by Robert Krusen (aka Alan Smithie)
Posted on FactNet Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 2:40 am:
Thanks for responding. I was a part of the group in Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia. I was "marked and shunned" at one point. I was "readmitted" and then left for good on my own volition 10 years ago. I know the individual you mention re: BatteredSheep.com. I met him through that site a few months ago (he's in Texas - the Fort Worth assembly) and we've been working together to expose this group. I don't have any family in the group (but some very close childhood friends who I knew before we joined this group). My friend in Texas, though, has his family in the cult.
Posted on FactNet Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 9:21 am:
This is Alan Smithie, who started this Board, and I'm very pleased to see all the comments. I've been working for the past six months trying to gather as much information as possible about this group for the purpose of exposing its true nature - specifically the harm that is being caused to individuals and families by the leadership, which flows from Robert Grove downward through his sons, Jeff and Scott, and then to various lieutenants. My primary goal is to help the hundreds of souls in the group who believe they are practicing the only correct form of Christianity, and specifically the people who are a part of the assembly I attended for several years, some of whom were my very closest friends from childhood who, like me, were not born into the group, but rather converted and joined in the early 80's.
Secondly, I wanted to do what I could to dissuade any person from becoming associated with this group. It is a cult, but I did not come to that realization until earlier this year (after 23 years of association as a member and later, and currently, an ex-member). Nothing new came to light to convince me of such, it just took me 10 years of non-association and some research on Christian cults to come to that conclusion. MAY THE TRUTH GET OUT!
My third goal is to investigate the Groves for possible unlawful or criminal conduct. My educational background, professional training, and experience, together with my personal knowledge of the group's working and beliefs, places me in a position to pursue various avenues concerning the legalities of what they are doing. Because of this third factor, I am using the pseudonym of Alan Smithie to keep my name out of it for the time being.
I "joined" in 1981 in the Virginia/Maryland locale, which was where the Grove family lived. I have no family in the group, so I am not going through the pain that many of you have expressed. I got "marked to be avoided" in 1991, and after seeking and receiving "re-admittance" in 1994, I voluntarily left for good in early 1995. The years away have been happy ones for me, notwithstanding the nagging confusion that filled my mind concerning the "Saints." After nearly 10 years away, the veil has been lifted. The realization that this is cult is quite unsettling, but makes it possible, finally, to understand why things are the way they are with this "Christ's True Church."
Jennie, you wrote, "it didn't begin as a cult, it BECAME one." What history do we know? I can trace the group back to Maurice Johnson in Los Angeles in the 1920's and Lyman H. Johnson, who wrote a book in 1906. Does anyone know where "we" came from? It seems to have lots of similarities (with some differences) with the 2X2's or Cooneyites, which was founded in 1897 in Ireland by William Irvine of Scotland. Robert Grove's father was Adair Grove, and I understand that Adair was a skid row alcoholic in California who converted under Maurice Johnson in the 30's.
Posted on FactNet Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 4:18 pm:
Thanks all for references! I'm familiar with most of them, but I've learned a great deal more in the last few minutes by reading the Maurice Johnson retirement letter from 1972 (thanks, Anon 6). What really jumps out at me is this paragraph:
"At the end of the conference year I was put out of the Methodist ministry on the grounds of general unacceptability, mainly because we had refused to use the official Sunday School literature and were teaching the Bible in All the Sunday School classes. Over seventy five people came out of the Methodist denomination with me and we straightway organized a "fundamentalist church" modeled after three of the "best" in the nation'. I thank the Lord, the Head of His church, that He did not let me succeed. A little over a year later we dissolved our corporation, I gave up my salary and began the walk of faith with El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. The small handful of Christians that had stood the storm with me also came out unto the Lord, free from all sectarian ties. We still have the joy of fellowship with many of them, and in some cases with their children and their grand-children."
This is the last paragraph in his story of his migration through denominations into the current "Church Which is Christ's Body." Because in the very next paragraph, he goes on to say,
"In November of this year I will be seventy-nine years old; my wife will be seventy-four. It has been a grand and glorious battle, and we have worked together joyously and in unity, but we are both tired---not tired of the work, but tired in the work."
"I gave up my salary and began the walk of faith with El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One."
Posted on FactNet Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 3:13 pm:
Hello Mr. Langford,
I don't know if I ever met you, but I met Jack in '87 when I visited Ft. Worth (I stayed with the Amyetts and Bishops). I look forward to learning more. I agree - deviant doctrine does not equate to cult status (e.g., Roman Catholic Church). It is the behavior. The following is a good definition of cult:
A cult is any group that incorporates mind control to deceive, influence and govern its followers. Although most people think of cults as being religious, they can also be found in political, athletic, philosophical, business, racial or psychotherapeutic arenas.
The mind control, or brainwashing, exerted by cults often take the form of at least several of the following elements:
A totalitarian control over the lifestyle and time of its members - Many cults tend to dictate exactly what its followers should read, eat, how and with whom they should spend their time, and even what they should do in off hours. This totalitarian control is necessary for the leaders to indoctrinate the followers in everything they do, and is also an attempt to separate them from anything not associated with the cult. This is why cults often live together in groups.
A charismatic, self-appointed leader with complete authority - Cult members are taught not to question the teachings, practices, or ideas of the leader. Many cult leaders truly are charismatic people, and are able to influence people to believe them. It is common that a cult member is not told everything up front when joining the group, but that they are taught increasingly controlling ideas and teachings as they go. In the case of some of the more well-publicized cults that have come and gone, it is also common that the leader's ideas and demands evolve over time, becoming increasingly controlling and restrictive. One very clear identifying element dealing with the leader of a cult is that the leader will always focus the attention and veneration of the members upon himself or herself. At the heart of a cult usually lies a very self-centered and self-seeking person.
A focus on withholding truth from non-members - Many cults teach their followers to be completely open and truthful within the group, while at the same time they are encouraged to be secretive and evasive when questioned by people outside of the group. This is another form of mind control-instilling guilt in the members if they hold anything back within the group. The members are taught that outsiders wouldn't understand or that they would only make fun of the ideas and practices and requirements for living within the group. Only specially-commissioned members are appointed to recruit members from outside. New members are usually encouraged to keep silent or even lie, especially to their families and close friends.
The three elements listed above are very successful ways to create a group mentality, an us-against-them way of looking at things. This is essential for any cult that wants to keep its members. The more afraid of the outside world the members become, the more strongly and faithfully they will keep within the safe fold of the cult.
Posted on FactNet Friday, July 23, 2004 - 9:09 pm:
Oops, I noticed that my posting of Hemenway's letter and my response are given under an "Alan Hemenway" user name. I accidentally typed in Hemenway instead of Smithee.
Yes, my background is in the law. I attended law school while I was with the group ('86 - '89), which was looked upon with a degree of suspiciousness from Robert Grove. I was very disturbed by what the leaders did to Brother Dalford Todd, Attorney, who I met in 1987 in Dallas and who was an inspiration to me as a prospective lawyer andf Christian. He got marked at the end of his years, despite arguing the Tax Case before the federal courts allowing tax deductions for contributions. At a meeting with Scott and Robert Grove in Maryland in 1994 (I was marked in 1991 for "sinful" habits), Robert told me I was incapable of having godly love because I was a lawyer, and he cited Mr. Todd as an example. That was my last encounter with these leeches. The veil was starting to be lifted.
"Alan Smithie" is a pseudonym that film directors will demand be placed in the film credits (i.e., "Directed By ______") when they disavow the film, usually because of differences with the producer, who controls the editor, over how the final project will look. Because the director's "vision" is not on the screen, he doesn't want his name on the finished product that will be seen by the public. Anyway, my choice of that name is not quite that deep, but I did work in the film, TV and radio production field (mostly documentary) in DC for 5 years and so decided to use an industry name.
It would be an interesting film. I must agree with what was emphasized by others. The point is to help those we know are trapped. That's a very difficult and sensitive area. How to contact one in the group. I am no expert on cults; I don't think any of us are. What I do know is that the efforts must be directed at the leaders, the Groves, Collins, Harrisons, et al., for whom I have no sympathy. They are smart people that have a lot to lose if things begin to unravel. Accordingly, nothing short of a determined, strategic and persistent campaign will make a dent.
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:49 pm:
I was in the Maryland/DC assembly and had many interactions with Harrison. A rather unpleasant meeting with him and Scott Grove in 1994 and one with Robert and Scott shortly thereafter drove me from the group for good (after "joining" in 1981).
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