KIT X #8-9 Aug-Sept Part II

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-------- Table of Contents --------
Name Withheld
ITEM: Lethbridge Herald
--- the Nigerian fathers ---
Purcell, W Chesley, B Chesley, P Forde, M Purcell,
W Chesley, B Chesley, T Domer, B Purcell
--- Bruderhof Bullyings ---
T Domer, B Purcell, M Purcell, P Fox, M Fros
Hannah Goodwin Johnson
Bette Bohlken Zumpe - CESNUR report
Tim Domer MD re Bette's report
Name Withheld - 'Elephant Story'
Mel Fros - 'Kinderfest In Primavera'
Hans Zimmermann - 'Kinderfest & Waldi'
Barnabas D. Johnson - 'Which Waldi?
--- ---
Peter Forde
Mike LeBlanc- John Stewart's questionnaire
Peter Forde re John Stewart's 'Four Points'
Wayne Chesley
Matt Ellison - 'Bleeping Sooty' Fairy Tale

Name Withheld, 8/21/98: I'm trying to sort out the article by Rev. Tarrel Miller (KIT X #7, p. 1, dated 6/22/98). What do we world Christians need to learn from the Hutterite leadership, so that we can walk about with our lives more enriched and enlightened? What love and witness did the Brothers show this month to Daniel Entz and his family? Daniel, who had been living outside the Lehrerleut colony where his parents live since he was 16, was tragically killed by a drunken driver. His family was not allowed to bring their 22-year-old son home for burial in the colony plot, and the minister told both the parents that they could not go to the funeral. The rules are that because Daniel lived his life off the colony, he could not be buried in the colony plot, and neither the colony nor the family would take responsibility for his burial.

The local Salvation Army took over the funeral and the father and the son and a few relatives finally did go, but the mother was so distraught that she did not attend. Later there was a gathering of relatives at the colony to comfort the parents.

I need to have Mr. Miller explain to me the difference between the "world Christians" and the Christians living in community. I have trouble understanding in his article the term "World Christians," and what he means by it. Is he implying that there are different types of Christians? If colony Christians think they do the will of God better than we do, they had better think again. As for Rev. Miller, if he thinks the colony way is better, how come he left 25 years ago?

ITEM: The Lethbridge Herald, 8/16/98, in a item titled "Generosity Shows Through With Entz Funeral Expenses" by Ron Devitt, reported how a 61-year-old pensioner offered $500 of the $600 in her savings to ensure that Entz had a proper burial. "I'm okay with $100 until the end of the month," she said. "I feel I have to do something for the boy because I'm a mom."

Georgia Stauth, who lost her niece in a car accident, also wanted to help. "Sometimes we think no one cares, but it takes something like this to... make us realize everything is all right." She was pleased because others had come forward to inquire about helping with funeral arrangements. At least two local funeral homes came forward to offer a proper resting place. Five of Entz' friends also plan to contribute as much as they can. "It just seemed so sad that he was on his own," she said.

- the Nigerian Fathers -

Blair Purcell, 8/14/98: In a conversation with Joseph Idiong held at the Friendly Crossways conference of former Bruderhofers and their families, I was informed of his present situation in regards to his wife and children who reside there.

When the Palm Grove Community (composed entirely of seeking Nigerian Christians) contacted the Bruderhof in the early 1990's, Joseph and several other men were invited to visit the (then) Hutterian Brethren in the United States. One thing led to another and a formal affiliation between the two groups was arranged.

As a result of the new association, several of the Nigerian men were encouraged to meet with single Bruderhof women. At least five marriages resulted. Only one appears to remain intact. Joseph, himself, was married in October of 1993. He and his wife have one child, Adima, born in July of 1994.

For whatever reason, Joseph was made unwelcome at the Bruderhof and was unable to return on a permanent basis after March of 1995. He has visited four times since then, each time being told that he could return if he conformed to the demands for unity expressed by the leadership of the Bruderhof. He has been unable, in good conscience, to meet these demands and, as a result, he has been denied access to his wife and child.

His most recent attempts to visit and/or speak to his wife have been rebuffed and, indeed, Joseph believes his wife has been sent, with their child, to the Bruderhof at Beech Grove or Darvell (in England). He also states that he has been told "you will never see your daughter again."

In my opinion, this is a significant event.

The Bruderhof portrays itself as a church which so strongly believes in family values. I repeat my challenge to J. Christoph Arnold: How many families with young children are no longer together? Of those no longer together, how many fathers or mothers are allowed to visit their infant children inside? Are all of those denied access to their children Nigerian? Or is that just a coincidence?

A church should be ashamed of itself to prevent visitation of a father with his child. There should be an active outreach to any parent with children in the Bruderhof to arrange visits as soon as is humanly possible. I again challenge J. Christoph Arnold to resolve this question now, before one more day of separation of parent from child should pass. For the Bruderhof to profess "family values" while enforcing the separation of child and parent is astounding but believable. And when the parent is a black Nigerian, one is forced to draw certain conclusions about the racial attitudes thereby portrayed.

Blair Purcell, 8/18/98: It turns out that Joseph has one child, a daughter. But another former Bruderhof member has surfaced with his own tragic story, Ebong Ebong, who does have two children. Maureen Else Ebong and Terrance Daniel Ebong were born into the Bruderhof under about the same circumstances as Joseph's child. Kicked out of the Bruderhof, Ebong is another (former) Nigerian brother completely cut off from his kids.

His attorney has attempted to serve papers on Ebong's wife in regards to simply being able to visit his own children. There has been no move to file for divorce at this time and he is not seeking custody; he believes young children belong with their mother. Mrs. Ebong, however, has not been "available" to be served and, according to Mr. Ebong, a Bruderhof spokesman recently told him he "would never see his children again."

Mr. Ebong's attorney has now indicated he will seek the presence of several Bruderhofers, including Ebong's parents-in-law, in court to answer the simple question of "where is my wife and where are my children." It is widely presumed that the family has been moved to England, probably to the Darvell or Beech Grove Bruderhofs in Kent.

Why does the Bruderhof not want these fathers to visit their own infant children? Is it only black fathers who have been cut off? Or is this isolation of children from parent a common practice?

I challenge Johann Christoph Arnold, author of a book on Christian child-rearing, to explain the Bruderhof's stand. Tell us how many fathers find themselves unable to maintain any relationship with their children. Is this isolation of father from child based in racism or just typical Bruderhof behavior? Will the children be dead and buried, as was Ramón Sender's daughter Xavie, before these men hear about them again? I see no reason to believe otherwise.

And, if JCA doesn't have the courage to speak out, be sure to send Joe Keiderling or Christian Domer to explain Bruderhof policy. That way JCA can avoid personal responsibility.

Blair Purcell, 8/21/98: The third (former) Nigerian brother has surfaced isolated by the Bruderhof from his son Roland, now a bit over three years old.

Unable to find his wife or son, Basil believes they have been sent to England to get them away from him. This makes three Nigerians cut off from four children and all believed to have been spirited away to the U.K.

I don't believe the Bruderhof even pretends that this is spiritually justified. It appears to me to have been done in an effort to force these men into unity with policies and actions that no ethical and moral person could possibly accept.

If this assumption is incorrect, then it would appear reasonable to believe J. Christoph Arnold, spiritual leader of the Bruderhof, would step forward and tell the world why three black fathers (I believe there is at least one more) have been denied the opportunity to see their beloved children.

Is this a reflection of racist attitudes held by the leadership?

My challenge to the Bruderhof is for them to accept full responsibility for the current situation, to contact every father living away from the Bruderhof for any reason, to arrange for these fathers to set up a reasonable visitation schedule so that they might regularly visit their children with all expenses to be borne by the Bruderhof.

And if they choose not to do this, I challenge them to justify their inaction. Family values? Put up or shut up and they have so far chosen the latter.

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Paul C. Fox, 8/21/98: In fairness, Blair and Margot, I don't think this is racism. The same tactic of splitting fathers from their wives and children has been used by the Bruderhof over and over again in order to force the men into submission to the leadership or to banish a 'contaminating spirit.' This is not a matter of race. It is a matter of power.

Wayne Chesley, 8/22/98: You might inquire about a fourth, Aniekan Bassey. Someone mentioned to me that he was away, though that was quite some time ago. I don't know if he's in or out now.

Tim Domer, MD, 8/18/98: The cold-heartedness and callousness of the Bruderhof practice of breaking up families, all in the name of a "commitment" to Christ, is beyond comprehension. Christoph Arnold writes books on "Christian" child rearing, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace-making yet in the practice of his version (vision?) of Christianity little, if any, of this is evident. Once he labels someone an "enemy" i.e. "serving the devil", he apparently believes that what he writes and says no longer applies in his (the Bruderhof's) relationship to that person.

Christoph, you wrote to me that I need "a heart of flesh". Where is yours?

The simple message of Jesus, to love one another, has been grossly distorted by the dogma and legalism that has developed in the Bruderhof, in my opinion.

It is innocent children that are paying the greatest price for the pride, arrogance, legalism and cold-heartedness demonstrated by the policies of the Bruderhof Elder and his advisors.

Christoph, you once asked me if I was calling you a coward. This was in response to a question I asked you about the climate you were creating in which one of your advisors referred to himself as your "hitman". My reply to that question is to ask another question. What do you call someone who carries out policies and actions which have their greatest impact on people who have the least ability to defend themselves. It is children and the near-penniless families sent away from the Bruderhof who suffer most because of these cold-hearted, loveless actions.

You may say to people that "these are spiritual matters we are fighting spirits..." The next time you are sitting in your favorite restaurant eating Butterfly shrimp or a well-done steak, ask yourself honestly which spirit these policies and practices represent.

Betty Chesley, 8/20/98: Tim, I believe that you are absolutely right here. Never had I ever heard anyone so vilified by other "Christians" as those considered enemies by the Bruderhof or personally experienced such cruelty from other "Christians" as I have from the Bruderhof. That's not a very high commendation, is it? I hope the whole Christian world is reading this and waking up to the deceit!!! You won't face it but you can't run from it! God help us all.

"Butterfly shrimp or well-done steak?" Well, here goes for the Bruderhof sin of "Comparing"...when I was pregnant with our second child, I was craving, just absolutely craving meat. A blood test showed that my protein level was a bit low. A bit jestfully I asked the doctor for a prescription for a steak he told me to eat more eggs and peanut butter. A few days later, one of the nurses who also worked in the kitchen brought me two big hamburgers what a loving thing to do! Eggs and peanut butter: soul food. Why was I on WIC [federal food supplment program] for in the community anyhow? Wondering,

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Peter Forde, 8/19/98: I think that the combination of Christoph saying "you must first have a relationship with me", of his outspoken advocacy of everybody coming under exclusion, and of Bruderhof personnel saying "You will never see your children again", sums to a criminal degree of coercion.

It is plain that the purpose of exclusion is to degrade the member's Christian and individual conscience in favour of creating a state of no-mind and of dependency on the leadership, a breach of freedom of religion.

I thus recommend that at this stage we forward the information we share to the police to make criminal enquiries. Sincerely,

Margot Purcell, 8/22/98: When I think of the families on the Bruderhof, almost all are affected by family separation. Each one feels the loss of contact with one or more members of their family.

Contact between outside relatives, brothers, sisters, parents, aunts and uncles as well as cousins and friends are closed off by those who join the life. When a young Bruderhof child leaves they soon will be cut off from their home if they appear to be in the wrong spirit. There are many a family who have been split asunder by the leadership and not of their own choosing to do so.

The breakup of family by the Bruderhof in the name of love, unity or whatever they choose to call it, has been ongoing since the beginning of the Bruderhof. It is only in recent years that those who are cut off have a voice and can feel supported by others who have experienced the same.

My parents are led to believe that we are spreading lies about the Bruderhof. We have not been told what those lies are, and we welcome the opportunity to sit down with members of the Bruderhof and talk about these issues. Thank you for all the input here on this newsgroup.

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Wayne Chesley, 8/22/98: I am reminded of a situation with a Bruderhof father I know who "escaped" with his son for a time, but eventually returned (he also has a daughter there). Later, because his wife had turned him in to the leaders, after having discovered a copy of the KIT newsletter in their room, he was summarily expelled.

We have a mutual friend in Pennsylvania, and by an odd coincidence he ended up at that friend's in the same county as we were living in. The poor man was agonizing over his situation. We do not believe he wanted to return to the Bruderhof, but he wanted his family. I have good reason to suspect that if his wife and children had come with him he would be out still. But he returned. How else would he ever see his family? He was not even allowed to visit them for Christmas. I cannot accuse him of a lack of courage for his convictions, his family was being held hostage.

When we were still at the Bruderhof a man left (or was expelled). His wife and child were moved to a different community and there we were told to keep a watch for him, that "he's very dangerous". She did not have a name on her mailbox and we were not to let anyone outside know she was there.

When I chose to leave "for a time away" we asked permission for Betty and the children to come. But when I started to see the truth more clearly about the Bruderhof, and started to confront Betty (still an ardent supporter of the Bruderhof at the time of our leaving), she was told by a "minister" that "There's always a place for you and the children [at the bruderhof]". We are so fortunate that she never returned to be spirited away and brainwashed. I might never have seen my Stevie and Franzi again, we might never have had our little blue eyed Alice.

Betty Chesley, 8/24/98: Maybe it is time for these folks and others to write their own stories and publish them. We could title it : "Between a Rock and a Hard Place". Even if the Bruderhof leadership continues to disregard pleas for reconciliation and separates families and while publishing such empty words, we can get the word out to prevent others from being deceived and hurt. Bruderhof supporters and book endorsers should certainly know that they are being deceived!

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Tim Domer, MD, 8/30/98: I received a call from a Bruderhof official yesterday. This individual said he had seen a lot of activity on the Newsgroup site and thought maybe we could talk about it. He said there are things that are not true or have been taken out of context. He mentioned the situation with the Nigerian members and child visitation specifically. I asked him to tell me what I or others have written that is not true. I did not receive a straight answer.

I asked if it were true that the Bruderhof was keeping the Nigerian members from seeing their children. He replied that the Bruderhof was not keeping them from their children rather, it was their wives and the children's mothers "because of what they have done". I asked what they had done and again did not get a straight answer. The call branched off into other things, however I think this issue needs a little more scrutiny.

The Bruderhof emphasizes their "complete unity", yet when it is convenient for the organization it seems that perhaps the unity is not so complete. Are the wives and mothers doing something the Bruderhof does not condone? If so, is the Bruderhof helping the Nigerian men gain access to their children? Has the Bruderhof helped the wives and mothers hide the children by moving them from place to place, including moving them overseas? Since no one in the Bruderhof receives a wage, where did the mothers get the money to effect these moves? Was it Bruderhof money?

The comment was "because of what they have done". Does this mean that these men have done something illegal, immoral or have placed these children at risk? If so, were the authorities called as the law demands? Have any of the wives and mothers sought a court injunction against visitation? If so, what were the grounds? Has a judge ruled in this case? Denial of visitation must come from a Court.

There are just grounds to keep a parent away from a child, such as endangerment, unfit parenting, spouse abuse etc., however these are ruled upon by a judge. Visitation/custody is then limited or denied through official channels. If changes need to be made these are guided by the Court. To unilaterally deny a father visitation or custody would seem to be placing one's self outside the law. No citizen, person or group living in this country, is above the law or may operate legally outside the law. The reports we have received indicate the Nigerian men are the legal fathers of these children and are exercising their legal right to have contact with their children.

Blair Purcell, 9/2/98: Dr. Tim Domer wrote: "I received a call from a Bruderhof official yesterday. He mentioned the situation with the Nigerian members and child visitation specifically. I asked if it were true that the Bruderhof was keeping the Nigerian members from seeing their children. He replied that the Bruderhof was not keeping them from their children - rather, it was their wives and the children's mothers "because of what they have done". I asked what they had done and again did not get a straight answer."

Bruderhof official Randy Gauger mailed a letter to Ebong Ebong in late June or early July (in anticipation of a visit by Ebong to his children in Farmington, PA) stating that Mr. Ebong would be arrested if he stepped on to Bruderhof property. That letter was not written by Mrs. Ebong; that letter was not written by his children Maureen and Terrance. That letter was written by a Bruderhof official on behalf of the Bruderhof.

The conversation reported (above) by Dr. Tim Domer indicates (so he was told) that it is not a Bruderhof idea to keep the men from their children. The man who told that to Dr. Domer is a habitual liar and this letter proves it. And, Christian, you can quote me.

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Timothy Domer MD, 8/13/98: I am looking at a copy of a $552 bill for medical services that was recently sent to a married couple with six children. The bill is for a color Doppler Echocardiogram (sound-wave test of the heart) performed as a result of a referral made by medical personnel at the Deerspring Bruderhof to evaluate a "heart murmur" heard in one of the couple's children. The date of the test was March 18th, 1996.

This couple, now former members, left the Bruderhof in February of 1997. At the time the test was performed they were full members. All of their children were living with them on Bruderhof property. The Bruderhof is morally and probably legally responsible for this bill yet it was sent to this couple two years after the service was performed.

The husband, who had regular access to the "inner power circle" of the Bruderhof at one time, indicates that it is not uncommon for the Elder of the Bruderhof, J. Christoph Arnold, to have medical, tax and other bills sent to former members even when the responsibility for the bill lies with the Bruderhof corporation. At least two other families of former members received bills from the Bruderhof for taxes on "dividends" they "earned" while members.

The Bruderhof is a legal organization, Bruderhof Communities of New York Inc., made up of people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and live together "as the early Christians did" in the first century AD. No individual member or family is paid a wage. All money earned, or property owned, is held in common. As a corporation and as individuals, the Bruderhof takes responsibility for caring for its' members needs. (Please see the Bruderhof web page at for more details on how they describe themselves).

Because of its corporate structure, the Bruderhof claims certain tax exemptions under Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter F, Part 1 Section 501(d) US Tax Code. Under this section "Religious and Apostolic organizations", which have a common or community treasury into which member place all their earnings or "dividends", are allowed exemptions on certain corporate taxes. The obvious intent is to give certain tax relief to organizations which take full responsibility for its' members health and welfare. To send bills to former members while filing under this Section would seem to be immoral and raises the question of abuse of the tax code.

The Elder (CEO figure) of the Bruderhof, has authored several books on the subjects of forgiveness and reconciliation between "enemies", seeking peace with one another, and on child rearing in the spirit of "Christian love". He has gone on at least one "Forgiveness Pilgrimage" and speaks frequently at public gatherings. He was also advertised as a featured speaker on "forgiveness" at the recent Generation Action anti-government gathering at the Catskill Bruderhof. Though he seems to want to be seen as some sort of "forgiveness expert" his actions show this to be hypocritical. The bills are clearly not sent out of longing for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Under the Elders direction the Bruderhof has twice turned down earnest and honest efforts, by groups of former members and family members who have been cut off from loved ones, to reconcile differences and find forgiveness. Shortly after turning down an offer by the Mennonite Conciliation Service to mediate, the Bruderhof filed a $15,000,000 suit against three "enemies" of the Bruderhof. That suit was dropped abruptly when it became clear that Bruderhof officials would have to answer questions about immoral and illegal activity on the part of Bruderhof operatives toward former members and "enemies" of the Bruderhof.

More recently an offer by the Campaign for Equality-Restorative Justice (CERJ) to mediate reconciliation meetings was turned down by the Bruderhof.

All of these actions indicate a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus and the example of the Early Christian communities. They also indicate a deep hypocrisy in the written and spoken words of J. Christoph Arnold. It is time to pull away the "Christian", "spiritual" facade the Bruderhof Elder and his operatives hide behind.

The Bruderhof has grown into a multi-million-dollar corporation that spends a great deal of resources to "protect" itself. It has filed several copyright infringement and defamation lawsuits against people and groups who have done nothing other than attempt to speak the truth and seek reconciliation. Its operatives have been involved in telephone harassment, wire tapping, electronic surveillance and other illegal and immoral activity against those the Elder labels "enemies".

Individuals who question the actions of the Elder or Bruderhof operatives are cut off from family and loved ones living within the Bruderhof. Though never a member, I was told that unless I had a "relationship" with the Elder I could not have a relationship with my parents, who are Bruderhof members. Because I questioned the Elder about the lawsuits and other issues I felt were unchristian, immoral and possibly illegal, I was cut off completely. Even a birthday card I sent to my mother was returned unopened. Letters written by my children to their Grandparents were unanswered or answered by a Bruderhof "official".

Anyone who fears the Elder or fears what Bruderhof operatives might do, should remember that this kind of fear and control is not from God. The labeling as "enemies" of individuals or groups who speak the truth or raise questions about unchristian practices of the Elder or Bruderhof members, is not from God. It dehumanizes people and serves only to justify abuse of those individuals or groups.

Anyone who suspects, or knows of, illegal activity on part of the Bruderhof or its operatives, should contact the appropriate authorities immediately. Local authorities, the FBI, IRS, FCC or other agencies must be involved. To remain quiet out of fear or out of a belief that "something can be worked out" is foolhardy and naive. Illegal activity is illegal activity. What is done in darkness must be exposed to the light.

There are many "friends" of the Bruderhof and Bruderhof apologists who are ignorant of the facts. They are fooled by outward appearances of a "peaceful and loving place". Indeed most members of the Bruderhof are ignorant of the facts. The members have bound themselves to the Elder and the Bruderhof organization. Few, if any, think for themselves. Unity (uniformity) is the overriding concern. Their own Constitution says that when speaking on church matters it is understood that the Elder speaks with the leading of God. If the Elder says someone is an "enemy" then it must be true.

A letter written by the eight-year-old daughter of the couple referenced at the opening of this posting, to her grandparents in the Bruderhof, was returned unopened with "Refused" written on the envelope in the grandmother's own handwriting. What clear- thinking person would do such a loveless, hurtful thing to her own grandchild?

The Bruderhof has filed civil suits before and may well do so again. They place their faith in lawyers rather that Jesus. People labeled as "enemies" of the Bruderhof must realize that the safest place for all of us is in a court of law. The courts are not interested in "spiritual" issues, but rather in facts.

Most of us "enemies" would like to find genuine reconciliation with loved ones in the Bruderhof. This reconciliation, though, would have to be grounded on truth and the kind of love that Jesus represented as he walked the earth 2000 years ago. May God grant us all the wisdom and courage to find true reconciliation during our lifetimes.

11/24/98: The couple referenced in the above posting of 8-13-98 received a letter from Christoph Arnold dated 8-14-98. In it he claimed to have heard for the first time their difficulty with paying the medical bill. He offered to instruct the Bruderhof to pay it and enclosed a galley proof of their latest book, Seeking Peace. In a postscript he mentioned that the husband's mother was "quite sick and we are worried for her."

Christoph, you speak of longing for peace yet you do not even apologize for the bill being sent in the first place. Payment of it is clearly the responsibility of the Bruderhof.

It is possible that technically Christoph Arnold did not know about this bill, just as it is possible that technically President Clinton did not lie in his Paula Jones deposition. 'R' in the letter above, told me that the concept and practice of "plausible deniability" is not foreign to Bruderhof officials.

I received a copy of the history of this bill from the billing company. There was a great deal of activity on it between 5-28-96 and 3-3-98. The couple's new address was given to the company on 3-10-98. Two entries, on 8-4-97 and 1-15-98, state specifically that the patient's uncle (living in the Bruderhof) made calls in reference to it. There are two uncles who could have been involved. One is a Bruderhof official and advisor to J. Christoph Arnold. He once referred to himself as Christoph's "hitman". The other is the nurse who diagnosed a heart murmur that resulted in the referral for the medical test. When I last knew him he was an honorable man who would not have sent this bill unless directed to do so.

Most striking in the letter is that the husband's mother being so ill that "we are worried for her" gets only an afterthought, a P.S., after Christoph touts his new book. The husband's mother is my mother as well. Until I was cut off by Christoph and my father, a close advisor to Mr. Arnold, I had a loving relationship with my mother, not only as a son but as a physician. I have had no contact in many months and have not been told that her condition is worsening. Even a card I sent for her birthday was returned unopened.

Christoph, is your plan to do to me what you did to Ramón? Ramón was not told that his daughter was deathly ill and was not told of her death until one month after she was buried. Is that your plan for me Christoph? To make sure that I cannot reconcile with my own mother?

You write of "seeking peace," yet your cruel, hardhearted actions and tactics guarantee that people will have unpeace. You seem to deliberately keep children and parents from finding reconciliation while life exists on this earth.

Christoph if you truly long to seek peace a good place to start is to look at how you and the Bruderhof break families apart. How many others are, or have been, kept from finding peace and reconciliation with their parents or children?

You could start with an apology to Ramón for the duplicitous, despicable act of tricking him into believing he was traveling to New York to see his grandchildren and to reconcile with his son-in-law. When he arrived in New York he was served with papers in the $15 million suit brought by the Bruderhof.

If you long to seek for peace you could make it possible for the Nigerian fathers to see their children again. These men are, after all, the victims of a misguided, arrogant, white missionary project to establish a "showcase" in Nigeria. To turn your backs on them is just another injustice in a long, cruel history of white injustice to blacks.

If you long to seek peace you could answer the letter the Purcells wrote to you. The letter was answered by a Bruderhof official who said they would not be hearing from you. How can one find peace if one doesn't even answer for one's self?

Christoph, you have an opportunity to show that what you write and say are not just empty words. Many of those you have labeled "enemies" have reached out earnest, sincere hands in attempts to find peace. We are willing to see where we too have erred or caused pain. You have pushed those hands away.

In paragraph 3 a) in your Certificate of Incorporation of Bruderhof Communities, Inc., filed 3-19-97, you state that "The purposes for which the corporation is formed are: To further the faith and mission of Jesus Christ and His Apostles and to spread this truth and way of life so that all members work together as an embodiment of peaceful activity and of simple truthfulness, testifying in word and deed that love, justice, truth and peace are the will of God for all mankind".

I doubt that any of your "enemies" have a quarrel with these ideals. If we all work together honestly and earnestly in this sense, the path to peace should not be difficult.

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Blair Purcell, 8/13/98: How many former members does this business [of sending them medical bills and IRS statements] happen to? Why does he do this? Is it an attempt to control what those who leave will say about the Bruderhof?

And, how many other so-called welfare benefits do they collect? These poor people who own and fly a $20,000,000.00 + jet aircraft? Or, maybe it is that the people are poor and it is only the leadership who enjoy the perks? Vacations to Bermuda?

Tim writes, "Under the Elder's direction, the Bruderhof has twice turned down earnest and honest efforts... to reconcile differences..."

I count five: the Kingston meeting (to which Arnold himself was invited and he did not show even the common courtesy of a personal answer; he declined through his stooges Joe K and CD). Prior to that it was the Ulster-Sullivan Mediation Center, The Reba Place Group from near Chicago, and afterwards the Mennonite Conciliation Service and finally the Center for Restorative Justice. Plus whatever other efforts have been made by individuals.

The Bruderhof says it won't speak to those who seek to represent other than themselves. Then, they will not mediate with individuals. They are liars in every sense of the word.

I will post a message soon concerning Joseph Idiong, a Nigerian-American married to a Bruderhof woman in 1993 and now unable to visit his infant daughter. After being kicked out (with less than a hundred dollars) into the wicked world, he has been actively prevented from visiting his child who just celebrated her fourth birthday in July. He has been told he will never see his daughter again.

If that seems familiar, the Bruderhof did exactly that to Ramón Sender who was cut off from his daughter for more than thirty years. And they have had the gall to have told Ramón that "they made a mistake and they don't do that anymore." Bull.

I challenge the Bruderhof to release figures on just how many parents have been separated from their children by being expelled from the Bruderhof. Or, if a parent has chosen to leave voluntarily, how many are allowed normal parental visitation? How many, Christoph? How many?

Tim writes: "All of these actions indicate a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus and the example of the Early Christian communities."

I don't believe the Bruderhof perceive it as a distortion it is a matter of the means justifies the ends. And, if the ends are un-Christian, rest assured there is no legitimate religion anywhere in the world (Christian, Jewish, Islamic, whatever) that would welcome a group that behaves in this abominable fashion. What they do is immoral and unethical and, in many specific cases, illegal.

Margot Purcell, 8/15/98: Thank you, Tim. You said it very well and I appreciate that you did. It is time for all former Bruderhofers to cast away our fear of "what they might do to us" and our families on the hof.

I have heard too many accounts of families being separated and in poverty upon leaving or being asked to leave the Bruderhof. It makes me angry every time I hear that the fear was there to prevent them from asking for help. The bruderhof is counting on this, after all I feel we were well conditioned to this as children growing up there. I believe it is fear that keeps many there. Is this an example of Christianity? I was led to believe that the B'hof was an example to the world.

Our family recently attended the annual KIT reunion. We had a wonderful weekend with former bruderhofers and their families.

I very much hope that someone on the B'hof is reading this newsgroup and will take "to heart" what they read here.

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Paul C Fox, 8/16/98: Diane and I were among those former members who found themselves liable for federal income tax on "dividends" earned the year we left the community and not only for "dividends."

During the five years we practiced as physicians for the Bruderhof, we billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other third parties for tens of thousands of dollars worth of services rendered to Bruderhof members who were eligible for those benefits. The checks were made out to us personally, with our social security numbers as the tax ID, but we had signed a power of attorney agreement with the Bruderhof, so the money went directly into the Bruderhof's bank account. We never actually saw the checks.

We were expelled in 1996. In '97 we were shocked to find ourselves liable for income taxes on the Third Party reimbursements for 1996, even though we had not handled a nickel of them personally.

We elected not to fight the issue, and simply coughed up the several thousand dollars we "owed." Unlike most Bruderhof-leavers, we had found well-paid employment almost as soon as we left. Not that we could really "afford" the tax after all, we were starting all over again with no assets and four children but it was less financially punishing to us than it would have been to another family.

Still, there is no question in my mind that the tax should have been paid by the Bruderhof. We earned that money as Bruderhof members, and every penny of it went into the common purse (as we intended), and was used to benefit every man, woman, and child living in the community. The community as a whole profited by our work, therefore the tax should have been paid by the community as a whole.

Whether or not the Bruderhof was actually legally liable for those taxes, certainly they were morally and ethically liable. Since I was in touch with the Bruderhof accountants during tax preparation, they knew perfectly well what the situation was. If they had had a shred of decency they would have offered to pay the bill. Not a peep.

Given the Bruderhof track record of inflicting punishment on "unfaithful members" whenever they get the opportunity, I was not surprised by the story of the couple who received a medical bill for one of their children. This is absolutely typical.

What did surprise me was that the Bruderhof had been sitting on the bill for two years. When we were there, we had a good reputation among the local doctors because we paid our bills on time. How could the Bruderhof let a bill get two years delinquent? Is this a clue to a possible financial crisis? Stay tuned...

Mel Fros, 8/18/98: In response to the "Fear" postings and Blair Purcell's telling of the plight of Joseph Idiong, I would like to offer the following dialog between myself and J. Christoph Arnold.

My intent continues to be to prod Christoph's conscience, for as Bruderhof Elder, he is in position to bring about new efforts directed at forgiveness and reconciliation with those who once belonged to the Bruderhof. Joseph Idiong's story, which I personally heard at a recent KIT gathering, is heart-wrenching! I don't understand how Christoph and Joe Keiderling can sleep in peace at night.

I would like to bring the following dated material to the attention of readers. You will recall that around Christmas time 1997 Christoph sent the following message to Ramón Sender:

"Dear Ramón Sender and all at KIT:

"The Christmas message is Peace and Good Will to all men. This we wish you all in the coming year. As an expression of our love to you all we have decided to drop the copyright infringement action against you. Also the other action which was thrown out of court on a technicality and which we appealed to a higher court, we have decided to withdraw that appeal also. In the new year we are going to stop concerning ourselves with all your postings on the Internet and instead to seek new ways to bring a message of hope, peace and love to all those that really long for that message. We stretch out our hands to you all that you will help us to bring the joyful tidings of Christmas to as many people as possible, You have really helped us to become famous through all your tremendous efforts. For this we thank you.

"Johann Christoph Arnold & Verena

for all the Communities"

Upon receiving this message, a number of former B'hof participants took it upon themselves to take up Christoph on his "Peace and Good Will" offering. I was one of those. While it was not easy to gain access to Christoph's e-mail account, I was eventually able to engage him in what I hoped would be a fruitful dialog. Among other things, this is what I wrote, and it came from my heart:

1-23-98, An Unusual Proposal:

Christoph: I have been tossing this idea about for a while. I am presently doing volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity. Do you think you could leave all your duties and responsibilities for two or three days and come and work with me as we insulate and hang drywall? This would afford us a chance to work and talk together, it would give you some time for quiet reflection and prayer, and it would make a very needy family supremely happy. The time in question will most likely be early February.

If you have any physical limitations I will find work that is suitable for you. To show my earnest commitment to this time of seeking, I will find you a place to stay and will provide for your nourishment. I will transport you to and from work, if needed. All I ask in return is that you leave behind all of your duties, bring only a Bible and writing materials, and a sincere, open heart for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Further, I will commit myself to a time of fasting so that God can see the earnestness of my/our seeking.

I await your response with hope, Mel

On Jan. 23, 1998, J. Christoph Arnold wrote that my correspondence was "beginning to turn me off." He claimed that I was not creating a loving climate and it seemed to him that I had appointed myself "to lead a Bruderhof renewal." My invitation to him was "completely off the wall" and I should "chill off." He suggested that I could express more in a few sentences that in my "long drawn-out epistles."

More than six months of silence have passed. Dr. Tim Domer's posting reminds me that there is still much un-peace for which Christoph is accountable as Elder of the Bruderhof. After all, he had stated publicly (CBS 48 Hours) that he was responsible for all that happens in the Bruderhof communities. I am waiting for the day when you, Christoph, will put your Christmas promise of "Peace and Good Will" into practice. Remember, dear Christoph, that the Christmas message to which you refer is about the coming of a Mediator who was to heal the rift between Creator and created. That task continues today. In patient Hope,

--- end of alt-support.bruderhof ---

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Hanna Goodwin Johnson, 8/12/98: Dear KIT subscription, let mine expire already. My guts hurt for the mess of forced commune exits the "out" caste. With those who claim it is better "out" than "in," I cannot contend.

When the hof confessional business starts snowballing, one must confess only one's most nearly innocent fantasies. Seeing couples holding hands, I would think of someone with whom I would "sleep" in a double bed, and by "sleep" I mean "live a few of my fantasies." If I was allowed the bedroom space with him, then of course we could hold hands in public. Nobody wants to perjure self under Arnold legalism unless he wants to accuse the group of their perverse fantasies. It is as plain as the nose on your face that what you say can and will be used against you.

I have read enough in the Peregrine newsletter to know there will be expanding conversations among relatives soon. Don't sweat the little dead-end phrases that persist don't say "cult." Give them time to learn how to get around the "No Outlet" signs in their mind. Your folk on the hof will develop their rightful discourses in this that has become a driving force to keep in touch. No one could kill the motivation of the cause. Love in peace,

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Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, report on the CESNUR Conference in Amsterdam (7/11/98)

The day I was scheduled to present my paper, Thursday the 9th from 11 to 12:30, I arrived early to be in time to meet other speakers and get the general feeling of the conference. Saskia Poldervaart, the Dutch Programme Chair at the University of Amsterdam, gave me the three book packages you sent and told me to put one book on the table with a note that people could in fact get the book from me personally. So I was looking at all the material on the book tables and added my book when from behind me a hand laid a big stack of "Book reviews by Chris Zimmerman" right on top of my book. I turned around, wondering what that was all about and stood eye-to-eye with my brother Ben and his wife Marianne. They looked absolutely livid! I asked: "Ben, what are you doing here?" was all I was able to say, whereupon he answered that he had all the right in the world because he was a loyal Community member and I was a Judas and had no right to talk about the Community. He would respond to anything I would say and expose me as a liar and traitor.

We argued for a while and then I realized that this would not be any good and I went to Yaacov Oved and told him that either I would leave or Ben and Marianne would have to leave to avoid an ordinary family quarrel! By that time I was ( sadly to say) in tears and had no tissues with me! Yaacov was very nice. He told me that Ben and Marianne had really only come to prevent me from speaking and that this was the last thing I should do. He said: "We are academics here, this is a University and we invited you. We did not invite Ben and Marianne! Just calm yourself and I will do the rest!" He informed the chair of the lectures that morning and the person to speak before me.

The chair was Donald E. Pitser Ph.D from the University of Southern Indiana and the person to speak before me was Bill Metcalf from Griffith University in Australia. Both of these men were absolutely terrific! The latter is a neighbour of Edmond Coxsedge whom I remember well from Primavera. He talked about:" Contemporary Communal Elders from around the world!" This was a very good lecture and a good opening to my words. I had wanted to speak freely, that is without a typed letter before me, but under those circumstances, this was quite impossible. When it was my turn to speak, more and more people and students seemed to drop in, more chairs were brought and students were sitting on the floor. I guess people had realized what was happening here. I just read out my paper and added little bits about Blumhardt's influence on my granddad and spoke some more about the separation from the Hutterites today and the fear of any ex-Bruderhofer that seems to hold them in grip. When I was finished, everyone clapped and questions came from all sides. Ben had his finger up or a while, but did not get a chance.

Then at the end, Donald said: "We have someone from the Bruderhof right here!" and I said: "He is my own brother Ben!" Donald asked: "Well Ben, what did you think about your sister's presentation?" To my amazement Ben said:" I must say as far as the historical background goes, it was excellent and I could not have done a better job But our views differ greatly when it concerns the interpretation of the 1960s. We feel that the Community was so busy being a "good Community" that the love for Jesus came in second place." Donald said, that this was known.

Outside, many people wanted to talk to me and most of the American Conference attendees had actually read my book. I was introduced to someone with a long beard, I do not know his name and he said:" Nice to meet you, Elizabeth, I always let my students read your book and we have discussions about it. Ben and Marianne stayed at a distance, but close by. We then went to have lunch and again I shared the table with Donald and also talked some more to Bill Metcalf, a very nice fellow! Ben and Marianne sat at a table near to us and watched me all the time, but I tried not to pay attention. As we left, they went up to Donald Pitzer and invited him to Darvell, as he was in Europe anyhow.

He said he had to go to a chair meeting, and Ben and Marianne said that they had a plane to catch. So they parted with not a word to me. I went up to the lecture rooms, but did not feel like listening to more. It had been a very emotional morning. So I just thought I would see, if anyone wanted my book. When 1 looked at the tables, mine was gone, as well as all the book reviews from Chris Zimmerman. Ben must have done that, I am sure. Then there was Ben again saying that he felt bad the way they had left me standing there and that he wanted me to understand their side of the story, that so many people are out to destroy them, so many lies are told, and he wanted to know how much I knew about all the many items!!

I said that this was of no importance at all. "Important to my mind are the simple facts that five of your own sons are out in the big world without any training, understanding, and ripped away from parents and home. I take personal offense against such practices, and find them loveless."

He then said that my book had no value because I failed to mention any sources of where I found the material. I said, that it was my personal memory of how things happened and that he could take it or leave it. He accused me of defending our father's "SIN" and I said that I never did such a thing, but that I think it was cruel to not give him a chance during his lifetime to put things right. We debated along these lines, but he was fishing again and again, about what I knew about Blair Purcell and also about Chris Winter. I said nothing at all, except "My interest is with your homeless children and I have my hands full at that." He then said that they really had to go as they were due in Darvell. Yesterday I phoned Marianne's mother in Switzerland and she told me that out of the blue, Ben and Marianne were coming for the weekend. She is 85 and had to go out in the rain to do some shopping for them. So you see, they lied again! Not Darvell but Switzerland!

All in all though, I think I am quite content at how things went and I had wonderful contacts at the University and met so many interesting people. This must be all for now. Much love,

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Tim Domer, MD, 8/12/98: It was with sadness and some concern that I read the report from Bette. Clearly nothing has changed in the way the Bruderhof conducts or views itself. Once again they try to use the bully tactics of intimidation and "in your face" confrontation to try to silence any criticism.

The Bruderhof has long since lost any moral high ground on which to stand. Since they put their faith in men i.e. JCA, Heini and Eberhard, they must also turn to men for protection and guidance. Thus they speak of "rights" and turn to lawyers and the courts. When Ben referred to Bette as a "Judas," the Christ being betrayed must be the Arnolds or the Bruderhof itself. They have made a god of each.

Bette, I appreciate the courage you show in standing for what you believe is right. I do not know anything about the history of your father other than what is told in the Community. I was in the Household meeting when it was announced that Hans Zumpe had died. I remember seeing the tears running down Emmi-Ma's face. No one made an attempt to reach out to her that I saw.

Of all the injuries that the Bruderhof causes to people the most devastating is they way they deliberately keep people from finding resolution or reconciliation while on this earth. They hold the "vows" over former member's heads like an executioner's ax. They cut children off simply because they ask questions or have chosen a different way. They then keep them cut off for a lifetime. In the case of Hans Zumpe they denied him any chance of finding forgiveness or reconciling with people he had hurt even though, from what I have heard, he truly repented. The lovelessness and cold moralism they had toward him is a microcosm of how they act toward everyone they call an enemy. They seem to have no interest nor caring in how their actions hurt people nor the real damage they cause to individuals and families.

I have befriended a Navajo nun, a woman with a serious heart condition, who is also my patient. She has spent a lifetime working to find the peace of God and has truly found it. Even though she has a very serious illness that often leaves her weak and fatigued, she reaches out to all she meets, makes her rounds of the sick patients and administers to prisoners each week. She gets on her knees and washes their feet. Most other patients I have known with a similar condition are bedridden, yet she does not dwell on herself and gets her strength from Jesus.

I have spoken to her about the situation with the Bruderhof and have asked her guidance. She said that anything that seeks to control others or causes fear in people is not from God. She also said that the resolution to this situation may not come in this world, but rather in the "spirit world" as she called it.

I certainly do not know what lies ahead. I get the feeling that we are in a calm before a major struggle. Bette's report, and the reports I have received about recent conversations with my brother Christian, indicate that the Bruderhof has become more hard-line and determined to stop its "enemies". I do not see any chance for a true, just, real resolution (reconciliation) until there is a fundamental change in the structure and belief system of the Bruderhof. May God be merciful to us all,

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Name Withheld, 8/8/98: I cannot remember exactly when, but what I do remember is that I was swallowed up by Blair's elephant [see KIT vol. X #7 p.3 col. 1]. Nobody asked me whether I wanted to be incorporated in the inside of this here elephant. I guess I was expected to follow my parents' example. To escape was 'betrayal,' and I knew no other way of life than what I saw of my parents. It involved being eaten by the elephant and having your ego chewed over and over among all kinds of leaves and spittal of this elephant. He chewed and he chewed, and I was pushed around with his tongue that was as rough as sandpaper.

When my ego was so chewed over that it was past all recognition, I was passed on and slid down his gullet at an alarming speed. There was nothing to hold onto. There was nothing I could do but go down, and if the mouth was bad, slimy and smelly, this was even worse! It was dark, with green stuff everywhere soaked with gastric acids. I was pushed about by the very walls of the stomach. Sinister forces were at work, and I was trying to catch ahold of to steady myself. But the power-that-be were pushing me around. What would I have given for a breath of fresh air among all this gargling, all this green stuff everywhere! It was so disgusting, but as a good novice I assumed that after enduring all sort of hardships, I would come out purified at the other end. So I submitted myself to my fate, and tumbled around in the food that the elephant ate.

In the gastric chamber, there was someone standing above all the others, and I wondered how he managed to keep himself out of the mess until I noticed that he was standing on the shoulders of two dumb-looking others I won't mention their names. In his hands he wielded a tapeworm which he used to hit those who raised their heads to complain. The other end he used as a lasso to catch anyone trying to take shortcuts. The question occurred to me whether the air was a little sweeter up there where he stood, but just as I wondered, he shouted at me, "Get on with it! Get going! Get mixing! This will make native grass outside, and the outside needs us to do a conscientious job in here. What are you worried about? You have a roof over your head, central heating and plenty to eat! You should be grateful to be allowed to help mother nature produce! It's all in a good cause!" By now I had lost all self-esteem, when all of a sudden a little side door opened and I passed through. 'Hey,' I thought. 'That's a bit of all right!' I had graduated into the wider brotherhood after all this travail! But I was soon to learn differently. From the wide-open, gastric chambers of the stomach that were gurgling and bubbling, I went into a very confined tube-like passage with endless twists and turns. By now I was literally going 'round the bend!' It had become abdominally hot and I began to feel like sausage meat pushed into sausage skins. I was out of breath and dreamed of a fresh breeze and out-of-doors, but the only winds that passed were hot and foul-smelling.

Was I going out of my mind? How could I endure this any longer! I prayed for deliverance, but neither the kidneys nor the liver would do anything of the kind. Total abandonment, and a terrible claustrophobia gripped me. Would I make it to the end? Why did nobody think of giving the elephant some prunes, or Epsom salts to speed up the process and shorten my agony? Oh, how I longed for a glimpse of sunshine! Then, just when it all had become too much and I longed to be dead, the thought crossed my mind: 'What if the elephant by chance put his trunk under his tail right at the back door just as I was coming out into freedom, and the whole cycle would start over again?' I could not bear it any longer. No, I had no more strength. I had had it!

Suddenly somebody gave me a boot and the back door opened, and what happened then was breathtaking! Unlike diving into a pool and being born, which is always head first, I shot out feet-first and fell some ten feet. I saw a rope hanging there and tried to grab it to prevent myself from falling, but just as I came out, the elephant raised this rope into the air, pointing to the sky. Was it to prevent it from getting caked, I wondered, as I fell and landed on both feet up to my eyeballs in pure manure, all soft, green and warm, the very stuff I had fought all this time on the inside.

Now right after this soft landing, the elephant raised its tail again, Unlike our toilet where you pull the chain to let the water run, it began to rain, and then to pour. It burnt a little in the eyes, but then the scales fell from my eyes and I saw a wonderful world around me. I had been told about it on the inside, only they told me it was all wicked and evil. How could this be? There were flowers and birds, and so much that I had not seen since that fatal day when I got mixed up with the elephant. So many people who had not seen the inside because they lived on the outside could not understand what it was like inside, and really did not want to get caught up either. They were so friendly, but could for the life of them not understand why anyone wanted to get so entangled in the gastric labyrinth of that monster!

I feel so desperately sorry for all those still trapped inside, and I would like to ask, like Blair, is there anyone who knows how to liberate all those poor ones?

As children, we used to read a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, and for all I know this fairy tale is grim because since 1961 I have not heard it again. But in that story a mother goat was cut open real open surgery and delivered seven little kids. Now we are not looking for a scapegoat, but anyone who knows should write into KIT. Just remember, we don't want to shoot the elephant. We want to deliver those trapped inside!

This is the story as experienced from the inside, and I must request that you leave my name out of this. I am afraid they might put me through the elephant again, and I am not sure if I could survive a second journey through the digestive tract. You can put it this way, that this story was written by Shake Spear, a descendant of Sir Lance-a-lot. He was the one who used the lance a lot.

Anyway, greetings to you all at Peregrine and KIT! I hope this will cheer you up and get a few laughs. When I shared it with another survivor, he nearly died laughing as the picture fell into place, and then we laughed until our bellies ached! That night I had a hard time going to sleep, so don't follow my bad example! Greetings to you all,

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Memories of Primavera

Mel Fros, 8/22/98: Remembering the Kinderfest in Primavera, I think I have seen the photo of Claudia and the others at the Kinderfest. It was held in Loma some time in the mid '50's. The theme song had a verse that went:

Zuerst wird gesungen und Maschiert, Dann werden die Knackwuerstchen probiert. Die Grossen, duerfen nicht stossen, Weil Heute keiner verliert... Die Kleinen, duerfen nicht weinen Weil Heut keiner verliert! (translation "First we'll sing and march, Then we'll taste the knockwursts. The big ones (children) may not nudge (the others about), Because everyone is a winner today. The little ones, may not cry Because everyone is a winner today").

The Fest was held in the Loma school. We started the day with a festive march. Then we split up into our grades and had contests in which prizes could be won. I remember this well, for Robert Headland ("father-figure" to your brothers) gave us first-graders careful instructions. At the word "go", we were to scramble through an obstacle course of varying degrees of difficulty. "The first one of you boys who crosses this line is the victor", Robert said.

On the word "go" the fleet ones were off! Amancio and Atellano, native neighbors, battled for the lead. I, on the other hand, being at that time slightly... ah... what shall I call it... "stout", in the words of Winnie-the-Pooh, soon found myself at the end of the scramble. Sam, I seem to recall, even crawled over me because I was so slow! When I had finished the run, I took my place dejectedly behind the line.

"Melchior is the winner," Robert declared! I was stunned! How could this be? "Children, he is the only one who came back behind the line as I had instructed you to do. Cheers arose and I soon forgot my embarrassment.

We then gathered with the rest of the community and did activities for which prizes could be won. Georg Barth had on a chimney sweep's hat, and walked to and fro behind a volleyball net. We took turns trying to knock off his hat with tennis balls.

The older boys, Hans Zimmerman among them, had set up doll-like mannequins, which people attempted to shoot down with Zwiezel und Lehmis (slingshot and dried clay bullets). For this activity, they had the rare blessings of the Diener am Wort (servant of the word). Elfriede Baron stepped up and, upon receiving "basic" instructions, raised her hands, fingers trembling under the strain of the extended rubber... and fired! Instantly, she winced with pain, for she had shot herself into the palm of her hand! The boys managed to conceal their laughter, but barely. Poor Elfriede.

A "cable car" ride had been rigged up from one gigantic tree far down to another, near the Rundlauf. Ladders for climbing and a mattress to cushion the end of the run, made it appear less dangerous than it really was. In truth, it was a high and fast ride! Another game involved electric fishing, and if one was not careful, one got a small shock. I was disappointed with this game for the shock I got was not nearly as much fun as the one I got taking light bulbs from their sockets and placing a finger on the electrodes.

Knackwuerstchen may have been served. I have forgotten. If so, they were a prized treat! It is possible, the older school boys, Paul Gerhart, Haensel and another (Lupi?), presented the play "Witwe Bolke" (Widow Bolke, a German tale, grimm as usual). It was hilarious!!

Towards the end of the day, we could hear the thunderous noise of a vehicle approaching. It turned out to be the "Charatta", a newly-acquired 1932 Model-T Ford, with wooden, spiked wheels. Raymond Cocksedge, among others, sat in the back on the edge of the wooden side board. Suddenly, he lost his balance, fell and was run over by the beast. He suffered a broken leg.

The "Charatta" was later converted into something resembling a pick-up truck. Heinz Bolk and the boys did the conversion. However, it continued to have a low wheel base. One time, in Isla, we were driving full speed to a gravel pit. Wagon and alzaprima wheels had deeply rutted the road. Suddenly, the front axle hit dirt and many of us were sent head-over-heals into the open campo! Shovels followed. It was not a pretty sight! But I do enjoy "memory lane". Tschuess,

Hans Zimmermann, 7/11/98: Mel, you have an excellent memory about that Kinderfest. Before the Knackwurst was served, our American brothers introduced us to "Hot Dogs". They had built a wooden contraption. They put the little Dachshund Waldi into the front loader, closed the lid and cranked up the machinery. Sure enough, from the other end a string of Knackwurst came churning out! [Of course this was a joke! Waldi came out whole later ed]

Mel, it must have run in the family all the Fros kids were on the chubby side, don't know why. Was this the Kinderfest at which we also had the horse race on the airfield? I remember it as one of the most enjoyable events the community celebrated, because everyone participated. Guesse, >

Barnabas D. Johnson, 7/11/98: I thought the dog Waldi died heroically in the early Primavera days, following a snakebite. I recall hearing that he saved Walla's life, or maybe Ben Zumpe's, by attacking a snake that was about to strike at them from the tall grass. Does anyone else know that story? The name Waldi was sacred when I was a little boy, and it would have seemed improper to have named another dog after him, especially a mere dachshund!

Speaking of Ben Zumpe, I think Bette and he have modeled a great ploy for family get-togethers. I like to imagine that after "doing his job" and confronting Bette at the conference (as required of him ), he and his sister went for a pleasant "off the record" nosh at a local pub. We ought to encourage this formula: Write a book, see your mum.

--- ---

Peter Forde, 7/2/98: I have two considerations that I am exploring concerning what I've described as wrong things observed in the Bruderhof:

1. I am not at all convinced that turning cult-like is a fault of the leaders so much as a product of the group dynamics. The leaders in my opinion are led in this matter. I have hopes that work on this basis and the situation could possibly become reversible. I am doing my thinking with integrating experience against Lifton's book Thought Reform And The Psychology Of Totalism. Also to aid hope, there are historical precedents that totalist regimes can be reversed, the most recent that springs to mind was Vatican II. I much want to find out more about such reversals and how they came about.

2. I am not at all convinced that JCA or the other word servants are bad guys. Perhaps more experienced people would shout me down over this. In my humble opinion the Bruderhof is a pip-squeak in the nasty-cult league stakes! Look at other cults and you see psychopathic personalities using the membership to prop up their egos, and very little good being done. What I've heard of JCA so far is that he demands loyalty, but in other ways seems to be trying hard to do the positive and right.

I like his books and find them challenging, agree with and actively support the campaign he is leading to end the blockades, and note that he isn't aloof from visiting prisoners. I have the distinct impression that JCA is exploring the subject of mind control and influence techniques, and is not already expert in such have read him mentioning "click-whirr" Influence, Science And Practice by Cialdini, and citing Emile Coué: imagination winning in any contest against the will.

My imagination is powerfully caught-up with Anabaptism, and when I speak about what I see to others, they tend to get fired too! And I wonder, really work on it, asking whether Anabaptist-type religious communities just could be an answer to our poor and unemployed (which includes me). When Bruderhof prayed for expansion, in my heart I echoed them, and still do.

I think I see fairly plainly in what ways Bruderhof is slamming the door on expansion, the complacency, the guilt and shaming milieu that is steadily eroding personal integrity, and other things. But before I go putting my foot in it there is much that I still want to find out.

I would much appreciate somebody in the UK sending me a reference, on headed note paper, addressed "to whom it may concern", speaking of their desire that I access centuries-old documents about Anabaptism in order to aid discussion. A reference is required in order to stall merely casual browsers from getting their grubby hands on old documents. You have my address in the KIT newsletter. Then I'll be able to enter the university libraries and do some digging. U.K. people please. In Peace,

Mike LeBlanc [answering John Stewart's questionnaire in] 7/6/98: John, Let me preface my responses my saying I have found your posts truly confusing and thus have held off responding. I also noticed that none of your posts were directed to me, even though I profess Christianity. I agree somewhat with Paul Fox in his comment on being cross-examined, and saw none of this in your account regarding the Bruderhof, which I found enlightening. I also leave it up to God to persuade you of whatever it is you need to hear; I know I cannot change you or your mind.

I would hope that we can approach one another in the Spirit of Love and Kindness rather then in one of suspicion and hurt. We need to build up the Body of Christ, not tear it down. Now I will answer your questions:

1. The Bruderhof does not claim to be the one, "True" Church. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Disagree. They give lip service to not being the true Church, but their actions decry their utterances. Why are all their meetinxgs "secret"? Why can't they celebrate the Lord's supper with other professing Christians? Why aren't Gemeindestunden, Brotherhood, or Society meetings open to all?

2. The Bruderhof's internal teachings and practices are not consistent with its view that it is but one "part" of the global Body of Christ. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Agree. See above.

4. The Bruderhof's "vision" of brotherly life in God, quite apart from its ability or inability to live same out, is opposed to the revelation of Christ and the apostles. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Hard to say what their "true" vision is. I would hope that the flock's true vision is to live out what Christ and the apostles taught. Just the system that holds all in their grasp has led all astray.

5. Any "seeking Christian" who joins the Bruderhof proves him/herself immediately in error concerning the will and purposes of God, an individual previously deceived by a more mundane form of false religion. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Disagree. I believe you are looking for the self same perfection that draws many to the Bruderhof in the first place. There ain't no utopia. As humans we are prone to mistakes, sin and failings. Blaming oneself for entering the Bruderhof sends one toward a downward spiral spiritually and emotionally that is very unhealthy.

6. In and of itself, escaping the Bruderhof has no impact on the fatal flaws that a deceived individual already had with them upon entering the communities. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Unknown. Depends on whether the individual can learn from one's experience or not. If one learns that one can't find perfection except in the entity of Jesus Christ, then yes, escaping can have an impact.

7. I do not agree with the premise of those professing Christian ex-members in KIT and/or "" who believe that they are living in greater obedience to Christ than "brainwashed" Bruderhofers and that they are in a position to call the Bruderhof to repentance and renewal. [Is this unfair? If so why?]

I echo Paul's thoughts on this. I haven't seen anyone post they are "living in greater obedience to Christ". We can point out to the Bruderhof where they (or the system) have caused tremendous pain and suffering. I personally know I am a great sinner. Yet I won't beat my breast, throw ashes, or wear sackcloth. Why? That would take away from Christ's grace and mercy. I can never be perfect as a human (or at least until I reach Heaven). Nothing I can do will bring me salvation. He paid the price. I read the Word and live my life out to the best of my ability, constantly seeking His will. I can't do more...

8. My goal is to use our common Bruderhof experiences as a springboard into today; where we are now as people longing daily to be faithful to God. I am unable to muster enough incentive to pick the Bruderhof's inadequacies apart simply for that process's own sake. [Is this tolerable? Can we agree?]

I think we need to both move beyond our Bruderhof experience, and erect a lighthouse to warn other seekers away from the spiritual shoals they encounter. I also believe, as followers of Christ we need to right the wrongs being done in His name, wherever they appear. Having more knowledge and experience with the Bruderhof, I will start there. I also will speak out anywhere else God leads me.

I don't do this for the fun of it, or that I'm "disgruntled". I see it as a very real spiritual battle. I'm fighting for the hearts, souls and minds of our loved ones. Would Jesus command me to do less?

9. Questions: Is the materialism, nationalism, lukewarmness... etc. (fill in the blank whatever caused your dissatisfaction) that you were experiencing in your religious assembly of choice prior to your Bruderhof experience now significantly altered for the better due to the tenants of your current religious assembly of choice? If so, how? If not, what has enabled you to find contentment on this second go-round?

I can only say here, despite what the Bruderhof claims or my parents utter, that they taught us that the Bruderhof was the way to live out Christianity. It was the city on the hill, so all else was "not there", and hence would fall short. We also were taught that perfection was a good goal.

I now believe that searching for perfection leads one down a path towards spiritual pride and attempting to live out Christianity in a man-led utopia doomed for failure.

There is only one perfect man, and he hasn't returned yet [to my knowledge]. Christ didn't live in "community", but met the people in their need. We need to do the same. In the end it is our own relationship with our Creator on which we will be asked to give an account.

So I have learned. Don't seek for perfection. I am at a fellowship now that struggles to find God's will in our lives.

10. Many, many professing Christians are "perfectly happy" with their chosen congregations. These individuals are either deluded or they are proof positive that total peace with one's spiritual fellowship is absolutely attainable. No one should ever settle for less. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

I won't use "perfectly". I am happy to fellowship with others without seeking for perfection. That is a utopia I know can and will not exist [until, perhaps, He comes back, or in Heaven].

11. The amount of concern and attention paid to high demand, authoritarian religious sects by "anti-cultists" (particularly those with a Christian basis) and ex-members of destructive cults is in no way commensurate with the actual scope and impact of these groups on society, particularly when compared to the pervasive spiritual deceptions that are operating within the sociological mainstream. It is straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. Those who do this are deceived. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

I disagree strongly for several reasons. The first ignores the tremendous pain, hurt and destruction of men's minds and souls. One heart, mind or soul is one too many. A second labels only those more notorious groups that have gone astray. Any local church is susceptible to the same struggle for power over men's hearts, minds and pocketbooks that are the earmark of those labeled as cults. Any relationship that uses coercive and destructive methods is a cult. A third is that these groups can act as a beachhead for other groups, if allowed to go mainstream. The root of these groups is the cause of the problems in society. By studying these groups and understanding what methods they employ we can arm ourselves and others not to get drawn into similar controlling entities. There are many more cults around than many of us realize. Studying cults is an extremely important endeavor in our time. Cults are getting increasingly more numerous as seekers struggle to find roots that are lost due to the decay of the moral and ethical structure of society around the world. What structure we did have historically is being displaced by the "do anything that feels good" mentality. I think people are starting to see through the sham and want answers. Many are finding those answers, not in the Body of Christ, but in many of the "New Religions" or cultic groups that continue to spring up.

12. There are selfish reasons for leaving a high demand, authoritarian religious group. This self-centeredness is manifested when an individual exits one "cultish" struggling, imperfect sinful group to join another "non-cultish", struggling, imperfect sinful group. The only difference here is that his/her person cannot be so easily manipulated, humiliated or economically exploited by the latter. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why]

Selfish in the same way one is selfish for seeking salvation.

13. The assembly that casually discounts its critics is as much an enemy of the truth as the assembly that forcibly silences them. [Do you agree? Disagree? Why?]

Agree. Any group that disregards a feedback loop or entity is in danger of entropy.

14. God promises His adopted sons the aid of a heavenly power which issues from His only begotten Son. This power will cause them to be "perfected in righteousness". Therefore, quite naturally, God REQUIRES this perfection from His children. He asks His children to simply present the gift that He has already given to them. (I quoted a number of scriptures here.) [Do you agree? Disagree? Are there scriptures to counter this claim? Quote them and explain.]

Disagree. My reading of the Scriptures equates attempts at Godhead with a "bad" thing. [I leave Biblical verse slinging to others, I have little luck dissuading people from a given viewpoint simply by laying verses on them, and it requires more time then I have at the moment.] Seeking for perfection in my mind is an attempt to become God. While we need to emulate Christ's example, we need to be frail enough as humans that we still need Him. We are to act as conduits for His Power and Will. To be perfect would be to become Him. I'm not ready for Godhood.

15. I will never again put my hand "in God's name" to a spiritual building that is set on an imperfect foundation. [Is this unrealistic according to faith in Christ? If so, how?]

Living in this world you will never then, raise your hand "in God's name" to any spiritual building. See above for what I believe on seeking for perfection. I have a simple faith. I hold on dearly to Him daily to help me through life. He is all I need.

Peter Forde, 6/28/98: I don't have John's "four points on the Bruderhof Paradox" but am delighted with his recent lengthy posting, and would make these comments:

- The ex-(deleted to avoid red-herrings in naming other cults) also tend to hold that the problems of that organisation are due to a putsch in the leadership rather than inherent in the whole orientation of the organisation. Look closer, as few ex-members seem to do, and the real problem is of idolatry being generated and exploited.

- People, including me, got involved with such organisations because they caught our imagination, via imagination-enhanced wants and hatreds, and thus directed our steps. It's a thing about being entranced you don't want to hear contradictory information.

- What ultimately rescued me from cult mind control sorry, idolatry, was my original conversion, experienced after a period alone, where I came to understand that God's ultimate truth reflects in loving ways and is not at all the hard, cold "truth" of the magistrate. Thus when ungentle, unloving, us/them attitudes appear, so with me do huge question marks. I had thought my way directly to a conversion, at 17 years of age, on my own, using reason. Thus it's my experience that truth stands up for itself, can be challenged all you like as long as it's an honest challenge, and does not need hedging about or defending with the likes of "do not look in that direction".

- Within 2 months of my visit to Darvell, I had classed 3 things that were completely out of order, and I left because of them:

1. Love gets switched on and off on command. I'd noticed this even during my visit.

2. Exclusion terror is being used as coercion, a very tribal technique, not godly.

3. Individual conscience with directly relating with god, is being subverted into dependence on the leaders and the community itself.

The community ethos is tribal, not god-centred. The very buildings are named after other hofs, God is a PR front, and "Holy Spirit" is a tool of trancing and thought-stopping.

I shall look forward to taking my cult-monitoring experience and skills and using them to try to generate insights into how we can be effective as "high demand" Christians without falling over. Would appreciate having plenty of friends they help a lot to keep me sane! If there was anything I disagreed with in John's post, it's his debunking of cult monitors. If John doesn't like the idea of informing the public about the dangers of cult mind control, then switch it into biblical jargon and talk about idolatry instead the same truths are being expressed, but we are oh-so-blasé and uncomprehending about idolatry..

Such a pity that I chose to talk with my friend Graham Bevan about the Bruderhof being a cult that uses "ideological totalism" and its technology. It's unusual that Graham understands "idolatry" and its slaveries much better that's jargon that he knows. He falsely tagged me as finding cults everywhere, hasn't spoken to me since I warned him, and last week is believed to have joined the Bruderhof's novitiate at Darvell. So much for friendships of 20 years standing. In Peace,

Wayne Chesley, 7/1/98: Greetings Peter, welcome to I appreciate your comments on John's posting. Regarding the B'hof, I think it is a complex mix of a poorly laid foundation and a straying from the original vision that we see. Reading Eberhard Arnold's writings I can see the seeds of the cultishness in the present day Bruderhof. At the same time I can see a true brotherly community. What sprang from those seeds is a mixture of flowers and weeds, but now especially the leadership of the Bruderhof cultivates the weeds and does not seem to care if the flowers wither. I quite frankly don't know if from the beginning, and from the heart of the community, the Bruderhof was off the mark and bound to become a cult.

Believe me, I see the idolatry clearly. The Bruderhof is a pantheon of idols, some are men, some are philosophies, some are ideas, but they all misplace God and are attempts at representing Him...

You wrote: "1. Love gets switched on and off on command. I'd noticed this even during my visit."

Interesting observation, and on reflection I see that too. Perhaps that is why real friendships are not allowed in the Bruderhof; any real, genuine love could not be turned off at the command of the "Brotherhood".

You also wrote: "3. Individual conscience with directly relating with god, is being subverted into dependence on the leaders and the community itself. The community ethos is tribal, not god-centred. The very buildings are named after other hofs, God is a PR front, and 'Holy Spirit' is a tool of trancing and thought-stopping."

Quite true. This is something foundational in the Bruderhof, and it is one of the reasons I would assert that the Bruderhofers do in fact consider themselves to be the true church. Certainly for one who takes a vow to join the Bruderhof the only path to salvation (in the Bruderhof's belief system) and any relationship to God is mediated through the Community. Can any but the true church of God have that power? Or perhaps the Bruderhof's leaders don't really believe this, but they realize the power of this "magic" over the common members. If the only way to please God is to remain a part of the Bruderhof then...

Perhaps this is the ultimate message that individuals in the Bruderhof need to receive: Jesus died for your sins, your relationship to God is mediated through Him, not the Bruderhof...

I hope you can find a way to reach your friend behind that Iron Curtain. Perhaps God will call him through. And Peace to you,

--- end of alt-support.bruderhof ---

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Matt Ellison, 8/26/98: Dear KIT, I was rummaging in my attic the other day and I found this little book that had slipped behind some cases. It's only a children's tale, but the last page has been torn out and I'm intrigued to know the ending. Maybe one of you folks know it. Curiously there was a letter tucked in the back, but I could not make head nor tail of it. As I don't have a photocopier I have written them out to send you:

Friends of Nazareth,

David: You've had a shot at Goliath, but everyone knows you're a lousy shot, and in any case, where's the common enemy?

Jean Baptiste: You've prepared a mouth-watering menu, but they'll chop you up for salami and eat you for breakfast.

Saul: You have your own cross to bear. It's a long and dusty road to Damascus and beyond. Good luck with your journey.

Davidson: Will you never learn? You've locked yourself onto a course of self-destruction, but will you have the strength to put your life back together after this? I doubt even you can separate the sheep-herd from the scapegoats. I know your cause is just, but you have turned the tables on them, and they'll be out to nail you. The high court will not be interested in your case (except for costs) and your friends will doubt you, deny, defy, desert, and betray you. And the press will rake the imaginary muck on you and bay for your blood. When they have it, the establishment will chew you up and spit you out in little pieces. God help us! Is this the only way? Salutations,

(signed) Brabson PLF

Bleeping Sooty - A Fairy Tale

Chapter 1

A long time ago in merry England there lived a peasant with his family in a pleasant valley between two hills, in the midst of a field of corn. It was in the reign of King John, and his brother Prince Richard travelled the region looking for men to fight in the Crusade. Richard was well liked, for he had the heart of a lion, and he was known affectionately as 'Dick'. As he travelled, he came upon the peasant working in the cornfield and called to him to come and fight the infidel. Being a man of faith and courage the peasant said "Sire, I would follow you to the end of the world. But what of my children Jack and Jill?"

The Prince thought for a moment and with a generous heart he said, "Bring them with us to London and I will arrange places for them in the King's Palace." So without more ado, they bade farewell to the peasant's wife and made their way to London.

Now King John was not very tall and he was known as John Bull. John was jealous of the popularity of Dick, and the Queen was vain and jealous of anyone who took the King's fancy.

Richard arranged for the children, who were aged twelve and eleven, to have suitable positions within the Palace as page and serving maid. They learned their tasks well and served their King and Queen with pride. It was approaching time for celebrating the Queen's Birthday and the King wanted to give her something special. So he ordered Jack, who had become skilled at sewing, to make an apron for the Queen from pure white linen, and to embroider it with a holly leaf design in green silk.

Jack set to with a willing heart and worked at the apron for many hours, for he loved the beautiful Queen. The apron was nearly completed and, as Jack embroidered the leaves, he started to dream about how beautiful the Queen would look wearing the apron. And as he dreamed he pricked his finger, and blood spurted from the prick onto the apron. At that very instant John Bull strode into the room and seeing that the apron was ruined, flew into a terrible rage. He shouted, "Is this how you abuse my generosity Jack? Off to the glass-house with you! You mark my words, you'll rue this day!" And so saying, he beat Jack out of the room and kicked him downstairs. Jack stumbled and, falling head first, broke his neck on the bottom step. Jill heard his fall and ran to his assistance. His head hung down at a strange angle and he could not move his legs. John stood at the top of the stairs and still raging, shouted "Leave him, wench! He is finished here! You will serve me now!"

Jack was permanently crippled and was taken home in an ox-cart. When he reached home, he heard that his father had been killed in Palestine, and found his mother blind from grief. Together they eked out their lives. Meanwhile Jill had become maid-in-waiting to the King and Queen. She was a beautiful and willing child, and did her best to serve them despite what had happened to Jack. The King become fond of Jill and made her his pet, but this made the Queen jealous.

One day the King said to Jill, "I was walking in the garden and a frog spoke to me. At first I could not believe my ears, for it said, 'Please take me and put me in your pocket for I am really a prince under an evil spell. I must be kissed by a beautiful girl to break the spell.'" And John said, "Put your hand in my pocket and feel the frog." And Jill said, "That's a race frog, but its not very big is it?" John became cross and said, "It will grow much bigger if you kiss it."

He took it out and Jill bent down to kiss the frog. Too late she realised that she had been deceived. It was not a frog but a venomous viper. And as she turned, it struck and bit deep into her. The Queen who had hidden herself behind a curtain leapt out, and in a fit of jealous rage, picked up the child and threw her out of the window.

Jill fell into the moat and a strong current dragged her down into the depths. With her last breath she cried out, "Dear God, what have I done. Please save me!"

And as her struggling gradually subsided, her lifeless body sank into the mire at the bottom of the moat. The sun set in the west and in the east a dark moon rose up. Black clouds covered the starred sky and the last ray of hope died in Jill.

Chapter 2

For thirty long years there was an age of want in the land, an ague of need, and Prince Richard, hearing that all was not well at home, returned from the Crusade to his court on the hill.

On Christmas Eve he went out hunting on his great white horse, and as he ranged far and wide, he saw in the distance, two beautiful hills. He rode all day to the valley between the hills and there in a cornfield he found the hovel where the blind woman lived with her crippled son Jack.

They said, "Sire, we are poor, but we can offer you bread and water. Even in this age of want our well has always flowed and our wheat has grown strong. Come in and warm yourself by the fire, for it is bitterly cold. Even our well has been frozen these three days." The Prince warmed himself and took of their bread and water. He thanked them kindly saying, "Your bread is divine, your water wine."

He walked up to the well and saw that in the cornfield was a mound, and on the mound grew a holly tree. Below the tree was the mouth of a small cave surrounded by poppies. He stood captivated by the scene as the sun set between the hills. The evening star rose up in the west and behind him in the east a full red harvest moon dawned in the sky. And as he watched, the star moved across the sky and touched the moon. There was a trembling quake in the earth and the ice broke in the cave. A flood tide of blood red water flowed out and a clap of thunder rent the sky as a bolt of lightening struck the holly tree, setting it on fire.

Entranced he walked towards the fire and looking down he saw an ugly little hunchbacked dwarf caught in the roots of the tree at the mouth of the cave. He knelt before the cave and carefully disentangled the roots, but one thick root held fast around the dwarf's waist. So standing up, the prince unsheathed his sword and taking it in both hands he swung it around his head and bringing it down with a mighty crash, he cut off the root.

Quickly he picked up the dwarf and carried him into the hovel, and placing him before the fire, knelt and kissed him and breathed warmth into him. And as he stood up the first ray of the dawning sun transfused the room. He blinked eyes and the dwarf was gone, and there before him stood a beautiful woman in a long red dress. She spoke to the old woman calling her mother. The old woman opened her eyes and with tears of joy said, "It's our Jill!"

The beautiful woman spoke to the cripple, calling him "brother". Jack raised his head up high and walked towards them. Jill looked at the Prince and he looked at her, and the moment their eyes met they were lovers. He said, "I am your morning star. I give you my life."

She replied, "I am your crescent moon. I will take your life into my life and together we can live forever."

They bade farewell to Jack and his mother. The Prince mounted his steed and lifted Jill up before him with one leg over his saddle horn and off they rode towards his court. They galloped all day in transports of delight, up hill and down dale, into streams and out of leafy glades, through forests and fields until they breasted the ridge near the court. She took his hunting horn and holding it to her lips, blew a long clarion call. He cupped his hands to his mouth and at the top of his voice shouted, "I am coming!" for all to hear. A great feast was arranged to celebrate the engagement of the happy couple, and all their friends and relatives were invited.

King John refused to come, for he was angered by their happiness and afraid that the Prince would try to take his crown. He sent his Black Knight to destroy them, but Black Knight arrived too late, for the happy couple had flown away on the great white horse for their honeymoon. Three months later to the day, on the Sunday after Easter, to their great joy, Jill gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and a bonny baby boy. And _________________

Well that seems to be it, folks. Take care, all you beautiful people, and watch out for those apple sellers!

"People who eat people are the loneliest people in the world!"

Barbara Streisand, slightly skewed

[Ogres, anyone?]


He drew a circle that shut me out Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!

Edwin Markham

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