By Mike Montoya

These pieces of writing are in response to some of what I experienced at the recent reunion of brethren in Pennsylvania. Some of you may know that there was an online confrontation between individuals who had and have sharp disagreements with one another over personal matters which then were portrayed as matters affecting us all.

The reunion was very successful. Everyone who came was very glad to be there, and really, there could not have been enough sunlight in each day for all that we had to say to each other. Those who had disagreements made the wise decision not to speak to one another and there existed at the reunion no sign of dissention on anyone's part.

Looking back on the online argument and then looking at the actual behavior at the reunion, I considered those, like myself, who had, small or great, an agenda to carry out, a mission. Let me also make clear that I know my agenda and can speak about it. I can only guess what others' motives were for what they did and said. I hope by exposing my agenda it will help others examine themselves and see if perhaps they too were a little driven to get their point or plan across and not allow for God to work through them for the good of others

My agenda was and is simple. To my defense I will judge myself as not being consumed by it because my words and my behavior would have reflected such consumption. Nevertheless I did have a mission or an intent. I very much wanted to gather the truth about the beginning of the Forever Family and I knew that there were some living in PA who had the answers. At the reunion, I found not just 2 who could inform me but a third. This was highly important to me and I expressed to all involved parties how much I would like to interview them. They agreed and so I had permission to pull them aside and talk with them and record the conversation.

My motives were right. My goal is still right, but I recognized that if I had actually sat each one down at the reunion and did an in-depth interview, it would have been inconsiderate of their time. I also am not sure if the interview would have had an adverse effect on the brother or sister. So I refrained from doing any recording. This brought to my attention others who may have had a teaching, a ministry, a perspective, a business deal, a new life approach, a doctrine who, like me, have a genuine interest in engaging those present to promote their agenda or enlist others' support.

There were plenty at the reunion who had no agenda. They came to see people and to share themselves with others. I think we ex-members are keenly aware when we feel someone leaving the friendly conversation to pull us into a specific area in which they find certain satisfaction and wish us to also acknowledge it and/or participate. There are problems with ones like us, ex-members. We got burned by a salesman selling us something, ST and his created circus. We are now out and some of us are trying to follow Jesus. None of us are experts and perfect in knowledge. We are naturally deficient. Those among us who wish to minister need to absolutely wait upon the Lord for timing and approach if we wish to benefit the ones we seek to help. Just with normal Christians getting together, it would be kind and considerate and of the Holy Spirit to be available to those who inquire if they sense the need and believe you can edify them. If one has in mind that everyone at the reunion needs what they have then a judgment has already been made and a blanket one at that and there is no possible way the Spirit of God could minister through the agenda-driven brother or sister.

I not only apply this to myself, in my search of the truth of our fellowship, but to anyone who sees their cause, ministry, biblical teaching, or doctrinal position as something people must know. The "MUST KNOW" and "MUST experience" attitude to me is automatically not trusting God in the Spirit. If I come from or if anyone comes from "God told me to tell you," there seems inherent in this spirit not only the pressure for them to transmit but pressure for us to accept the message. I also think that if a person doesn't seem to recognize where he or she is and to whom they are speaking but are so motivated for their mission that they don't have these normal considerations, then, again, I question whether God is really directing them.

For the next reunion the same call to kindness and consideration will exist. For most this call is not hard to answer. They have healed from COBU enough to be able to go to a reunion and enjoy of the company of ex-members. For those hurting, they are old enough and smart enough to test the spirit of those there and determine from whom they will seek counsel. Those of us who have something in mind other than visiting need to keep ourselves in check and not disregard the interests of most and insist on our personal agenda.