Life as a 2x2 Worker - Brad Lewis
Memoirs of Brad Lewis, Life as a worker in the 2x2 religion.
I am still working on my memoirs and sorting out the sequence in which events happened, so please bear with me or come back later to see if I'm "done".
I Meet My First Companion - Randy Russell
I "started out" in the 2x2 "work" at Boring, OR. Boring Oregon is about 30-40 miles East of Portland, OR. Duncan and Irene Hunter owned the Boring convention grounds at the time.
I had become one of the 2x2 workers. They told me that my first companion was Randy Russell. I had never met Randy before.
At convention, they put all the "new workers" together and we had our picture taken with the Oregon overseer, Howard Mooney.
Look carefully and you will see 5 souls here. From left to right, KK Boe, Muriel Hauselman, the proud overseer Howard Mooney, Jim, and myself Brad Lewis on the right.
Maybe you know all the people in this photo. Jim left the 2x2 work within a couple months of this picture being taken. Then I left the work because of my health, and then KK Boe left the work. Then a few years later Howard Mooney died. He couldn't take our money with him. And the worms who will eat his body didn't care. Only one remains a worker. Only Muriel Hauselman is still a worker last I knew.
The 1989-1990 Oregon Workers List
While I was sick from food poisoning and suffering in the little trailer with little attention, Howard Mooney (the 2x2 cult overseer in Oregon) had worked out the 1989-1990 Oregon Workers List, and had assigned me to be with Randy Russell in Albany/Corvalis field.
Salmonella Food Poisoning at the Boring Oregon Convention in 1989
Welcome to the Work! I got salmonella within a few days of becoming a 2x2 worker.
After one of the pre-convention meetings I suddenly felt very cold. I put on almost all the clothes I had and went to my assigned top bunk in the workers quarters. On top of all the stress and new things I was seeing, my body was shivering to try to stay warm.
Randy Russell came in and saw me all bundled in clothes and shivering. He asked what was wrong. I told him I was very cold and tired. He seemed to know why immediately, but never told me. He quickly moved me to a little trailer away from others so they wouldn't get sick (or so I thought).
I got more sick. I started vomiting. I was miserable. I couldn't keep any food down. I I had extreme diarrhea. And there wasn't a men's restroom in 100 yards.
I didn't know it then, but I had gotten food poisoning. Some of the food being served in the Boring convention kitchen was poisoned with salmonella. I found out later that several people were poisoned with salmonella from the food over several days. And the workers knew it. But they didn't tell me what had poisoned me. I found out later. That's why they moved me so quickly. They didn't want me to go to the doctors. There were more concerned about the convention being shutdown by authorities than whether I lived or not.
They fed me saltine crackers and water. I am very allergic to wheat. I vomited up the saltine crackers and endured more bouts of diarrhea.
I was visited maybe two or three times per day. More saltine crackers and water. More vomiting and diarrhea. Still nobody told me about the food poisoning.
I lost weight quickly. I couldn't keep any food inside of me, and soon I had to quit eating. I wanted to die.
I was very dehydrated - that's when I started to shake all over. About twice a day, someone would come in to see if I was alive. None of the workers stayed with me to watch out for me. I guess they were busy with more important things. I was feverish and kept shaking. Still no restroom in the trailer.
Start of Boring Convention August of 1989
Hundreds of people were milling around just 50 feet from my trailer. The convention had started. I could hear the people. Then I could hear the singing from meeting shed. I wondered why no one came to visit me.
Then Randy came and asked me if I could speak Sunday morning when the new workers were going to speak. That's all that he seemed to care about. Never mind that I was sick from food poisoning, was fed food I was allergic too, and vomited it up and was so dehydrated from sickness, feverish and shaking. What was I supposed to do? Throw some dress clothes on, comb my hair and shake in front of the microphone in front of over 1000+ people??? I was too sick to speak and told Randy so.
If all those people in the barn appreciated workers preaching their "gospel", then why didn't they care if I lived or died? Where was the love of God? I wasn't feeling it. This experienced helped me understand Mathews gospel better, particularly:
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
I was fed more saltine crackers and water. I quit eating the crackers because I was too weak to throw them up. I prayed to God, "this must be a test, I must be willing to give up my life for you". I was willing to die from this sickness so the friends could have their convention. I didn't know at the time, but this was yet another sign from God to me that the workers didn't love me and the doctrines of devils being taught by workers leads to death.
When I was sick in the trailer, nobody piled around me to take my photo with the overseer. So I have no picture to show you of me when I was poisoned. No, when I was ill, they didn't care. Stanley Sullivan took all my money, and the workers were more concerned about their convention than my life.
My Mother Arrives at Convention
My mother finally came to the convention. She asked where I was and they led her to this little trailer where I shaking under a pile of blankets on the bed. She saw me pale and trembling. She asked me if I could stop shaking. I tried to do that and calm down, but I began to shake all over again. I was cold inside. I asked her if I could use the restroom.
There was no way I could use the restroom with hundreds of people around and the closest mens restroom was about 100 yards away. I hadn't showered in days and was a mess. They made a way so that I could use the women's worker restroom just a couple yards away. They made sure no women were in there and let me use it. I think my mom asked them how long I had been this way and what they had done. She started to ask questions. My mom used to be a nurse (or in nurse's training at least) and wanted an ambulance immediately. The workers didn't want an ambulance on the property and told her as much. They finally allowed an ambulance so long as the ambulance wouldn't turn the sirens on.
So someone called the ambulance. They took me in an ambulance to the closest emergency clinic. One of the paramedics asked me questions on the way, - "What is the name of the president of the United States?" I did not know. I told them "I don't keep track of things like that."
They took me to an emergency care facility. The doctor there looked me over and said I needed to go to an hospital because they weren't able to give the help that I needed. They wheeled me out in a wheelchair to go into another ambulance. But I don't remember going into the ambulance, I had passed out.
Some time later I woke up in a hospital bed. I didn't know where I was or how I had gotten there. My mom was there to tell me I had slept about 13 hours and was in a hospital.
Later I heard that they had taken Tama Brown (another worker) to a hospital and also Ruth Stevens. One of them (I think Tama Brown) had to be fed by IVs she was so weak. I talked to Tama about it later and she said she would rather die than go through that again. I agree, it was awful. Especially when you don't have anyone that loves you to take care of you.
Recovering at Home
After my stay in the hospital, my parents took me back home.
Overseer Comes to Visit
Howard Mooney and I think another worker or two came over to visit. They received their usual celebratory, idolatrous welcome.
After idle chat, sitting around the nice dining room table, they offered to help with the medical bills (ambulance ride, emergency clinic, 2nd ambulance to hospital and overnight hospital stay.) My folks said they would take care of it because I was still on their health insurance. And really? Dear Lord, how could the penniless, homeless workers be expected to pay the doctor bill of their new worker from whom they had fleeced?
I don't think mom and dad could afford it. But they paid. I think because they felt they were expected to. Later after I was sick from being a worker, the overseer never offered to pay for my recovery then. I think it was all about looking good and conning people. Later this experienced helped me to understand this scripture:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Drug Side Effects
I continued at my folks place, recovering. All of a sudden, my tongue started sticking out. I couldn't understand what was happening to me and was totally embarrassed about it. I waited a while. My tongue started sticking out again. I tried to pull my tongue back in my mouth and could not. I was freaked. I had never heard of such a thing. I tried to overcome the obstacle (who says this?) and told my mom that "my tongue was sticking out of my mouth and I could not control it." Then she told me that the doctors had said there may be some side effects from the drugs they gave me at the hospital. I waited some more and my tongue stuck out again. My mother saw it this time. We got in the car and headed to a doctor's office. With each occurrence, it was stronger. On the way there, my tongue stuck out again. The incident or compulsion or whatever - it was so strong that my jaw started to twist, and I could feel and hear the muscles tearing in my face and the tendons straining at the joints. It hurt so bad and I could not control it. My jaw was tearing itself apart. It was bizarre. Who prepares a teen for this?
We went into the doctor's office after waiting in the waiting room. I endured more tongue-sticking-out bouts and more tearing of muscles in my jaw as each time it grew stronger and stronger with each occurence. Finally, my name was called. Go to this room they said.
I went into the room and waited. Another bout. I tried to hold back the tears and fear. It hurt so bad. The doctor came in, made nice chat, waiting for another bout so he could see it himself.
It was painful at this point and brought tears to my eyes. The doctor was convinced. The doctor prescribed me some drug to stop the side effects of the previous drug given by the previous doctors. Mom paid another bill. We drove home.
It was finally over. The bizarre tongue-sticking-out episodes stopped. I was normal again.
Fall 1989, Beginning preaching at the 2x2 meetings
Our first Sunday, Randy told me that we needed to prepare for meeting. He told me the best way was to get on my knees and pray with my Bible open. So I did. That was when it dawned on me that I would be speaking in meetings. Somehow I had never thought about that part when going into the work. Now that's funny/sad. Sad now realizing the overseer accepted someone so uneducated (I didn't know the gospel after 18 years of meetings x 40 meetings per year = 720 meetings) to preach something they didn't know. Here I was going to preach in a "gospel meeting" and didn't know what the gospel was. I found out later that it didn't matter if I knew the gospel. Correction, they won't even take a person as a worker who does know the gospel and believes it.
After the first gospel meeting, Randy told me to try to speak as to strangers in the meetings who didn't know what we meant by special words like "friends" etc. Guess I talked to much in the 2x2 code. It takes a while to learn the craft.
Cash in Handshakes
There were many firsts in the work. I learned that you actually did collect money at meetings. So much for "no collections". My first "meeting" (won't call it a gospel meetings), Randy and I sauntered to the back. So stressful. It's one thing to go to a meeting and quite another to be the preacher and remember the format and all the things you are supposed to do. So at the entrance of the hall, we shook people's hand before they could file out the door. Imagine my surprise, when a man (Dean Sartain) palmed a $20 bill and shook my hand. Shock at first in feeling something besides his palm. Bewilderment as to what was going on. Then I realized (after looking) and he smiled, probably amused since Dean was a worker before. It's stressful. Learning all these new things to which I was not prepared. After a while with all these expectations and new things, you feel like a fool, and are stressed and frankly barely able to keep up.
People slipped 5's, 10's and 20 dollar bills in your hand as you said goodbye after meetings with a handshake. If it weren't for such handshakes I'ld have been more broke. Randy got much of his money through letters in the mail. I didn't have such a letter-writing program going on.
Most of what we did was socializing. We just talked with people about things to pass the time. For the most part, we didn't teach about Jesus or help people understand what Jesus taught. How could we teach things we didn't know anyway? I got tired of all the sitting around and talking and eating. I felt like a lifeless worker zombie.
Going From House to House
We traveled from house to house. The people usually gave you money either when you arrived or when you left. So financially it seems to more profitable to go from house to house.
We were supposedly following Matthew 10, Mark 10, Luke 10 and John 10, but we were not. And I'll add that nobody in the "field" cared if we followed scripture.
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Stress and Symptoms
This was the first time when I learned you slipped toilet paper in your britches before speaking at meeting so as not to stain your shorts (which other people usually washed). Randy developed shaking in his hands. JoAnne Waldo took Randy to a doctor who told him that it was from stress.
This was the first time that I learned to eat a little before meeting but not too much so you didn't vomit after speaking. People have no idea how stressful the first year is. No idea.
Cliques and Favorites
The first time I learned about what goes on between workers and some of the "friends" when workers "let down their hair". Because we didn't have our own home, we had to find people that favored us who we could talk about things to. JoAnne Waldo (Albany, OR) was one of those people.
Testing the meeting and someone professes
One young man professed in our meetings. His name is Jeff Beattie, son of Maynard and Peggy Beattie.
Also Will and Phillis Smith professed. Randy got Howard Mooney's approval for them to profess because They were both divorced from previous marriages and had married each other. They were trying to find a church that would accept them. Evidently the rule in Oregon was that if you hadn't heard it from the workers, then you weren't responsible for living in adultery. I would dread to think what would happen if all the workers were judges in the land.
Also Aaron (cannot remember his last name) was baptized. He was dating a 2x2 woman in the field. She probably told him he had to profess before she would marry him. I cannot remember if he "professed" in the meetings or not. He wanted Bible Studies to get up to speed, so Randy and I met with him. Randy indoctrinated him with the importance of our 2x2 ministry and meetings in the home from notes that I think he took from Harold Bennett. This was my first time to realize the fundamentals of the 2x2 movement: homeless workers, going out in pairs and meetings in the home. What? What do you mean loving your neighbor as yourself? Nope, that wasn't a primary teaching.
I remember Jay and Karen Nelson. We stayed at their house a time or two. I remember Jay Nelson telling me that it wasn't fair that we stayed in their houses and preached about their faults at meetings. He laughed. Jay was the one who disconnected the odometer on his car so that he could resell it as a lower mileage car.
I remember Leslie White, whoI think was related to them, come over while we were staying at the Nelson's house. I think some little girl (like 7? years old) was telling him about someone, and he asked her if they were "professing". That is such a common question that it really stuck in my head. We all needed to know if someone was professing so we could know if they were good or bad, with us or against us.
I remember being at Dorthy Harris's house and Wayne Harris there. I remember Howard Mooney coming to visit. This was in 1989 or 1990. In one of the upstairs rooms facing the field, I remember Howard telling Wayne Harris about worker(s) that were caught putting their hands into the panties of little kids. I remember Howard Mooney talking about a worker going into a room where a couple kids were sleeping and masturbating and the parents finding out about it. I remember him saying that the parents wanted to sue the workers but that workers managed to convince the parents to just "let it go". Let it go. Let it go. Just let the worker move on to the next field with unsuspecting parents and vulnerable children. Such evil!
Randy and I did not discuss doctrine. When people say that the beauty of younger workers with older workers is that they can be taught, well, that wasn't my experience. I was told what he believed and that I should show unity (agree with him regardless). Randy told me it was important to be in unity on things so that the friends in the field would feel comfortable. Again, we did not discuss what the scripture said, nor consult the Bible for counsel, determine what was right or wrong. No, it was based only on how things looked.
You might think that in the first year that doctrines would be taught, the younger learning from the older, but it was not that way. Younger workers are not trained in sound doctrine of Jesus Christ, rather they are taught to "fit in" and conform to the workers.
I remember Randy asking Howard Mooney if a divorced and remarried couple could profess. They claimed to be Christian already. Randy told me it was OK for them to profess. I did not agree. The couple had to profess in a meeting, so they did. Then they were required to be baptized again even though they had been baptized by Christian's before. The workers didn't believe in a baptism that wasn't performed by workers.
Divorce in the field
In the field, there was a woman going through a divorce. Randy spent time alone with this divorced woman. After the things that had gone on between him and her, Randy told me not to tell other people about what happened between them. That is too cruel to ever tell a young worker to hide such a sin and not resolve "what happened" between a married woman and a worker. How do you live with all these memories? It tears you up inside and sucks any remaining "life" right out of you.
A Professing Man Assaults his Wife
Randy and I went to a court hearing of a 2x2 man and his wife. His wife was had filed a charge of spousal abuse. He had struck her in the face. And her parents made sure it went to court. They said they wanted to scare him. He was scared.
The next year I was at Boring convention again. Conventions were a pain. It was like the workers were playing house. Younger workers are given the dirtiest jobs. Skip the teachings of Jesus Christ about the elder serving the younger. I asked the workers why, and they said that they had to do it their first year. Tradition.
Insert conflicts at preps here. excess breaks, not doing things, should be sleeping not playing volleyball etc-
I remember reading about angels at Boring preps with Nathan Barker. We were trying to figure out how tall the angel was. An older brother worker told us not to talk about that stuff or get involved with it.
I remember Jay Wicks and I setting up the men's tent at 1989 or 1990 Boring preps. He told me that I should put God first, my companion second, the field third and myself last. He said his companion taught him that. Well, I know better now. I'm supposed to put God first and take care of myself with help from God so that I am able to help others. This is a basic teaching of Jesus about getting our own vision cleared first before trying to help others. I had no idea at the time how wrong Jay's advice was, and how it promoted their brainwashing. They preached Jesus name and did the opposite.
My next companion was Craig Jacobsen. He was all about appearances too. I got really sick of that. It frustrated me trying to find out what the problem was with him. I didn't discover it for years. It was the fact that a portrayal of loving Jesus was put on but actually teaching by insinuation self-righteousness.
Side Effects of the Inner Pain and Harsh Realities
I came to hate wearing ties. To me, it symbolized hypocrisy, as I saw it in the workers. Wearing a dress shirt and tie make me repulsed because of what was going on. It made me claustrophobic thinking of the hypocrisy and how they would try to look nice but I knew inside that something was really wrong, so wrong, so evil.
A Bookstore - A Used Book on Fasting
In a bookstore, I found a book on fasting. I had read the word "fasting" in the Bible, so I pulled it from the shelf and glued my eyes to the first page. Wow! They talked about the Bible and Jesus and fasting. Interesting. Here these "outsiders" were actually talking about God. Did anyone else know about this? I think the book was about 50 cents, and I was curious. I bought the book, much to Craig's disapproval. Every hear a worker recommend we give ourselves to prayer and fasting? LOL
I wore tennis shoes and dress clothes without a tie to Special meetings in Hood River once. :) Harold Bennett said I had to wear a tie and change my shoes or I could not speak at the special meeting. Looking back now, that must have just floored him. Ha ha
During special meeting rounds, we were in The Dalles area of Oregon. I remember being in the car with Randy Russel and Harold Bennett after the special meetings. Harold was telling Randy about some "troublemakers" in the field. I had a minuscule grip on the Bible at this point and so I told Harold that however they handled it, they should follow the scripture. Harold was offended and said, "I resent that". When I told other people about it, they said that Harold should have said "I resemble that" (not following scripture). I was learning that in the work there are two flip sides. One is how workers really feel and the other their appearance to the friends. Workers either live in a constant state of denial of their own feelings, or they let it all out and are ridiculed by other workers. I found also that workers are very competitive and egotistical when you get them alone or around just workers. They all know their kind. Some call it politics. In a sense, it could be called hell. Yes, workers in hell. The living hell of being a worker.
When asking questions as a worker (God forbid people should try to know the truth), I was told by Nathan Barker to be like a palm tree that swayed in the wind. It bent so it wouldn't break. This is typical as advice is not scriptural. If it is of scripture, it is vague like Howard Mooney "Turn not to the right hand nor to the left". They want you to be flexible on doctrine. Correction, they want you to parrot their party line and deny the truth.
Craig Jacobsen and I went back to our field in Oregon City. We went on a hike and that hike did me good. I slept so hard on the drive home. The physical exercise was something that I needed.
Ooops. I Was Learning from Bible. What was I thinking?
I started to realize things in the Bible. I realized that I needed to obey God instead of men. In all things, God first!
I realized that I shouldn't be in the work. It didn't make sense to have a 19 year old teaching other people who I thought knew their Bible and had more experience in life than myself. I asked one of the elders to lead the Sunday AM meeting instead of me. He nearly cried. I could see the whole thing was messed up, but didn't know how or why. I didn't know how to put it into words.
When I was with Craig Jacobsen in the Aurora field, I got tired of shaking everyone's hand at the door before they left. I wanted to visit with the friends, not just the "Hi" shake hands, "bye" thing. I needed a real relationship with someone. So I went over and started visiting with some people that I knew and were nice. We were carrying on really great and I was starting to get into touch with reality and learning about real life stuff. Then Craig comes over and rebukes me for not saying shaking hands with everyone as they left. How is a person to follow their conscience and please the workers? Impossible.
Now, it dawns on me why workers cannot visit with people like that after meeting. We made most of our money when people slipped us tens and twentys into our palms after meetings were over. That's why workers stand between the people and the exit. If Craig and I didn't do that, then we wouldn't have much at all for living expenses.
Ha ha, that is so funny now that I think about it. Poor Craig. Here I was trying to make some friends and learn about life and forgot my job collecting money at the door! LOL. Some people make money hand over fist. We made our money hand over hand-shaking.
Craig knew I wasn't fitting in to the workers' teachings, and was trying to find answers. He took me to have a visit with Howard Mooney. I waited until Howard called me into his room. Howard told me "turn not to the right hand nor to the left". Yahhh, hello??? That didn't mean anything to me in the context of our conversation. I was naive to what was going on and more confused after that. What's a 19 year old to make of that?
It was during this time that my uncle Don Beck left his family and lived like a street bum. He used to have a meeting in his home. He wouldn't come to meetings anymore and refused to go back to his job. He later starved himself to death somewhere (I think) in Australia. He left a good sum of money to his kids. He used to be a 2x2 and I believe now that it was the weird doctrines and hypocrisy of the workers that messed him up.
Later, I couldn't take it any longer. I didn't know what was bothering me and what was wrong. I didn't know how to talk about how I felt and I didn't have any friends that I felt I could talk to. I talked to Craig about maybe going to work in Ecuador or some other primitive country. We both agreed that this was not a great solution. Craig took me to my folks place to rest. My health was nearly destroyed. Emotionally I couldn't handle anything. I had been ruined by the very thing that I had placed my faith in. The 2x2 way did not work.
Craig Jacobsen dropped me off at my folk's place to get better. No counseling, help, housing or financial support was offered while I was sick by the workers. They just dropped me off. They messed up my life and left me spent and used for my folks to pick up the piece. Except my folks couldn't either. I was on my own. I had been taken advantage of, but was too blind like my parents to see it.
Brad Lewis - Home|
Letter of Apology
When I Professed
I believed as 2x2
My 2x2 Baptism
Why I Left
Mistakes I Made
Girls and Dating
How I Got Out
Memoirs 1 B&R
Memoirs 2 Offering
Memoirs 3 - After Work
Cannot Go Back
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|