To all, Something that occurred back in 78 always stuck with me: Gayle made an announcement to everyone at a couple of the loft meetings telling everyone that they needed ALL tapes that anyone had of previous meetings with ST for "transcription purposes". I thought it was peculiar because I thought that he made all his own tapes and what's more, how many copies did they need? For a brief moment I entertained the thought that he was trying to cover his tracks, not wanting there to be any bonafide record of his utterances during the early years. I've brought this up before and I wonder if anyone has any info about this, especially from any who were in the upper echelon, and can say as to what really happened to these early tapes. I can assure all that ST was a different person in mid 75 than he was at the MTC. Likewise, I'm sure most of you are familiar with Gene Scott. I used to watch him for amusement and he is the closest comparison I can mention for ST's transformation, (read: backslide). After seeing several segments where Scott had his beard, hat, and chomping his cigar, they aired a very early segment where he was clean-shaven, preaching the gospel; the quintessential TV evangelist, handsome, clear countenance, sincere, concern for the saving of souls. I've seen ST at his best, and more and more all the signs point to the events surrounding his breakup with Shirley as his turning point. Suddenly there was "requirement, commitment" and all those other buzzwords which we are all all too familiar with and have learned to despise. I'm sure many early brethren can testify to this change, (and I am surprised that no one has directly addressed this issue already). Chris Hirtler

It's sad that ST pushed us away and we tolerated that
It's almost like times at this meeting where he is almost.
admitting that he is not loving, that he was reaching out.
But we never helped him.  We were afraid of the man.
Of what he represented - a harsh view of God.
Looked what happened to Uzzah just trying to do
something good.  We feared similar repercussions.
It was ST's mystique.
But he would blurb out from time to time
and ask for help, but we never got it.
He would never be humble enough to directly
say what was bothering him.  Only hint at it
and remain in total control and leave us confused.
It's almost like, from time to time, he was trying
to plead with us:
"Stop me before I kill again...."

The closest thing that makes him resemble a Christian
is I heard one time he was approached and people wanted
to rob him near the Woodruff house in Brooklyn.
He dropped to his knees and started to pray and
the stunned would be attackers left.  Anyone hear of this?
I hear that back in the early days ST would go to the
grocery store with whoever was around.  He was nice and personable.
But a sister who was watching the kids, when ST asked her about
divorcing Shirley she balked at the thought, being from a good
Catholic background. ST didn't like the negative answer.
She was ignored and never watched the kids anymore.
>From this I think we can see what ST was "really up to".
He is a classic case of projection.  Being suspicious of
what we were "really up to" is just him knowing that he
really had a hidden agenda.  And remaining alone and all
that other stuff, like in my story "The King", just shows
the guilt trip he was laying on us started right at home in
his own conscience.
When I was there, and I wrote you about this before,
in 1989, we were having a brothers meeting in the
Woodruff basement.
ST was saying, in so many words, that the reason we
weren't loving is it starts at the top - that's where the buck
stops, so it's really all his fault.
Someone asked what was going on and I said, even though it
was painfully obvious, someone had to verbalize it so I said
"I think that ST is saying the reason we all aren't loving is it
starts with him and he isn't."
Lee DeBerry said, "Well, why don't you ask him?"
(If that's what he's trying to say)
ST was in the center of the room, up on the step.
He wheeled around in his seat and stabbed Lee DeBerry
with a loud "Why don't yewwww?!?"
(Why doesn't Lee himself ask ST if that's what he's trying to say)
You can tell a lot about a Christian worker by how they react
when "attacked".  Do they defend themselves or trust God?
Another traumatic scene in the Woodruff basement was when
Mike Jarvinin said tentatively that he sort of doubted the teaching
we were receiving.  He thought it a bit suspect.
ST laid into him, "TEACHER!!!! SO YOU'RE A TEACHER, THEN?!?!?!?!"
The volume of ST's voice was about double of what
it was to Lee.
Do not incur ST's wrath.
That's his fruit.
There are many Christians, unfortunately, in that camp.
They are arrogant fundamentalists that give God a bad
name.  If that were the way God truly was, I would reject
him outright myself.  But they use God's word to "get a handle
on you" and scare you.
There's only one verse, that I can think
of now that says what God is.
God is love.
But for ST, it has to fit into
A is to B as B is to C or it just doesn't compute.
Very sad, isn't it?
Tom
 
 
 

               NO!!! As far back as 1971 Stewart would be very harsh with
anyone who disagreed with him. he taught us by
example to mock other Christians when they didn't agree with him. Older
brethren can verify that Stewart would take us to other churches to teach
us how not to be like them. Us kiddies would think this was great fun
when he & others
mocked other Christians because they were not as learned as us. We called
it riffing with the C.C. Does anyone
remember how we used to mock Brother Sell & his congregation on 7th St.
Allentown. He would bully anyone who
disagreed with him, calling them C.C., & using the Bible to justify
himself.

Herm Weiss
 

and your question, "when he was good",  he was never a
mild mannered "nice" person if that's the definition of
"good"...  did you ever listen to the tape i sent you??

Steve
 

Hi...with regard to tapes of ST when he was "good", I don't have any, and
if I did, I would have destroyed them by now.  But I was around in 1974,
and for at least the first few years,  I believe he was seeking the good of
me and those he was with.

Those of my "generation"  were considered the "second" generation because
we were those who were saved after the first fellowships were started.
Even though I was around when 137 S. Church St. still had meetings and we
had center meetings at St. John's basement in Allentown, there were others,
including Skip, Herman Weiss, Neil Pendry, Rob Machell and Patti Seif who
were close to ST personally and considered him not only a brother but a
friend.  The loss they felt after he "turned" is probably far greater than
mine.

Although the record bears him out to have been a manipulator of young
people, which I believe he still is, my best recollection in the beginning
was that of a kind zealous older brother.  He was always a gentleman to me
and the sisters I was with, even more so than the brothers were, because he
was older and was married and knew the importance of etiquette.

I remember Stewart's first wife Shirley and I remember his children when
they were all little.  Shirley wasn't one to "open up" to you right away,
but he did put her on display and I could see her discomfort and could
sense her feelings of inadequacy, compared to him.  He was not ill at ease
at all.  He enjoyed being with us, and he was entertaining and eager to
meet anyone new.

As a young sister of 17, Gayle was very personable.  It was never hard to
talk to her.  Over the years, even in the dark years of the 80's, I still
always felt welcomed by her to speak with her.  She gave me confidence. She
made it look easy.

Whenever Stewart spoke to me about myself, he challenged me, he encouraged
me.  The year they married, Stewart  and Gayle both took the time and
effort to help me out of a difficult situation and encouraged me to think
of the consequences before I made a major life decision, one which I can
thank them for to this day.

I enjoyed being around Stewart because he was smart and eccentric, and
funny, and although I was just as afraid of him as everyone else, I never
thought he would harm me intentionally.  I trusted he had our good in mind.
And I considered him my brother.  I really believed he loved Jesus.  He had
a reverence for God and his word that I never saw before and it impressed
me.  Then again at 19 you can be impressed by almost anything.

I was in Teaneck in the late 70's (I may be wrong about the timeline) and
from what I observed, he acted in his home with courtesy towards everyone.
He used to think out loud in front of us and talk to Gayle about his lack
of understanding of why "we didn't get it"...he smacked his hand to his
head a lot.  To this day, I can't imagine that someone would be that good
an actor.  I think he sincerely believed what he was saying.

I often thought at the time that he was expecting far too much from us for
our ages and maturity.  He really was not connected to how we felt or
thought.  There were a few times when Gayle told me that I should have
known better about something or other, but I argued that I did not know,
for which I got my ears clipped.

So yes, I do believe that Stewart was earnest and sincere at some point.
And unfortunately, he isolated himself and had visions of grandeur, which
he fell for.  Most of his musings (when I look back on them) are of a
persecuted slant.  As if the whole world is against him.  And he wrote off
the notion of being understood, or having real fellowship.  It was a given
to him that he would be alone in his mission.

So for those who only saw him as the person in the center of those
bladder-bursting meetings,  there was a human side.  Those who had known
him personally and saw his children grow and saw how he alienated all his
friends (Brother Harold for one - remember him?) can only feel saddened at
the road he took.

And I regret the way I imitated his teachings by treating brothers and
sisters the way I did to score brownie points and for my own ego and
because I was so self-righteous.

However, I must say that I was never in any "inner sanctums", except for
the Turbo-prop.  They were off limits to me.  I guess I just wasn't inner
sanctum material.  Maybe because I had a big mouth.

   Now that I am older than he was when he first started out, I can
   understand the urge to control and manipulate people - it's so easy.
   All you need is a soapbox and zeal and a little chutzpah.  And a little
   financial backing can't hurt.

   All I can say is "there but for the grace of God go I...."  Anyone who
   is "shocked" at how he made out on the deal better look in the
   mirror....the fact is, he thought of it first.  Not that I would
   intentionally want to hurt anyone by doing what he did, but the flesh is
   capable of anything.  And self-deceit tops the list.

   Having invested 10 years of my young adult life there, I still
   experience reverberations now and then; I forgave Stewart and Gayle a
   long time ago, because I needed to be free of bitterness.   And because
   it's what God commands.  I still pray for them.  I still want to see
   them restored.  I still hope for all the brothers and sisters that are
   still there.

   So as a long-winded comment to the statement that Stewart may have been
   a Christian, I resound with a loud yes...

Pete Walejeski