Memoirs of Brad Lewis - Born and Raised a 2x2
Please note: Where I have put dates, I am pretty sure about them. Where I have not put dates, they are placed chronologically to the best of my recollection.
I grew up in the Workers' Way and saw that the workers' very softly and sweetly taught subtle lies in guile; I learned to be very suspicious of "kindness" and "nice" people because it meant to me that I was being lied to. I became confrontational and very particular in my wording in order to get out of the cult and find Jesus Christ. After I found Jesus Christ, and was baptized in the Spirit, I began learning to speak the full truth in love.
My familyMy name is Bradly Lewis, the son of Joel and Lynda Lewis of Gresham, OR and brother to Pamela Rank (maiden name Lewis) who now is married to Bryan Rank and lives in Iowa. My paternal grandmother is Lois Lewis. Marion Lewis, my paternal grandfather has died. My maternal grandparents are Jim and Mabel Beck who used to live in Coeur d'Alene Idaho and died in Arizona.
My Father has three brothers: Don Lewis (oldest), Jack Lewis and Jon Lewis (still a 2x2). My father's mom, Lois Lewis, lives in Sandy, OR and just passed away Friday, Aug 29, 2014. Don and Kathy Lewis live in Milwaukie, OR. Kathy Lewis wrote the book "Church Without a Name". Jon and Renee Lewis used to live in Sandy, OR but now live in Utah. Renee is the daughter of Ron and Sunny Eicher. Jack Lewis lives in Oregon.
My mother's parents were Jim and Mabel Beck, from Idaho. She had 2 brothers: Russ Beck and Don Beck. Russ Beck is not a 2x2 and lives in California. Don Beck is deceased now. He was married to Laura Beck who I believe lives in Moses Lake, WA.
I was born in Washington in 1971 and raised in Gresham, OR USA.
My folks took me to meetings when I was a baby. Our familiy moved to Gresham, OR and we went to meetings at Bob and Evelyn Brands homes. They had a couple daughters: ? and Kathy.
The workers held Gospel Meetings at this Rockwood Grange Hall in Gresham for years. I remember taking down chairs at the end of meeting. There was a man named Bill Latel (sp?) who handed out candy to the little kids. Grace Ploegsma and Willa Dahlin held meetings at the Rockwood Grange Hall and this is where I professed at one of their tested meetings to become a member of the 2x2 cult when I was about 10 years old.
As a side note, I found out recently that the Grange Organization was started by a Mason. So it makes sense that the workers (who were started by a Mason) would use the Grange Halls. Later when I was a worker, we rented and preached at a Grange hall. I don't think this is a coincidence.
2x2 Workers in Gresham, East-Portland Field 1971-1989
There were several workers in our fields: Willa Dahlin, Grace Ploegsma, Vernon Joyce, Angie Long, Joyce Szacaks (sp?), Everett Swanson, Vernon Joyce, Udo Chapman.
1982-3 Professing in meeting tested by Grace Ploegsma and Willa Dahlin
I professed(stood to my feet without confessing Jesus Christ out loud) when I was about 10 or 11 years old, thinking that I would be saved (I was deceived as a child by the workers). Grace Ploegsma and Willa Dahlin were in the field. We lived in the Gresham field. The workers preached their religious message at a Grange hall on Division st. in Gresham, OR. I had talked to the workers about professing before, and they had tested one meeting for me, but I didn't have the strength to even stand up then. I was so scared. It was Grace Ploegsma, the older "companion", who " tested" the meeting. They sang some song and asked people to stand up (in order to profess). I stood up right at the last. I was still scared. I remember crying on our drive home. My mother or father asked me what was wrong. I think my mom said I must be crying because I was so happy. I was confused and sad afterwards. I later found out I had received what is known as a spirit guide.
My mother told me that Willah Dahlin is in a mental institute now. Grace Ploegsma is now dead.
Baptism into the Workers WayI was baptized by Stanley Sullivan. It was at a creek near Boring OR. I remember mother and grandma being there, and Pam, my sister. I remember the "in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost" and getting immersed. I didn't know who the Father, Son or Holy Ghost was. I remember someone bringing me a towel too. I don't remember how old I was. Maybe 13-14. It was not a Christian baptism because they taught me a different Jesus and a different spirit from the Bible (2 Cor 11:3-4). Since then, I have been baptized by a Christian man.
Mother's nervous breakdown (or two)
Sometime when I was young, mother had a nervous breakdown. I think maybe two. She would just sit in the chair and cry. My sister and I didn't know what to do. We would tell her we loved her and she would cry. I'm sure this was a result of the cult's contradictory beliefs that got to my uncle later too. I think she tried to please my father to get praise and love. I don't remember my father being that loving. She later told me that her father (my grandpa) had several nervous breakdowns. Grandpa was in the cult too.
Sexual hugs from Fat lady
There was a fat lady that went to our Sunday AM Meeting at Bob and Evelyn Brands. I don't remember the fat lady's name, but she would hug me after meeting and rub me against her breasts. It made me very uncomfortable and I didn't know what to do except cringe. After the meeting, mother was talking about it and she laughed. After she made it clear that she thought it was funny, I distanced myself emotionally from my mother. I think that is sick for a grown woman to try to get sexual pleasure with a kid that way.
Father left care of family for better paying job
From what my mother told me, my father started a traveling job so he could make more money.
Neighbor's concern for how I was being raised
The neighbor up the street was concerned that we didn't have a TV at home. They invited me up to watch "The Black Stallion".
I got picked on by students in middle school. There were about 4 of them. My "best friend", Jeff Grimes was one of them. He would be friends after school, but join the gang during school. They spit on me, called me names and laughed at the way I dressed. My mother took me to martial arts classes. That helped build some confidence, but didn't help with the emotional aspect. I finally talked to the counselor and she had a talk with all the kids and their parents. I later learned that these kids were having trouble at home. One of them was abused by his father, another had his parents going through a divorce and the other was a troubled neglected son of a preacher. The fourth was my after school friend and estranged friend during school.
1988 Everett Swanson in Gresham, OR Field
Father and mother had trouble raising me. I think they were having trouble getting along themselves. They tried talking to the workers in desperation about their marriage and parenting troubles. That was kinda useless. One of the workers told me to empty the garbage when my mother asked me to. Then I think he asked my mother to not make me empty the garbage while I was busy with my electronic stuff. I think it was mother who asked Everett Swanson to have a visit with her and dad. Dad didn't appreciate that at all. We all had dinner together and Everett gave his advice. Nothing really changed in the house. Everett had never been married and didn't know much about healthy relationships from what I've heard later. I've learned since that worker's advice in general is useless because they demonstrate time and again that they don't believe in following what Jesus clearly taught in the Bible.
I was struggling with something that was scary. I sat down on my couch and asked the spirit of the workers to fill my life. After that, I felt compelled to be guided by some spirit to write down some weird writings on a letter and mailed it to the workers. Everett Swanson and his companion Udo Chapman came and had a visit with me. I felt very scared and didn't know what was going on. I hated my life and took a 64 pin IC chip and rubbed it across my wrist. I had thoughts of suicide but didn't talk to my folks. I didn't know my folks and I felt life had no meaning. I was taught that natural life was nothing and there was only spiritual life. But I had no spiritual life. Just going to meetings and giving my testimony. It was all such empty form. I read my Bible, but didn't understand much.
Everett Swanson and I played ping pong together, and I really looked up to him. He was a charismatic religious leader and very good at preaching and seemed to command respect (at least when he was present) wherever he went. Since my father wasn't around much, I started looking up to Everett as a father figure. I became more zealous in the 2x2 movement. Since my father wasn't there to guice me, the workers started having more influence in my life.
1988-1989 Teacher's concern for my welfare
I remember that the teachers at my high school were concerned about me. They thought I was a religious nut. They knew I was a loner and got picked on in middle school. One teacher told a story to the class about a kid who died because he was so sad. She said that the students should try to befriend others. I got three awards that month. The awards were designed to recognize people who did a good job but were otherwise unrecognized.
Losing interest in "natural" life
I was struggling through high school began to hate things. I began losing interest in classes and feeling dejected. I struggled with self esteem. My father was still traveling and I had no real relationship with him. And no relationship with my mother either. I think they preferred it that way. I worked washing dishes at Black Angus Restaurant. I bicycled home about 3 miles at night and would get home about 1 or 2 AM.
During the end of my senior year, I was working two jobs. One was at Senn's Drive-in Dairy in Gresham and another building green houses in Beaverton. I was sick. I was tired. I didn't know what to do. I had no plans for the future. I was struggling from food allergies from wheat/gluten and dairy and also from depression.
Why I Went Into "The Work"
I think the reasons I went into the work was: gain place, feel needed, respected, be part of something that I had grown up in, fulfill my belief that the 2x2 way was the only good thing in the world. I didn't think of the logistics of : not providing a useful service in society, lack of education, no marketable job skills, no preparation for future. All that was on my mind was that this god was calling me into the work. I believe I created this god from what I was taught and had come to believe.
Manahattan, Montana Convention about June of 1989
My family went to Manhattan convention. I had been "struggling" with the thought of going into the worker's ministry. I believed that if I didn't go, then I was a failure, going to hell because I had rejected god's call on my life. I always had many interests, plans and great ambitions but couldn't follow through. I had no discipline and strength to see things through. That night at convention I prayed to what I thought was God, "If it is your will, I will go into the work. I give you my life. Use me. I had no doubt at the time that the worker's ministry was God's will. The workers had told me it was of God. It was the only right way. Everything else was false. That's what they said and I believed it, and was going to tell others the same.
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.|