1983: the Young
Sheep Training Center was in session. HL was the YS "heavy" (guru
in training). BUT then ST had to disrupt things. In spring,
7 brothers started the first YS "center" in north Philadelphia(?).
ST predicted that within one year, "there will be 50 centers". After
this the young adults at YSTC were getting the hang of running a household.
Things were not as chaotic and depressing as they used to be.
BUT then ST had to disrupt things:
At a meeting ST decided to have us go to a runaway shelter (named "Under 21") and have us "sweep up" young people. That is we'd invite street folk and runaways to move in with us to Woodruff. ST said, "you don't have to witness to them". But some heard that as "don't witness to any of them at all". (There are some things that aren't STs fault.) There were disruptions both internal and external caused by this "sweeping" which I won't recount here. At first we handled things pretty decently. But then our 7 most confident bros went down to Baltimore. JG had promised that if we would continue sweeping, that he would take charge.
Here's what really happened: We had ruled that all "lambs" (sweepees) had to attend our nightly meetings. One night when we had a problem with a lamb staying upstairs JG dissolved that rule. One time when we were picking guardians for the new lambs, we insisted that guardians be of the same gender. JG dissolved that rule also. When disruptions occurred because of these events JG blamed us for not being responsible. In fact when we tried to take charge, the lambs complained to JG, who always ruled in their favor without even asking for our side of the story. GJ and LR were kicked out of Woodruff (and into 515) without being allowed to defend themselves.
In late (summer?) 83 the YS sisters moved to 515. Supposedly for their safety. Some would come to Woodruff and help with lamb gathering, but most would go to Princeton and work as "Gayle helpers". By this time the YS had little to do with sweeping. By now JG had gotten a "middle" brother(s) to supervise it (KM). Our lamb gathering was separate from the sweeping. The "middle sheep" in Phila. also tried this. JG promised that he would take responsibility and make sure that things went smooth. He lied! In fact he was one of the causes of disruption. During our very first round of "sweeping" we had to evict some troublemakers. Now these folks returned to "Under 21", which had rules about their charges staying out after midnight. So they concocted a story about being kidnapped. You see, Under 21 (also called Covenant House, from here on CH) received from United Way $100 per kid at the shelter. Since our sweeping was aimed at this particular place, they were losing money. And they fought back. They took these kids stories to the NY tabloids, and we had to put up with their nonsense for a while. Our neighbors on Woodruff gave us grief. Like throwing bottles at our (rock proof) windows.
In december 83 the YS bros were cleaning carpets 6 days a week, 14 hrs/day. We grossed about $500/wk (LOL). At a weekend "good news" meeting on sat night, we mentioned this and JG insisted that the credit for this belonged to the sweepees who would flyer for the business during the day. (They would sleep late, drag their feet, and quit flyering ASAP.)
At the Big Meeting (BM) of 1/1/84, guess what the teaching was about? You guessed it: laziness. At this meeting the OBs created "the proposition". They would assemble every evening (or was it each wednesday?) meet, study a verse on laziness, make commitments(?), and then go out witnessing. (I need help here. Where's Harry W?) The OBs started to take responsibility, work together, and clean up their act. BUT then ST had to disrupt things: there was a BM and ST belittled the OBs and their accomplishments. So in 7/84 there was a BM with only 300-400 attending. (In 7/80 there were 1100.)
In 7/84 those who lived in 515 moved into Woodruff. In 11/84 the few YS remaining (now old enough to be "middle") moved out of Woodruff and into Phila (Woodland ave). There was a YS center in north Phila at the time. We spoke to JG who approved the move, but then he started a rumor that we did it "out of fellowship". Which caused turmoil among those who moved down.
About this time Hilton and a few others moved into 515 and started sweeping from there. The street people stayed in 515, and would come down for meetings at the Phila LH. In spring of 85 The "YS" who had moved down to Philly en bloc, started moving back to Woodruff or 515 individually.
In either 1985 or 1986 we bought a house in Lancaster and a house in Staten Island. There were centers in Baltimore, Lancaster, and Reading. The families that lived on 48th st moved to Staten Island. (Because the kids were growing but the neighborhood was deteriorating.) Some moved out. (Who can help with the dates?) (The neighborhood was once called Hell's Kitchen. But the people wanting to boost their self-esteem changed the name to Clinton.LOL After DeWitt Clinton, a one time governor of NY.)
In 1986 the lawsuit concerning the sale of 515 ended and we moved out of 515 for good. (The intensity of our sweeping varied from time to time. But we had our greatest success when the weather was cold.)
In either 1986 we rented a storefront about 10 blocks SE of Woodruff, on Flatbush near Farragut(?). We divided Brooklyn into areas and our group into teams, and we witnessed in these areas. We would meet once a week to discuss progress and be berated by ST.
At the BM of 1/1/87, we "made divisions" for 4 days. We did nothing else. The "fully there" folk were afraid to make a decision about what to do next, so they hid in divisions. (At the time someone spoke up and rebuked them for this, but they ignored him.) But at the end of the meeting ST spoke to us and told us about "sincerity". We had a mini-revival and held "sincerity meetings" for a few months. (You'll have to excuse the funny grammar, this is COBU history.)
At the BM of 7/4/87 ST predicted that "by the labor day BM we'll have 300 attending". There were only 150 ther to hear this, so this was an incredible prediction. I was rebuked for doubting ("doubters will be sorry"). [Andrew Pererra and Bobby Whipple made vows to see that 300 came to that meeting. When that BM neared ST renamed it a "practice Big Meeting", so no one complained that he was wrong. But I digress.] After that meeting ST took some of us YS (now MS) out witnessing and introduced us to a new technique called "The Power Of The Question". We would ask them 3 (probably pretty vague) questions (I have a mental block here) and from there start witnessing to them. For some reason, we were much more successful than usual. So, when we finally had a "Big Meeting" in mid-december 87, there were 287 in attendance. So STs prediction was vindicated (among his groupies).
During the revival that ensued
from "The Power Of The Question", we would sometimes fill up the Woodruff
basement. So ST suggested buying a new property. Like Stone
Mountain Manor. Anytime we had the slightest problem with overcrowding
(even in a van) Jim Griener would say "looks like we really need that new
place". So ST made a search and found a place in Philly that used
to be an orphanage run by the Baptist church. When it was time to
agree on this at a BM, everyone (but 4) said "yippee". (I disagreed
mainly because the discussion we had about it was not weighty and thoughtful.)
So ST browbeated us 4 into agreement. (Perhaps not at that session,
ST did a unique trick with regard to the purchase of that property: He changed the make-up of the Board. Normally COBU had a 7 member (rubber stamp) board. But for about 2 months we had about 30 members on it and we called it an oligarchy. When the purchase was made all 30 of us had to sign the document. None of us gave it much thought because we were in a room with 29 others who were signing the same thing. BD speculates that ST was afraid that one of the 7 board members would turn on their brain, realize the immensity of our purchase, realize their responsibility, get cold feet, and not sign. After the purchase the oligarchy was dissolved and we reverted back to a regular board.
We finally owned the place in June 1988. We were to arrange a mass visit to this new place on a sunday. About 80 of us. BUT. On the friday evening before the trip, ST through JG started asking if we were in "a right spirit to visit the new place". Most would get quiet, a few would say "sure!", (define right spirit) but as soon as some woman said "I don't know(in a whiny voice)" JG would say "you don't sound sure, have a division and find out". Every time we did JG would call back and the process would repeat. This went on all friday eve until 4:30 AM, and sat. from 4PM(?) until ? . During this fiasco I realized that JG was playing games with us. I did not yet realize that ST was behind it. Though I wanted to go I got tired of the games sometime sat night. The plan was that those who would go (there were only about 12 by this time), would meet on sunday morning for 15 minutes and then call ST and go. The meeting lasted 1.5 hours. When those 12 came back after visiting the new place they confessed that they had "went down there with a wrong spirit and acted weirdly". During this fiasco I earned a reputation for being "argumentative", because I encouraged everyone to show a little backbone when JG called.
I left soon after this during the Independence day weekend in 1988. We did not have a BM that July 4th. (Quite a rarity.)
We bought the house in Princeton in 1982, supposedly so ST could shuttle to either Philly or Bklyn in about one hour. ST was living in Philly on the 3rd floor, above 90(?) "middle sheep". It was sold to us as an investment property. I get the feeling that it wasn't the boards idea.
In summer 82(?), ST allowed the YS to visit there on saturdays. The first few crews came back, exclaiming in glowing terms how "peaceful" it was. FM & I went on one of these excursions, and I found it incredibly boring! Because they were having wood floors coated, we weren't even allowed inside the house. (What disrespect!) They hadn't told us to bring swimsuits so we couldn't swim. So we chatted, read Bibles and played frisbee. Gayle allowed the sisters to engage in a meaningful and fulfilling task: they dusted books. I want my 6 hours back! Eventually those trips were discontinued for lack of interest. On that particular trip JG played a nasty trick on FM (IMHO to impress the sisters) I got to see the real JG.
In 1986(85-87) JG would have weekly business meetings (in the evening) with the OBs (YS & middles didn't attend). Often he would fire all the bros and reorganize. So the bros would spend the night making speeches so they could get rehired. They all were. And in the morning they would proclaim "this is the neewwww business". Sometimes Peter Jacquay (who didn't live in and wasn't part of the business) would attend.
I'm not sure if you remember this: brothers from either Philly or Woodruff would go to Princeton to do yard work or carpet cleaning. One time I summoned the courage to ask JG why 4 bros were taking a day off from cleaning carpets ($400-800), when ST could hire a landscaper locally for much less. All I got was a vague answer about "fellowship".
And he treated us like dirt when we got there.
FEEL free to
ask questions. Not everyone on the Onelist was there then.
I'm sure that there are gaps in your knowledge that I'm not filling.