Linda (Roberts) Tinsley's Testimony

 

lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 10:08 am:    Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all I was amazed when I stumbled on to this site. It brought back so many memories. I am Linda Roberts Tinsley, Maurice Johnson's oldest granddaughter. I have so many good memories of the assembly in California, the camps in Oklahoma and Va. but then it turned into a nightmare in my late teen years. I was marked in 79 I think. I look back now and realize that my whole family was damaged, in some ways that will never go away by Robert Grove. James Cox was before him in Va and when I was first married I was dragged into men's meetings all the time, sometimes because I had said something, sometimes because my husband Ronnie would take me in. It was cross questions and crazy answers for hours. I was so tired that I would finally say anything they wanted me to just to be able to go home. I still have more reading here to do. Lately I guess because I am getting old and am alone I have thought a lot about all of you and the good times and wondered what my life would have been like if I had not been in the assembly. But The Lord has taken care of me and brought many wonderful Christians into my life. Linda My Email addy is
 
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 11:43 am:    Edit PostPrint Post

I am not surprised at hearing Robert has incorporated the "assembly " into a Church. If you all remember Granddaddy Johnson had a wooden box in the back of the room and he did not want to know who gave what because he knew being human he would favor the people that gave the most. He lived simply, drove an old car, and all the money given was for tract ministry and radio programs and buildings to rent. Robert on the other hand early on saw an opportunity to live like a king, all he had to do was stand up and declare that he had been called to preach, and then he never had to work again. I read his study on his sight about authority and it's pretty clever, leaves no room for anyone to topple him.
His study on sexual abuse made me furious and I emailed them but I am sure it did no good.
I worked on the
coalition for sexual abuse in Va for four years. I interviewed pedophiles in prison and at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and a child running around in the buff is not at fault nor is a young teen. One thing I have agonized about for years is what my father did to the young boys in the Va assembly. He took them on camping trips and molested them. Did the men report it to the authorities or get those boys help? No they just had men's meetings and then marked my father. He left home, and spent a life of homosexuality, he contracted AIDS and purposefully spread it before he died. He should have been in prison.
In my early 20's Robert came up with the doctrine that you had to confess all your sins publicly to be right, even your thoughts. I remember sitting in those long meetings, where people dredged up things from years back and horrible thoughts were put just out there. I had babies then so I took them to the restroom, and sat in there so I
wouldn't hear it. Several other young mothers did also. Cynthia Cotten, Jill Cox, Donna Baumgardner, and we would just visit. The men found out and put speakers in the bathroom. So you couldn't get away. Many people just couldn't live with saying things in the open meeting and so became depressed because they felt they could never be right with the Lord. I know one Sunday afternoon my youngest brother suddenly left the meeting sobbing. I followed him and he locked himself in the bedroom, Johnny and I knocked the door in and found him with a gun to his head. He had had some kind of petting with a girl in the assembly and because of his mental state he was going to shoot himself rather than confess in public. After someone confessed then they were semi marked. If it was a woman she had to associate only with the older women, and couldn't go to some functions. If it was a man there was no semi marking, he just confessed and went on, even speaking and leading. The meetings were four or five hours long, with repetition of verses, strung together to mean what he wanted. He left out and added to but it was mind control. For years after I left I could not even read my Bible because I only heard what he had said. I realized later that those verses didn't say at all what he had taught.
The worst thing for me was that I believed divorce was an unforgivable sin, and unless I went back to Ronnie, I would be living in sin, and God would not hear me and would take his hand off of my life. I knew I was saved, but I didn't know what to do. I was terrified. I had been taught to trust the men, that the men were the head of an unmarried woman, that I could not think for myself, and could not get an education, nor work. So here I was with a terribly abusive husband, who hadn't worked in a year, we were being evicted, we had no food, I was sick, and Ronnie had told me that he was gay, and still loved some marine that he had had a relationship with in the army. I called Jinky Meyers and told her we had no food. Jody Cotten and Carlton Calk came and looked in the cupboards, and Ronnie told them it was shopping day and that he was going to get food, that things were fine. I went to the men about the abuse, Ronnie confessed to being gay and having lived that way, Robert told me in one of the many men's meetings that I had to do any perverted sex act that Ronnie wanted. Looking back I think I had a breakdown, but I went one last time to talk to five couples. John Corle, Carlton Calk, Jody Cotten,
Claude Cotten, Paul Pugh and all their wives. They questioned me for seven hours and took written notes. The next Sunday they got up and made a report. It was all lies, and I was marked. I moved in with my mother and sister. To keep custody of my four children, I had to have a job. The only thing I knew how to do was upholstery, so I got a job in a shop. The men came to my boss and told him I had left my husband, and that if I didn't have a job I would loose my children and have to go back. That gave my boss the leverage he wanted. He said I had to have sex with him and his brother or I would be fired. So I did, I hid somewhere inside myself and just went on. After I got custody, mainly because Ronnie had thrown me down the back stairs into hard packed ice and snow, the judge didn't even let the men in the assembly speak. They were going to try to commit me to a mental institution and take my children. Ronnie was still in the assembly, for at least a year. I was terrified of being on my own, had never handled money, only worked like a slave. I started doing upholstery in my mothers basement. She was angry at me for her being marked and loosing her lifelong friends so it was not a good thing to be living there. I found a house just down the road and rented it. The men in the assembly would drive up at night and slash my tires, one night they took our puppy and left the collar that had been cut on the porch. Some of the farmers in the neighborhood finally sat in the barn at night with shot guns and caught them. That house had only wood stoves for heat and the first night I started a fire it caught the house on fire. The fire dept put it out and condemned the house. Mother had taken in a woman with six children and had no room for me, so the children and I huddled in one bed for three days trying to keep warm. I finally called a neighbor and she got a team of men who moved me and the children into their basement. Then two weeks later another family in the neighborhood took us in for three months. We all had pneumonia, and so had to get well. After that I rented another house from a girl I had known in school. She said if I fixed it up I could live six months for free, so I got in and sanded floors, put up trim, put in windows, and we moved in. It had a shop so I could do upholstery. After I had been there for several months the girl came in with a lease that was double, and she would not pay for all the supplies. There was a major wiring problem so I called the fire marshal. He came and condemned the house. I took a trip to Richmond with my son's little league, and found a job at a bridal shop, put a deposit on an apartment and moved. The fire Marshall came to see me after that when he was at the arson lab in Va. He was a big, ruggedly good looking man always in the news and on TV. He said he was interested in me. He said he was a Christian and no sex before marriage. I was flattered and it seemed like the answer to my life, a man that would take care of me. So we dated for nine months, he was great with kids. When he came in his fire car, all the kids would come. I was working out of my apt at that time doing dressing making and alterations and keeping 5 children. 14 days before we were to be married, Melissa, who was four, said "mommy I don't want to go to Ira's, he will make me do that again. To make a long story short, he had been molesting four of my children, all the ones I was baby sitting, and a retarded child that lived in the neighborhood. Then began four years of hell going thru court. One funny thing that Ira did, was make Jody Cotten close parts of Merry Meadows, because they had not gotten permits to build.
I finally got Ira convicted, but my tires were slashed, my engine doused with gasoline, my
brake lines cut, my steering line cut. We started in counseling but our lives were just a mess.
I stayed away from Churches because I thought they were all like the assembly, and I thought this was punishment on me for divorcing Ronnie. I thought God had abandoned me. I almost went back to the assembly. I got a job as rental agent at the apts where I lived and then worked up to manager. I was still looking for some man to take care of me, because I thought God would not and so on to the next bad one. In that relationship I was thrown off a two story deck and was in the hospital for 7 days
unconscious. While I was recovering I met a man at a singles group that was from SC. He said he was a Christian and swept me off my feet and I married him. We moved to SC and for 2 years were blissfully happy. Then he drank, and we had to run and hide, and then the girls told me he had molested them. He admitted it so I took them to their teachers until my son Jason and I could move. He went to jail for only a short time and I got no support. We tried to start over but we all were just trashed. Lisa and Meliss started skipping school, Jay started drinking, he got two DUI's and then broke his neck diving into the river drunk. He survived and went into the navy. Melissa went to live with her father and within a week called crying that she had found him in bed with a guy. She came home, and Lisa started dating a guy and got pregnant. She was only 17.I felt like my life was over. We were all so damaged. I was raped at gunpoint, and then two weeks later Melissa was taken to a crack house by some school friends and drugged and raped. So another trial. I was working at a boat dealer ship doing boat interiors, and one day I came in and they said get out that the place had been sold. I lost my house, and the girls went to live with Mary Balla and Lisa got married. I felt like I was still being punished for divorcing Ronnie. I moved in with a co worker, and for 8 long years, lived in fear of him killing me. He was a violent alcoholic who played with guns. One day in desperation I got online and went to an AA sight where they had meetings online. Then I started going to alanon meetings, and there I learned that I could pray and God could hear me, that he had forgiven me. I started going to church, and got rid of the alcoholic, and now for 6 years have lived alone, and the Lord has taken care of me. My children are slowly healing, but slowly is the operative word. I only wish I had realized long ago that I was forgiven, and could start anew. Only someone that was in the assembly can understand how bad it was, and how diabolic Robert is. I went back twice to see them, they acted scared of me, and Aunt Margaret said I needed to come back to God, I told her I had, but that did not mean back to Merry Meadows.
I was taught only a God with a baseball bat, no forgiveness, and rules, rules, rules. I am 57 now, and live alone. My youngest son lives here, but I don't get to see him because he like me married an abusive person and she won't let me see him or the children.
I know this is long, but after so many years, I needed for someone to know my life. I am happy now, and content. I look back on the good days, with Grace and Lucille, Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Earle, and at five years old riding on
Burnell Johnson's shoulders at a sing, and so many other memories. I have prayed that God would destroy Robert and the others that control those people. So many of them are there because they are afraid if they leave they won't see their children and grandchildren.
I must go, I have an old lady I have to take shopping. Love and prayers , Linda

 
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 12:43 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

Been reading and reading and so tickled to see Nancy and Judy on, I have lots of pictures of all of us from the past.
One thing the Rag group never does is the normal Christian outreach that the churches here are doing. No programs for alcohol abuse, no meals for the shut-ins, no help to homeless, or to single mothers or fathers, no real programs for a Christian marriage. You reach people by sharing God's love by helping them in their need. By sharing God's love and forgiveness, not by rules and regulations and funny clothes and drab faces. I have found more true Christians in denominations that I ever did in the Va assembly. The Lord is real and is there for us, he doesn't care if we are sprinkled or dipped or not at all, or whether we partake of the supper, or whether we dress in a normal way. I believe that we should dress as a Christian, in modest apparel but not the extreme that Rag teaches. I work with a lot of older people, and single moms, and my life now is a living testimony of what the Lord has and is doing in my life. I wonder sometimes if Robert will be in heaven. You know that if the tree bares bad fruit it is a bad tree. So many people say they are Christians but their walk is devoid of anything Godlike. I feel so bad for the older people in there like Aunt Margaret, because she really believes that unless I am in the assembly I won't go to heaven. Mother had a very hard time getting away from that thinking also. She has hurt so much from being cut off from so many old friends, and being blamed for Daddy's deeds. I can't imagine living like that now, it is so scary to be controlled, every aspect of my life was controlled. I was called into a men's meeting for not having a clean house, I had just had a baby and had a breast infection. It was awful. Every night was controlled by something that Robert had planned. A sing, a meeting, a dinner, a study, there was no time for family life. And the men in the group were encouraged to quit their jobs and only work for people in the assembly. Because women were supposed to stay at home and not get an education, I was not prepared for the outside world. I am just now going back to school to get a degree so I can get a job that I can retire with.
People on the "outside" that I have told about the Rag group can not imagine that anything like that is still in existence. It seems that the type of people Robert can get into the group now are people who want to be told what to do, the others are afraid of loosing family members. For a short period of time I was in a group called Fundamentalists Anon. It was a support group for people who had come out of cults.
I remember the ridicule when we went to the beach and swam in full dress, culottes, and a blouse and underwear. Also if you are not exposed to the outside world you will not be equipped to live in it. We were so protected, and so naive. I was like a baby in the ocean.
Sometimes I have wished I was married to a Christian man and didn't have to work and struggle by myself, but I am a stronger person for it. I make my living making boat covers, tops and enclosures, working for older people and working on a cruise boat on the lake, crewing and doing maintenance work. I live simply in an old farm house I rent that has only wood heat. I have enough, and that is good. I worked for nine months as a social service and activity director for a retirement home, and ended up reporting abuse and neglect and loosing my job, but the Lord provided more work and I have been fine. I know these are the last days, and it would be wonderful if all the people in the Rag group could be free to see all of us and not be under that control, but I doubt it. False profits shall arise and fool even the elect. I am just thankful for all that the Lord has done in my life, for his protecting me, and bringing me thru some horrible things. I just wish I had gotten to know him sooner, so that my children had not been so damaged. I was not in an area where I could be with other marked people. Jim Johnson, my uncle, was my strength for so many years, he kept me going and kept trying to get me to trust the Lord and not a man. There were never any Christian men in my life or my children's life after I left. My father came and went and made passes at my male friends and neighbors, and so did my ex, Ronnie. It was and still is humiliating to my children. I keep telling them that the Lord can be their father and pray God will send a Christian man into their lives to be a mentor. I have forgiven both, they were too damaged to be fathers, and struggled with their demons. Both my father and my husband had violent and abusive fathers.
We all must go on and pray for those in the Rag group, that they will see where they are and be courageous and take Robert and the other leaders down. But a cult is defined by the brainwashing and control, and a hard thing to break. Linda
 
 
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 1:46 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

Reading these threads is amazing. It seems so unbelievable that one little guy that wears cowboy boots, has a pocked marked face and little squinty brown eyes and a 5o's crew cut can do so much damage and keep such a tight rein on so many people. If I remember right Granddaddy Johnson never marked anyone. He just preached and they left because they didn't agree. It seems the marking started in his last years when his mind was going. I remember a meeting in Sacramento where he preached the same sermon twice and Jim had to take him out. I do think Granddaddy got too far off but it was never like the Rag Group. Since I lived in Va, James Cox was the head then, and I remember hours of men's meetings, long letters going out and many markings. Robert was not the first to mark. John Morey and my uncle Berl were doing it then. If you look at religious history a lot of men that broke off from one group because of doctrine that was wrong, ended up being also another wrong group. That one puny man could do so much damage to so many people is amazing. What happened to "prove all things, hold fast to what is good"? And "study to show thyself approved"? I remember that if anyone disagreed one iota with Robert they had men's meetings and either that person shut up or was marked.
I hope a lot of people in the assembly are reading this thread. No one was told the truth about any situation. I remember seeing people being marked, and shunning them myself and thinking how awful they were. But for some reason when Marion Cox was marked it hit me as wrong. I went and talked to her once. I never after that thought things were right. I was always one to blurt out what I thought, and it got me into a lot of trouble. I hated seeing people spill their private sins in public and then living with the humiliation of others knowing. Private things were public, and forgiveness was nonexistent. That gives Robert leverage. The more he knows about a person the better his control.
About the rampant sexual abuse that was covered up, there is no statute of limitations on that in the law. Any adult could come forward and that would shut them down. It takes courage, and the sad thing is that the damage has crippled so many. But it could be done. If abuse is reported to a pastor and he does not report it it is a crime. I know there were violations in all the building of Merry Meadows, my sister Janice called the fire Marshall and the building inspector, Ira Cortez, who I was engaged to at the time, and reported that they had built bathrooms, cottages without a permit, and they were shut down. I would imagine they have done more, and I would doubt that they are really straight with the IRS. I know that there was something fishy with my uncle Claude Cotten and his business dealings, because Ira told me, Claude came to the court trial for the sexual abuse and just sat there glaring at Ira. I never got a straight answer from Ira but it sounded like some pay off.
I remember too hearing Robert say in a meeting on women, that if his daughter came to him and said her husband was beating her, he would send her back home. I remember then thinking that was sick. What we all know and have experienced is probably only the tip of the iceberg.
When I was marked he sent out an 8 page letter, and nothing in it was true. In the five hour meeting where I was marked he compared me to Jezebel and said my bones would be thrown over the wall and picked by the birds and dogs. I can't understand how people that are intelligent and supposedly in their right mind can swallow that.
He said that I had no rights, that going to court for my "right" was wrong. And you know what , James Cox was not certified to marry people. They simply did not obey the law in any way shape or form. The doctrine that no one should have insurance was nuts also. I am sure that God protects those in the Rag group, he did me. I belong to an online prayer group and have seen amazing things changed by prayer. We should all pray daily for the freeing of the people in the group. I thank God every day that I am not there, even though I bumbled thru life scared for many years. I now know who he is and what he can do and he is everything to me. He has made me clean and new, and been a father and husband to me. Linda
 
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 2:25 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

I must post these gruesome details because I lived them. I am Maurice Johnson's oldest granddaughter, Linda Roberts Tinsley. I know that fourteen boys were molested by my father on a camping trip, it was not reported to the authorities, and no one got help. My nephew, John Allen Agee had been caught molesting little girls, the men had a closed meeting about it and no one was told. After my separation from Ronnie when I was living with my mother, Helen Roberts; Ronnie took the kids for the weekend to Joe and Sharon Agee's. Both Joe and Ronnie knew John Allen had molested little girls. Lisa was only four at the time. When he brought her home, she was pale and crying. I put her in the bathtub and she started screaming and was bleeding from her privates. John Allen had molested her. I will never forget that little damaged body and face. I called Ronnie and asked him about it. He said they had left the children with John Allen. I called the police and reported it and John Allen was court ordered to treatment. Joe and Sharon didn't speak to me for years after that. All the men knew and told no one.
During the time after my husband told the men he had been involved with men, I was called into many men's meetings. I would not participate in oral sex or anal sex and Robert told me I had to. I was sick at my stomach with the whole mess, and he did get off on asking questions about every detail of our sex life. He had a study full of books on sex, psychology and mind control, not books about God. He was a vile, despicable man. My complaints of the physical and mental abuse went unheard, ex for him to repeat that if his daughter called him and said her husband was beating her, he would send her back to the abusive husband and tell her to take it. I was told I must have some hidden sin that I had not confessed, and that God was punishing me. On one of the many times when we had no food and I dared call someone for help, Jody Cotton said that I must be sinning, that they would not be interfering with my reaping by bringing us food. This was at a time when I had a three month old baby, and a severe breast infection, and Ronnie was not working, he was depending on me to do upholstery to make ends meet and I was too sick to work. One of my neighbors came to see the new baby and when she found that we had no food, she organized the other neighbors,( all outside the assembly ) they brought food until I was well. One time Joanne Pugh was there when a neighbor came with a casserole, and she said "how can you take food from someone wearing pants and makeup?"
I prayed that whole time Tho he slay me I will trust him. I have not thought about all this for years, but it was the most awful time in my life. Even the things I went thru weren't as bad, because the people doing these things were my Christian brothers and sisters, the only people I knew and trusted. It was the "ungodly Christian neighbors " that helped me and the children when I left, and I am still in touch with some of them today, we pray for each other and encourage each other.
I am sure I am not the only woman or girl that went thru this kind of hell. When I left I had no self worth, no self confidence, was terrified and had four precious children to raise. The notion that God had taken his hands off of me, that he wouldn't hear my prayers was terrifying. I was saved, I knew that, but no clue as to how to live, and thought that all churches were like the assembly so stayed away. The men that sat in those meetings and listened and did nothing are just as accountable to God as Robert. It is vile and I just pray that God stops them and there will be no more victims. My children and I were used to being victims, and so were set up to be abused again. Thank God I got help, at 48, but my children are only now getting help, and it has affected every aspect of their lives. Heaven seems a wonderful place now, I only hope the Lord comes soon.
This was very hard to write, and I hope no one will be offended, but it happened and probably is still going on. Linda
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 2:59 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

Does anyone remember that Robert was a prison guard for several years. That is where he got his training in control. As for how he took over in Va., I was there, James Cox was having trouble with two of his children, his daughter and oldest son, also his wife was accused of being "heady" and controlling him. Robert came in just as James stepped down, I was floored because I remember him as being a rebellious teen, and rough, but the men in Va. were just waiting for someone to tell them what to do. He just slid in. He took control of the group and had a lot of the younger guys, Bob Harrison and several others back him up. He has studied mind control, has a study full of books, I know I saw them. I was called into several sessions with him and his wife, and would just tune him out and look at all the books. They were all on mind control, sex and psychology. It still boggles my mind that he controls all the groups from there. Linda
 
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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 8:15 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

I think we have a very powerful tool here. It may be the only way to reach people in the group. It seems like so long ago and then just like yesterday. I have wanted to write a book to help others that have been thru this, and still will, but just getting it out to those who know it happened somehow validates that it did. You feel so helpless when you are being marked, and it takes so long to find your bearings. Since I was born into the group and my grandfather started it, I have a lot of good and bad memories. I chose to only remember the good ones most of the time to just keep going.
It is so strange that they can know so much scripture but not have a clue as to the Lord is and what he wants from us. They are so caught up in keeping everyone under control there is no time to reach out and help anyone. The churches I have been a part of have programs to help the needy, the addicts, the single parents and the married people, and the elderly. I have been working with the elderly a lot and love it and most already know the Lord and bless me more than I do them. Since I am a displaced house wife I end up cooking for a lot of shut-ins, and cleaning house for them. I am just so thankful for what the Lord has done in my life, he is everything to me. The things he has done are unbelievable. When I was a struggling single mom there were miracles all the time. I always had enough work and money, and never advertised, there was another Christian mother in the apts where I lived that home schooled her children and kept mine because I didn't have money for day care. I have always had a place to live and a car to drive, and now have a bunch of older Christian single women as friends. I heat my house with wood and the Lord brought a farmer into my life that could cut and split it for me cheap, I had been doing it all on my own. The Lord found me a place to live that I could afford even if I got sick. One time I had just gotten paid in $100. bills for a canvas job and so went to church and was going to put $100. as a tithe. But the bills were new and stuck together so three ended up in the plate. I somehow made it that month. Three years later when I was having a hard time, it was winter, I got a check from that church with a note saying that I had been on their minds and they hoped it would help. It was $200. and I wasn't going there anymore. There have been things like that just over and over.
I know the people in RAG think there is no other life and they can't make it outside. But it is so much better. The freedom to learn and grow and live life is so wonderful. Remember the chart that granddaddy Johnson had that was a circle and all the little churches had part of them in the circle. The circle was the Church which was Christ's body which was made up of all believers. There were some in every church. God knowing humans as we are knows there are many different kinds of people and so there are many denominations. Most preach God's word and so are reached. That all doctrine in all churches is sound, no, but remember God used Balaam's donkey to speak. I just pray that my life will be a light to those around me and when I get to heaven the Lord will say "well done". There is no other place to be than in his will. I never fit in very well with people who have not had a lot of trials, I probably tend to be too much on the serious side, but there is so much that is important to do. Right now I am helping 139 elderly people file a lawsuit for abuse and neglect and covering up at inspections in a building riddled in mold, where we lost 17 people last year. It seems I am always fighting something. With the Lord's help it will work.
If every one that comes to this site has the courage to expose Robert and the men around him, it should make a difference. When I went to the police about the man I was engaged to that had molested children everyone told me you will never get anywhere, he is a police officer, a fire Marshall and a big wig. I didn't care, I asked God to help me, and went to the press and other towns, and the state level, and to the general assembly, we changed three laws in Va., that children could testify by video tape, and the first offence would be a felony. He went to jail, and was publicly exposed. What about going to 20/20 or some other news like that with our story. They might listen. Think big, God doesn't have boundaries. Most people don't know this kind of thing as RAG still exists and don't believe you if you tell them. It is just so good to hear from all of you. Love and Prayers, Linda
 
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Friday, March 11, 2005 - 9:13 am:    Edit PostPrint Post

Jody I don't remember you.  I was in California at a camp in Tulare when I was 19.I have pictures of me holding Maurice, he was only 2. I never got to go back after I was married.  We went to the camp in Oklahoma a few times.  There were a lot of babies then so I probably saw you.
It think the men following Robert are so very responsible also. Claude Cotton, my uncle liked to run things, but because he had so many blatant faults and was marked several times he did it thru the person in charge. When Robert came in he thought he could "use" him to get rid of some people. He did, but when Claude's son Jimmy was marked I think Claude realized that Robert was out of control. Jimmy didn't even do what he was accused of, and they didn't even ask him, just accused him and marked him. The seven hour meeting that some of them had with me they took notes, Robert was not there so I had some hope of them understanding. That Sunday when Carlton Calk gave his report about the meeting with me it was just all lies. At least he couldn't look me in the eye.  I remember when Randy Robbins and others were marked. I was stunned. He had such a tender heart but also courage to stand up for what was right. After Robert came into power in Va. it was non-stop weeding out of anyone that didn't do as he said. He discouraged people from reading their bibles separate from in the meetings, heavens, that might make them really think and go against him.  The meetings were four and five hours long, and repetition of the same verses, pounding it into peoples heads. You were tired and spacy, typical mind control tactics. He would read part of a verse, skip the last and link it with part of another which changed the meaning. I listened to some tapes over and over and caught that.
As to the men's meetings, I was always alone, in a circle of men. Several times I was sitting in a chair in the middle of the circle. That last time I faced them at the camp at Miller School it was like that, like some medieval court.
The statement about the sex thing that someone said he had told someone, he said that to me also. That if my husband wanted me to hang from the ceiling it would be okay. His advise was graphic and depraved.  To me a persons sex life and marriage should be private. When I was questioned for so long that one night, it suddenly dawned on me that unless there were two or three witnesses I shouldn't be talking about it. It was just my husband and me and I was the only one there. That was just another point. They had no business getting involved with the housekeeping, family habits, marriage and sex life of the people in the group, nor the job situations. It is all just so sick and wrong.
I remember a situation that really made me think, and felt awful about. This was under James Cox I think, Robert may have been there then. Esther Annerk a dear older woman in her seventies had left her husband for many good reasons. He was not in the assembly. She was told the only way to be right was to go back to him. She tearfully was making plans to and the Lord took him home, or took him out.  I just thought it was awful that they interfered in her life like that.
They also have situational ethics in marking and other discipline. When I was marked I was given two weeks to straighten up, that was that. Rick Baumgardner who had been having an affair for three months, was given much more time and even allowed to preach. He was Roberts pet.  If I wanted to go back and see any one it would never be allowed, but Jim Cotton can go any time he pleases, because he is Claude's son. Claude and Jody Cotton have a lot of power there also. Jeff Cotton was caught climbing up on the roof of our house and watching us in our dressing room. He also was in the attic window of his house watching when all the girls were swimming in the Cotton's pool, but nothing was ever done.  He was the one caught slashing my tires after I left, but even though I had a police report nothing was done. Claude probably nixed it.
I saw a lawyer from the Va. Maryland on here. He should go talk to my brother Johnny. He was marked in his teens and lives in Maryland. You can email me at

I think Dateline or 20/20 would be a good way to go. Someone could point them to this site and any others that are there.
My heart breaks for Richard, they will do what ever they can to keep his wife and children.  It is all so diabolical, and something akin to the movies that we see that are fiction.
Linda
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted on Friday, March 11, 2005 - 10:57 pm:    Edit PostPrint Post

Why stay in the group? For someone like me who was born in the group leaving was never a thought. It was the only way to live, and the only right way. There also was a pride in "knowing THE truth. We were the only right ones, and were taught from birth to trust the men in authority and never question them. If I had not been marked I would still be in there. I don't think the pride factor has been mentioned here, but I do think it is a factor. Fear is also there, fear of disagreeing or standing up to Robert and his cronies, because you know you will be marked and lose you family.
It is not comfortable to have to think on your own, and stand up for yourself, and the fact that it is easier to be told what to do and how to think and how to live is safe. I agree with Jim, that most would just gravitate to another person who would tell them what to do, if Robert was toppled. The group breeds terribly co-dependent people.
Also it seems to draw unstable people, or people who don't seem to fit in in the real world.
Most of the people in the Va assembly would not make any kind of decision without consulting the men. I don't know how it was in the other areas, and if you made a decision without consulting you would be in trouble.
If things keep going the course that they are I would not be surprised if something like the David Koresh or Jim Jones happens. The fact that Robert has guns, is insane. Can you imagine Maurice Johnson with a gun? He used to pick up hitchhikers and preach to them and feed them.
Linda

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 7:31 pm:    Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Can anyone count the suicides and attempted suicides that have gone on in this group. I was on that attempted list three times. I know Joanne and David Agee both shot themselves. Joanne was being molested by her father, all the men knew, they did nothing. She called me at work, saying even though she had moved away and was living with the Goffs it was still going on. I was supposed to call her back but she shot herself that night. I had been out of the group about three years then.  Can you all come up with a count? I think it is important for all to know.
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted From: 65.4.118.137
Posted on Thursday, June 09, 2005 - 6:58 pm:    Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I remember over and over hearing that people in Denominations weren't really Christians. Because of that I stayed away for many years because I was afraid of them, and really thought they would be like the assembly.

Most of what I posted were the awful things in my life. I have met so many wonderful Christians, who look all kinds of ways. They have been in my life to support me and encourage me. The Lord never has let me down.

So let me tell you some things he did. When I was going thru the molestation trial in Va, I was working out of my home and so much was happening I didn't have enough money. I lived in Richmond, but had a checking account in Charlottesville that my child support went into. Month after month I paid rent and and it never came out of my account. The bank checked, the company had the money but no one knew where it had come from. Our case was in the news constantly, and I had been interviewed on the local TV, so everyone knew what we were going thru. My husband had been assistant vise president of the bank, so I knew all the people there. Finally after six months, the bank told me to close out the account and take the money. It was enough to live on during the duration of the trial. I kept checking for a year to see if I needed to replace the money, but they never found out what had happened.

Two years ago when I was working on the boat in the winter, I got pneumonia. I had gone to a little church down the road for three years and then there was a split and I went somewhere else. I had been tithing there regularly. While I was going there I was doing canvas work on boats and a lot of times people paid in cash. So one Sunday morning I went to church with a wad of $100. I had made a lot that month so was going to tithe $100. The bills were new, so when I reached in my purse I put $300. in the plate, I never used the envelope because I didn't think anyone need to know how much I gave. The following Monday I realized at the bank what had happened. I couldn't very well call the church and say , Hey I put to much in the plate, could you give me back $200. So I just went on.

So three years later when I got pneumonia, I was sick for a month. I had not heard a peep from anyone from that church. I went to the mail box and there was a check from the church for $200. with a note saying I had been on their minds and they hoped I could use this. Also a check for $250. from one of my friends in Charlottesville that I had not even talked to in a year, (she was never in the assembly) with a note saying the same thing.

I live in a house that I heat only with wood. I had been finding my wood, cutting and splitting it myself, but my health started to fail and it was hard to even hold the mall or the chain saw. I had many nights when I was cold, but I kept praying. The gas station I always stopped at a lady stopped me and asked me if I knew anyone that could clean for her or do a little yard work. I said me, she turned out to be a dear Christian that had survived cancer four times. When she found out I was trying to do my own wood she sent a man over with a truck full of wood, cut and split just right. He told me he was a Christian and that he was going to bring wood every two weeks and I could pay him when I could, even if it went into the next year.

So many times I have been in impossible situations, and I just go to the Lord and he makes it all work out. I trust him totally.

I spent the last two days helping the neighbors move a woman's stuff out of her house because she was being evicted. She is mentally ill, so we all pitched in. She was a compulsive shopper so the house was packed to the ceiling. I slipped on some magazines and papers and twisted my knee, and tore the muscles and ligaments. I don't look at that as a disaster, but another opportunity for the Lord to come thru.
To all those still in the assembly that think if you are outside the assembly God will desert you, think again. I have many Christian friends, and only came to really know who the Lord really was when I was cast out.

Troubles are times when God shines, and makes us strong. ALL things work together for good to them that love God, not just the good things. He has protected me, brought people into my life to help me, brought me work, jobs, and when no job, money to live on and people to tell what God has done.

It is wonderful to cast my burdens on him, and to see him work in my life. It was in the cloudy days that wonderful things happened.

When my Aunt Margaret tearfully said she hoped she would see me in heaven, and that I would come back to the assembly first then the Lord, it just broke my heart that she really believed I was not saved because I had left the assembly. I wish I had time to tell her all the wonderful things God has done for me over the years. So many little things, I have to tell one more.

My kids and I met in the mountains in Va to camp out for the weekend. We try to do this once a year. Since I was the only one with a truck I had the job of getting firewood. So I drove off with my dog, it was almost dusk, to a place about five miles from the campground where I had seen a lot of wood. I clipped my truck keys onto my belt loop and proceeded to get wood. I went all over the place, getting wood. When I finished, I reached back to get my keys and they weren't there. My belt loop was wide so they didn't completely snap on the loop. I was getting dark and no one knew where I was. So I just knelt down and told the Lord that these woods were so big and I needed my keys. I started back into the woods where I thought I had gone, there was a thick ground cover every where. My dog kept pulling me in another direction, so I followed, then he sat down, and his paws were parting the ground cover and there were my keys. I just thanked the Lord and took the wood back. I have learned to pray for the little things, and he always answers, and so use my kids language, it is so neat every time I get those answers.

Sorry this is so long, but had to share some good things. Linda

lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Post Number: 21
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Posted From: 65.4.68.230
Posted on Sunday, August 07, 2005 - 10:40 am:    Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Rsmb, I can understand how you feel, but every little thing is important, that is wrong and adds to the pattern of wrong doing in the Rag group.
Any adult or child that was kidnapped, raped, or molested can go to the authorities even now. There is no statute of limitations. I know from experience that going to trial for a rape case or molesting case is grueling, horribly hard to go thru, but the only way to stop the person that has harmed you is to do that. In the case of molesting that I went thru, it took four years both times. Both men served jail time and my ex husband died a year later so he could not molest any more girls. My rape case was not successful, but the man was put on trial, for 8 women, and was convicted for one.

I wish all the people that are out of the group would press charges, I would help in any way I could. But it is hard, for the victim, and long and can almost break you, but is healing because you have done something about what has happened to you. The Lord has healed all the pain I had, it is just alot of memories with no feeling. Lots of lessons in leaning on the Lord a finding out that the Lord is the only one that you can trust and the only one to give joy and peace.

If you would like to write me, email me at . I have found that only those that have suffered the same injustices can really understand. 

All the little things that others talk about here are important... they all made a chain of events that shaped our lives.

Robert and the other men that have hurt us will pay in the end. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and vengence is mine saith the Lord, I WILL repay them. God is faithful. His timing is not ours, but he is always on time. We have no power over these men except that given from the Lord.
I believe this site is the beginning of the end for Robert. It is wonderful to see all of us getting together by email, phone or in person. It has been a healing experience for me. I have lived alone for a long time, away from my family, and never had the fellowship of any others that came out of the assembly. In the real world the response to anything I have told people about the Rag group is disbelief... it just doesn't happen very often in the Christian world. I know there are other cults, but I think this one has gone on for so long and damaged so many people.

So I would encourage any that have a case, go to the police. There is no statute of limitations on rape or molestation, and thanks to John Walsh, who helped me with my case against the man who molested my children there is alot of help for those that do report something like this. I think it is despicable the things Robert has done and is teaching. God is on our side, and hates his sins. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
In Him, Linda Tinsley
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted From: 65.4.68.230
Posted on Sunday, August 07, 2005 - 12:44 pm:    Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Jody, I was thinking about the things I have been thru and how God uses them. At the time it seemed like there was no reason. Some of the time I was doing things I knew was wrong, but much of the time I was not. The verse we quote so often, all things work together for good to them that love God, is not often really believed, just quoted. Now I truly believe it. It is how we lean on the Lord and how we learn in those times that later we can see how God allowed something to happen to teach us something, or for us to do something, or to be a testimony for those that are watching. I have had numerous opportunities to help other women that have been thru what I have, only by experiencing those things could I do that. I grew each time, because I HAD to cry out to the Lord, no one else could help. In the assembly, I was told any time that something happened to me, that there was some secret sin, that I was hiding, and bad things were my punishment. That was so wrong, and for years made me live in fear.

One night two years ago I was coming home from a cruise on the boat. It was a late cruise and a long clean up. I started home at 1:20 am, passed a cop at a dark service station, looked at my speedometer and realized I was out of gas. I knew I could make it home if I slowed down and had a can of gas at home. The road was dark and no cars. Then around a corner came a car with high beam blue lights, I could see every cig butt in the ditches, every piece of trash. I tried to train my eyes on the road ahead. The car passed me and that second a persons head slammed into my windshield, his feet went up and his body over the back of the car, then the windshield clouded and glass was flying into my face and cutting my legs. The car just came to a stop, the windshield opened and I could see to pull over. When I put on the brakes, the whole windshield fell in on me. A car stopped and it was someone from my church. He helped me get out and find my glasses and my cell phone. We walked to the road where a young boy lay in a pool of blood, his head smashed. He was thrashing around, I knelt down and talked to him and he calmed down. I felt utter horror, I think I was in shock. He was air lifted to the hospital, the police told me they had had three calls about him walking into incoming traffic, they had found him, and he ran into a field. The cop I had passed was waiting for backup. He was dressed in all black, had just come back from Iraq. One cop came over and said, Linda I don't know if you will hear this or remember this, I know by your bumper stickers that you are a Christian, this marine was hell bent on being hit by a car, three ran off the road to keep from hitting him, God sent you in your little car, going only 40 because you were out of gas, to hit him: look at the three vehicles that came behind you, all big SUV's he would have never made it. The hospital says he will live.

The point of me telling this is I wasn't doing anything wrong, the flashbacks and sleepless nights God just took away one night, the boy lived and called me later to apologize for my wrecked car and I told him about the Lord. I had no car, no money, but the Lord supplied and all those watching me saw what the Lord was doing in my life. It made me realize that ALL things, even the horrible things God allows in our lives he has something good if we allow him to work in our lives.
We are not here to live happy prosperous lives and have things hunky dorry, but to grow in the Lord thru our trials, and let him use us to help others that are in trials that we have been thru and to lead others to the Lord by our lives.
Only the Lord can give joy in pain, sanity in insane situations, and peace when things are anything but peaceful.

We as flawed humans seem to never change something unless it is uncomfortable. I think that the people in the Rag group will have to get to a level of discomfort in their lives as I did before they make a change.

rsmb, just turn your past and anger about the past over to the Lord, ask him what you can do. You can be used because of the things you have been thru to help others. God will take care of those that hurt us.

My lot in life seems to be learning the hard way and being a testimony by letting the Lord work in my life before others. If I had my way, I would prefer for life not to be so hard. God says he will not give us more than we can bare, but sometimes I think he thinks I am stronger than I am, then I realize that I am not strong at all but he is.

All things work together for good to them that love God, Linda
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Posted From: 65.4.68.230
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 10:03 pm:    Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think that the back up of alot of people with real names would encourage people to come forward and they will need alot of help and encouragement. It is hard to do and without concrete back up they will likely be afraid to come forward. I will stand by anyone that needs help, in any way I can. I worked on the sexual abuse coalition in Va for 4 years, the laws for victims are better now, and I don't think the Rag group will have the cover the Catholic church has had...These men need to be exposed and stopped.

When I was 19, I worked at John Corle's glass shop with my dad. One day we were all going out to lunch... my father had already left with a car load and so had John, I was stuck riding with one of the men in the shop. He drove to the bus station parking lot, which was remote and then attacked me... I fought and cried, and then he finally let me up and he drove to the restaurant. I had bruises on my neck and my ribs hurt. I think I was in shock... but somehow got thru the meal. I rode back with John Corle, and told him what had happened. Instead of protecting me, he asked me what I had done to make it happen. Then when we got home my father called me a slut. Then James Cox, Claude Cotten, Paul Pugh, John Corle and two other men came to our house with the man that had attacked me. They sat me down and had the guy tell his side, which was he wanted the bosses daughter and I came on to him. I tried to tell them what had happened...they wouldn't listen. I was terrified at having him in our house. When the meeting was over, Ronnie broke off our engagement, and James Cox said that if in the future any young man showed interest in me he would have to tell them I was damaged goods. That night I took a bottle of sleeping pills, but it was Nytol and so I didn't even really go to sleep. That was the beginning of my feelings of total worthlessness, and beginning of feeling I wasn't good enough for anything....and it carried into the years ahead. I should have never had to be confronted in my home with a man that tried to rape me. My father didn't protect me, in fact he said he thought the guy was good looking. When Ronnie and I got married I was programmed to take all abuse... so please... all of you do what ever you can to stop what is happening there...it has only been about 8 years that I have been okay, I am 57 and it took that long for me to finally realize that I never deserved the treatment I had in my life...that I was special, and the Lord loved me and had forgiven me, and I was whole again. Please any of you women that have been hurt, write me... if I can help in any way I will.

The Lord has taken away the pain, and I am happy and content. Linda
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Post Number: 36
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Posted From: 65.4.123.139
Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 6:15 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I would never go back...the freedom to worship with all Christians to me is so important.. My family was split when I left, most are out now. Being right with the Lord as an individual is the most important thing.. in that group even with the leaders gone, I wonder if that is even possible. Would I have left if I had not been marked, no , I was a woman, I did as I was told. Thank the Lord I was marked, I was able to finally know who the Lord is and have a personal relationship with him.
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Post Number: 37
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Posted From: 65.4.68.226
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 10:33 am:    Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I was reading the last few posts and wonder if anyone remembers the chart that Granddaddy had of the big circle with the" church which is Christ's body "in big letters in the middle of the circle... then little church buildings placed all around the circle, half in the circle and half out, representing the denominations around the world...which pointed out that there were devout Christians in all churches...this seems to have changed to where the RAG group thinks you can only be saved and walking with the Lord if you are in the Rag group...it is just so sad...Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Earl would have never been known to us if Grandaddy Johnson had taken that approach...in the Va assembly you were not to have anything to do with the neighbors...unless they came to the meetings.. I wonder too are they so weak in their convictions that having contact with any of us, they think might corrupt them? When you are constantly being told what to do, what to think, how to think of the Lord... there is no freedom in Christ at all...I am so thankful that I can have contact day to day with many Christians in my neighborhood, and at work that go to many different Churches...we have an instant bond and things in common because we love the Lord. I miss having contact with my cousins, and their children. We should have been able to all grow up together and be doing things together...there were so many young women I was close to that now probably wouldn't even answer the phone if I called. And my aunt Margaret,,. I miss her too... last time I tried to see her, she broke down and cried because she thought I wasn't going to heaven because I wasn't in the "assembly" ...it's pathetic!!! and soooo wrong...I wish I could sit down with them and tell them how much I love the Lord and all the things he has done for me, how I ask him about all the little things in life, the day to day things, how he brings people into my life that are a blessing, and how he protects me and gives me total peace and joy...For all those in the group... God hath not given us a spirit of FEAR, but of love and a sound mind...stand up to the leaders, or leave, and quit being afraid... if you leave your children... God will bring them out in his time... This just has gone on too long. Linda
lindyrt (lindyrt)
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Post Number: 39
Registered: 3-2005
Posted From: 70.157.138.11
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 8:58 am:     Delete Post Print Post

Etrop...we moved to Va in 1956. Long ago...
Jim, your assessment of the way they treat women is so true...they strip you of any self worth, and expose you so that you are nothing.
I have another event I forgot to tell. When I was 19, I worked at Charlottesville glass and mirror, with my father as a book keeper for John Corle. I was engaged to Ron Agee at the time. There was a guy there that had made passes at me at the water cooler and I didn't really know how to handle it, so I stayed away as much as I could. One day John was going to treat all employees to lunch, so we all headed out. My father and John drove off together, I ended up left and the water cooler guy said I could ride with him. I was nervous but got in the car. Instead of going to where we were going to eat, he went down to the bus station parking lot that was in a bad part of town and parked. He then attacked me, and tried to rape me. I fought, and finally he stopped. My throat was bruised and my ribs and stomach hurt terribly where he had tried to pin me down with his knee. We drove to the place to eat. I managed to get thru the meal, and rode back to the shop with the secretary. I told her what had happened. She said the same guy had raped her, but she didn't want anyone to know. When I got back, my father had gone out on a job so I told John Corle what had happened. That night driving home my father didn't say a word. I knew John had told him what had happened. I told my mother what had happened, and went to bed because I hurt so bad. Then the men came, with the man that had hurt me, into our living room and we had a court like session. He said it was my fault, I had asked for it. I told them what had happened. He finally said he just wanted to add me to his list. It was James Cox, John Corle, Paul Pugh, Jody Cotton, Claude Cotton, and my fiancee, and the man that had hurt me. That night, Ronnie broke off our engagement, my father called me a , and James Cox told me that if any other young man showed interest in me, it would be his duty to tell them that I was damaged goods. How can any one of those men live with themselves...what happened to me was assault and battery and attempted rape...they did NOTHING...except blame me and shame me...
Linda

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