I read the article. Wow. That made it hard to sleep last night. She did a pretty good job of recreating the "feel" of things and she was pretty darn accurate, unlike past articles (or maybe i am just less defensive). But it was disturbing. I feel like I looked at COBU/Stewart in a way I have never looked at them. I kind of went through that vulnerable, embarrassed thing again, like, "I hope none of my friends read this" kind of feeling. It was weird. I look forward to getting the original. Thanks for your hard work. Make sure you don't neglect your family!
From: cooganjd@juno.com

Hi (Nancy C.)  whoa, I just finished reading the article this morning.
It is obviously gonna take me a little while to digest it all, and since
I got it by e-mail I'm still waiting for the first paragraph!  But what a
story.  I really have to commend Sabrina.  Wonderful descriptions,
succinct word choices... the girl obviously loves her word-craft and did
one terrific job!  She suffered for her story also with that headache,
didn't she?  It totally grieved me to read how she had nightmarish images
of Jesus until she threw up.  What a horrible testimony the Fellowship is
now. So sad that their "compassion" is such a put on just to recruit
people into the Borg.  We used to really want people to become
Christians, not just to be fed into the Borg, but because we believed in
a good Jesus.  His image certainly became so tainted by ST over the
years.  How sick.  I thought of when she stood before the great OZ and he
immediately tested her to see if she would go along with his game.  And
when the others standing there were afraid she didn't have it quite
right, he's all nicey-nicey lest he drive her away.  The old ploys he
uses, like reeling in a fish.  And all the fish are the same to him.
He'll remember her name, its part of his supposed caring; later he'll
change her name at his will if he thinks it would benefit his
manipulation.  She's just another unit for the Borg, to be plugged into
his marketing scheme... another Stat... He's such a LIAR... His little
science project at Princeton won awards, eh?  "His and Her" condos in
their names... His and Her bathrooms upstairs when everyone else was
lucky to have A bathroom in the loft... Image is nothing - obey your
thirst (to bring him down)... I loved Sabrina's comment's as he's telling
everyone "deny yourself" of how his skin was tan... what a Liar.  What
has he denied himself?  I almost got sick however, reading how he told
Gayle "get ready for me..."  gross, gross, gross.... Megalomaniac sick.
Talk about pride to the max - "Mr. Elijah" is storing up "treasures" for
himself in Hell, in a place reserved for anti-christ spirits.  The "grace
meeting" part in the article was a good perspective from a person who has
never been IN - Sabrina saw it as a dysfunctional "Conversation" between
ST and Gayle.  Look at the transcript and you will see that makes sense
according to what we now know happened, and how ST would "handle" Gayle
so she couldn't react as anything but "holy" in front of everyone.  Can
she be mad that he's been fondling another woman?  No, she's heard the
wicked sugar-bowl stories.  Can she imply that Mr. Elijah has actually
been an adulterous dirty old man, Mr. Sinless Perfection who bought her a
condo, from the very funds these dolts have provided, in front of the
dolts themselves?  No, she has to go along with the crowd: that it is
somehow the older brothers who must take the blame for this neglectful
misunderstanding that could have led to the omission of this important
doctrine of forgiveness and grace that they must now discover and
embrace, including her, so ST can get off the hook.  How insidious. When
Sara thinks for herself she always gets in trouble... who does she get in
trouble with?  With God?  Who does Sara's thinking for her then, since
she's not even married like in the OT?  She doesn't live in her father's
house, oh, yeah, ST's her father-figure, so he's thinking for her, how
very safe she is... If the light in you be darkness, how great the
darkness... if your eye causes you to sin - pluck it out!  I liked how
Sabrina self-disclosed how easy it was to feel as she put it a "bloom of
pride" that she knew the "answer" they were looking for... how she
revealed that a perfectly rational person could be somewhat "suckered in"
because it is a basic human need to want acceptance and love and
attention (these would eventually be used against you).  And how weird
some poor bro. has to stand up and say "yeah, I'm a has-been" is that a
projection of the ego of ST reaffirming his lost youth, that he's not a
has-been, and here some young guy he can get to say that proves to him
that he's "the Man..." I remember an old black and white scary movie I
saw as a young teen of a woman who drank the blood of young people to
keep her eternal youth. She had some wicked formula from the deepest,
darkest region of the jungles of Africa, and she had some goons -
henchman who helped her lure in unsuspecting missionaries so she could
get their blood - she didn't kill them right away, no, she kept them for
a while to drain the blood out of their jugulars... I think it was called
something like the spiderwoman... and of course the Errol Flynn looking
character saved the day - (that part's reserved for you, right MM?
<smile>) At the end, she dissolves finally, like the part in the Raiders
of the Lost Ark where the guy melts.  Let's hope that happens to Cobu
soon.  Nancy C.
From: MGriffo@aol.com

Nancy....I guess the word's not enjoyed...I guess it's more than I'm touched
by what you wrote concerning the article.
  In my opinion, this Onelist has help to demystify Stewart and the article
is like the crowning touch.  On the one hand it seems so incredulous that
everyone is in the situation they are there, but on the other, a few more
twists in the road...far fewer than I'd like to think about...and I could
have been one of the ones on the inside that Sabrina wrote about.  I don't
feel that there is something particularly special about me that I find myself
here on the outside, healing and regaining myself as a person as opposed to
those who are still there.  It is my hope that the very things that stirred
in me can be stirred in those still there even though they've been there for
decades and it will be harder.
  In trying to explain COBU to Christians who just can't grasp something like
COBU...particularly that there are/have been or whatever Christians there
I've often said that people tend to put up do not enter signs for God in
their minds when it comes to places like that but that God does not respect
those do not enter signs.


As I read Sabrina’s article, I was struck by how much we had given up ‘for Jesus’.  (We may have given it up for Jesus, but we all know who benefited from our sacrifices).  And we were all supposed to be the same, inside and out, like plastic Barbie and Ken dolls all made from the same mold, with slightly different color hair or outfits, but the same nonetheless.  (Of course,
Barbie and Ken had a lot more clothes and accessories, not to mention MUCH nicer living quarters, than we did!)  Speak only the current ‘teachings’, think only approved thoughts, conform, conform, conform, make sure one blended invisibly into the group, lest one be noticed and chastised for one’s ‘waywardness.’
Part of growth and healing as an ex-boo, seems to me, is to accept and celebrate our differences.  We don’t have to be carbon copies of one another any more!  Some of us can sing or play or write music, which seems marvelous to me.  Some have amazing computer skills - others currently are devoted to raising children, which in my personal opinion is THE most important
job on the plant.  Some are continuing their educations - another very admirable goal; so many of us lost much time in the COBU.  It would be easy to sit on our hands and wail about how much was stolen from us; those who are going or have gone back to school are instead doing something constructive, something to be proud of.  Some may be drifting, a little; sometimes that too is part of growing, to accept that there are ‘down times’.

We can wear our hair long - or short, or permed, or colored, we can wear jeans and T-shirts, or tailored business suits, or bright gypsy colors.  We can bathe or shower as often as we like - and wear perfume or cologne or make-up if we want to.  We can listen to music BESIDES Handel’s Messiah (which, after hating for a number of years because of the association with COBU, I have finally come to enjoy again).  We ride in actual CARS with SEAT BELTS now!  We have a reasonable certainty of being in the same town - perhaps even the same house or apartment - three months from now!

Perhaps inevitably, now that we are no longer programmed into what ‘we’ believe, many of us have grown into religious beliefs that are no longer ‘on the same page.’  (In some cases, we’re not even reading the same book!)  But we are still, for the most part, passionately spiritual people, AND we were well tutored, ‘back in the day’, on ways of arguing the other person into
the ground during witnessing.  I think that we all need to try harder (myself included, I know that I have much room for improvement) when expressing a disagreement, to make it very clear that what we are disagreeing with is a particular statement.  You can disagree with something I say, or I with you, and it doesn’t mean that therefore we hate each other and consider each other idiots.  But - if we’re not careful, we can use language that SOUNDS like that’s what we mean, and then people get hurt.  The purpose of this list, as I understand it, is to support and help one another.  Regardless of where we all are with our current religious beliefs (or absence thereof), we all suffered while being in and then getting out of FF/COBU.  Let’s not turn on one another, rather help one another and make an extra effort to be gentle and kind, even (or especially) when
we disagree.

A really good read (for Christians and non-Christians alike) are Jessamyn West’s Quaker novels, The Friendly Persuasion (many of us were required to read that one in school) and Except For Me and Thee.  In one of them, there is a little girl, Sarah I believe her name was, whose mother made her a red dress.  This was somewhat frowned upon by certain members of their Quaker community, as red was not thought a particular ‘seemly’ color for a Quaker.  But any other color on Sarah seemed false, like dying a cardinal brown (the bird not the clergyman) - on her, red ‘fit.’

Let’s celebrate that we are all now free to make our own choices, even to wear red!


- Beverly

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

If you have mistakes... there is always another
chance for you... you may have a fresh start any
moment you choose, for this thing we call
"failure" is not the falling down, but the staying
                                             Mary Pickford
                                                American actress

From: MGriffo@aol.com

Bev...I believe what we experienced in COBU was a rape of the soul.  There
are certain parts of us that I believe are private and between us and God.
In COBU nothing was private and sacred to the individual.  Boundaries to our
precious souls, to our very core, were broken and in their place a harsh task
master (remember those words?) moved in wreaking havoc at will.
From: Doris Petini <dpetini@concentric.net>

" COBU was a rape of the soul. "

Your email took my breath away!

In one paragraph you nailed it! It was very piercing and SO true!


"When the train goes through a tunnel and
the world gets dark, do you jump out? Of course not. You sit still and
trust the Engineer to get you through."

From: "Michael Montoya" <montoya@integrityonline1.com>

I go with Maureen on this one.  I seem to have trouble with privacy. Our
mechanism for decided what was private and what was not was damaged in COBU.
When you got a guy who says" he has the gift to discern spirits" and couple
that with coming to the light.....over and over again....well, then when you
get out to the real world, people are surprised that you tell them your life
story after they make a comment about weather.  I remember dating...or kinda
dating....I believed that in order to gain the trust of the young lady, I
needed to tell her everything about me on the second date so that she could
know well ahead of time whether to invest her heart in my wild ride.  I did
tell her everything and well......we are friends.....sorta.  When I met
Jocelyn(my wife) I purposely held back all the cult stuff and the stew
stuff.....heck I held alot back and kept thinking....man I am not being
honest.....what a dirty trick......after a couple months..she might really
like me and then I am gonna dump the cobu stuff on her and she is gonna feel
like I pulled a fast one.  Maureen, you know this, and Dave M too, that Cult
leaders often employ this "I can see right thru you " jazz to keep everyone
exposed and weak. Dave or Maureen...help me here. It's a
tactic...anyway...looking back....I still don't see anything Stew did that
we at his age couldn't do to people our age back then........what?  I
mean...Stew is above average in smarts but not spiritually gifted.  But
thats another discussion.

From: Herman M Weiss <hmweiss@juno.com>

Hi Mike, I know exactly how you feel, when I was dating these same fears
me, but mine went a step further. I thought, when I was dating a woman
who I was getting serious about, if  whether or not she could accept this
chapter in my life or see it as a character flaw or sign of weakness. I
hated that I allowed myself to follow this
man & thought she might despise me too. The belief among those who were
involved in a cult that only people with weak minds would fall for a
cult's indoctrination
is widespread & hard to dispel. It almost convinced me that only a woman
a similar experience would really accept me.
Herm Weiss
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

Michael Montoya wrote: and couple

> that with coming to the light.....over and over again....well, then when you
> get out to the real world, people are surprised that you tell them your life
> story after they make a comment about weather.

I remember having to learn to keep walking instead of taking someone
seriously when they asked "How's it going?"
From: JohnxCOBU@aol.com

In a message dated 6/10/99 9:23:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time, tpierron@Op.Net

<< I remember having to learn to keep walking instead of taking someone
seriously when they asked "How's it going?"

I was there,  ooops
still am.  I've even got a couple extra T-shirts.
Gotta remind myself
'they are being polite',  they don't really want to know  everything that is
churning within me.    jb
From: cooganjd@juno.com

Hi Mike and Maureen: Thanks Maureen for the comments you made on my
"article review" - and MM what you said about telling your life story -
you would laugh, my kids say "gosh, all we did was go into the gas
station to get some gas and we had to sit there while Dad told the guy
his life story..."  which is a family joke now - "Dad's life story" means
Jim gets into an intense discussion with people at times - mostly this is
a good thing, when he is relating to people and God uses him, to
encourage or empathize with people he meets, or sometimes to have a bit
of a witness - he is past all the "spilling his guts" form of this,
(reserved for small group testimonials now that people are always telling
him (us) to write down in a book).  But the kids still have a joke about
it, to the point that the words "Dad's life story" immediately clues me
in that they have been "so bored" waiting on him while he talks to
someone! I never thought of this as an x-boo "thing"  but yes, the
self-disclosure issues are somewhat there with me too I'm afraid... but
one thing you have to say it a strength that came from all this - not
many of us can be accused of being "superficial".... Nancy C.