I know I haven't written for over a year but some things need to be said. As you sit down with each other I hope you will consider what I am trying to say to all of you.
The problem that I see is that Cobu may be over for some of you and therefore you feel no motivation to rehash it, but that's not the end of it. I am going to try sending an article about Cobu that was in the Scranton paper last year. I'm sure ST loved it. Can't buy better publicity. It made me cry.
The 'reporter' didn't bother to do any back round research and as you can see, because of this unchallenged testimonial in the form of a lifestyle feature article, many now think Cobu is a good thing. This 'news story' is all my friend's mother, (who sent it to me) and many others, know of Cobu. To actually put it in the past it must be over. It’s not over as shown by former members still in pain, still in bondage and still returning. It’s not over for my friend, her family or me.
Some here have suggested hitting ST in the wallet. The devotion, and ignorance of those left believing his lies are his wallet!
Each of your voices is irreplaceable for an accurate, complete and effective strategy of truth against ST's manipulative lies. Even if current Cobu doesn't hear it! We, the friends and family, can educate ourselves and if ever given an opportunity, educate those who've gone back to Cobu. To say nothing of the new recruits.
It depressed me terribly to think people of good heart are still being conned by the 'Haiti' connection. This reporter as well as those reading her propaganda. The article says Cobu is Non-denominational (so ST denies the very foundation of their existence, not to mention the mandatory bible studies before anyone is fed), and proceeds go to Haiti (implying all proceeds do) and are managed by volunteers. No mention of ST or any controversial practices or requirements of these 'volunteers' in the name of this 'nondenominational humanitarian charitable organization' never mind the planes, the condo (s?) the millions in 'church property' and where all that money that doesn't go to Haiti actually does go.' So this is what ST would have people believe. Without your voice this is what stands! One or two cannot do it alone.
The biggest obstacle to current and ex members believing the things ST doesn't tell them, is their inability to confirm the truth. This is the help that ex members writing their accounts can offer. My friend or Cobu may be able to discredit one or two...even more...but not all. It only takes that first realization ...and it’s down hill from there.
The more people writing the more chance of one person connecting emotionally with another. If one of my friend's close friends formerly from the group, wrote what they saw and experienced, and why they left, perhaps their story might have an effect on my friend. There would need to be several accounts and examples of ST's constant lack of accountability, self involved behavior and exposure of his methods as premeditated coercion not divine inspiration. Maybe she would have believed you when she didn't believe any one else.
The transcribing Mike is doing is very important in proving ST's unfitness with his own repeated rhetoric. Audio must also be available for verification of ST's words with ST's voice otherwise people may try to claim Mike or Jeff altered it. Mike's efforts are truly a miracle and I am so grateful to him, (and the patience of his family), and all the others here trying to relate their experiences and the strength to document the truth of Cobu to prevent it from continuing. This list and his website are really the only unified voice of opposition.
I am happy for all the ex's that can move on but, perhaps there is a responsibility, even an obligation to warn others. Not because its good for you, (it may or may not be) but because people you once cared about may be helped. They were once your family, and like it or not at one time your contribution helped keep Cobu going. Now you know better, but they (the ones in and the 'new' ones) don't. After all, many here still call those in Cobu and each other here on the list 'brother and sister'.
Who better than you to tell them? You've been there. I know I have learned from everyone's experiences here on this list that Cobu is unhealthy at best and enslavement at worst. You all showed me that.
All the different personal experiences that demonstrate ST's requirements from members are verification of ST's true roots and motives. ST's using of the bible to justify himself, additions to the Word under the guise of clarification, inserting his opinion laden interpretation passed off as translation, and the lack of any forward movement, even in individual ways that could have benefited the fellowship as a whole, tell a great deal. For instance has anyone become a doctor, fluent in Greek or Hebrew or even a tax attorney. How about any forward movement of Cobu in general, such as 1% of the world even hearing about ST let alone joining Cobu. These considerations were a big part of my conclusion that Cobu was unworthy of my friends unquestioning loyalty.
When I learn something, such as ST got "The We People" from a magazine, it fortifies the ability to challenge ST's 'original divinely inspired truth' with the facts. Just a small thing in Mike's recollections but a huge piece to me. It takes away ST's 'holier than thou' attitude and humanizes his plagiarism as being 'hack' not holy. When someone can listen or read ST's own words, without his conditioning, without his completely controlled environment, without his novelty and snake oil show, his words do not stand on their own. First, however, they must realize it was and still is a show.
Everyone interested in Cobu does not know everything that can be substantiated, such as the less than 10% that really goes to Haiti, or that ST owns S&G Photo, not he and Gayle and not Cobu and its not non-profit. How about the fact that ST holds no degrees in anything, has never helped anyone go to school, become a leader of their own fellowship, trained a successor, or allowed a marriage. I know my friend didn't realize that the married folk, even currently in Cobu, either left to get married or joined Cobu already married.
How many of the folk going back or joining now know he was married before Gayle, that he was a failed salesman and 10 years older than most of the kids he dazzled in the FF way back in the early 70’s. That he left his wife and five children for a woman nearly half his age, and has declared ex members as being miserable or dead without proof.
By the way, that last one says a lot about how threatened ST is by your knowledge getting to 'his' flock. It is obvious to me that your unified word is the only thing ST fears and fights hard to prevent anyone believing.
How many can break the techniques down and identify the methods, separating ST's methods from Jesus' and how many have any history about Rev. Wurmbrandt, Skip or Ann or any negative info? How many have looked at his 990 tax form before giving him a dime. All they have are his lies!
Exposing his temper, his cruelty, his greed confirms to others that ST should not be leading a fellowship. Even what ST's house looked like, the library, the globe, compared to how the fellowship was living and how he sent people on bike to check out whether the route to his fav restaurant was open shows his character. From guilt trips over paper towels, cheap apple juice, missing ice cream, and the beating of his own son ST, was always in control because no one would have dared make a move without his approval. Even allowing those carrying out his orders to fall on his sword in court. Reminding old members, enlightening new recruits, educating well meaning customers are things only ex's can do.
How many times can someone have engine trouble and 'have to' land in the Bahamas in their private plane, all written off for orphans? How many know how much he spends just storing those planes...well, its about the same amount that he does on Haiti!!!
First hand witnessing of ST's hypocrisies, inconsistencies, round and round rhetoric, underhanded debate tactics, tattling, betrayal, code language, ridiculing outsiders, separatism, forcing people to say and do things like saying they were a child of Satan, undermining marriages, throwing a blind woman out on the street...well, knowing these things might save someone from returning to Cobu or even some other group.
Cults and unhealthy groups all work in a similar way. Being able to educate oneself in the ways of these 'toxic groups' can really open the door to recognizing what all these former members are describing. Demystifying the man and his tools can truly help people not just avoid Cobu but all the groups that use the same tactics.
Some here have assumed that everyone knows everything or believes what they've heard from one ex. How can they, when they are taught how untrustworthy each one of you is, by the 'master'. ST's fear of the real history (your memories) of Cobu shows at every thought stopping and controlling technique.
The pain you re-live by telling your stories is not for attention or sympathy or nostalgia. This might be a very effective thing that only survivors can do toward, prevention, rescue and healing, along with prayer, IMHO. Others here on the list have also stated how hearing testimony of ST's transgressions helped their own resolve to stay out.
Your individual experience and perspective may not exactly mesh with another's testimony but both are true and need to be heard...as do the less participating or now ostracized ex's IMHO. I am saddened by divisions even if they are sometimes necessary. I would hope they are temporary or recognized as being only in one area. This is one of the reasons I don't comment here any more. I am here to learn about FF/Cobu and find people who can minister to and understand my friend. Perhaps now I can encourage you all to know the value of your words even to an 'outsider'.
I firmly believe ST thinks ex's will not be able to trust or believe each other, rendering ex's suspicious, fearful, and ineffective. I think that is how he sees you without him. All the tactics he uses are designed to fortify fear, strip away any confidence in an individual relationship with God, destroy belief in independent power, and undermine alliances, especially your ability to rely upon your own perceptions.
However I believe that none of you are alone or to be dismissed. You are a force to be reckoned with! Don't underestimate yourselves, the power of your beliefs and the truth. Unhealthy groups share the characteristics of little available history, denying the facts of any negative accounts (usually claiming one-sided persecution) and demonizing the messenger. For example, the Catholic Church has banned the Boston Globe from their meetings after they broke the story of the pedophile priests. No reports, no problem.
In knowledge there is power. If only ST provides the knowledge than he has the power. Arguing bible verses makes the bible or ST's interpretation of the bible the issue. Its using the bible to justify how he treats people and refusing to acknowledge that his 'program' is routed in well worn psychological mind control not private communication from God, that's the big lie. Argue the lies, not the truth of the doctrine of the group (in this case the bible), that’s the challenge.
It seems to me that one of the keys to staying out of Cobu is confirmation of ones own gnawing suspicions that the problem is not an individuals lack of commitment to Jesus, but the leadership's lack of commitment to the well being of the fellowship. Being able to ask yourself why these methods, are more akin to documented psychological manipulation than a demonstration of sacrifices for God. Seeing that ST's methods, 'translation' and attitude have more in common with Jim Jones, RajNeesh and Hitler than Jesus is a start. Being fortified to be able to say, "it is not I who am weak, or lazy or led by evil forces" that which ST is so good at identifying and blaming in all but himself. There is a wonderful book called 'Releasing the Bonds' that anyone communicating with a person in any cult would find extremely helpful.
Many may feel it’s too painful or not productive or in some way taking on a demon that only 'comes out through prayer and fasting'. I do not believe ST is a demon. IMHO. He's a con man using man made methods to control people for his own gain. No magic, no mysterious force. Only other ingredient needed for a cult, people who don't know the history, or the finances and are vulnerable. I believe anyone could have joined a dishonest group if that group had approached them at the right time in their lives, regardless of intelligence, religious background or loving family.
My hope is that if someone does want to check things out the info is here. Some one here will relate to them, comfort them and help them see. Whether they are a former, current or family member.
Whether it's prayer and/or distributing a newsletter, and/ or confronting Cobu type rhetoric with direct contradiction or whether they touch on a bible verse, personal thought, accurate historical story of FF/Cobu and/or a book that might help...all efforts are valuable. As Tom has said to me when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged...you never know what will bear fruit.
Do we share the common goal of trying to help get those still there firmly out???
Remember all those who've had to retell horrific things in an effort to prevent their continuing or occurring again.
In describing why survivors of atrocities told their stories to magazines, on radio, on TV. through books and movies, one therapist to victims of atrocities said survivors have told her it freed them to never have to talk about it again, they could finally say...its all there if you wish to look...and it was. Free to not remember. (Then it is over, at least for them).
Yet, when they are gone and someone tries to do it again, their words will stand witness. The real point is to expose the fraud and prevent any more victims. Be inspired to come together, put aside past debates and feelings and strive to tell the truth together. JUST ONCE AND FOR ALL.
Please. Cobu is not in the past.
Remember this that Mike sent a while back? http://www.oldegoodthings.com/videos.htm
It’s the same kind of propaganda, like a commercial for Cobu. If you were to write a letter or tell something to my friend or her mother, that you think exemplifies Cobu would this t.v. show and the article be it? What would or will you say instead ??? Thank you for trying, in any way you are able to.
This is a separate discussion from group discussions 3 years agoMike Montoya's response will be in Blue. I have chosen to post these personal emails so that these brothers may be publicly exonerated. They have complied with my request that they email me directly first before I post anymore of their writings for Mars Hill. As you dear, reader, are already aware, I have posted all their writings, including the recent offering from Rob Machell. Here now is my reply to these brothers.
It seems I have misunderstood your intentions regarding your creation
of your web site and in the process I have offended you. Let me apologize
to you. I’m sorry. I forgive you The way I came upon your web site was through another and
when I opened Mars Hill I made it one of my ‘favorites’ and I didn't take
the time to read all you had to offer. You didn't have to read the whole site(i'm not hurt by this). It was not my intent to offend you
for I thought you had opened this site to brothers and sisters to
correspond with one another concerning the hope that lives within each one
of us. It is open for all to participate. This is why I didn't address my letter to you personally. I wasn't asking you to address the Mars Hill writings to me. Most don't. I was simply asking you to do what everyone else did without any coaching...they just dropped me a line so I would know who they were and that they were indeed in COBU and trustworthy. Your first letters came without any explanation as to who you were and what you wanted me to do with your writings. I emailed Brother John at this time thinking he was John Schultz. He wrote back bewildered. Then I emailed you brothers and got no reply. I assumed then that you were misusing the site and impolite to me. Then you sent more without talking to me. So from my point of you, you were being rude. My letter was not intended to be to you, at least not exclusively.Thats fine ..not offended In fact my
intentions are to seek out those who long, as I do, to see the face of our
Savior, so that we may converse together and sharpen one another, building
one another up in truth and love. I hope you judge me to be one of those who long...I had presumed God had used you to provide a way for this to be so. Was I mistaken ?You presumed correctly , my dear Watson. not mistaken
It seems that I have offend you in several areas. In addition to
assuming your intentions for your web site, my style of writing seems to
have invoked a less than desirable reaction from you. On this point I ask
you to be forbearing, I express myself as I do because of the person I am
and the literature I have consumed. Principally the Bible, John Bunyan, and
men of his era. Okay....welll...if this is the way you really talk..but gosh..use quotes man! The Literary Police might slap the cuffs on you.
It appears that my style of communication, as concerning you, has
caused a vacuous state.(looking through dictionary....hmmm..v...v....v... For in your reaction I perceive a lack of
understanding to the meaning of my words. In its place there is a hitting
out at that which you clearly don’t comprehend. okay ..I'm a dumbbell
It also appears that you think we wish to post over 300 pages of our
work on your web site. Maybe I wasn't clear....I meant that if you have this much to say(and I don't agree with alot of what you all have written) then get your own site. I never thought that you were going to ooze out your 300 pages on to this site. "Far be it from me to do such a thing." See quotes. It's not hard. I think it is from Samuel.This is not what I meant by indicating this. I wanted to relay to those interested that we have material that some may find helpful in their search for answers to what we believe. That's fine. No problem. Other brothers and sisters have web site links from this page. I welcome others.
Finally, you ask if I believe that the resurrection has past. As Jesus clearly declared so will I, "True Interpretation, is the resurrection and the life!" (Looking in the Gospel of John....hmmm.....Here it is....John 11:25...hmmmm....what translation are you reading?When the True Interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures stood in
front of the ancients they rejected Him because they valued the literal
interpretation over the true interpretation and therefore sealed their fate. We are not going back to StewartLand are we? I hate the rides.
Understand this - As was the behavior of those who were the ones in control
and were religious in His day so will be the behavior of those who are the
ones in control and religious in our day!(Here is where Mike Montoya's character is suppose to read from the script "Are we also blind." Oh come on!
As my letter indicates, I seek each reader’s preference. You have
indicated yours. A bit over the top? Unless you indicate otherwise I will determine you as swerving from the truth. If Mars Hill is not an open forum where brothers and sisters may post correspondence, but is in effect your church and you’re the
pastor please indicate this and I will not send anymore. (putting hand over a yawning mouth) I will set a challenge before you. (sounds dramatic..but that the way I express myself) Go to the Great Email Address Page and email anyone. Ask them if I have ever refused to post any of their writings. I did tell a sister that I would not post political points of view and so turned down her request. And I did not post a brother's piece as he was relating a story that was fictious(sp) in nature and not real Mars Hill material. But I have posted their writings word for word. They are major contributors. Other than these 2 examples Go ahead ...email everybody. Who have I shut out? Certainly not you! Have any of your writings disappeared from the site? Ask Brother John if I have ever refused to post any of his writings. Read our online disagreements. My dear brother...I truly think we have misunderstood and missed each other. You came on to the page in an unusual way. I responded and it escalated to this point. If it is your intent that Mars Hill is an open forum than I request that I may continue to
submit my thoughts and in order to cause you no more reactions of the kind
you have exhibited I suggest you refrain from reading them. I can handle anything you write. Can you handle anything we write in response?
May God have grace and mercy on each one of us.amen
firstname.lastname@example.org Look everyone ...it's John Schultz email address...Welcome to Mars Hill
You may post all that you received on Mars Hill......Thanks for your permission
Of course ‘the resurrection’ is past, because the whole Bible story is
past. But it’s all figurative. The objects of the figures are spiritual
realities. If no one wrote anything about the end, when it came, it is
because those with eyes to see it were taken up!(voice of the an announcer) "You are now entering PendryLand"
The resurrection to which we aspire, however, does not submit to
qualifiers like ‘past’, ‘present’, or ‘future’, bifurcated as it is by the
juxtaposition of time and eternity. (getting dictionary out again).In some sense, clearly, Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob have already (if ‘already’ is an applicable word) risen to Him who
is God not of the dead, but of the living. The resurrection and the
accompanying rapture anticipated by the apostles are necessarily past, for,
in accordance with Jesus’s prophesying, they rightly expected these within
their natural lifetimes. Jesus could not have lied to them about this, and
they could not have been mistaken. In relation to the dead in Christ who
were to be raised first, Paul wrote "then we who are alive will be caught up
together with them." He did not write "those who are alive" or "you who are
alive" but ‘we who are alive". He could not have been in error about this,
or else he could have been in error about any number of other things. I defer to Greek scholars to determine how Paul was writing. If I were writing about the end of the world and I was speaking to my beloved brothers and sisters, I would say "Okay , here's the drill....the dead in Christ rise first..then we(you know..we christians) who are alive will then be caught up." I am not saying Paul is doing this. I am saying that I want to know what Paul meant. I don't think you have it right. But other more learned brethren will take this point up with you on Mars Hill. If we have something to eagerly anticipate as Christians in this world, t is the revivifying spiritual realities of which the New testament histories are altogether figurative, and these are the things we wish to talk about. Thanks for listening.
Neil Pendry No problem Neil, Welcome To Mars Hill!
It was my understanding that "Mars Hill" is a reference to the kind of
dialogue and exchange of ideas that Acts seventeen describes.You are correct sir I do not have
a computer and I am not "on line", so I am not able to search your web-site
for the protocol you desire brothers and sisters to submit to.protocol? Common courtesy. You brothers never answered any of my emails. How was I suppose to know if you were the real Neil Pendry, John Schultz, and Rob Machell. You could be current COBU members. You know that they are up on their technology. Stew has his own web page. I suspect that they monitor this site and the other sites between bible studies(if they still read the bible). Neil Pendry received a letter in the mail that presumably you sent him, introducing your web-site and inviting brothers and sisters to participate! Presumably? I have all my contact information on the front page. If someone wanted to burn my house down, cut my phone line and say bad things to my cat, they could not have asked for a better road map.(note to reader, Mike Montoya does not have a cat)John Schultz sent you our three letters from 1996, and you posted them without complaining about lack of protocol back in November, so we are surprised by the intensity of your attacks upon us and your feeling that we have been ill-mannered. Ill-mannered? Forsooth! I emailed you twice and ask you for instructions about what to do with these communications. you did not write back. So I reluctantly posted them. Reluctant, not because of the content, but because from my perspective you three came out of no where. All the others came out of nowhere too but they talked to me so that I could be sure that the nowhere that they came from was somewhere I knew. I received no such explanation from you. If you want I could email you the 100 or so emails I have filed on my desktop. Everyone emailed me and said" Hi , I'm Your Name here . I got saved.... Do you now understand how you appeared to me?(Your brother Dave, did not introduce himself to us before he publicly misrepresented us in several ways, but you do not seem to have a problem with that!) I asked my brother to respond to you. It was not his understanding that he should write in the format that you seem to believe I enforce on Mars Hill. I apologize for this misunderstanding. I do not want anyone to address anyone if they don't want to. I was referring to you fellas talking to me just to say hello. Your writings on Mars Hill do not need to be addressed to me. You must think I am some sort of maniacal control freak. I challenge you.....oh never mind!
You say that "some near (us)" report to you "that (we) believe the
resurrection has passed." You do not say whether our accusers allege these
to be our actual words, or whether they acknowledge that this is their own
representation of our beliefs.They are not your accusers. Lighten up! My first inclination (since these are not, in
fact, our words) is to recommend that you ask these anonymous informants boy ..you're paranoid which resurrection it is they say that we say has passed, since we believe in more than one. I assume that putting these words in our mouths is someone's
attempt to reduce something that we said or wrote (probably something we said about the significance of 70 AD) into a "straw man", something easy to slap a scripture at.since you do not know the motives of my secret evil spies, do not presume to know their intentions. We have written somewhat extensively about 70 AD, but suffice it for now to say that it is our belief that 70 AD represents the completion of a paradigm and the end of sacred history, as Jesus said in Luke twenty-one, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." But whatever has been "fulfilled" in history
and recorded in Scripture is set to be "portrayed" anew as the same spiritual realities reenact themselves again and again and again. So the fact is that we look forward to an ultimate resurrection. But we also believe that "all things" that were "written" had their fulfillment as Jesus said that they would in the context of the destruction of 70 AD (could Jesus have been wrong?), and that "all things written" must also be re-fulfilled according to the model God has provided.Calling all smart brothers and sisters.Calling all smart brothers and sisters!I am not able to decipher the above. I ask the learned members of our gathering to address our brother.font>
Anyway, I hope you will be willing to post the response that I recently
wrote to your brother Dave’s letter; but I will certainly will not presume
to forward any further materials in the future, if there is reason to think
you are going to take offense. Brother Rob, Welcome to Mars Hill. Sorry for the misunderstanding. All three of you are welcome. You can write whatever you want for Mars Hill. Absolutely nothing will be altered. I read your response to Dave. I think you are a brilliant writer. you are well spoken. I hereby award you the Apollos award for eloquence(smattering of applause). You three are welcome to come on. God Bless you three......I mean that.