Historia de la Iglesia del Entendimiento Bíblico.
This is a translation of Mike Montoya’s Wiki about the Church of Bible Understanding into Spanish. It is a work in progress, and not yet completed.
Mike’s History of the Church of Bible Understanding can be read at the link below:
My translation into Spanish follows below:
Stewart Traill (líder de la Familia para Siempre 1971-1976 y líder de la Iglesia del Entendimiento Bíblico, 1976 – presente).
[La Familia para Siempre – la F.F., por sus siglas en inglés. La Iglesia del Entendimiento Bíblico – C.O.B.U., por sus siglas en inglés.]
Stewart Traill es un líder de una secta. Para algunos, Traill es un falso cristo, un falso maestro, un falso profeta, o totalmente maligno. Para los miembros actuales de su grupo, Traill es un hombre de Dios, un ejemplo de cómo deben vivir. Esta historia escrita es presentada a usted, para que pueda decidir en su propia mente acerca de este hombre. Este es importante sólo para aquellos que todavía son afectados por su liderazgo.
Stewart Tanner Traill nació en Montreal, Canadá, el 19 de febrero, 1936. Él es el hijo de Donald Traill y Lorraine Lillian Tanner. Donald Traill nació en Edinburgh Scotland, el 4 de mayo, 1904. Obtuvo su licenciatura en la Universidad de Edimburgo y su maestría del New College de la Universidad de Edimburgo y su maestría de teología sagrada del Seminario Teológico Unión en 1929. Fue ordenado por la Iglesia Presbiteriana de Canadá, Presbiterio de Montreal, el 2 de marzo, 1930. Donald era Pastor Auxiliar para la Iglesia Presbyteriana de San Andrés y San Pablo en Montreal desde 1929 a 1930; Pastor de la Primera Iglesia Congregacional en New Bedford, Massachusetts desde 1931 a 1932. Era Profesor Invitado de Historia de la Iglesia en el Seminario Teolíco Drew en 1932; Pastor de la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana en Pembroke, Ontario desde 1933 a 1934 y Pastor de San Andrés en Levis, Quebec. Se casó con Lorraine Tanner en 1933. Tuvieron 4 hijos. Entonces, Donald y Lorraine y su familia se mudaron a Allentown, Pennsylvania, donde enseñaba Donald en el Brandon College desde 1943 a 1947 y en Muhlenberg College desde 1948 a 1953. Lorraine murió en 1959. Donald se volvió a casarse en 1968. Se mudó a Nova Scotia y enseñaba en Kings College. Luego, se mudó de nuevo a Montreal y trabajó como corrector de pruebas para el Montreal Gazette hasta su jubilación. Murió el 3 de marzo,1984.
Cuándo su hijo Stewart fundó la Familia de Siempre en 1971, Donald desaprobó. Al crecer el grupo, Donald repudió a su hijo, y rechazó totalmente lo que Stewart había creado. Su última voluntad antes de morir era que Stewart no asistiera a su funeral y que no asistiera a ninguna reunión familiar en su memoria. Stewart dijo a sus seguidores en una reunión que su familia no le había informado que su padre había muerto hasta mucho tiempo después. A pesar de los deseos de su padre, Stewart se le presentó a su familia y después de unos días, Gloria, la segunda esposa de Donald, le pidió que se marchara.
Los miembros de la familia Traill son renuentes a hablar sobre su hermano. El hermano menor de Stewart no dijo a su propia familia [sus propios hijos] que Stewart aún existía hasta que fueron adultos. Stewart asistió a la escuela secundaria en Liberty High en Allentown, Pennsylvania y se graduó en 1954. Era miembro del club de ajedrez, club de debates y demonstró capacidad para la ciencia. Asistió a la Universidad de Lehigh por unos semestres antes de terminar su educación formal. Sus antiguos maestros describen a Triall como pensador independiente y que a menudo cuestionó su conocimiento con la confianza que él sabía tanto o más que ellos. Este joven desenfrenado, indisciplinado y aparentemente inteligente, nunca se sometería a un empleador, un pastor o cualquier otra autoridad, sino asumió autoridad total en todo lo que hiciera en su vida. Conoció a Shirley Sones (Rudy) y, en 1959, se casaron. Stewart tenía 23 años y Shirley tenía 17. Tuvieron 5 hijos.
Traill reparaba y vendía aspiradoras en los primeros años de su matrimonio. Por un tiempo Traill y su familia viverion en un viejo autobús escolar. Eventualmente, se mudaron a los apartmentos Cumberland Garden en Allentown. Luego, Traill se describiría a sus seguidores como ateo declarado que en esos días intentó desmentir la Biblia. Había estudiado los religiones mundiales con el propósito de enseñar a sus hijos algún tipo de sistema de creencias. Su conversión al cristianismo resultó cuando no podía desmentir milagros, dijo Traill. Los relatos varian en cuanto a la fecha de la conversión de Traill. Según la información de los periódicos, los testimonios de los miembros de su organización, y los proprios recuerdos de Stewart, se convertió al cristianismo en 1964 (7 años antes de fundar la Familia para Siempre), 1966 (5 años antes de fundar la Familia para Siempre), o en 1968 (3 años antes de que formara el grupo). Según el Lamb Ledger (el boletín de COBU), Stewart Traill llevó un diario. Una anotación en particular fue fechada 1970, en la cual Traill “escribió que Jesucristo iba a usarlo para alcanzar a todos los estados unidos. Traill pensaba y creía que dirigiría un grupo evangélico que tuviera una presencia nacional. El artículo sigue demostrando el deseo de Traill para el impacto global. En la primera “Big Meeting” (una gran reunión de toda la iglesia) en septiembre de 1973, Traill dijo de sí mismo que era completamente solo, predicando a la gente en la calle y en comedores antes de la formación de la Familia para Siempre. Entonces, expresó su placer por el número de personas (entre 200 y 250) que asistieron a la primera reunión oficial de toda la iglesia. En retrospectiva, es claro que Trail veía el crecimiento del grupo como su éxito personal y aprobación divina de su liderazgo.
Hay un principio definido por la Familia para Siempre. Lo que no está claro para los miembros del grupo, incluso ahora, es exactamente cuándo y cómo Stewart Traill se convirtió en cristiano. Dio a entender a los miembros con varias anécdotas sobre su conversión y dijo a los miembros que iba a dar su testimonio completo cuando 3000 gente asistieron a una gran reunión. El grupo nunca alcanzó este objetivo, así que nunca habló de su conversión a ellos.
El lugar era Robin Hood Dell, una sección del parque conocido como la Pequeña Lehigh Parkway en Allentown, Pennsylvania. Era la primera semana de agosto, 1971. Robin Hood Dell era un área abierta de hierba donde los jóvenes fueron a pasar el tiempo, fumar marihuana y beber. Robin Hood Dell fue similar al Parque Golden Gate Park de San Francisco, cerca de Haight-Ashbury. Si bien un lugar popular donde los jóvenes se congregaron, el Parkway fue también un lugar para las iglesias y los grupos que participaron en el Movimiento de Jesús de la década de 1960 para predicar el evangelio a los miles de jóvenes que estaban desilusionados por la autoridad establecida y la cultura de esos tiempos. Una noche Stewart Traill, su esposa Shirley y sus 5 niños cruzaron el puente y entraron el parque y se encontraron a George “Skip” ONeil. Skip había convertido recientemente en un cristiano. Traill le llamó la atención agitando los brazos y haciendo signos de asfixia porque Skip estaba fumando un cigarrillo. Traill llevaba un botón “Sea Sabio, Sea Salvo” de color negro. Skip reconoció esto como una indicación de que aquel desconocido era un cristiano.
Skip se presentó como un cristiano a Traill. Skip tenía comunión con otros cuatro jóvenes cristianos, y él les habló de Traill. La esposa de Skip tenía dudas acerca de Traill desde el principio. Los otros dos cristianos en el círculo de Skip tampoco se fiaba de Traill cuando lo conocí. Uno más tarde escribiría que Skip, su esposa y otro amigo estaban creciendo como cristianos y que Traill se insinuó en su grupo y, finalmente, se hizo cargo. Skip parecía ser el único que confía en Traill. Skip y los otros pasaron mucho tiempo juntos recorriendo el pueblo de Allentown.
Después de unos meses se mudaron a 128 South Church Street, creando lo que más tarde sería conocido como la primera “casa de comunión” de la Familia para Siempre. Traill le invitó a Skip para que fuera a dar “testimonios” (diciéndole a la gente acerca de Jesús) y a asistir a los estudios bíblicos en el Café El Mensaje. Según los primeros miembros y los cristianos fuera del grupo en Allentown, Traill asistieron al Mensaje en las noches de sábado en una pequeña iglesia Presbiteriana con Skip y los otros jóvenes cristianos. Durante las primeras dos horas los asistentes se reunían en pequeños grupos de discusión acerca de la Biblia. Entre 50 y 75 personas asistieron regularmente. El Mensaje atraía a personas de todas los ámbitos de la vida, incluyendo a un ex-miembro de los Angeles del infierno. Traill y sus seguidores constituyeron la mitad de las personas en el Mensaje. Al principio Traill se llevaba bien con los líderes del Mensaje. Esta relación amistosa duró unos meses hasta el invierno de 1971.
El líder del Mensaje, Harold Covert, empezó a tener dudas acerca de lo que Traill estaba enseñando a los que se reunieron alrededor de él durante el tiempo de los pequeños grupos, cuando todos los asistentes pudiesen elegir libremente un grupo y los profesores que quisieron escuchar. Hubo un enfrentamiento final en el Mensaje cuando los líderes dijo directamente a Stewart que ya no era bienvenido allí.
Stewart fue acusado de ser un falso profeta. Traill bromeó a sus seguidores acerca de este cargo, diciendo que nunca afirmó ser un profeta, así que ¿cómo podía ser un falso profeta? Un relato que aparece en una página web escrita por un ex-miembro de COBU, describe a Traill como una persona que “atraía a otros a sí mismo y no a Jesús.” Era evidente a los cristianos en el Mensaje que Stewart Traill no estaba haciendo la voluntad de Dios sino la suya propia. En el enfrentamiento, los líderes del Mensaje dijo a Traill que no viniera más a las reuniones del sábado por la noche. Sospechaban a Traill de intentar usurpar a los líderes del Mensaje y obtener el control sobre los asistentes. Traill no hizo caso de su excomunión y llegó al Mensaje de todos modos.
La policía fue llamada para escoltar a Traill del edificio. Luego, Traill tomó a los que se dedicaron a su liderazgo y formó oficialmente la Familia para Siempre. Traill venía a 128 South Church Street, donde vivieron Skip y su esposa, para dar estudios bíblicos a los primeros miembros de FF. Traill llamó estos estudios “nuggies”, que significaba “pepitas de oro.”
La idea de Traill era que la Biblia necesitaba ser interpretada, que uno necesita estudiar o investigar más a fundo para encontrar la sabiduría oculta y el significado verdadero de la Escritura. Su método de interpretación y su enseñanza del “figure system” (el sistema del lenguaje figurado) eran, en el comienzo de la historia del grupo, una característica única sólo a él. El sistema del lenguaje “figurado” de Traill, en pocas palabras, era una expansión de las parábolas de los evangelios. Traill utilizó el sistema del lenguaje simbólico y lo aplicó a la totalidad de las Escrituras.
Sus insinuaciones y indicaciones y, a veces sus proclamaciones audazmente abiertas que Dios le había dado “la verdadera interpretación” de la Biblia consolidaría la devoción de sus seguidores y alienaría a los cristianos fuera del grupo.
“Testificar” o la evangelización fue un componente muy importante para la FF de Traill. Los miembros fueron a centros comerciales, comedores y esquinas de las calles y trató de persuadir a los jóvenes a convertirse en cristianos.
Si bien el motivo de la mayoría de los miembros era puramente para “agradar a Jesús” y de predicar el evangelio de la salvación, Traill, en su ambición como vendedor, les obligaba a los hermanos y las hermanas a “llevar a muchos a Jesús”. Era un enfoque agudo en aumentar el número de miembros del grupo, el cual causaba ansiedad personal para ellos. Los de la comunidad que no estaban “dando fruto”, según Juan 15, fueron acusados de falta de fe.
Para Traill, los cristianos fuera de su ámbito estaban “jugando a la iglesia” y no tomaron en serio su compromiso con Jesús. En sus muchas largas “estudios bíblicos” hizo comparaciones de sí mismo y su comprensión del cristianismo y la Biblia a los “jugadores” que competían con él a los miembros.
Traill también afirmó tener el don de discernir los espíritus. En un estudio bíblico sobre “personalidad” en Allentown en 1973 en 137 South Church Street (la segunda casa comunal), Stewart lo dijo directamente, que él tenía el don de “mirarle y saber exactamente dónde está usted espiritualmente”. Esto significaba que los miembros no pudieron “ocultarse” o tener ningún sensación de privacidad en la presencia de Traill.
Este “regalo” jugaría un papel importante en la manera en que Traill influyó y manipuló a sus seguidores. Lo que hizo atractivo el grupo de Traill para los jóvenes de los años 70 fue su enfoque contracultural no sólo hacia el mundo secular, sino hacia los cristianos del Movimiento de Jesús, la Iglesia Católica y las iglesias protestantes establecidas en los Estados Unidos. Mientras menospreciando la falta de compromiso con Jesús, la falta de conocimiento bíblico, y la falta de entusiasmo único, Traill se vendió a su pequeño grupo como un ejemplo de “verdadero” compromiso con Jesús, “verdadero” interpretación de la Biblia, y cómo no ser religioso o aburrido.
Los jóvenes cristianos se estaban uniendo todo tipo de grupos y organizaciones en aquella epoca, algunos saludables, otros no tan saludables. Los jóvenes cristianos que se reunieron alrededor de Traill no entendía lo suficiente y no eran suficientemente fuerte como para desafiar su enseñanza o su personalidad. En 1972, algunos miembros pusieron en duda el liderazgo de Traill y la dirección que estaba tomando la Familia para Siempre. Los detractores dejó el grupo y se opuso abiertamente a Traill. Se elaboró un documento titulado “¿Por qué la Familia para Siempre se está desintegrando”. En ello Traill se burló de quienes formularon objeciones y se pronunció a los miembros actuales de su “autoridad de la verdad”. Fue un ejemplo significativo impreso de su sentido de autoridad indiscutible en el grupo y su intolerancia a la crítica.
He aquí un extracto del documento: “Es fácil para un experimentado FF’er ser “guiado por el Señor” y “tener revelaciones” (por lo general lo suficientemente secretas para ser conveniente) que no son más que viajes de ego muy bien disimulados para hacer frente a la autoridad de la verdad de Stewart, y están diseñados para permitir un retorno a la matriz y la carne. “El Señor quiere que yo crezca lentamente”, o, “uno debe permanecer en el lugar donde se salvó”, etc. La vida en la FF no es fácil, – y es probable que haya algunas bajas. Nosotros, de vez en cuando, vamos a ver a los que son guiados a “abandonar” la Familia para Siempre, por lo general a causa de la misma excusa pobre de siempre, de que “ustedes no mostran el amor”.
Esta crítica temprana fue de hecho una de las características del abuso de Traill. Fue duro, crudo y sin amor por cualquier medida. Usó un lenguaje ofensivo que tuvo un poderoso efecto en sus seguidores y alejó a aquellos que estaban mirando adentro desde fuera.
Traill fue autor de dos Homilías – la Homilía Católica y la Homilía Familia para Siempre. Ambos documentos presentaron un resumen detallado de su vista de la cultura actual y su desconfianza y desprecio por los padres, personas mayores de 25 años, la policía, y otros cristianos.
Traill estudió el Evangelio de Juan con devoción y afirmó en una reunión que él había escrito todo el Evangelio de Juan, versículo por versículo en fichas, 4 veces. También trató de memorizar todo el evangelio. Pero su concepto de liderazgo y enlace a la autoridad, derivó de sus estudios del Antiguo Testamento. Consideró el Nuevo Testamento como “un montón de declaraciones de qué hacer y qué no hacer” (Traill: Juan 2 Estudio bíblico del vino). El Antiguo Testamento era el lugar donde “el deseo para el entendimiento podría ser satisfecho”.
Su propia creación, el botón Get Smart Get Saved (Sea Sabio, Sea Salvo) fue su prioridad desde la creación de su grupo, lo que lo distinguiría a él y a su grupo de todos los demás cristianos, y su “entendimiento” de la Biblia, “su” verdadera interpretación de las Escrituras. La personalidad de Traill y su insistencia de que él era “el único que lo estaba haciendo correctamente” hizo que el resto del cuerpo de Cristo se alejara de él y de todos que le siguieron. Por su liderazgo solitario, creó una secta.
Traill usaba, ya sea inventada o prestada, una herramienta para clasificar los temas en las Escrituras. El código de colores fue uno de los primeros métodos aprobados por Traill de cómo examinar los versículos bíblicos. Rojo fue para la salvación, púrpura para Dios, Jesús y el Espíritu Santo, Negro para el pecado, la muerte, la enfermedad, el infierno y el diablo, etc. Hubo 10 colores en total. Parte de la enseñanza de Traill incluyó codificación por colores de los versículos estudiados por los miembros de la iglesia.
A pesar de que Skip y los otros cristianos con él leían la Biblia y ya habían empezado sus vidas cristianas antes de haberlo conocido, fue Stewart Traill que muy pronto tomó la iniciativa, dando estudios bíblicos y organizando a los jóvenes a su alrededor. Era 20 años mayor que la mayoría de los primeros miembros de su grupo. Su enfoque en el testificar y ganar miembros estaba dirigido hacia los jóvenes. Traill tenía dificultades para convencer a cualquier persona mayor de 21 años sobre sus puntos de vista.
La familia siempre se reunió para estudios bíblicos en la Iglesia de San Juan, a 128, y 137 South Church Street. También frecuentaron el restaurante Walp para testificar o para reunirse. El grupo, en lo que llamaron “riffing”, creaba escenas dramáticas con el fin de despertar el interés de los clientes en el evangelio. James “Jingo” Stauffer, quien asistió al Mensaje, luchó contra Stewart en 128 y luego él y su esposa Judy abandonaron el grupo.
Fue entonces que 137 South Church Street (la segunda casa de comunión) fue adquirido y se convertiría en el principal lanzamiento de la visión de Traill para un grupo de su diseño: la Familia para Siempre. En 1972, la FF creció de 2 casas de comunión en Allentown a 7, incluidas las casas en los pueblos cercanos. Traill llevó a un miembro a Cleveland, Ohio, y lo dejó allí para iniciar una casa de comunión.
La mayoría de los líderes de las casas de comunión fueron en la adolescencia tardía o a los veinte y pocos y algunos habían sido cristianos por menos de un año. Traill tenía 37 años. Los miembros fueron responsables de conseguir trabajo y vivir en comunidad, imitando la interpretación que Traill tenía de la estructura de la iglesia primitiva del Nuevo Testamento. Traill mismo vivió en su propio apartamento con su esposa e hijos. No está claro cuando se detuvo el negocio de aspiradoras y fue apoyado por sus seguidores. Al principio, él reclutó a los miembros que le ayudara con su negocio.
Es probable que Stewart Traill se convirtió en el pastor de tiempo completo de la Familia para Siempre en 1974. El lenguaje de la FF era una mezcla de la jerga de la época, Traillismos, y el sistema del lenguaje figurado que Traill insistió existía en las Escrituras.
Las personas mayores fueron llamadas “vacas”, los jóvenes fueron “corderos” u “ovejas”, y las personas que fueron considerados pervertidos eran “cerdos”. El grupo también utilizó el código de colores en su hablar. Si estuvieras en los “marrones de comer” esto significaba que estabas preocupado
TRANSLATED to HERE
….”into” eating or indulging your flesh in gluttony. Brown was the color used to signify Human Nature.
Someone who was proud or trying to lead was said to be “playing the heavy.” If something was important or deep or hard to understanding it was considered, “Heavy” or “really heavy.” Traill would often tag the end of a sentence with a “praise God.” At first this had the effect of sounding spiritual, but after a few hours at a bible study it was easily recognized as a verbal habit. At one meeting members discovered outsiders smoking pot in the building. Traill addressed the situation ending his comments with a meaningless “praise God.” The early recordings of Traills bible studies portrayed him as the sole teacher of the group and his followers hanging on every word. Most of what Traill uttered was punctuated by listeners with a “wooow” or long steam pipe sounds of amazement. Because the culture of the early 70’s was in social upheaval and young people were starving for answers, Traill’s older hippie charisma mixed with his natural intelligence and self-confidence were very attractive to the wayward youth of that time. Traill wore his black Get Smart Get Saved button on plain button-down shirts he wore open over a t-shirt. Taking after his childhood idol Albert Einstein, who had a closet full of the same shirts and pants for everyday use, Traill settled on an open olive green button-down shirt over a t-shirt, brown work trousers, and tan faux-suede converse sneakers. He had 10 flair pens, one for each color in the color code in his left front pocket. He would later add black pouches to his belt giving himself a quasi-military look. Traill made use of a micro-cassette recorder often interrupting himself at meetings to make verbal notes on epiphanies or revelations of scriptures that occurred to him. Traill wrote notes on file cards and accumulated hundreds of file boxes and file cabinets filled with notes on bible verses, concepts, and subjects for future workbooks. Traill wore the same uniform every day from 1974 to the late 1980’s. Some speculate that Traill was crudely demonstrating a right ascetic attitude by “not hoping in this life”: a teaching he would visit upon the members for the next 40 years all the while accumulating airplanes and large houses for his personal use. What never took place and to this day what has never occurred is a church board meeting or an all-church meeting where Traill would be tested according to standards in the New Testament for the office he holds, a vetting process most established churches undertake before hiring pastors and appointing deacons. In the 40-year history of the group anyone who ever challenged or questioned Traill was derided or asked to leave. Some believe that Traill likened himself to Moses and Elijah in order to be unaccountable to the church by the standards in the New Testament. To Traill, Moses and Elijah were lone leaders who only answered to God and therefore were above submitting to authorities on earth. This Moses/ Elijah comparison also put fear into the members. Very few questioned Traill openly, believing that God would step in on his behalf and exact an Old Testament type judgment upon them. In addition to Traills chosen biblical persona was the mystery of his spiritual beginnings and conversion. The effect was that Traill was untouchable, unaccountable, unknowable, and alone. At the beginning and end of the FF there were many fellowship leaders, center leaders, super center leaders, but there truly was only one leader of the FF and then Cobu: Stewart Traill. From the beginning Traill took control of the young members. The idea that there were many “leaders” and that Traill was just “one of many” is an illusion. Skip O’Neill was considered by many to be a natural leader but Traill made sure that he and other possible competitors for his office were psychologically torn down or eliminated from challenging him in the future. Traill devoted most of his time to his newly founded group and this had repercussions at home. His wife Shirley was not interested in the group and was busy with their 5 children: the oldest being 12 and the youngest, 4. By 1975 there were fellowship houses in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Canada, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. Traill began flying one of many church-owned airplanes around to the “centers.” He was the only licensed pilot in the group. Not long after this Traill openly entertained the idea that he was a kind of incarnation of Elijah/John the Baptist. He also hinted at having a relationship with God similar to the one Moses had with God. He was accompanied by Gayle Gillespie, an 18 year-old girl (in 1975) who acted as his secretary. The two often shared a room when out in the centers. Traills wife Shirley complained to members that she was lonely and wished Stewart would be home more. She also confronted Traill at a local diner about his spending time with female members of the group. She poured a bowl of sugar on his head and shouted at him. Between 1975 and 1976 Traill filed for divorce accusing Shirley of adultery. During this time Traill got some of his followers to kidnap his children and to take them to Atlantic City, then to Canada and to fellowship houses throughout the church keeping one step ahead of the law. Traill’s youngest son wrote about the incident in his autobiography on an ex-Cobu web page. According to Traill in a May 1976 meeting, at the divorce court the “other man” testified that he indeed committed adultery with Shirley. Shirleys account, which appeared in several newspapers, was that she only had dinner twice with the man in question. She was also heard to shout at Stewart in the diner confrontation that “if he could go out on her, she could do the same.” There were reports that Traill had his wife dropped off at bars in seductive apparel in order to entrap her. Traill, according to Shirley, also derided her in front of their children and tape recorded the dealing sessions. Traill then brought the recordings to the fellowship and played the cassettes for his followers. Some members questioned Traill about his divorcing Shirley and his behavior toward some of the sisters. In one incident at a diner Traill had a female member sit on his lap and complained to her about his loneliness and neglect at home. Members questioned Traill about his intimate behavior toward his secretary, Gayle, before his divorce was finalized. Traills answer to one member was, “what makes you think we (he and Gayle) arent already married in the eyes of God?” Those who did raise objections were sent to outlying centers or pressured personally by Traill to stop questioning him. Traill took one member up in his plane and offered to send him to Montreal. When the member declined the offer, Traill took the plane into a series of dives trying to terrorize the member into silence about his behavior toward Gayle. On December 11, 1976, Traill (43) married Gayle Gillespie (19) at the Hotel Diplomat Ballroom in New York. It was around this time that Traill changed the name of the group from the Forever Family to the Church of Bible Understanding (COBU). It was also in 1976 that Traill decided to reduce the membership in the centers and gather the “older” brothers and sisters, average age 24, into the Manhattan Training Center (MTC), the first of many versions of Traill’s “formal training” or schooling to disciple young Christians to maturity. Traill also began floating an idea in July 1977 for the church to start a mission in Haiti. At one meeting in Maryland Traill announced that those who left the fellowship would also be guilty of leaving the children in Haiti. The orphanages in Haiti would become a lever for Traill to use against members who sought to leave his group. Currently the official Cobu web site has no pictures of Traill, no pictures of current members of Cobu, but only images of the mission in Haiti and how to support the work. There is, however, a small link on the page to Traills current teaching on salvation called the “U” Point of View. Haiti became the curtain behind which Traill and his followers could hide and to deflect outside scrutiny. Newspaper articles about the group have been generally inaccurate about its size in 1976 or its peak membership and attendance numbers in 1977-78. Reporters asking members at the time got wildly exaggerated numbers due mainly to Traills tendency to emphasize numbers and the groups growth as a projection of his own success as a leader. Traill at a 1974 Big Meeting reveled in the number of official members of the Forever Family: “500, if you include lambs and backsliders.” Members kept records of the number saved in a week, the number of “interesteds.” A members faithfulness to Jesus was questioned if he or she hadnt “led someone to Jesus” within that weeks time. Based on the churchs own financial records and center reports, as well as ex-members confirmation of names, the Church of Bible Understanding peaked in 1977-78. Between 52 to 65 fellowship houses existed before the MTC was created. The largest Big Meeting had an attendance of more than 2800 but less than 3000. An ex-member who archived the churchs documents compiled a Members directory and found the total membership to be 1,345 actual live-in members of the FF and COBU. This number accounts for anyone who lived in one of the fellowship houses at some time from 1971 to 1978. The number of current members is somewhere around 100. Newspapers have reported membership of the group as high as 10,000 at its peak but there is no support for this claim. Members also claimed that there were as many as 120 fellowship houses at one time but this could only be true if one counted all houses opened and closed by the group throughout its early existence, but even this appears to be an exaggeration. Traill at one Big Meeting in 1976 set a goal of 40,000 saved in one year. During the MTC years the group cited hundreds “getting saved” each week and church-wide statistics were published in the Lamb Ledger (Cobus newspaper). “Getting saved” for Cobu members meant that they “witnessed” or preached the gospel to an individual and then led the person in the Sinners Prayer (a scripted prayer) for conversion to Christianity. Traill taught his followers techniques and tactics to “lead people to Jesus.” Traill, a former vacuum cleaner salesman understood selling and most of his witnessing “techniques” were nothing more than sales tactics he honed years before he started the FF. Traill authored several small introductory workbooks (most were 30 type-written pages in length) which dealt with subjects such as the Second Coming, the Resurrection, Witnessing (Green), The Christian Life (Orange), Conscience, and The Nature of our Lord (Purple). His wife Gayle co-authored with the sisters in the group “The Book”: a sort of manual for the brothers to better understand the way women think. Some of the aforementioned workbooks were based on the Color Code in which Traill color-coded verses to categorize their meaning. His color code would be put to a different use in the Manhattan Training Center. The New York Training Center later called the Manhattan Training Center, the MTC, or “the School” was started in 1976. It was Traill’s first attempt at some formalized Christian training. Traill himself had no formal seminary education or credentials, was never discipled or trained in any bible college or institute, but this did not stop him from implementing his plan for the “older” members of his group. The church rented several lofts on Bleecker St, Jay Street, Spring St, W. 57th St, E. 6th & Bowery St, and 51st St. Members slept on the floor in sleeping bags. Some lofts had over 100 members living in them with only one working toilet. The few married couples that lived at the MTC found privacy difficult to attain. One couple made a kind of canopy tent in the midst of the dozens of sleeping bags around them. The church set up a day care and nursery for the children of members. Meanwhile Traill lived in Teaneck, New Jersey and put his 5 children in private school. There were 3 lofts at 15 Jay St. They had separate money handlers and leaders for each floor. Each floor was like a separate fellowship house, only many more people in them, at least 60 per floor. When someone new arrived, one just moved over and made room. The basement of Jay St. was the employment office / food prep area where sisters assembled sandwiches for lunches. Members would get a bowl of cereal and a banana on their way out to work, and the place became a haunt for outcast brothers to sleep. Members slept side by side on the floor, male, female. Bleecker St. 5th floor loft was where nightly bible studies were held. There was a loft on 6th St. in the East Village for a few married couples. It was designated a loft, but it reality it was a small apartment. The food committee cooked food in large commercial pots and they would deliver cooked meals (usually ground beef, vegetables and a dessert) to the lofts. Served with the meal was a red drink called Dominade. The lofts had a laundry committee. Members put their dirty clothes in a bag with their names on the bag. It would be delivered back, clean and folded. Members used public showers on Allen St. near the Bowery loft. Members who worked full-time were urged to keep up their hygiene. Their busy work and witnessing schedules did not allow daily ablutions. Some bathed on Saturdays. At the Jay III loft, members had a claw foot bath tub, but it was out in the middle of the room. A couple of sisters would volunteer to babysit in the middle of the week so they could rig up a curtain and take a mid-week bath. The loft evacuations started when Jay St. was condemned by the NYFD. It was so overrun with mice that they were dropping from the ceiling. Members were allowed to enter only to remove their belongings. They then went to Spring St. until the move to the Diplomat Hotel, and then to the Hells kitchen apts. on W. 51st St. Members came from fellowships all over the east coast. At first “bad ones” (members) were sent to “the school” (MTC). Nightly meetings took place either at Washington Square Park or at Bleecker St. loft. After Jay St. loft was condemned the city was out to find the other lofts. A series of newspaper articles appeared, reporting on the group. Those who did not live at the Hotel Diplomat commuted to attend the meetings. Then the church acquired a loft on the west side. The bottom floor was used as a garage to fix vehicles and upstairs, members sat on a wooden floor in “boxes”. There were taped off squares approx. 4 X 4. Down the middle of the floor was one large line dividing the flesh side from the spirit side. This was the beginning of categories. There was a council of “silvers” who were not only good examples of living Christian life, but were also seen as an encouragement to others. Abrupt divisions were made. A member stood up, stated their name and everyone decided if the member was orange (Christian or Spirit), or brown (Human Nature or Flesh). Further divisions were made as the weeks passed. Upper orange, orange neutral, lower orange, upper brown, brown & black. One of the reasons given for starting the MTC was for the older brothers. They were spread too thin out in the centers and were alone and needed fellowship. Glowing reports of how the brothers were being restored at the MTC were heard in the outlying fellowship houses. Isaiah 58 became the central theme of training. The church was getting back to the lifeblood of the fellowship: witnessing. Traill would travel around to the centers looking for “ghouls”, brethren who had a glazed look about them; and off to the school they were sent. Loft life, like the army, was to be rigorous and not comfortable. As months and then years went by, members at the school became the “good guys” and more and more moved to the MTC. At first members were pressured to seek any employment. In 1977 two brothers who worked at the World Trade Center cleaning carpets gave birth to what would become COBUs first successful church-wide business: Christian Brothers Carpet Cleaning. Christian Bros. was featured on a Seinfeld episode in which the character George was hoping for the carpet cleaners to speak to him about the bible after cleaning his rugs. In the late 1970’s and early 80’s Cobu was in violation of tax laws which resulted in fines and restructuring of the church business to comply with tax law. Traill was splitting his time between the MTC & flying to the centers, coming and going via Teeterboro airport. A few sisters helped Traill at his home in New Jersey with various projects. For years, Traill made notes about bible references, on tape and on paper. There was a concentrated effort to get these organized into a reference bible. A van-load of sisters would travel from NY to Teaneck on Saturdays to work on checking, printing, re-checking thousands of bible verses. Sisters stayed over Saturday night and work the next day and then drove back to Manhattan. Traill also spoke about writing a book titled “How to Interpret the Bible.” Both projects never came to fruition. Speculation about Traill’s thinking in starting the MTC varies. Ex-members recall that Traill was subjecting them to severe living conditions in order to prepare them to be able to withstand the coming persecution and the tribulation. It is curious that Traill himself never subjected himself to such training but enjoyed the proceeds of church labor at his home in New Jersey. Those out in the centers who were not producing, either economically or spiritually were threatened with being sent to the school in New York. Another explanation for the creation of the MTC was that Traill, who was in the process of divorcing his first wife and marrying 19 year-old Gayle Gillespie, recognized that the church at large was affected by his actions and were pulling away from him. Upon entering the New York Training Center (MTC) members were asked to fill out a survey. Nearly 1/3 of the questions were about Traill and his fiancée, probing members for their opinions about the relationship. It is around this time also that Traill’s long-standing opposition and obstruction of members’ relationships and possible matrimony began. For the next 35 years the members of the Church of Bible Understanding would begin and end relationships with one another on Traill’s counsel alone. Even his eldest daughter left COBU to get married. In later years relationships were considered “poison” by Traill and discouraged. Some believe that Traill’s opposition to marriage is partly due to his belief that he would lose control of the members and suffer financially if they were to establish any form of autonomy. The brethren would meet at the Hotel Diplomat in Manhattan. Some of the “training” that took place at the meetings was direct instructions and pointed criticism from Traill. Members were who were voted Orange were considered “faithful” to Jesus and were able to contribute at the meetings without asking for permission. Those voted Brown needed to identify themselves by name and color and then ask if they could speak. Others were labeled Ghouls or Trips and were sequestered to the “trip” apartments so as to keep them away from spiritually healthy members. Traill was always voted” gold.” One of the documents of the MTC gives instructions for members to “check with the silver sisters about any relationships.” Apparently, Traill had given the “silvers” some authority over others in this regard. In the 40-year history of the group Stewart Traill, pastor and teacher of the Church of Bible Understanding, presided over not one marriage ceremony for his followers.The group provided an allowance of $1.00 a day to working members.Members were expected to turn in any money they earned. Sisters made sack lunches for the brothers which consisted sometimes of just a baloney sandwich or peanut butter and jelly. In contrast, Traill never broke his habit of frequenting local diners and eating his fill. The Manhattan Training Center was perhaps the clearest example of Traill’s style of leadership, his verbal abuse, and his insidious influence on the members. Meetings at the Hotel Diplomat lasted for hours. Sometimes Traill would sit at the meetings saying nothing for an hour or more. Members stood up and tried to guess why Traill was silent and/or if they were in some hidden way “sowing to a wrong spirit.” Traill would eventually reveal to the members “what’s really going on” usually making an example of one or two members to show how the entire group was failing to “please Jesus” which really meant not following Traill’s “direction.” Traill would often directly question the faith and faithfulness of the members. He would, in the open forum, scrutinize the few marriages that did exist in the group. Traill predicted the unfaithfulness of husbands and wives. Husbands were openly criticized in front of their wives before the group. “Dealing” sessions also lasted hours. The underlying assumption at the training center and throughout the group was that Traill knew truth about everything better than anyone else, that he had the gift to discern spirits and knew the spiritual condition of each member in the room. With this shared recognition among members, Traill was able to tear down anyone within earshot of his judgments. While Traill abused his followers over their many “failings” he never missed the opportunity project himself as the right example of how to be. The damage and doubt Traill affected upon the members would last, for some members, for more than 30 years after their time at the MTC. In 1979 Traill had one of the members draw a pen & ink picture for each verse of John chapter 3: 1-21. Cobu’s printing press in Worcester, MA then produced poster-sized replicas of each picture and verse and delivered them to the centers. The members would set up the Art show in a populated area and explain it to passersby with the intent to lead them to Jesus at the end of the presentation. As the MTC failure became apparent in the declining number of members in the group, Traill then started the Philadelphia Lamb House in 1979 and a few years later the Brooklyn Young Sheep House. His vision of a school system whereby he could teach and train young Christians from ages 17 to 24 years old did not die with the MTC. Traills concept of “education” was evident as early as 1973. At the first Big Meeting he spoke of how to grow his group sending out members to lead young people to Jesus and then send the new converts to Allentown to be taught and trained for 2 years and then sent out to start new fellowship houses. He defined members into age groups. Generally speaking Lambs were young people ages 13-17. Young Sheep were between 17 to 19 years of age. Older Newly Saved ranged from 20 to 30 years old. Middle brothers and sisters were 20-23 years old, and Older brothers and sisters were 24 years of age and older. The Philadelphia Lamb House graduated 3 classes. At first the Lamb course consisted of only 3 lessons: What Just Happened to You, The Next Few Days, and Faith or Feelings. After the Lamb house was turned over to the Middle brothers and sisters, Traill finished the 20-lesson Lamb course. Once a Lamb graduated, they then moved into the Brooklyn Young Sheep House. In 1983 Traill started the Middle Remedial Program for members ages 21- 23 years of age. Traills assessment of the Middle brethren was that they were retarded in their spiritual growth and needed a special program tailored to address their deficiencies. The Older brothers and sisters had no program since the MTC and were used by Traill as a constant reminder to younger members as an example of what happens to a member when they do not accept and practice Traills teaching. Through the second half of the 70s into the 1980s, Traill spent a tremendous amount of time on Second Coming bible studies, Matthew 24 in particular, and his study of the fig tree. For the members this meant intense focus on preparation and readiness for the end times. Traills demeanor toward all members and especially the older members of the group was one of intimidation, using fear and verbal abuse to constantly unsettle the believers about their salvation, about their faithfulness to Jesus, and their lack of alert readiness for the second coming. It was in fact a severe form of legalism. In 1981, Traill persuaded the church board to purchase a large house in Princeton N. J. for him and Gayle to occupy. The house was situated just down the way from where Albert Einstein used to live. The official reason given to the members for buying the house was for investment purposes. Members were told that Stewart and Gayle should live there because they were the only ones responsible enough to keep up the value of the place. Traill furnished the home asking members with abilities in woodworking to build him a desk and bookshelves for his office. He also had a large globe brought in through a second story office window to be placed near his desk. Traill then employed “Gayle helpers” (female members of COBU) to come and live at the Princeton house and help him and his wife with various projects. At this time the members of Cobu lived in large church-owned apartment buildings and houses. The Brooklyn Young Sheep House at 162 Woodruff Ave in Flatbush Brooklyn housed over 100 young sheep and is the main residence of current Cobu today in New York. It had 4 floors, two floors for sisters and two for brothers. Woodworking members made bunkbeds for the group at 162. 515 was a 5-floor apartment building in Hells Kitchen on the west side of Manhattan. The Philadelphia Lamb House at 6713 Woodland Ave in Philadelphia, formerly an institute for the blind, was occupied by Middle brothers and sisters. There were fellowship houses in Cleveland, Montreal, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Maryland at this time. In 1982, according to Traill’s youngest son who wrote extensively on the matter, Traill had ordered several brothers to discipline him because of his bad behavior while living at the Philadelphia Lamb house. The brothers held his youngest son down while they beat him with a wooden board. The beating was so severe that members had to take him to the hospital. Charges were filed against 3 of the group’s members and Traill’s first wife Shirley took custody of the all 5 children. As in the case of Traill’s divorce, so also this matter was not brought out into the open before the church and no one asked Traill any questions to determine his culpability. Unknown to most members in the early to mid-80’s was that Traill was groping some of the “Gayle Helpers” who lived at Princeton. One ex-member confirmed this report years after Traill had groped her in his dark room. Traill, an avid photographer who owned his own camera business, took pictures of the female members at poolside in Princeton. Traill also violated another member who is among the current Cobu today. In 1999, 14 years after her time in Princeton as a member of Cobu, a female ex-member wrote down her account of Traill proposing to make her his “half-wife.” Her account is on the X-Cobu Web page at http://www.angelfire.com/nm/cobu Others who worked at the Princeton house also witnessed Traills inappropriate sexual behavior. One member found a Playboy magazine in his office. Some female ex-members have indicated other immoral behavior but refused to go into detail. Traill’s behavior toward some of the female members of the church reached the attention of his second wife Gayle. Some ex-members reported years later that Gayle was going to expose him to the church and so he called a meeting to remake and redo the entire church and at the same time work in his own confession and admission of sin which he hoped would be forgiven and/or overlooked. The Grace Meeting of March 1989 was perhaps the most pivotal event in the history of Traill’s cult. It marked the first time since the formation of the group in 1971 that Stewart Traill admitted he had taught error, that he was wrong. What was not known to most of the members at the time was the reason for the meeting and the significance of some of things Traill said. By the time of the Grace Meeting, Traill had groped at least 2 females, used pornography, took pictures of “sisters” in swim suits, and attempted to make one of the female members his “half-wife.” His wife Gayle threatened to expose him to the members and so in March of 1989 Traill called a meeting to admit or confess that he had missed the entire basis of salvation, of the gospel: he missed Grace. Mixed in with his teaching about teaching error were personal revelations. According to biblical standards for pastors, bishops, deacons, and elders, Traill was not qualified to even begin the group in 1971 (this, he did not mention). At this meeting he repeatedly told his followers that he taught error for the last 25 years and only one sister openly questioned Traills honesty. At the meeting Traill said, “Ya know the whole while, I never tried to take Jesus place… in no way and would always speaking against it…and yet that’s what the devil arranged…now think about it…something like that in effect…” Traill’s passive admission that he had actually taken Jesus’ place meant little to the members of the group at the time. Many left within the year simply because they understood for the first time that Traill was in error and rather than dismiss him as pastor, they left the group. Traill did not speak about his sexual sins but spent hours explaining to his followers how he had missed grace and had taught his version of legalism. For some members the Grace Meeting meant a fresh new direction for the church and so they stayed in the hope that they would finally learn true Christianity from Traill. Less than a week later, Traill went back to his verbally abusive style of leadership. Although the words and concepts Traill used had changed, his place and position had not. The Church of Bible Understanding under the new basis of grace dwindled to just a few hundred members with Traill still in charge. Late that same year he introduced the 1st John Bible Study in which he asserted that true Christians DO NOT sin. Traill claimed to know the “mind of the apostles.” A few months later Traill dropped this teaching also. In November of 1989 Traill crashed one of the church planes at the Mercer County airport. The newspaper reported that Traill and his female companion(unnamed) were not injured. It is unclear whether the female passenger was his second wife Gayle or one of the members of Cobu. Many left COBU within the year and in subsequent years following the Grace Meeting of 1989. Some joined the Time Square church pastored by David Wilkerson. Wilkerson made attempts to contact Traill and to counsel him to repent. Traill dismissed his help. Other ex-members hosted and helped Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a Christian who suffered imprisionment and torture in Communist Romania. Wurmbrand, head of Voice of the Martyrs also made an appeal to Traill but was rejected. Traill in so many words told his followers that Wurmbrand no longer had sound judgment and that he should not be heeded. Traill emphasized “not hoping in this life” and told current members that “they were going to die soon.” Traill at times introduced themes of SUICIDE to members. In all, 1989 was a strange and revealing time for Traill and those who chose to stay. In the early 1990s he began teaching something that would become the current doctrine of his cult. At first it was called the Escape Recipe and then just the Recipe. Today current Cobu members use the “U” Point of View, which appears modestly on their church web site. What seemed to be a contortion of the Grace teaching, this Escape Recipe was the banner teaching for the group in the first half of the 1990s. At some of the meetings Traill pressured members to stand up, hold a paper copy of the Recipe over their heads and say, “My name is ________ and I am volunteering for the Lake of Fire” the idea being that the member was not heeding Traills Escape Recipe and therefore was willing going to Hell. Church businesses varied. There were storefronts that sold hand-made Haitian goods. Members ran kiosks and were street vendors. The carpet cleaning business was still viable as well as the used van business which peaked in the mid 80’s, the group having a fellowship house in Detroit. The church also ran a donation business whereby large ticket items could be donated by private owners or businesses as a tax write-off and Cobu would turn around and sell what was donated. In February of 2002 Traill and his second wife Gayle were traveling in the Bahamas. They were in a car accident. Traills arm was broken. Gayle had broken her leg. During surgery she lapsed into a coma that would last for 5 months. When she regained consciousness it became clear that she had sustained permanent damage. She eventually learned to walk again but her mental capacity was greatly diminished by the injuries she incurred. At a meeting Traill told members that he was free to marry again, that because of Gayles condition he was single just like them. The members did not agree and so Traill abandoned his search for a 3rd wife. Cobu brought suit against their insurance company to cover Gayle Traills medical costs but lost the case in court. Apparently, according court records, Cobu lied about Gayle being a church employee and lied about her travels outside the United States. The case is currently in appeal. Here is the front page of the law suit: IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA AMERICAN HOME ASSURANCE CO. v. THE CHURCH OF BIBLE UNDERSTANDING d/b/a OLDE GOOD THINGS and GAYLE TRAILL : CIVIL ACTION : : NO. 03-6052 : MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Kauffman, J. September 6 , 2006 Plaintiff American Home Assurance Company (“American Home” or “Plaintiff”) brings this declaratory judgment action against the Church of Bible Understanding (“COBU” or “Defendant”) and Gayle Traill, a missionary for COBU (collectively, “Defendants”). American Home issued a worker’s compensation insurance policy to COBU for the period running from August 8, 2001 through August 8, 2002 (the “Policy”). Traill was injured on February 7, 2002 and sought worker’s compensation coverage for her injuries. American Home seeks a declaration that (1) Gayle Traill was not an employee of COBU at the time of her accident, and thus is not entitled to coverage under the Policy (“Count I”); (2) Gayle Traill was not acting in the course and scope of her employment with COBU at the time of her accident, and thus is not entitled to coverage under the Policy (“Count II”); and (3) COBU made material misrepresentations to American Home, entitling American Home to rescind the Policy (“Count III”). COBU and Mrs. Traill counterclaim that American Home’s attempt to rescind the Policy constitutes bad faith in violation of 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8371 (“Counterclaim”).1 Cobu then focused on the antique, salvage, and restoration business. An ex-member had already started his own venture but Cobu, with its tax-exempt church status and with every live-in member donating 90% of their money to the church treasury, began to take over the markets in New York and Pennsylvania. Cobu would outbid its competitors on old buildings that were set for demolition. They then would gut the structures of moldings and fixtures which they would expertly restore for resale. Later the business would take the antique materials gleaned from demolition sites and create furniture and home decor for sale. Like Christian Brothers Carpet Cleaning, Olde Goode Things, a Cobu-run business, became the largest and most successful business entity in its line in the country. The church currently has 3 stores in New York, 2 in Los Angeles and a warehouse in Scranton, PA. Other web sites show stores in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. http://www.ogtstore.com/ Olde Good Things also has ventures in Canada and in Japan. Stewart Traill is now 75 years old and lives in a church-owned mansion in south Florida. He told current Cobu members at a not so recent meeting that “they were helping the anti-christ.” There are reports that Traill is accompanied often by the daughter of two current members (the young lady is more than 40 years his junior). Despite Traills past known behavior and his other known immoral acts with members of the group, the current members will not dismiss him from his office as pastor. SUMMATION and Analysis: It is not hard to identify and assess Stewart Traill now. It was much more difficult for the young people of the 1970s to realize who was leading them. Traills charisma and exuberance dominated the imagination of the youth in Allentown for a time. He then changed tactics to hold his group in place all the while removing in the minds and hearts of members their ability to question him or challenge his leadership. Simple equations like Stewart said= God said and Leaving Fellowship= Leaving Jesus were effective psychological tools Traill used on the young around him. The most basic and crude analysis of Stewart Traill is this: that he was and is a man who never submitted to any authority but asserted his own over young Christians. Whether he became a Christian in the mid-60s is still a question asked by ex-members today. There is a consensus of opinion that Traill started the group with his own purposes in mind and shunned fellowship and contact with other Christians, insisting with great hubris that he was specially called of God and possessed unique abilities which meant that he was destined to lead a group of believers. He was never vetted, never tested. He accepted no counsel from Christian leaders inside or outside his group. For more than 40 years Stewart Traill has trusted his own insight, his own understanding, his own abilities to serve him in his control of the group. The majority of ex-members have maintained their Christian lives despite the abuse they suffered in COBU. In online forums ex-members have grappled with common questions and issues concerning Traill and their time inside. Some ex-members find it difficult to separate Traill from their own faith in God, a legacy forged in them by Traill. Something distinctive about COBU is that it, in truth, was and is populated by Christians, actual Christians. It is the opinion of some that the damage Traill inflicted on members would have been much worse if they did not have true faith in God. The current members have all but given up dislodging Traill from his position. It is likely that most members are bidding their time, waiting for Traill to die before making any changes in church leadership. For those who wonder from afar why the current members didnt fire Traill in 1989 and still tolerate his open unfaithfulness to his second wife, not to mention his continued psychological abuse of them, one would only have to consider how a tyrant or dictator comes to power and how nearly impossible it is for the people to overthrow and remove a ruler once he has successfully gained control. The prayer of most ex-members is for those inside the group, for their release or rescue. As for Stewart Traill, most ex-members pray for his repentance.