How my Prayers and Testimonies were taken from the Workers’ and Friend’s Fellowship
The following are all emails that were ever exchanged between Lyle Schober, the Texas overseer at the time, and myself. I have also included all of the emails exchanged between the elders and myself after the “don’t take part in testimony or prayer” incident.
Here’s an audio recording of the conversation that was started after it sounded like an excommunication was about to take place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCWHY_uh1z8
Here is a basic outline of events as I recall them:
1. Sunday, April 1, 2012:
I spoke about truth vs. tradition in the union Sunday meeting, where I mentioned the guy who started meetings (I didn’t mention him by name). However, when I mentioned him, it was very quick and was not the main point of my testimony.
2. Friday, April 6, 2012: I attended a Passover Seder meal at a nearby home.
3. Sunday, April 8, 2012: I spoke about how much I appreciated the Passover Seder meal and how it helped my appreciation and understanding of the Lord’s supper and encouraged others to take the opportunity when they could
4. Monday, April 9, 2012: I received an invitation to supper. This is where I had a surprise visit with Lyle Schober and Clarence, a local worker in the field. I was there for a long time, but this is what I can recall from the conversation.
a. The issues discussed were:
1. William Irvine as the founder of the fellowship (Lyle claimed that he was not)
2. They all were in agreement that my testimony wasn’t “edifying.” I told them for a fact that at least one couple found it edifying because they came up and thanked me and we went to lunch immediately afterward.
3. My involvement with the Passover Seder meal
1. Clarence mentioned that God wouldn’t use ungodly (outsiders? I don’t remember his exact words) men to teach us something spiritual
2. I shared what I appreciated so much about the Passover meal and how more things made sense, and I affirmed that I would definitely attend it again and continue to encourage others to do the same.
After talking about that, they seemed to accept what I had to say. By this, I mean that there didn’t seem to be resistance to what I shared about it. They did, however, keep saying to make sure that my testimonies were “edifying,” which confused me because we had just established that it was edifying to at least one couple.
5. April 25, 2012: I requested and had a meeting with the elder (Elder One from the recording above) and his wife. I went to them and brought up Matthew 18 and that they had not approached me in private first. They agreed that they had not acted in accordance with that Scripture and apologized for their actions. I remember asking them to please follow that example in Matthew 18 in the future, because I left the visits confused and felt like I was walking in a landmine field. I didn’t know what would blow up into another issue. They agreed to bring this to my attention privately first in the future.
6. May 14, 2012: A relative (known as Relative) of the couple mentioned above (known as Couple) that said that they appreciated my testimony about truth vs. tradition contacted me privately. Relative said that Clarence Mounce initiated a visit with Couple about this situation sometime within the past week of Relative messaging me. Relative wanted to let me know that Couple were not on the same page after all, and that Couple had the impression that I had said that they agreed with the choices that I was making. It was clear from the conversation with Relative that Couple did not ask Relative to convey this information, but that Relative was telling me on Relative’s own volition.
7. Date Unknown: Clarence comes to my home for a two-day visit. I remember Clarence saying that he believes that God can save those outside of meetings, but if they are honest and seeking that God will lead them to meetings. I explained that I do not believe that. He said that that’s what everyone who goes to meetings believes. I told him that I don’t believe it and I didn’t know how he could make a blanket statement about everyone else who goes to meetings. I remember the conversation ending with me saying that we disagree on that belief.
8. Saturday, October 20, 2012: This is the day I gave my testimony at Georgetown Convention. Here is the transcript of the recording I made for proof of my exact words.
“I’ve appreciated reading in John 18, and Pilate had a question to Jesus. He said, “What is truth?” I enjoyed some of the hymns that we’ve sang. The first one that we sang on Wednesday night was hymn number one, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” It’s such a wonderful story, how we, with all of our sin, can be forgiven. That he would have come down from heaven, did everything that he did, that we could be redeemed. It’s a wonderful story. And there’s another hymn that I appreciated, and that’s “Nearer, Still Nearer,” how we can get close to God, how sin has separated us from God, but Jesus came, and he died for our sins that we could be completely forgiven, that we could get close to God, that we, ourselves, should not even be worthy of even being close but the farthest reaches of all of His creation, that we can be nearer to Him.
And these two hymns were written by two people, two different people. Both of them were Methodists. If we can have such great fellowship with people, from those who have not even known meeting, have gone to meeting, then this Truth must surely transcend meetings. What is Truth? This is the question that Pilate asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” In John 14, previous to this, Jesus was telling his disciples, “I’m going to my Father, and the way you know. And Thomas saith unto him, ‘Lord, we know not whither Thou goest. How can we know the way?’” Verse 6, “Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” So, we know that the Way is Jesus. The Truth is Jesus. The great Life that we can experience because He died for our sins. That Life is Jesus.
There is nothing else. I’m just so thankful for the hymns that we have and the examples that we have and those that are led by God and that we can have fellowship with them, even Methodists, not limited by those that go to meetings. If we called, if we say we have grown up in the truth and we’re referring to because we’ve gone to meetings, we have established a name for ourselves, and we can no longer say that we have no name. But, if we refer to this Way, the Truth, as Jesus, we will be set free. I long to be one that is true, that would cling to Jesus, and in all ways remember that Jesus is the Way and the Truth.”
9. December 23, 2012: Elder One’s wife texted me and asked: “Just wondering if we can stop and see you??” We agreed on 6 PM. I thought it was odd that we needed to have a sudden meeting at my home. At around 6:07 PM Elder One, Elder Two, and Elder Three (with none of their wives) showed up at my home. This was certainly unexpected behavior, as I had only set the table for four of us and expected Elder One’s wife to be there since she mentioned “we.” They declined any food and wanted to visit in the living room.
In the very beginning of the conversation, Elder One asked me if I had decided what I was going to do about church. I told him that I will go where the Holy Spirit leads me. He asked where the Holy Spirit was leading me to fellowship. I told him that I can’t know the future and that I was going to let the Holy Spirit lead me. About this time, Christa started recording on my phone that was sitting on the kitchen counter because it started sounding a bit like an excommunication. This recording can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCWHY_uh1z8.
Shortly after the conversation was recording, I decided that I was going to record the conversation, so I said “Oh, I forgot to start the thing.” So, I went over to the counter and brought back the phone. I stopped the recording at first, not realizing that it was already started. There was about a 10-second pause while I trying to figure out what was going on with the recorder. Then, I realized that it had been recording for a while, and started it back up. After it started recording, I said, “I’m sorry, what was that?” I then sat the phone on my lap so that everyone could see it.
Later I spliced the two audio files together. I did not leave any of the conversation out that was recorded. After the elders left, I called each one of them and explained that the visit was not conducted according to Matthew 18. Nobody came to me personally, as Elder One and his wife claimed that they would (from above). Also, the witnesses did not speak except for one, known as Elder One. Elder Two did speak at the very end, but it was only that they still love me and that the Holy Spirit would show me the way I need to go. Elder Three did not speak at all. Elder Three refused to talk Scripture on the phone when I called him personally. I started reading Matthew 18 and he interrupted me. He said that he would not listen to me quote Scripture and that what was said had been said. He said that my spirit had changed and then the phone conversation ended.
Elder Two listened to me when I called, but his wife answered and said that I should write a letter detailing my account. Since she was not there at the visit, I informed her that I recorded the conversation. She said that it was good that I did and encouraged me to write the letter. Elder One did not answer either home or cell phone. At this point, they were the only witnesses to what had happened. So, if they weren’t willing to get together to discuss it individually, they were not willing to reconvene and conduct it according to Matthew 18. I then appealed to Lyle Schober and presented my fault with these elders on how they did not conduct the visit according to Scripture and included the link to the above YouTube audio. I CC’d all of these elders on each correspondence with Lyle. These correspondences have been included in this document, available on the side tabs.
Understand that Lyle (Texas overseer) rejects the idea that this was an excommunication since I was allowed to attend meetings as long as I didn’t take part in prayer or testimony.
Why am I doing this? Why am I posting it online? I went to them and explained the situation from my point of view and gave them ample time to respond. Upon receiving responses from Lyle and the elders that Scripture would not be discussed, it was concerning to me. This was not what I expected from the fellowship I had been attending for the past 11-12 years. They crossed a line in the sand that I was not willing to cross–accepting false doctrine in this case.
I bring this public because it is a data point. This is a data point that shows rejection of the Scripture that they claim to follow. I replaced the names of the elders with Elder One, Elder Two, and Elder Three where applicable. I did not do this for Lyle or Clarence because they carry this ministry on their shoulders. This will allow people to approach him and discuss the verses presented in the following emails. I want truth to expose false doctrine, and Lyle is among those spreading false doctrine–according to my understanding of the Scripture.
I understand that I am perfectly capable of being wrong, and I likely am in several points, but that is why Scripture is discussed between believers. Discussing it helps us to find truth, and the truth sets us free!
John 8:32 KJV And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The emails that were exchanged are located in separate tabs to make it easier to navigate.
I have included all of the emails exchanged between myself and Lyle and have not left any of them out.
Also, the issues brought up at the meeting between Elder One, Elder One’s wife, Clarence Mounce, and Lyle Schober at Elder One’s home are addressed in my letter to Lyle here: Questions about our supper visit.
Please help me see my faults by discussing Scripture with me.
Most of all, may God bless you all!
Posted January 3, 2013