place. But sadly, we don't believe it to be Mummy's idea or conviction. We know from three different persons who sat in a brotherhood meeting and heard this topic discussed and actually heard folks instructed as to what their actions should be regarding their family member/s outside the community. In my case, as I have told you, an out and out lie was reported to the brotherhood.
It is strange to me that such terrible things can happen, such devastating actions be taken by a "Christian" Community and no one ever feels the need to name a spade a spade and ask for forgiveness. I can only receive forgiveness in the measure that I ask forgiveness. Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do". I believe many in the community come under this umbrella; they know not. However, some know well what they do and sadly have taken great guilt upon themselves which it would seem they are unwilling to ask forgiveness for. The guilt that is theirs; they heap even higher when children are affected.
Our Marcella came to me the other night quite choked up and with tremendous effort asked, "Mummy, how naughty and bad would I have to be for you to cut me out of your life? Would you do to me what your Mummy has done to you?" I assured her that nothing she could do would make me cut her out of my life. Her tears welled up and she flew into my arms as I spread them out for her. We just stood hugging each other for ages and sobbing. It is hard when I know that the actions of the Bruderhof have put such a seed of doubt and worry into my daughter's heart.
Forgiveness - a lawyer once told us that the Bruderhof has been advised never to say sorry, or ask forgiveness for anything as it could land the community in great trouble (it would be admitting guilt). That's not a quote but my words. If this has even a grain of truth in it then I would ask, is that why you always ask for blanket forgiveness "if we have hurt you", and why no one actually faces specifics? The hurts over the last three decades have been so devastating for so many. I believe a true Believer would want to honor Christ Jesus and make straight the crooked places by being specific in asking forgiveness and being uncompromisingly truthful. As Christians, we should not look to the law in such matters, but be honest and true to God. It is hard, but if someone has acted in a cruel, loveless way and truly is repentant because he/she loves Jesus above all, that person will take on what ever is honest and true in the sight of God. If repenting and asking forgiveness shows us the truth about that person and the law can't forgive, but says you belong in jail, then jail it would have to be. But the person would be in jail with a free heart because the Lord God forgives in an instant a repentant person.
[Christine goes on to describe such a situation within her church family and concludes]╔When he comes out we will celebrate!
So I long that those in the community who need to repent and ask for forgiveness of anyone outside do that with a courage and truth will free the spirit and the soul of that person for Jesus!! How wonderful! I am not trying to preach, believe me, I love you and long with all my heart for every soul on earth to taste true freedom in Jesus Christ. Real, free love in Christ is so wonderful, so precious, I don't want anyone to deny themselves. However, this can sometimes mean exposing people and situations we would rather leave covered in darkness or semi-light. What would that mean for their eternal life? Do we not then make ourselves co-guilty?
Some time ago, I was in touch with Martin Rimes by phone. He was very upset and angry - I had "written an evil letter in KIT" etc. etc.- and of course I told him this was not true. In fact, I had not written in KIT always hoping (now I recognize I was wrong) that if I stayed out of KIT I would have access to my family on the Bruderhof. (You see, I was wrong, because to save my joy I was compromising the truth with others who are just as loved in God's sight as you all on the Bruderhof. I have not been given my family back and the suffering may have even been prolonged for others as for you. Before God and man, I am deeply sorry). The conversation (with Martin) was lengthy, perhaps because I was hoping to leave such a mess as we were both in. However, we said good-bye.
A short time later, he phoned me back to say he was really sorry, he had "made a mistake" about me (Martin was not the only one who had made that mistake!). But here was Martin taking on guilt that in fact belonged to someone else. Who had spread this evil talk? Who is the one? I asked Martin if he could explain how such a "mistake" had been made and he hurriedly said he had to go. He was clearly under great pressure. I had said in fact, "of course I forgive you, but how did you get this idea, this information?"
Hazel, you asked whether we had any questions apart form (the ones regarding) our mothers and families. During a conversation with Martin, some time ago, I tried -- perhaps clumsily -- to talk and share with him my deepest convictions about "unity". He obviously could not (or would not) allow himself to understand me. I then brought in an example which I felt was relevant to where we had got to at that moment. I gave him the example of Daddy, when we had been able to visit with him long ago, just after his operation. All of the time we were with our parents, we had never been left alone with him. Mostly it was the brothers-in-law, but also brothers who sort of stood watch constantly. One morning Joel Z. was sort of hovering around and took a quick visit upstairs with Marcella who was about to have their first child. Joerg and I stood in Daddy's doorway, and Daddy looked at us from his bed and said in a very purposeful way, "Joerg, one day we, the whole brotherhood, will have to see deeply how wrong we were the way we gave up Primavera and Wheathill."
Just as he finished, Joel was back down and he nor we said anything more on the subject. Daddy was obviously not in "unity" with the rest of the people on that score, yet later on when his death notice came, "he died in unity" was announced. I was trying to explain to Martin that this kind of "unity" was unimportant to God, but real unity comes down from the Holy Spirit, not in being in agreement over things. True unity far excels and exceeds anything of human agreements. I mentioned as another example that we had experienced true unity in the Spirit with people where some were pacifists and some were not. Martin really lost his cool when I said that. In fact, when I told him about Daddy, he screamed at me totally out of control, "That's my father you are talking about!!" That hurt me deeply, and I said quietly, "He's my father too", and Martin slammed the phone down on me. I felt as if even in death I could not claim my father as my own. I have tried to contact Martin since on several occasions, but he is always "not available". The point is that I believe that Martin was not being himself because he was trying to do right by someone else. I have a feeling that he had gone to a Servant (of the Word) or perhaps Christoph for advice as to what to say to me after I insisted that what had been said about me was not the truth. I also asked him questions like "Where had he got this information from?" He told me, "I have it in black and white in front of me" (Joerg's brother Pete had said the same moths before!). How could they have had a letter in front of them in black and white that I had never written? I knew that a phone call of mine had been bugged. Did Martin know this, did Pete know this? Who had bugged it and passed information on to them "in black and white"?
You see why it is so hard to trust? No one has come clean about any of this. Its like a game of cat and mouse. It is serious mis-information. Yet not one of the informers have ever asked forgiveness or even admitted proudly to doing this.
Gary, you said rather heatedly -- when we mentioned in the context of what we were sharing that Christoph Arnold had had a .44 Magnum -- that it was all false information. We then mentioned the license. You said it was fabricated. Yet Christoph himself has spoken and admitted to it himself on the TV network. We saw him ourselves and heard him quite clearly answer questions regarding several issues and this was one of them. You also felt rather upset that we go to conferences here and there, yet not come to yours. We had received and answered an advertisement from Darvell saying that we would come for the weekend conference bringing with us four young people. The day our letter arrived in Darvell, we received a phone call from an agitated Ron, saying that he was sorry he had sent the information about the conference to us as we were not acceptable to the brothers. I asked why and his words were, "I think you know why!" I said that I did not know why and he seemed quite surprised. I told him honestly that I would tell the other people who were intending to go the real attitude and "guessed" reasons that we could not go. I said that I was not prepared to be dishonest for the Bruderhof's sake. Ron said, "Well, we'll have to just accept that."
So you see, we have tried and been rejected. You may also realize that we don't go 'round telling the world negative things about you all, that we know are not true, and yet folks on the Bruderhof put us into a position where we are forced to lie on your behalf, or tell the truth and possibly make others have questions about you (as happened regarding the above).
I started this letter long ago and it has been sitting now, waiting to be finished. I hope and long with all my heart that you can accept that I write with no hate or false anger. I do love you. If I didn't, I would long have forgotten you and all. I will always love you -- I wish I could give you a taste even of the love and joy, peace and freedom in the Spirit that has been given to me by God. I can only end for this time by saying or quoting "To God be the glory, great things He has done!", because that expresses my life. I almost tremble as I put this into the post, as I don't know how it will be received. I pray it will be received with love as it is sent. I embrace you both with the arms of my heart. Your sister,
NOTE: Gary & Hazel's reply to Christine's letter briefly expressed their disappointment because they felt that Joerg and Christine were still holding on to "issues" and thus unable to be really "forgiving toward the Bruderhof."
SEE KIT X #10 PART II For The Rest Of The Issue