by Dana & Donna Gilbert
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 11:51 pm: by Donna Gilbert
I grew up in the group. The most common way I heard Robert described by numerous people (in and out of the group) was cocky and sarcastic.
In my late teens Robert came to me at a gathering and said he needed to talk to me. I believe there was someone else with him but I will have to check with a couple of people to refresh me memory on that. Mind you, both of my parents were at that gathering. He felt no need to include them on this conversation. He asked me questions about my relationship with a young man in the group. He had heard there had been a sexual relationship and wanted to talk to me about it. There was absolutely no truth at all to what he had heard. As soon as he was through talking to me I went straight to my mother and told her what had just transpired. She was furious! My parents thought what Robert had done was very inappropriate. This week I was figuring out our age difference, and realized at that time he was around thirtyish. In my opinion and my parents, he had no business questioning me without them there and without their knowledge. I was not the only one he did this to. It seems a pattern from a young age that he liked to be involved in this kind of conversation.
Robert at a men's meeting in California talked about counseling young girls on sex before they were married. At that time Dana told him it was not his place, it was the parents place. He told Dana that there was a time between the headship of the father and future husband. That was the time he could counsel the girls. Dana told him he would never be counseling our girls. Thankfully, the Lord delivered us from that group long before that was an issue.
Thank you, everyone who is contributing to this effort to honor the Lord.
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:32 pm:
I thank the Lord for the privilege of being married to Donna for over 30 years. She has been a Godly wife, mother to our children, grandchild and extended family. I thank the Lord for her consistent desire to openly and honestly serve the Lord.
I have enjoyed reading Volume I of the message board and agree, we should honor the Lord with our input. My prayer is for this to be a format that will expose Robert Grove for what he is: A very cunning, deviant and divisive man.
He has taken over an organization that boasted on how they were "Building Christian Lives, Homes and the Church, Which is Christ's Body". Since the followers have allowed Robert & co. to lead, they have left a pathway of destruction; using excommunication without Godly justification to separate relatives, families and yes, even the home, splitting husbands & wives apart.
The atrocity is that he's doing this all in the name of the lord (his lord), which is the god of this world. He's successfully turned parents against their children and brainwashed them to act without natural affection (II Tim. 3:3).
As mentioned before, Robert has successfully changed their excommunication doctrine to violate the 5th commandment (Honor they Father & Mother). Robert has successfully changed many of the beliefs the group used to hold dear to.
When I used to be among them I warned Art Werner (my father-in-law), Ray Sharpless & Jim Maurer that subtle changes were being made to our doctrine. I said if you don't challenge them now, it'll be too late. I explained the analogy of the frog in a pot of water (I actually had to explain this to one of these men).
My prayer is that this format brings credible witness to the atrocities committed by their leader(s) committing ungodly and even illegal actions, be exposed. Mark can testify to this: investigators say that every criminal makes mistakes when committing crimes. Although extremely crafty, Robert has made his and will be found out. However, some people were still giving money to Jimmie Baker when he was serving time in jail.
When I withdrew from the "group" Art said I can't just leave Donna if I want (that was obviously before their "New Age" leadership convinced them that divorce was acceptable now). I replied that I wasn't leaving the Lord's church, just their meeting group, as God has commanded me to (II Tim. 3: 1-5).
There are many in the group that don't agree with what's going on, yet they continue to support it. I pray for those, that they will want to openly see the truth of what they're caught-up in. I hope it wont take something like the resurrected Christ appearing to Saul again to get the scales removed from his eyes for him to see the situation clearly (Acts 9: 18).
I have written a summary statement of my experience in the "group". If you would like a copy (4 1/2 pages in Word) I'll send you a copy. Just let me know (I can e-mail it.)
Thank you all and keep encouraging others to contribute. By honoring Him in this effort, we can expect blessings.
In Christian Love,
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 11:37 pm:
JER does bring up a very good question. Actually, one of the cornerstones to this groups evolved structure.
They have always been hesitant to identify someone in leadership with a title (keep in mind I was only involved with them for 15 years-'71-'86). I've heard stories about some leaders being praised in meetings and that individual not necessarily accepting the title and doing so with a strong degree of humility.
One such situation I recall hearing about was an individual getting up in a meeting and praising Bro. Wilbur Johnson (very well respected by most in the assembly). That individual pointed Bro. Wilbur out as a Deacon in the church and being a very Godly example.
I understand Bro. Wilbur's response to be that he stood up and qualified that individuals remarks by saying to that individual, "I might fulfill that position to you, but for those of you that don't agree, I'm just a Christian, saved by grace."
Now, fast forward to a 2 day men's meeting in Riverside in the mid 80's. The same question was repeatedly asked who our leaders are and what are their offices?
Bro. John Morey decided he would best field this question during that meeting. He proceeded to launch into a lengthy diatribe naming individuals that had a desire to serve and therefore deserved recognition. During this articulated presentation, he even even went so far as to admit that most all of the men he was naming did not fit the qualifications God's word gives us in Timothy & Titus.
It was sad to know that these men were just filling a need and most were either NOT QUALIFIED or UNQUALIFIED - by everyone's admission!
John went on to say that's why they choose to use the term "leadership" rather than recognize someone for an office they hold (obviously, because they don't measure up according to God's word).
I believe that is true to this day. Which is how Robert is able to further his personal agenda (& why I use brackets with their "new age" term to replace Godly attributes we are to be requiring of them).
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 6:45 pm:
I was telling the Riverside "leadership" men to be aware of the subtle changes going on in our midst (outright doctrinal changes, resulting in allowing the Holy Spirit's functioning & encroaching on the headship of the home & jeopardizing the family unit).
The experiment is to place a frog in a pot of water at room temperature on a stove. Turn on the burner. The frog will stay in the pot of water until he is cooked (without sensing any danger).
Place a frog into the same pot of water with it boiling and it immediately jumps out.
There are many applications that can be made of this to that group. I believe there might be a few that don't think anything's changed (as is preached). Who knows maybe they're already dead. I believe most of them are like the frog, enjoying the warm water. They realize they've stayed in too long and are counting the cost of getting out. The group's excommunication doctrine is the MAIN thread holding most of them in.
The bible tells me that we are rewarded for the faith we put in Him! Not in any of man's systems, regardless of the name, or leader you might put your faith in.
I pray that those still in the group will see the evil system they are supporting.
Posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 1:52 pm:
Going on 20 years ago we starting fighting for what we thought was Godly and right. Many men, including my husband, spent many, many hours with the leaders. This was in an attempt to work things out. Many ended up physically ill in this endeavor. The bottom line was Robert Grove and other leaders didn't really care what scripture said, they wanted to be in power.
We brought out several different rules and regulations that were generally thought in meeting to scriptural (they weren't). When brought to Robert's attention, he said we were right. He also said those rules, which weren't scriptural, "would not change in his lifetime." That would have taken some of the control over the group away. He couldn't have that. At that time my husband said, "So you are to meeting kind of like the Pope is to the Catholic Church." Robert said, "I guess you could say that." This is not a one witness report.
I have a lot of family in the group. That is why, after all these years, we still want to do what we can to open some eyes. That is why we have gotten involved in this message board. I don't think anyone is whining or crying about it. We are all asking the Lord to help us to be used in what way He wants us to. It might not be in the same way.
I think for the most part, there is a "groupthink" mentality. If there is just one or two people in there that truly has an open heart, that is who we are trying to reach.
The Lord knows our hearts. Even if our efforts fall short, we have a Savior that picks up the slack for us. For this I am very thankful. I fell very inadequate in my efforts as a human being, but I know the Lord can still be glorified if we let Him.
Posted on FactNet Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:12 pm:
When we were still respected and in the group, we had Robert and Judy (his wife at the time) to have dinner and spend time with us in our home. Art and Pat Werner were also included in our time together.
We were all visiting in our living room, following dinner. I told Robert that I had recently been studying some of our “walks” in scripture and had reached different conclusions than what were commonly practiced and preached in the group.
Women Wearing Pants
I started to develop the subject of women wearing pants. I began with Deuteronomy 22:5 and included other verses to explain the results I reached from my study. Robert stopped me and said that he agreed with my study. He agreed with my understanding of the verse in Deuteronomy (that it was referring to cross dressers, people exercising homosexual tendencies or someone living a deviant lifestyle).
He also went on to say he felt women have been wearing pants for so long in this country (since early 1940’s) that a Godly woman could do so without compromise. He also agreed that the way our women dressed, they actually bring unnecessary attention to themselves (which is the opposite result of Godliness). He even agreed our women’s dress would easily be confused with other, more popular (cultic) organizations.
Robert’s final statement on this subject was that he was not going to change his position on this publicly. Robert said, “I will not allow the position to change in my lifetime.“ It was interesting that even though he agreed with me, he would neither admit it to anyone else nor let it be preached publicly. (Teaching hypocrisy at the top!)
Robert asked me what other subjects I had studied. I named:
Women’s Long Hair
The Wearing of Jewelry
Joining an Organization (some objected to joining a shopping club for a discount). Robert said there was no room for the “Holy Spirit” in making such decisions. He said that would potentially lead to “disunity”. He said to take it up with the local men and they would make the ruling for all of us to follow.
Drinking Wine (Robert said he’d been reviewing the drinking of wine in the scriptures and knows there are as many negative as positive verses with regard to partaking it).
Robert said that we were members of an organization with a hierarchy. He said all the decisions that need to be made will be made by the leadership. (Again, no room for the “Holy Spirit” to guide, correct & instruct.)
I said, “ So Robert, you are to the group kind of like the pope is to the Catholic Church.” To that, Robert said, “yes, I guess you could say that.”
From prior conversations, and this time in our home, I’m confident Robert counted us as ones he considered as not staying in the group.
Robert already had a track record of causing division (in Christian homes & with their families). We were confident that as others became aware of the mindset of Robert A. Grove, they would have no choice but to leave this group (knowing we live with our conscience, hopefully the Holy Spirit and are accountable to God for our actions-which includes not doing anything).
We pray that those trapped in that group will want to seek and follow God’s truths more than stay in with family and support the tyranny brought on by leadership. The leadership is involved with breaking numerous laws, while claiming to “obey Caesar”. They give lip service and justify not doing the will of the Lord (they do evil that good may come).
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Matt. 15: 8 & 9.
We pray that God will deliver those in the group from the man-made encumbrances they are caught-up in.
Because of His grace & mercy,
Dana & Donna Gilbert
Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 1:49 pm:
This brings to mind of a conversation I had with Robert A. Grove. This was when we were still in this group (almost 20 years ago). Mr. Grove told me there has never been an incorrect marking made by the “group”. This is because I had been asking a number of questions regarding recent markings. My inquiries were openly discouraged and considered a nuisance by those in “leadership”. Most of them ended up being embarrassed as the information revealed how they were all simply “following man”.
There was a marking many years earlier in Phoenix. It was a time when some of the newer leaders were flexing in that part of the country and half of the assembly was “marked to be avoided”.
As I recall, Brother Wilbur Johnson, Allan & Burnell, along with others, flew there to assist. Following their LISTENING TO BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY, they ended up unmarking the marked people and marking the other ones!
When I cited this example of an incorrect marking, Robert A. Grove said, “That doesn’t apply as the marking wasn’t ratified by the church.” Since then, I have invested a considerable amount of time trying to prove what Robert said as being biblical. I would like anyone’s help as to where we have this as an example left us in the Bible.
But then, we should realize, that doesn’t matter to Robert. As long as he has his followers (that won’t question him), it doesn’t need to be in the Bible.
Unfortunately, Robert A. Grove Co. & associates have left massive destruction behind them as they work to keep their system alive. Much of their damage is done through incorrect and ungodly division and separation not supported in the Bible.
Posted on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 4:44 pm:
I started having meetings and writing letters eight years before we left. I began asking serious questions of the leadership. In the last two of those years, I began asking questions openly in men’s meetings.
A few of the leaders in the Riverside area along with some of the “respected” men advised me to “back off” from asking questions. Art Werner told me: ”you know too much” …”you shouldn’t be telling Donna (my wife) everything you know”. Rex Bishop called me from Texas to say: “You better stop asking questions or serious consequences will come to you and your family”. When pressed further, he refused to explain himself (eventually hanging up on me).
Two years following our leaving the group Don Stevens and I went to see Ray Sharpless. Don had been excommunicated as well (he was a respected leader in the Riverside area). Ray Sharpless has remained as a leader in that group. The purpose of our visit was to obtain some clarification and to reconcile.
Ray Sharpless said he couldn’t remember why I was marked. He apologized and promised to get back with me and wanted to be a help. Ray said that Don was marked for being a heretic. Don asked for examples and Ray said he was not in a position to produce any at that time.
Shortly following our visit, Don & I received a sarcastic letter from “Some of your brethren”. It said they would not talk with us because they are “not in the business of negotiating”. Don & I found it interesting how they would build a straw man and tear it down without addressing our issues and plea for help. (Ray never followed through on his promise).
Donna (still my wife) recently read through over twenty letters I penned during that time (those were the only ones saved-as I remember additional works that are not to be found). During that time I was diagnosed with a peptic bleeding ulcer. My doctor asked me to examine my activities and reduce the stress in my life.
I knew what was causing my problem. Back when I started meeting with the group, I chose to because I was able to actually live out what I learned from the Bible and walk in those truths without compromise. The incoming “newer” leadership often made changes that were not Biblically based or went against God’s word.
I (we) could no longer compromise our walk. We remained open with everyone and chose to come out from among “them”. We could no longer be hypocrites with a clear conscience. (Many asked us to continue going to the meetings, and quietly live our lives before God-just don’t hold the leadership accountable).
We left with a good conscience and have never regretted that decision. We purposed to put our faith in God (rather than man’s organization). God has supplied our needs in His teaching and fellowship (outside of manmade cultic practicing groups) since leaving.
We thank the Lord for his blessing our home and family. We have continued to raise two children that we are very proud of. They have not only followed in the faith, but married spouses that are also endeavoring to serve our Lord (by putting their faith in Him).
Posted on FactNet Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 11:50 pm:
The truth is, in my/our case, we quit attending meetings because we couldn’t support their mass & domino markings. They were conducted covertly, with the leadership lying and unjustly defaming people. When I was looking into the markings, I was told, “you know too much” and “you shouldn’t be telling your wife all that you know”.
When you read 2 Tim. 3: 1-7, the leadership was guilty of committing more than half of those sins listed. Verse 5 says “from such turn away” (some translations say to “withdraw thyself”). My wife & I never tried to encourage anyone in going with us. To this day we’ve asked and still don’t know why they excommunicated us (we just think it’s because we found out how they operate & were leaving).
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 11:21 pm:
Actually, after all the preaching, many times a week that “once we left we would never find any bible believing Christians outside this little group”; that we found Christians, sincerely born again believers, that actually had a STRONGER WALK IN THE TRUTHS WE KNEW, than a lot of the well meaning dialogue (with no substance) we had grown used to in this cult-like group.
A very Godly family recommended that Donna & I read; Letters to a Devastated Christian, by Gene Edwards and A Tale of Three Kings by Joyce Landorf. We bought the books and were amazed at the number of Christian families where Christianity & religion were used in an abusive way (with twisting scripture) for a leader to gain power.
Absolutely, there is no doubt you can have a much more meaningful walk with the Lord outside of a man following organization. I too, knew a few men that said they were ahead of me with recognizing the deceptive practices of the “new leadership” and said they would be out before us. They too, have proven to be double minded and not to be trusted. I understand they have been elevated to a form of this “new leadership” in this evolving group.
I have only to assume this is because they chose to not take a step of faith in the Lord, but rather chose the lower, easier path of man following.
Don’t put God into such a small room where He is so confined, you don’t allow Him to help you. Believe me/us, God is alive and allowed to work His good works where His people choose to follow!
Only because of Him,
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 12:24 am:
To add to Jim Langford’s recent postings:
Previous postings have stated how the group was to have started off wholesome. My understanding is there was a proper motivation with many making godly contributions for the benefit of their families and the group as a whole.
After Robert & his followers took over, it was obvious they took a radical departure from the prior leadership. They successfully shifted everyone’s priority from seeking God & His guidance first to following the new “leadership” at a huge cost (excommunication).
John wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus describing the downward course of the Laodicean Church (which Jim spoke of in his last post). Revelation 2: 4 & 5 says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Rev. 2: 7 goes on to say: He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
I often wonder how many of those choosing to stay in RAG & Co. & continuing to support their devastation of Christian lives will be seen in heaven.
Let’s continue to pray that the scales will be removed from their eyes and that they will find enough individual strength to trust in God.
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 12:15 am:
“It has been told me by someone still in the group (about 3 years ago) that we just have to follow the leading of the MEN!...that if they are truly leading us wrong (which we both believed and were talking about at that time), then THEY (the MEN) would answer to the Lord for leading us wrong.”
You can add my name as another witness to what you heard three years ago. I was told the same thing over twenty years back by many of the men considered to be “leaders” in the Riverside area. Three men independent of the other stated essentially the same as you put so well in your last post.
If this is how they expect everyone to conduct their lives, how can those subjecting themselves to their abuse, obey scriptures such as: 2Tim. 2: 15, (studying to show yourself approved unto God), Acts 17: 11 (The Bereans were more noble because… they searched the scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true), Matt. 12: …I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment…, Phil. 2: 12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”.
Now, I don’t believe for a second that Bro. Maurice Johnson intended to create the group Robert Grove has turned it in to today. He actually left a man-made group when he started this fellowship. As I understand it, he actually studied himself right out of the group he was a part of (see verses in above paragraph).
According to the current thinking of this “New Age Leadership”, MMJ must not have done right by reading his bible and separating himself from a man-following organization.
If not, what’s next? John D. Lee did what he was told & convinced to carry out (I saw that on the History channel recently-his actions were astonishing)! Many other very popular cults use the same logic for blindly following their “leadership”.
May God help everyone to see the wickedness of this flawed logic and thinking. It definitely removes individuals from placing their faith in God.
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