My name is Leigh Townsend. I am 67 years old, was born and raised in meetings, and professed when I was fourteen. Claire, my wife, is a beautiful young chick of 49 who professed twenty years ago. She is my legacy from the Truth. I was born to professing parents in Prince Edward Island and spent my early years there.
NOTE: Names provided for initials are at the end.
We then moved to Montreal where I lived with my parents until I left home and went to Toronto, Ontario. I have traveled extensively on business across Canada and the US, and have done stints in England, and several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the West Indies. I have met friends from virtually around the world.
I am thus fortunate to have a fairly extensive view and knowledge of the “truth.” I say this in all humility because I was still stupid enough to remain in the 2x2s until recently. I now realize what a grip this cult had on me. My mother was a good person, had very little education, but looked after my sister and I very well. She was easily influenced by the workers and thus we were brought up very strictly. We could not even use sun-tan lotion because at that time it was considered makeup.
From my early childhood, I wondered about many things in the 2x2s and had lots of doubts. I always heard from my parents that we were in the only true way but that the people were not perfect, although we were always told that the workers were on a higher plane than us. This would turn out to be about as true as the existence of Santa Claus.
In 1950 I received a real shock at Special Meeting time. I was sexually molested by, James (Jim) Grant, a visiting worker from the UK. That was on a Saturday night, and at 10.00 AM the following morning he gave out the first hymn at the Special Meeting! Much later I discovered that he was a well known homosexual predator and the overseer had sent him on a trip to Canada for therapy! When the workers could no longer hide the situation, he was put out of the work.
This event really opened my eyes. My 20/20 vision was starting to see and question everything. Something that was really starting to bother me was the hypocrisy in the way. I had seen Dad, who now was an elder, living one way most of the time and a different way when the workers or other friends were present. He could be raging about something but immediately grab a bible and be reading righteously when he heard someone coming to the door. He did not hesitate to lie about anything if it was in his favour. Coarse language was not unfamiliar to him and he used it at will – when the workers were not around.
Dad was not the only one. It became fairly easy to detect people living double lives, or at least doing a lot of things that they would not divulge to the workers. Many people have admitted to me, always in confidence of course, that they watch TV, have stereo systems hidden, and one told me that he had a hidden wine cellar. This is very much a worldwide phenomenon.
I also noticed that there was friction among the workers. It was not uncommon to see workers arguing about little things, however, in some cases it was much more serious. I remember two sister workers, MY and EM staying at our house. The acrimony was so strong between them that MY, the younger one, would refuse to even come to the table when EM was there.
I was beginning to question the doctrine of exclusivity. It was becoming evident to me that our belief was based on four main premises. The homeless workers going two by two, the church with no name, meetings in the home and this being the only way that was right.
I was also beginning to question the subject of revelation. Were the workers the only ones to have a revelation from God? My observations were, that much of what they considered revelation was really their own opinions. A case in point was OT who had recently come to Montreal from the US via France. He was a fire and brimstone preacher and spoke with a high volume, in fact, he yelled most of the time. He told us stories of his missions in the central states during the 1930s, where he often made critical and inflammatory statements about other churches and preachers. He often recited a poem, which in part said:
Money, oh money, t’is of thee that I sing,
Thou art my prophet, my priest and my king,
T’is for thee that I preach, t’is for thee that I pray,
And take up a collection twice each Sabbath day.
Needless to say, he was not popular and he had even been threatened by the Ku Klux Klan. One time he admitted to a group, including myself, that preaching like that had not done any good and had stirred up emotions needlessly. The question in my mind was, “what about the revelation, where did the preaching come from?”
I was also beginning to question the legalisms, although I did not know them by that name. The way women had to dress. I often felt guilty, but I was ashamed to be seen with some of the sister workers on the street. There were some beautiful young girls at convention. Or rather I should say, they could have been beautiful, if the “truth” had not turned them from Tomatoes into Potatoes. Things have not changed a lot, except guys take heart, the poor girls could still look like crows in those horrible black stockings!
In 1954, I left home and moved to Toronto, where WM was the senior worker. He was at the peak of his preaching career and was the idol of the Toronto population. Could he preach! Many people ignored the sister workers’ gospel meeting in West Toronto and came to W’s meetings in the east end. He was a spellbinder and spoke with authority.
But few people saw the real W. I did. He spent a lot of time with the friends where I was boarding and was very chummy with one of the female boarders. She and W. got along terribly well, sometimes long into the wee hours of the morning. She slept upstairs, and so did he. The rest of us spent our nights at the lower level. It did not take me long to realize that he was more than a real preacher – he was a real lover. The couple who owned the home had such confidence in W. that they could, or would not, see what was going on. It took years before the general population caught on. In fact, W. had long left Toronto, and his girlfriend had been killed in a car accident, before people became fully aware of the sordid trail that he left, both in Toronto and later, in the work in the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada.
In 1956, I returned to Montreal, only to be confronted with more shenanigans. The younger worker with EM got pregnant. That’s right! PREGNANT. The workers tried to cover it up, but someone, through the hospital, let the cat out of the bag. Talk about contrasts! The senior brother worker at that time, HC, would not eat FRUIT COCKTAIL – sounded too much like alcohol!
I got married at the end of 1956, and the next twenty years were very enjoyable. I became a successful businessman, and president of a multinational company. For many years, I maintained a fairly high profile in the “truth.” Our home, and summer lake home, became virtual hotels for the workers and friends. Seldom were we without company, and many times both homes were full. The workers often came to me for advice and I was often asked to arrange special favours for them. I contributed thousands of dollars to convention grounds and to the work in foreign fields. I was privy to much of the inner workings and the corruption of the 2×2 cult.
Frankly, I closed my eyes to many things, or maybe I should say, I refused to face up to reality. I was aware of many cases of sexual abuse by the workers, and even abuse perpetuated against other sister workers. This was happening in many countries. I became aware of the strange behaviour of the workers in the Maritime Provinces.
There were so many things happening concurrently, that it was difficult to really analyze the situation. There were people leaving the “truth,” conventions were changing places with the people from the former grounds leaving the way and it appeared that the workers were out of control. It seemed to be a virtual orgy, with groups of workers disappearing on weekends and being seen at various motels!
Finally, a number of workers, including AA, SB, DS and several sister workers left the work. Several brother and sister workers married shortly thereafter. There were strange things going on close to home as well. It was reported, with some justification, that MM and GP were very chummy. We were also warned by sister workers that a certain sister worker should not sleep on the same floor as the Head Honcho when they were at our house. The corruption was starting to get on my nerves. Most of the above had not affected me personally, but I was becoming very uncomfortable with the direction of events in this “perfect way”. I was wondering what to do.
Within the next few years, I was implicated directly in several problems which culminated in Claire and I leaving the 2x2s and being freed of all the problems and corruption that we had been saddled with.
In the early ’80s, I became involved in the MM-GP-YD-CJ affair, from which I became a target for the workers. A number of French people had professed in MM and her companion’s meetings. This was quite a novelty in the area. YD, who had laboured in Quebec for several years had come back for Special Meetings. During visits prior to the meetings, MM had completely isolated YD from the French people, supposedly to protect her fiefdom.
This hurt Y’s feelings very badly because in the overseer’s invitation to come to Quebec, the main reason was to spend time with the new French friends. YD and her companion came to our home for supper and to stay with us on Sunday night after the meetings. I could tell that something was bothering them and when I inquired they both burst into tears. Finally, they told me of their shabby treatment by MM, and obviously, I was not pleased.
The following week they were in the Ottawa area for Special Meetings. There are several French families in that area as well, and YD and her companion received the same treatment as in Montreal, but this time they were at CJ’s for the night, and they told him about the situation. CJ then called me to discuss the problem, and we agreed that I would discuss it with GP in Montreal and he would do the same in Ottawa – thus our stories would correspond.
In order to be fair to MM, I told her that I intended to discuss it with GP. She immediately phoned him and cried on his shoulder about how terrible a spirit I had and that he better come and talk to me right away. He came running! He would not believe anything I said. He said I had a bad spirit and that the meeting would probably be taken out of my home.
When I told him that the same thing had happened in Ottawa and that someone would be talking to him about it, he and MM immediately became all the more defensive and wanted to know who it was in Ottawa. I refused to tell them, even under severe grilling. I was sure that CJ would talk to GP when GP returned to Ottawa a few days later.
When they left, I phoned CJ and told him what had happened. When he heard the news his attitude changed completely. CJ backed out of our agreement and left me holding the bag. To this date, I have had no respect for him. MM and GP were then out to get even with me, and I knew they would go to any length to get revenge. GP tried once more, but it blew up in his face.
After the above affair I was completely disgusted with the workers and, in my innocence, I decided that I would work to correct the situation. I would not sit still and let the workers get away with anything. I did not yet realize how strong the corruption was, or the grip that the workers have, but I was about to find out.
MC was living in Quebec City. She had professed about a year before and was working for me part-time. In view of the corruption that was becoming prevalent under MM in Montreal, I tried to warn MC about MM. I did not realize the type of person she was. However, she immediately phoned the senior worker, WH, and told him about our conversation. Well, he immediately came running to her, and asked her to put everything in writing saying that it would be good for the “truth.” He told her that I had a very bad spirit. She wrote the letter.
A few weeks later, I received a call from WH that he was coming to Quebec to see me. I told him I would be in Montreal and would meet him there. Actually, when I arrived there were SIX workers waiting for me and the trial began. I had taken a tape recorder with me and intended to keep a record of the discussion for my own protection. They were aghast and said that I could not do that, but they promised to keep everything confidential.
Fat chance, the next week, everyone knew about the famous meeting and how “I had been chastised”. So much for their word of honour. GP initially acted as spokesman. He started by saying that I did not like them talking to my children. I disagreed because my children had been gone for fifteen years.
He then said that I was against all the workers – I disagreed. I was against only those that were dishonest or corrupt. He then said that I was against MM. Yes GP, I agree totally. She is one of the biggest liars and deceivers that I know! Then he said then that I was against God, because MM was on the workers’ list prepared by CC, and the list had been revealed to him by God.
I let him have it right between the eyes! Such idiotic thinking. I told them about the worker who abused me—he was on the list. The worker who had had a baby—she was on the list. The corruption with the workers in Alaska, the same thing in Greece, the same thing in Manitoba with Sid Lee, the disaster in the Maritimes, the Willie Martin escapades. THESE PEOPLE WERE ALL ON WORKERS’ LISTS. IN FACT, SOME OF THEM MADE THE LISTS! Was God wrong?
I also pointed out that his relationship with MM was substantially more than scriptural. I also informed him that CC had phoned me to discuss the possibility of putting him, GP, under Psychiatric Care. However, I was not prepared for, nor could I believe, their answer.
They said I should not have mentioned anything to anybody. They had the evidence against me in the form of a letter. They said the workers had to stand together and that EVEN IF I WAS RIGHT, IT WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAT IT BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL.
After that, the shunning really started! I now had nothing to lose. I was driven to fight for justice. Suddenly, I had a strange ally. MC, who had betrayed me, suddenly quit going to meetings. She was now being shunned also – even by her own sister, SG. The workers now wanted me to shun her too, even though I was already being shunned. It was almost hilarious—if it were not so sad. MC was now very disturbed and was almost in despair. She was living across the street from her sister, a real worker-worshipper, who took great joy in reporting all MC’s movements to the workers after every Wednesday night meeting.
We invited MC to come and live with us for a few months. The workers were livid but could do nothing. Several weeks later in a Sunday morning testimony, I mentioned how grateful I was that God had never abandoned me, in spite of all my unworthiness. (Good 2×2 lingo). SG later complained to the elder that I was preaching at her, because she was shunning her sister.
The elder, who at seventy-five, is Quebec’s oldest teenager and can’t think for himself, immediately contacted our semi-literate alcoholic worker, JG. JG was waiting for me when I arrived at convention the following month, and took me to task. I told him he was bonkers and suggested that we see SG and the elder together. He refused, saying that they were too scared to face me! I asked him how he could respect those people.
One of the saddest episodes in which I was involved concerned MC who is on the list, and a girl named B. who worked for MC. B. worked for MC and could see that MC lived a different type of life and she was curious. MC invited her to MM’s gospel meetings, but MM virtually ignored her. You see, MC was in MM’s bad books because he had profe ssed through someone else and was not one of *her* trophies. She had said a lot against him to the Montreal friends, even implying that B. was his girlfriend. It would make her look like a liar if B. professed, so she did everything to discourage her, even refusing to allow B. To go to convention.
MC phoned me in desperation, and I said that we would take B. to Convention with us, and MC would come for the weekend. We did this, but the word had been spread around the convention that no one was to talk to us. It became the most bizarre situation that I have ever seen. A real study in crowd control. People avoided us like lepers yet we knew they were embarrassed and wanted to talk.
B. said she wanted to profess. We knew she was sincere and we said she would get a chance on Saturday evening when the meeting would be “tested”. But the meeting was not tested because MM had enough power to convince the workers not to test the meeting because “Leigh and MC had brought someone with a bad spirit to convention.” B. was so disappointed that she cried like a baby. I felt so sorry for her and I felt equally bad for MC, who had done everything possible to help this poor young girl. I was amazed at the cruelty, in the name of God.
However, we are now glad that she never got tangled with the web of deception. Incidentally, MC is one of the kindest people I know, although we are both detested by the workers.
The final knife. My wife was away for a weekend. She phoned during the weekend to say that she had referred someone to my networking business and that I should be home on Monday at 1.00 PM to receive them. When I questioned who it was, she said it would be a surprise. It sure was! On Monday at 1.00 PM sharp, she arrived with CW and his companion. Pure deception on the workers’ part, and of course, my wife. She and they left the same day. What a shock. I have never seen her since.
A couple of days later CC called and told me that since I was in the “truth,” I should give my wife whatever she wanted – it was only money, bricks and mortar! He further told me not to hire a lawyer, although he admitted that my wife already had a lawyer and a financial advisor working for her. He said he knew it wasn’t right for her to do that, but two wrongs don’t make a right. When pressed as to what I should do he said, “I don’t know but do something”. I did. I told him to get lost. He is the dumbest worker I have ever met and gets dumber every day.
As if that were not enough, the Right Reverend CW was back in our field the next year. He was just as deceitful – and dumb. Reminds me of the show Dumb & Dumber – he could play both parts.
Claire Tremblay and I were both in the network marketing business. She was somewhere below me in the organization and had been for several years. CC and his companion came and stayed with me for a week. While they were living with me, sleeping in two of my beds and eating my food, I found out that they were talking to Claire and insisting that she give up the networking business and have nothing to do with me.
Finally, things started to improve. Several years after my wife left me, Claire Tremblay and I started talking about other things than network marketing, and to make a long story short, today she is Claire Townsend, my wife.
That was the final straw, as far as the workers were concerned. They threatened all sorts of things but we remained calm and told them to put all their comments in writing and we would do whatever they said. You guessed it. We never received any letters, we continued to be shunned, but we continued going to meetings. We knew we were not in the right way.
Claire, who had been in other churches, had more points of reference than I did. While she was ready to leave the meeting, I was not. What if it were the right way? Therefore, for my sake, she reluctantly continued to accompany me. Bless her kind heart.
Then a miracle happened. We had a visiting friend for dinner. During the meal, he mentioned that there was a lot of information about the “truth” on the Internet. I couldn’t believe it. He said to look under 2x2s. As soon as he left, we hit the computer, found the VOT site and printed out hundreds of pages. We will never be able to thank that person enough for our delivery out of slavery. We have not been back to meeting since last December.
We did not leave the “truth” because of all the above problems. These types of things can happen anywhere. While the problems were surely a contributing factor, we left because of doctrine – the deceptive doctrine of William Irvine – which is based on works and legalisms, (which are not biblical) rather than on the saving grace of Jesus.
We marvel at the power of this cult and the fear that is instilled in its members. People are afraid not to shun us. When they dare to speak to us, they use cult lingo, such as falling away, bitter, lost out, missing the mark, etc. Even my sister uses this jargon. However, I do not blame them. They are brain-washed, like we were, and are following the dictates of the workers. We can only pray that their eyes will be opened as ours have been.
I consider Claire and I to be reasonably intelligent people, with a fairly broad experience in life. Yet, together, Claire and I combined have spent three-quarters of a century in bondage of the worst sort. We are so happy to be free, and to experience what Jesus said: “The Truth will set you free”. It is Jesus that is the Truth, and not some form of organized religion propagated by man.
I have written this, not in the spirit of revenge, but in the hope that it might help someone who is crossing the same minefield. Please bear in mind that, the best way to cross a minefield, is to follow in someone’s footsteps. I have only covered the surface. It is difficult to condense a lifetime into a few pages. Thanks for bearing with me and for listening.
Love in the freedom and liberty of Christ.
Quebec City, Canada
June 27, 1999
Full names were used in Leigh’s original, but reduced to initials for security purposes.
KEY to replace initials with names
– James Grant, dead
– OT-Orin Taylor(Senior Worker in Montreal), dead
– Rhoda Robinson misspelled Robertson (Female Boarder), dead
– Luella Gunn (pregnant Worker), dead
– Willis Young’s Mother (let cat out of the bag), dead
– HC-Horace Cullwick, dead
– Absalom Abbott (orgy), dead
– Stacey Bryanton-Doug Sproule-(all were married shortly after)
– Carson Cowan (Head Honcho), dead
– SL-Sidney Lee, dead
– GP-George Poole
– Six Workers-John Gravil, George Pool, Wayne Hutchison, Ed Bax, etc.
– James Miles (the Elder)
– Girl named Brigitte
– CW-Carson Wallace
– Dave Lane (companion)
– Visiting Friend (counsels Sister Workers)
Some names listed not marked as dead may have passed away.
The following were alive in 2012:
WM-Willie Martin, ex-worker Read More
Murial Molina, sister worker
Joyce Disher, sister worker
WH-Wayne Hutchison (Head Worker) Overseer in Atlantic Canada and Quebec
JG-John spelled “Jean” Gravil
Carson Wallace, Overseer in Ontario now
Adele Hunter (a 2×2)
LEIGH’S PROGRESS REPORT (2008):
RE: Molestation by Male Worker
COUNSELING: None asked and none received.
APOLOGIES: None asked and none received.
CHARGES: None filed.
REACTIONS: The senior worker in the UK had decided to send the alleged abuser on a trip to Canada as a “therapeutic visit” to see if he might improve. “You should not have revealed this because it will hurt the church.”
OFFENDER: Left work in 1960s; died sometime prior to this report
VICTIM: Left Meetings 1997, wrote letter to church commenting on the above event. Most, including his sister, didn’t believe it took place.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “He said it would be good for my personal development and I should hug and kiss him.”