I did not recall having contact with any inBoos after leaving with
the exception of a brief call from Paul Blottner a couple days after
I untied the knots. Beth Davies knew otherwise and even produced a
letter I wrote to her about 10 months into my new life. She
graciously consented to allow me to put it up here for what it's
worth. I am very glad she had it because I had forgotten when it was
that I actually left, other than the year and approximate season.
The letter will tell part of my story.
I was saved in August 1974 and moved in about a month later.
Skipping the details of my 20 or so addresses in the next seven
years, I was a resident of 515 at the time of my departure (2nd
floor, right at the top of the stairs). For some time, I had been in
business for myself, which allowed me the resources to pack my stuff
and drive away when I finally made that decision. (Breaking some
rules, no doubt, but I was making regular contributions, so nobody
seemed to mind.) There was apparently some rumor that I had run
afoul of the powers-that-be by questioning the financial matters of
cobu. I don't remember doing anything like that openly. If someone
remembers something I don't, I'd love to know. Anyway, the letter...
You wrote to me a couple months ago. You were on your post-Big
Meeting high. It was kinda nice to hear from you, but the
circumstances were all too familiar. I know only too well the roller-
coastering from meeting to meeting. I think I'd rather hear from you
when you're straight. I wrote another letter right after you wrote,
but decided not to send it. It was a little rough. I was peeved at
the incoherence of your letter. I was disturbed by the assumptions
you made about me. I don't know what you may have heard, or from
whom you may have heard it. There were only about two people in the
whole of COBU who knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. And
they certainly wouldn't have been very vocal about it.
In your letter, you spoke of me "returning to Jesus". You said
you were sad to hear that I "left" (Left what?!). The "what" that I
left was left open, apparently meaning COBU. The returning was
stated to be to Jesus. I suggest that something is more than a
little wrong if you are equating COBU with Jesus. Think it over. I
know of no other church (aside of other cults) that is so possessive
of its members. Every other thing in life, every opportunity, every
action, every thought, is subjugated to the apron strings of Mommy.
If Mommy cannot have the first and last word in every situation, then
such action is strictly taboo and the one who proceeds with it in
spite of Mom's stern warning is branded with that most awful name-
Dramatic, eh? But that's the way it works. I'd had enough.
about three months thinking it all over before I decided that I'd not
have any further part of it. That was from last Easter on. By July,
I'd made up my mind to "leave". It was just a matter of business
commitments to be finished up after that. I had contracted a couple
more jobs and had some of them done, but after Labor Day weekend, I
decided to hang it up. I gave the jobs I had to Lonnie Weiss and
packed up my things and left. I have not regretted my decision for
so much as one moment. It's no snap to make such a sudden change as
that, but I believe in what I'm doing (for a change) so I keep at
it. I looked long and hard at the prospects for my future with
COBU. There really weren't any. I couldn't make myself swallow all
the stories. I imagined myself as being a "zealous brother" and all
that. I finally concluded that I don't believe in COBU, what it's
doing or where it's going. That has no bearing though on my belief
You are probably starting to think of all the standard arguments that
if I see something wrong and don't like it then I ought to do
something about it. Considering the situation in its entirety, that
translates into saying, "Save us all." That of course, is the very
problem to begin with. I thought of all those things. But, I can't
change anyone else's mind. We all heard the same things. We all saw
the same things. As was said so many times, it's up to the
individual. The standard line of preaching assumes that if anyone
actually decides to get himself out of the mire, then he will, of
course, join in with "the real fellowship". And that's as far as the
average one ever bothers to look. Well, when I looked at the "real
fellowship", it turned my stomach to imagine myself as a part of it.
I simply don't believe in it. It isn't up to me to pass judgment on
COBU or anyone in it. But it is up to me to live with myself and my
conscience, and to try to make my life count for something. I can't
even begin to do that if I don't believe in what I'm doing.
Perhaps the hardest thing to get accustomed to is that I don't have
all the nice black and white answers, all the simplistic formulae.
Life just isn't all that cozy without Mommy's apron.
I hope that somewhat answers your question, "What are you doing?!!"
There's a great deal more than could be said, but if you're that
interested, you know were to find me.
Also enclosed is a small letter that Nancy Kuhn wrote during the same
post-Big Meeting-high. My reply is written on it.
Take care of yourself. Perchance we'll meet again someday.
that we'd still consider ourselves friends and Christians.
If only by the internet, we have met again. And the last line is
true. I am amazed and grateful.
Thanks Fred and Mike. Your work is a blessing.