I think back from time to time about when it all started going sour
for me. I met the Wackos before they were too Wacky. Lois George was
my "Guardian." Tony LeDonne and Dave Poli gave me courage to face
those other 10th graders. Jeff Benninger was my example in school.
When I was 15 and got saved at the Johnson City fellowship in the
Scranton center, I returned the very next day for my button. when I
came home proudly wearing it on my shirt, and told my father what a
great time I had with my new friends, talking with others on the
street about Jesus, my father forbade me to ever go back to that
house. For 3 years I met them when I could, sneaking out, meeting
after school,etc. I kept getting caught, and I kept going back. Then
the fellowship closed and I was really stuck. Once I tried riding my
Schwinn bicycle to Scranton about 70 miles away, but the police
pulled me off the interstate and I had to try it by backroads. Jane
Doerr and some others picked me up in the middle of the night in the
middle of nowhere. I ran away to N.Y. once, hitchhiking there. I
thought the platform on the side of the Lincoln tunnel was a
pedestrian walk so I ran through it, Got halfway through only to be
picked up by police. NY turned out to be a much bigger place than I
thought, and having no address for COBU I just kept running. Down one
street there was alot of commotion about a fire which attracted my
attention, so I ran to see it, and as I approached, all these buttons
kept pouring out of the building. That was 51st St. God led me
directly there! My parents got a restraining order against Tony
LeDonne and some others so that if I was transported across state
lines they could be charged with kidnapping. So getting baptised in
Scranton was a trick but we did it. These were the times of my life.
I would have done anything for the love of God and this fellowship of
brothers and sisters. I was always commended for being zealous. Had I
the wisdom of hindsight, I might have seen that for the love of God
and fellowship, I was turning into a liar, and was already a
disobedient son. But in the name of Jesus it was OK, then.
     IMoved in 2 weeks after graduation. Was supposed to move to
Utica, but then at the Regional Meeting, I heard brothers and sisters
in Washington singing, and that was it. I was on their bus after the
meeting. I loved the Bible. I LOVED to study the Bible! But with the
carpets, and the meetings, and everything, I found myself exhausted
all the time. I could barely read the Bible, let alone study it. A
year later I was 19 and since all the Older Brothers had been removed
to NY, it fell to a handful of us to try to keep things going. I
moved to the new Seat Pleasant fellowship, which was an experiment in
a way- being the 1st "younger house" We brought 42 newcomers to a Big
Meeting 6 weeks later. We would pick them up with the mailtrucks and
bring them to our house for a Bible study, and then return them home
one at a time like on a bus route. Word came from on high that it was
a bad precedent for these 16 year old lambs to depend on us for a
ride, and we were told not to do the route anymore. The fellowship
dropped out of sight within weeks. I could not be discouraged
however, and moved to Bladensburg Rd. There I met some older sisters
who spoke on my behalf to go to Haiti. I was never elected to go, I
was chosen. I was VERY special, you see. It was my first lesson in
COBU's version of "who not what you know"  All my Christian life to
this point was shielded from the darker things going on in NY. We
heard the rumors of how the older brothers were shipwrecking their
faith and those wayward Eves were destroying everything. But I grew
up in the centers and that was distant news. Besides they were older,
and we knew, we were told that the future lies in the faithfulness of
the younger ones like me. I would never become like those faithless
older brothers! I heard murmers about the numbers leaving, but I went
to Haiti and in one minute, everything I knew was wrong.
    The structures of the fellowship didn't exist there. I could not
tell who were the important people that needed impressing. When I
barked an order, or said the right verse to show my zeal, the older
ones didn't respond the same timid way as in NY or Washington. I
found that I didn't know the rules. To make matters worse, Stewart
flew in the night I arrived there. Everyone was in total fear. I
witnessed the very first silent meeting of my life there in Haiti. I
kept chirping stupid encouragements to move them, but nothing - my
anxiety was killing me. I was so anxious that Stew said he ought to
take me back with him the next day, but between me and the baggage,
the baggage had to go with him. I was there for 6 months. It was bad
there. We had brothers associating with prostitutes and money was
missing. They all went home and then there was just me and another 20
year old to watch the 65 children in LaBoule with 10 or 12 sisters. 6
months later I got sick: Hepatitus, Ringworm, Tapeworm,Asteris, and
Tuberculosis. With the jauntice set in, I finally got on a plane back
with the help of mirror sunglasses.
    I stayed in NY with Angela Fidul, Mary Pierce, and a couple
others in the Hepatitus loft. I finally was well enough to attend a
NY meeting when Stew picked me out and asked 'How are you" and "Why
are you back from Haiti" I explained my sicknesses and was then
asked "why was I hiding in my illness." And what Haiti beterans are
gooing to talk to me after the meeting about it. Sally copeland was
chosen to try to land me. All those who had gone to Haiti before me
nodded knowingly. So that was it. The fact is, no one EVER returned
properly from Haiti. The reason was suppose to be "because I am weak,
and need to restore my faith, so I can be of some use, etc." So this
is what it was like to be on the other side of the abuse. As a
younger brother talking to an older brother I might have been
encouraged to use this kind of manipulation, but now it's me. I think
I understood right then why so many left. Nevertheless I was back in
Haiti for another 7 months. When I returned again, the church was so
different I felt a real loneliness, a loss of belonging.... I was
growing pot in California 2 weeks later.
     Since then I have left and returned maybe 20 times. Always
seeking the former glory among brothers and sisters who were
increasingly abused by Stew. Nothing for me compares to the things I
saw and did in my last year,1993, when all the death and Hell talk
started, but that time around Haiti was a turning point for me 1979
and 1980.

My name is Jim Enright. I hope this is Mike Montoya's email. I don't know if
you remember me or not, but I hope you do. I have been speaking with 12 or so
ex members like myself over the last year or so. I am just writing to connect
to a few more. I am married now with a 2 year old and another due in October.
I  don't really remember when I got out because I "got out " so many times. I
do know that the last time I ever saw or heard from anyone in COBU was after
years of drunkenness, I was at a halfway house for Alcoholics some 6 years
ago. One day, the camera sisters blew into town, looked me up, and found me
at this rehab place. They told Stewart where I was and they returned with a
message from him saying, and I quote, " come home Jim, this recovery business
is beneath you"
    Well, for the first time in many years I laughed out loud in the face of
COBU. Imagine, recovery being not good enough, while they remain in large part
the reason for my need for recovery! Kevin Browne waited under the blankets
in the van outside and popped out when I walked the sisters to the van.
Anyway, that was 6 years ago and have never heard from them since. But what I
do know is, since leaving the Wackos, I graduated with an Engineering degree,
got married, and had a child. When I think of the greasy haired brother
sleeping in the van and the smell of those camera sisters after a long road
trip, I shake my head with gratitude that I am not there. Not because of what
things I now have, but because of the person I discovered I always was. It
was worth it, it only took 20 years or so to find.
    I keep hearing about a Onelist group. I sure would be interested to find
out more about that if you know who I am. Please e-mail me if you get a
                                            God Bless You, Talk soon
Got your reply from the email. I do remember that back of the bus Bible
Study. I still have my Grain, Wine and Oil Bible from that. That was in the
"good old days" when each brother still possessed the ability to read and
make connections for himself instead of waiting in agonizing silence to be
the one to say the right thing at the right time. Having gotten out rather
late in the game, I was witness to some of the most pitiable displays of
verbal cruelty and contradiction. I lived with Stew for a year alone. Me,
Stew and the golden girls at the church property. I thought I was getting
alot of personal help and thought I was growing at a time when every other
brother in the church was downtrodden. I was set up as an example, and used
to bait the other brothers. The sisters at the time were happy to be around
me in sharp contrast to the "evil in the fellowship of brothers." I finished
the detailing of Stew's office, Gail's bathroom, the sun deck,etc. and
rewired all his antennas for the office. One day, I walked in and saw a
Hustler Magazine on the desk. I was shocked, but since Larry Flint had
written an editorial on Sex and Religion, I pushed the thought aside,
justifying that perhaps Stewart was spiritual enough not to be tempted by the
rest of the magazine. Not that the events were connected, but a week later,
Stewart and Gayle together took me for a walk around the property as he was
inclined to do at sunset. It was then he asked me "In what is your Confidence
In Christ?" A vague enough question, I struggled with the myriad of possible
correct answers. I neglected Thankfulness. Because he had to tell me, it
proved that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks - I had no
thankfulness in my heart. He directly told me "You know what this all means?"
he said waving his hand as he does, "You are going to Hell when you die, you
know that, right?" The reason being, I was ungrateful, because I had not
received salvation. Had I received it , thankfulness would have been an
automatic response. I was sent to NY the next day. A week later, in the
stinky basement of Woodruff Avenue, amid piles of mouldy clothing, Stewart
came for a meeting. Guess what the topic was? Let's talk about Jim Enright.
All the sisters were asked about my attitude and faithfulness and compared it
to the other brothers who were forlorn and weary. To them, I stood out. Then
came the whammy. Stew was asking why I was any different, what made it so,
and after several hours, the answer was because I was not in NY. I was
"better" because I was with him in Phila for a year. So the experiment was
that I was not any more faithful, in fact he said I was one of the weakest -
but removed from the evil fellowship of brothers, I grew. So what was the
answer? Have more brothers escape this evil? No, I was given a space in an
overcrowded room in the basement with the lice infested homeless newcomers,
where he never inquired about me again, his point being proven. Despite this,
I stayed for years more. Which proves I really was pretty weak after all.
Anyway, it is something of a blessing to recount these things as it washes me
somehow. Yes, you can put these or any other emails on the Onelist, as I am
eager to read about what is up with all the others. I am very thankful today
to be where I am.