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Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 07:10:35 -0000
Subject: [x-cobu] Response to Barry/NANCY/Experiment

When I met the Forever Family, it was through Barbara. She began to
work at my company and noticed I was reading a bible at lunch. She
offered to share bible study with me and invited me to her fellowship
near the Staten Island Ferry.
I was already saved but struggling to get my fiancÚ saved, before our
upcoming, planned already marriage.
Once evening after work, I accompanied her to their meager
fellowship, was given a folding chair, [one of the only ones they had]
as they all sat around on the floor exchanging 'nuggies' and waiting
to go out witnessing for the evening. I was impressed by their fervor
and dedication to Jesus. They did not invite or persuade me to move
in. They were just into witnessing and bible studies. Everything else
was insignificant.

They spoke of 'center meetings' on weekends and that they had
a 'center leader' named Dave Rizetto, who knew allot of the bible.
They invited me to a meeting and I went.

At the center meeting, several groups of people arrived, notably
young and all got together to pray in the spirit and fellowship,
mostly in the word. This too impressed me and was sincere. Then they
got together and had some group bible study, still very good and
wholesome. When the fellowships were like this, they were GOOD...each
fellowship was independently 'owned and operated'...

People were getting saved. They did not push you/me to move in, just
emphasized allot that I should come over more for bible studies and
to go out witnessing. This was great. I wanted to learn how to
witness better. I used to just give out tracts and bibles and invite
people to come to church. I wanted to get a 'copy of a sinners
prayer' and try to lead some one to Jesus.  I went over to the
fellowship more and more frequently.

Then one day, Barbara came to work with the bad news! Some one who
didn't like the group of communers- set the fellowship on fire while
they were out witnessing! I was horrified and invited them to move
into my house.  My house was actually too small, but they told me
that they found a big house and since they had no furniture etc, that
perhaps I would consider moving in with them...  was supposed to be 
getting married the following month, so I thought why not. I wanted to
get my boyfriend saved and perhaps, by moving there, he would get

I moved in with them. My boyfriend came around daily. He did get
saved but wanted me to leave the fellowship. By that time I learned
that it still wouldn't be right to just marry him as a newly saved. I
was told he needed to learn more about Jesus so that it would be
better to put off the wedding. He became angry with me and
threatened to beat up the fellowship leader, John Bevilaqua. This
didn't happen but came close. I agreed to move to the Wilmington
Delaware fellowship to distance myself from my boyfriend. I was told
that if it were meant to be that Jesus would bring us together at the
right time.  I started to consider that perhaps it wasn't meant to be,
so I focused on the Forever family and learning to please Jesus.

At about that time, Stewart had broken up with Shirley. Changes began
to take place. Each house still paid it's own bills through full or
part-time jobs we each got and we gave a donation to the Center leader
who in turn gave it to Stewart.

We still handled our own money and gave in a donation for the house
bills, usually around $35- $50- per week
each. Each person paid for his or her own food. Sharing was discouraged as
some new people would join and not look for work. If you don't work
you don’t eat, was the way it was. This bothered me, as I noticed that
if you were visiting a fellowship and had no money or food with you,
no one usually would even offer! When I asked about it, at a few
different fellowships, I was told that the physical food wasn't the
big deal and that I should 'get off my mother trip’. They made fun of
me frequently for worrying whether everyone ate or not.

This gradually changed, beginning in Wilmington. I would buy extra
food and I started making meals and offering to whom ever wanted it.
Others started to share too. Ernie Bencak was the leader and a truly
nice guy.

The food stinginess at early fellowships was the only fault I found
with the Forever Family! This changed though as when I began to
share, slowly others did too. After a while it became common to share
but I was still accused of being on a "Mother Trip”. I didn't mind,
I just was a 'literal Christian' when I joined and felt the physical
was important too, as they were mostly into what they perceived to be
the spiritual, and ready to surrender all!

At this point in time, there were communes all over. The early FF'ers
were known to ‘rescue’ some from the COG's and Moonies, and try to
rescue HareKrshna's too, along with runaway kids and homeless. The
fellowships grew because many left their, then sinful lifestyles,
and moved right in.  Some were hippies or on the fringe of being
hippies. Others just wanted to opt-out of their sinful worldly
lifestyle into a pure sin free environment. And it was just that, for
a time.
Gradually as it grew, more elements were added, a biggy was, the
kiddies were growing up...urges..relationships developing...remaining
sin free...remaining sleeping in rooms, was heading
towards a problem, which didn't occur! I have never heard of a
pregnancy started in the FF/Cobu out of wedlock. That made them
better than the Cog's or Moonies! Frequently moving around from one
fellowship to another meant unemployment issues. Stewart was a vac
repairman and sold rebuilts at flee markets. He taught some of the
center leaders to do the same. They in turn taught some of the guys
to do it too. Girls often worked office jobs, waitresses, house
cleaners, baby sitters, and so on so we all just chipped in and paid
the bills.

As the fellowships got bigger. The centers grew. Stewart originally
was dragging his entire family around in the beginning to do bible
studies every so many weeks or month. Then we started to rent larger
places and have Big Meetings. the bigger we got the further he had to
drive. So, it was no surprise that we started giving Stewart more and
more money and then small plane to get around in and then his wife
would stay home with the kids. Then after Debbie Tobias left,
different girls used to help with writing out the file cards. Stewart
was using a mini tape recorder to save all the ideas he was getting.

And then came along Gayle- no father and young, 18-19. She babysat for
the Traills sometimes and now got promoted to secretary for Stewart.
The rest of that is history. That is also where Stewart SOLD OUT TO
THE DEVIL! AND began the exploitation of the willing!
"Do it for Jesus!" the death of a fellowship! The taking into
captivity! Many left....God help those who remained!!!!

Nancy wrote:

Those people (even us), loved the Lord Jesus Christ, were saved by Him alone, wanted to see others saved, and THAT is the experiment I am talking about. It was a noble idea, and I am still for church planting, and yes, people are going to be very human in their circumstances. Sometimes a new church works; sometimes it gets messed up, mostly because of leadership.  But even some young leaders, filled with the Holy Spirit, do not have to have seminary degrees to lead people well.


How do we make sense out of our captivity????What can we say or do to
bring back the years the locusts have eaten ???? There is a
neat 'ditty' type song that has been on TV-------
AND 'he's under my feet, under my feet, Satan is under my feet.."

That is one way! The Hebrew slaves in Egypt were still children of
God, and for 400 years were slaves and after being freed, had 40
years to lament gripe, blame God and whomever, before reaching the
promised land. We are under grace and the Promised Land is only
forgiveness away!


 With a degree from a Christian college, the baptism of the Holy Spirit personally, three years as a pastor's wife
in a "traditional" setting, (since being out of Cobu), I still feel I too can say that.  Otherwise, nobody should ever do something "new." Tradition is not "all that" either.  Training is always good, but can even stifle leaders at times; it often bogs down missionaries especially (with student loans to pay back too!)

I personally am glad and 'proud' of the members who continued to seek
their God after leaving the CobuCult! Especially commendable it is
for those who managed to 'sit through' traditional' teaching after
such a lifestyle and all the brainwashing we received while IN...


If there were only "bad" in Cobu, none of us would have stayed any time at all.  It is just too simplistic to say it was always "hellish" indeed, there were some wonderful times between us as brethren, as young people, and this is not "mythology."  It is extremely unfortunate that what has happened did at all, but it does not negate the truth that we were idealistic CHRISTIAN
young people, the majority, and to say any less is to insult the memory/honor of those who suffered for their faith IN. (MHO) 

To realize the truth of the CobuCult, it took me 5 years to stop
defending it! We were programmed and the good was there to justify
the bad! The good was allowed there to cover up the bad! The good
were there as a front for the workings of Satan through Stewart and
his few henchmen! Stewart needed to lure and entice a certain amount
of True Believers to pull off his scam!!! We, who loved Jesus, were
being used to make Cobu look noble and worthwhile! We breathed the
life into that monster...

If that wasn't bad enough, we were abused continually by Stewart and
his assigned henchmen and 'punished' for loving Jesus and
subconsciously Stewart was embedding the blame on Jesus in our
minds, so he could finish destroying us even after we left the cult!!!
Stewart had help from heavy hitting 'demons' to accomplish so
dastardly a deed! I hate watching WW2 movies about Hitler. Hitler
had demons too! So does Saddam Hussein, and many who place little or
no value on human life as long as they could extract gain for
themselves and power! They all possess the 'spirit of antichrist'

None of us have that!!!! We may feel uncertain yet think about it.
It takes a certain dedication to self-indulgence to even allow such a
high evil spirit to enter into a person. They have to want it! like
Stewart,[God help him!] A willing puppet for Satan! a mouthpiece for
evil. A destroyer who will be destroyed, barring Godly intervention!


Nancy wrote:

I am not trying to propagate a memory that would lead anyone to returning, God forbid.  I am just saying that apart from ST it was a noble experiment of young people who wanted to band together for each other's good and to have a safe haven in (our) generation where ideas on religious subjects could be shared along with food, etc.  Most of us needed that. Even the ones
still sought out later (the sincere homeless) needed that.  What happened was our needs were manipulated by ST.

*The Hitler Youth made Germany strong enough to start another world
war.....they were considered noble, in safe havens, away from their
parents, even turn against their parents [like some cobu] they banded
together too. They needed a youth group and fell for
many of us fell for Stewart.. If Hitler did everything 'bad' no one
would have listened...??? Hitler's people were lured by revenge on
the world for WW1 and told they were superior and had the right to
take over the world...Apart from Hitler they could have been a nice
Just what did Stewart do to us/those who were pliable and willing to
surrender all for Jesus???

He mixed the sheep with the goats and started to bring all/us in
small groups to the slaughterhouse.  Then he mixed in pigs and
horses and fed us all slops! Then he had different lords over us-
little lions to nip and bit and cull out the 'unconverted ones’. The
converts Stewart wanted were the mindless enough who ate what he
offered them not knowing he is/was only poisoning the ones who were
bringing him gain, planning on replacing as they/we/us wore out or
left!...He only pretend/s/ed to be a Christian brothers fellowship!

Although we are physically free from being there- we have little
time bombs planted in side and/or around   us that need to be
deactivated!   The parting shots from Stewart / or those he delegated
the shots to give us!

Those time bombs are demonic oppression that hits us each in similar
or different ways, some are; Spirits of:
depression, suicidal, anger, fatigue, confusion, mental disorders,
infirmities, bitterness, religious spirits, frustration, contempt,
hatred, pride, lying, stealing, homosexuality, promiscuity, Eve,
Jezebel, bitterness, envy, treachery, mocking, witchcraft
unforgiveness, jealousy, strife, self-mutilation,
self-gratification, even spirits of murder, if only in our hearts!
Stewart is still succeeding in robbing the joy of loving Jesus out of
our lives if any of these demonic forces have any victory in and
around our lives.
I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, if
any of you are suffering and search your hearts for any of the
feelings associated with any of the above mentioned, do not be
deceived! Pray, get help to have some one pray with you! Surrender it
all to Jesus and remember again your creator as in the days of your
God is not mocked, but wants to heal and hold any and all of us that
have any bondage in any of those areas, he will deliver! All who call
upon the name of the Lord will be saved...


Nancy wrote:

Please do not misunderstand me.  I think God reaches into various people groups in terms and ways that are indigenous to each, and the idea of the FF was part of the 70's.

The early FF had many 'true believers'- sheep with the goats...wheat
with the tares.......But those who remained trusting Stewart were led
on a path that would lead to destruction and newcomers were deceived
from the git-go... Real Christians were brought in for validity and
persecuted while inside! Stewart’s goal was to convert people to
him, using the name of 'god' but only creating a despised labor
force. That is why the real believers were punished so much, the
devil knew who we were and was up to his dirty tricks all the while...
sure, many were saved and many were delivered out of there.

My indignation remains over the ones who left and could not attain a
right relationship with Jesus due to the distortion of the truth
injected into their minds by the cobu/via Stewarts teaching and the
way he had his henchmen apply those teachings to the receivers.
The pain he has caused, and the ones he has  turned away from God as
a result! I pray for those who haven't found their way back to Jesus
yet and that Jesus carries them back into his sheepfold!

God bless you all!

Ave Hurley