Brad Lewis Memoirs - Life as a Worker
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 "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 Erickson, Howard Mooney, Jim, and myself Brad Lewis on the right.
Maybe you know all the people in this photo. Only one remains a worker. Howard Mooney has died; his work has ceased. And only Muriel Erickson is still a worker last I knew. Jim left the 2x2 work within a couple months. Then left the work because of my health, and then KK Boe left the work. Howard Mooney died. He couldn't take our money with him. And the worms didn't care.
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 field list and had put me with Randy Russell in Albany/Corvalis field.
Salmonella Food Poisoning at the Boring Oregon Convention in 1989
I got salmonella within a few days. After one of the pre-convention meetings I suddenly felt very cold. I put on almost all the clothes I had and went my assined top bunk in the workers quarters. On top of all the stress and new things I was seeing, I was shivering frantically to try to stay warm.
Randy Russell came in and saw me all covered in clothes and shivering. He asked what was wrong. I told him I was very cold and tired. He seemed to know why. He immediately 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. Soon I had diarrhea. And there wasn't a men's restroom in 100 yards. I didn't know it then, but I had gotten food poisoning. This salmonella poisoned food was served in the Boring convention kitchen. I found out later that several people actually got salmonella. And the workers knew it, that's why they moved me so quiclyh. But they didn't tell me what had poisoned me. I found out later. They didn't want me to go to the doctors. There were more concerned about the convention being shutdown than whether I lived or not.
They fed me saltine crackers and water. I am allergic to wheat. I vomited up the saltine crackers.
I was visited maybe two or three times per day. More saltine crackers and water. Convention started and there were "friends" all around my trailer. But that meant I had no privacy if I left the trailer. I hadn't showered in days. And still no restroom, and I had diarhea. I had to go outside at night and defecate under a tree at night. I was so miserable I didn't care. I was too weak to walk the 100 yards down to the men's restroom.
Denied Medical Care at Boring Oregon Convention Grounds in 1989
They didn't want to take me to the doctor or hospital because they didn't want the authorities to know where I had gotten the food poisoning. They were afraid they would close the convention kitchen during the convention. Precious Boring convention.
I lost weight quickly. I couldn't keep any food inside of me and soon quit eating. I wanted to die.
I began to get very dehydrated - that's when I started to shake all over. A couple times a day, someone would come in to visit. None of the workers stayed with me to watch out for me. I guess they were busy. I was feverish and kept shaking. Still no restroom in the trailer.
Some people have seen and understand how disconnected many workers are from reality. Here's an example: the workers came in to check on me to see if I could speak my turn at the convention. That just boggles my mind.
I was fed more saltine crackers and water. I couldn't eat the crackers anymore 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 that the workers didn't love me and the doctrines of devils being taught by workers leads to death.
Boring Convention August of 1989
Hundreds of people were milling around just 50 feet from my trailer. The convention had started. I could hear them. I could hear the singing from meeting shed. I wondered why no one came to visit me. 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 dehydrated 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 him so. If all those people in the barn appreciated workers preaching the gospel, then why didn't they care if I lived or died? Where was the love of God?
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.
My mother demands that I be taken to the Hospital in an Ambulance
My mother finally came to the convention. She asked where I was and they led her to this little trailer where I huddled shaking. 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 restroom. They made sure no women were in there and let me in. I think she asked them how long I had been this way and what they had done. She started to ask questions. Mother used to be a nurse (or in nurse's training at least) and wanted an ambulance. The workers didn't want an ambulance on the property. They finally allowed an ambulance as long as they didn't turn the sirens on. They took me in an ambulance to the closest emergency clinic. They 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 didn't keep track of things like that.
They took me to an emergency care facility and they 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 into another ambulance and then I passed out. Some time later I woke up in a hospital bed. 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 sick. I talked to Tama about it later and she said she would rather die than go through that again. I agree, it was awful.
Recovering at Home
After my stay in the hospital, my parents took me home. It was my parents that were there when I woke up. I don't remember any workers being there.
Howard Mooney and I think another worker or two came over to visit. 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. I don't think they could afford it. But they paid. I think because they felt they were expected to. Later after I was sick from being a worker, they never offered to pay for my recovery then. I think it was all about looking good.
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 felt embarassed. I waited a while. My tongue started sticking out again. I tried to pull my tongue back in my mouth and could not. I went and told me mother. She told me that the doctors had side 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 occurence, it was stronger. On the way there, my tongue stuck out again. The incident or compulsion or whatever was so strong that my jaw started to twist and I could feel the muscles tearing in my face. It was bizarre. Who prepares a teen for this? We went into the doctor's office after waiting in the waiting room. The doctor waited until he saw it for himself. It was painful at this point and brought tears to my eyes. The doctor gave me some drug to stop the side effects of the previous drug and we drove home. It was finally over. The convulsion or bizarre tongue-sticking-out episodes stopped.
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. I had never thought about that when going into the work. Now that's funny/sad. Sad now realizing the overseer accepted someone so unknowledgable to preach something they didn't know.
After a 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.
Cash in Handshakes
There were many firsts in the work. I learned that you actually did collect money at meetings. 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 program going.
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. I got tired of all the sitting around and talking and eating.
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 makes more sense to move around.
We were supposedly following Matthew 10, Mark 10, Luke 10 and John 10, but we were not. And nobody cared.
Luk_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.
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. They were both divorced from previous marriages and had married each other. They were trying to find a church that would accept them.
Also Aaron (cannot remember his last name) was baptized. 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 the 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.
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 low mileage car.
I remember Leslie White, which I think was related to them, come over while we were staying at the Nelson's house. I think some little girl 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. I remember Howard telling 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 they were convinced to just let it go.
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. He 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 was right or wrong, only how things looked. You would think that in the first year that doctrines would be taught, the younger learning from the older, but it was not that way. Again, I repeat, 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 someone to hide such a thing and not resolve what happened between a married woman and a worker.
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 spouse 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 dirty jobs. I asked why and they said that they had to do it their first year.
Insert conflicts at preps here. excess breaks, not doing things, should be sleeping not playing volleyball etc-
I remember reading about angels at 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 his advice was.
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. 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.
I came to hate wearing ties. To me, 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.
Bookstore - book on fasting
I wore tennis shoes and dress clothes without a tie to Special meetings in Hood River once. :) Harold Bennet said I had to wear a tie and change my shoes or I could not speak at the special meeting. That must have just floored him looking back on it now.
During special meeting rounds, we were in The Dalles area of Oregon. I remember being in the car with Randy Russel and Harold Bennet after the special meetings. Harold was telling Randy about some "troublemakers" in the field. I had a miniscule grip on the Bible at this point and so I told Harold that however they handled it, they should follow the scripture. Harold told me "I resent that". When I told other people about it, they said that he 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.
When asking questions as a worker, 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"
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.
I started to realize things in the Bible. I realized that I needed to obey God instead of men. 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. 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.
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
Craig knew I wasn't fitting in and was trying to find answers. He took me to have a visit with Howard Mooney. Howard told me "turn not to the right hand nor to the left". That didn't mean anything to me in the context of our conversation.
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 think 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.|