Peterson, Dale (aka Pianoman/Lazarus66)

Well, it looks like most stories start at the beginning. I have chosen that venue. I was born in Seattle, Washington in 1948. My mother and father were living there, with my brother about 2-1/2 years older. My father worked for the Railroad Retirement Company and had been in the Army. He soon decided that he would become a member of the Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force. Since he was a College Graduate, he became an officer. He rejoined the service shortly after my arrival on planet earth.

In 1950, he was assigned to Okinawa. We traveled there by ship, and my earliest memories began. Things seemed to be alright, and at some point around that year, my younger brother was born. He died soon after. While in Okinawa, my mother and father were good service people. They attended cocktail parties, hosted some, and my father smoked regularly, and my mother smoked socially.

I don’t know what sparked the fear in my mother, but before our return to the States, she told me that she “vowed” to God, that if he got her home to the States alive, she would serve him. Her mother had professed, and I am not sure but she may have professed in Ireland, before her migration to Canada. I never heard of WI, and don’t know if my grandmother had either. I am quite sure my mother never did.

Life progressed, and in 1953, we returned to America and moved to Yuma Arizona. My mother had been in touch with Emma Raun, a worker that was mostly in Korea. When we arrived in Yuma, my mother had the workers come visit, and they had meetings in our home. They were very wonderful men, Percy Barelli, from Australia, and Alan Ashmore. Alan was young, and fun to be with. Needless to say, my mother professed almost immediately, but my father hesitated and never did go that route.

There was a reason for this. My mother and my father’s mother were not friendly. My father’s mother was Lutheran, and my mother resented this, and felt she was a hypocrite in a false church. This began a lifelong battle between my paternal grandmother, my father, and my mother.

My father welcomed the workers into our home and was always cordial to them for the rest of his life. My father started attending the Lutheran church, and my mother would never invite his ministers over, and in fact, would leave the house suddenly if she got wind one was coming to visit. Needless to say, my father did not have many visits from his ministers.

In the beginning, my mother, being one of 15 children, was pleasant enough and we visited most of her family in Portland Oregon often. Those were good times. We would go to my aunt’s house and listen to Jack Benny on the radio. Having a TV was nearly unheard of at that time. In fact, my father had bought a beautiful “Hi-Fi” console that we would lay on the floor and listen to “Fibber McGee and Molly” as a family. The strain of my father not professing began to work on my mother, and she made the decision that she was going to have a Godly home, and change began.

Suddenly, the radio sessions stopped, and became “evil”. My mother, basically, started ignoring us children and was reading her bible, constantly after her long morning prayer sessions. A piano appeared in our home, and she would sit for hours playing hymns. She took lessons and soon we were pressed into the mix of leaning piano too. So this was life in the house daily. My mother would appear out of her room, (apparently after her prayer session) and sometimes she would cook breakfast, but not often as we were pretty good with a cereal box and bowl and milk, then she would sit and read, followed by her “setting her face like flint” and sitting at the piano-pounding out hymns.

I must add this here. When I mention her “setting her face like flint”, I don’t know how many of you have listened or seen Bill Cosby, the comedian talk about his wife’s face changing when he messed up, but listen to that, and you will get the picture.

Ok, back to the story. My father, the Officer, would assign our “duties” for the day, and my mother would not mention anything, but if we forgot something, she would simply write on a piece of paper on the wall, how many licks we were going to get when “dad got home”. No mention or clue of the infraction, just the end (no pun intended) result. When my father arrived home, as Bill Cosby would say, “Let the beatings begin”, and they did. I did not find out until 2005, that those beatings were mainly for me, and I was the honored recipient of the majority of these sessions. I guess when you are trying to walk off a good butt whipping, it doesn’t matter what else is happening.

Another important fact here is that my brother, the eldest, was a fairly mild kid, very intelligent, and pretty sharp all around. I was a very small child and had boundless energy. I could not sit still and had to be doing something all the time. I guess I was intelligent but in a more creative way. I drew and painted, and did a lot of artistic things. I will stop now, and take up with the family progression next time. If you find this too long, drawn out or boring, let me know, I will kick it in the pants and get to the meat and potatoes. No veggies……

The next few years are quite foggy, as quite a bit of my childhood in this period was. In 1953 my sister was born and being 5 years younger, and the only girl, she was soon to become the “treasured” little girl. This temporarily brought a slight change to things in our home, but now we were taking beatings for things my sister did. I say we, I don’t really know about my brother but do remember mine getting worse.

As my sister grew and started walking and talking, I remember my brother and I going into survival mode. I don’t recall what went on in the house, as we tried to stay outside, and only show up for meals and bedtime. We would leave the house in the morning, and sometimes return for lunch, and then go again until dinner time. This was also the discipline time, so after that took place, we would go outside again, daylight permitting.

Concerning dinner, my parents had lost everything in a flood a few years earlier, either shortly before I was born, or shortly after. I think that growing up in the depression era affected their thinking too. My mother would cook enough for the family, and that was not including seconds. My father dished us up, and we were expected to eat everything on our plates. Most of the time this was not a problem, as with my high energy, came a high metabolic rate, and I could eat like a horse.

We were expected to “fill up” on bread. If company showed up, unexpectedly, we were not allowed to take meat off the meat plate, and were to take bread and cover it with gravy, if there was enough gravy. I was hungry a lot. I would try to sneak into the kitchen and sneak food to fill up, but that was not easy, nor was it wise. If caught, I would incur more wrath from my mother, in her silent, keeping score for when “dad got home” beatings. I don’t remember hearing “wait til your father gets home” we just knew when he got home we got whipped.

As I have said, my thought process will skip around a bit, but try to put it together as best you can. We remained in Yuma until 1957, with my brother and I conspiring on how we were going to avoid being in the house. I must interject here that my brother was a normal-sized boy for his age, and I was very small and very thin. As my older brother, he was often taking his frustration out on me also, so I got it from all sides. When I say we conspired, I mean that it was out of necessity, because we had to stick together to stay out of the house and away from the abuse and neglect. When we hooked up with other kids, I, being the smallest was always the least of all things.

One thing that will remain in my mind forever is that we were given a small allowance, and we would buy comic books, and it was a tradition in that time and place to trade with others, as no one was really affluent. One day, my mother thought we were spending too much time reading comics, and they were too worldly, and we were made to tear up our comic books, throw them away in front of her, and then take them to the burn barrel, where they were consumed by fire, so we could not resurrect them ever. We are talking about Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, not some of the “comic books” of today with all the violence in them.

We were then started in bible studies every morning, and had to go through a chapter a day. If a chapter was too short, we did another. It seemed there was a time period we were going to observe. I was introduced to the idea of the burning fires of hell at this time. I feared greatly that because I was not a “good boy” (what good boy is whipped daily?), I was headed to hell’s fire, and on the fast track at that.

It was in 1957, as I mentioned that we moved to Sacramento California. I remember well, as we moved near my birthday, and on my birthday shortly after arriving, I was called into our little trailer we were camping in until Military Base Housing was available. My father bent me over his knee and gave me my “birthday licks”, one for each year. How special.

We soon bought a house, instead of military housing, and moved to a decent neighborhood. Things were different, and I think that part of it had to do with the fact that on one occasion, we were going in the house, and we had all been out, all had behaved, and were tired. My father was standing with his arm holding the door open, and the others went in under his arm, and I stood back, and when I went in, I made sure that I was out of reach of a backhand or any contact. I was quick, and moved in and ducked. My father and mother had a discussion about this, that I overheard, and mentioned that maybe they needed to let up on the beatings some.

I was around nine at this time, and my brother started pursuing his interests. He started baseball and got a paper route. If there was a baseball league for my age group, I never knew of it. My brother’s paper route was a big deal. My dad was so proud of his son and helped him fold his papers, as did I, and if the weather was not too nice, my father drove my brother on his route. The newspaper that my brother delivered for was always having contests, and my brother was winning those on a regular basis. Oh, my dad was bursting with pride for his son. He was so responsible, and did it all on his own (I don’t think the help from my father and I was even thought of).

Life was not too bad, except for the holidays. At this time, my mother had completely stepped out of all holidays. Christmas was evil, and she did not take part in any of the festivities, which were pretty subdued anyway. One day my brother had met up with some “older kids” probably 15-16 years old, and they were playing some serious baseball, with one kid pitching some pretty hard fastballs. I was hanging around, as I would do sometimes as long as I kept my mouth shut, and this was the beginning of the split between my brother and me. He no longer needed me. Anyway, I don’t really know what happened but I happened to get hit in the temple with a fastball, whether intentional or not, I will never know. I know I suffered a concussion and was nearly knocked out. I grabbed onto a pole and just waited until I could see again. When I was hit, I lost my vision temporarily.

Now at this point, I must make the point that we were not to get injured. That was our own fault, and we were punished for it, or at least I was. While in Yuma, I stepped on a rake, and drove a tine through my foot, between my small toe and the next one. I never revealed that as I did not want to be punished. Also, I had a mishap that ripped my abdomen open nearly exposing my innards and somehow managed to conceal that too. We had great health coverage, and it was free, as my father had military benefits, so I didn’t understand other than if you got hurt, you were being bad.

At some period, I started standing up for myself, and still being the smallest in my age group, I would not tolerate bullies, nor would I tolerate others being bullied. I would stand up and was able to stand my ground. I recall one time when my brother was being bullied by a much bigger boy than he and I wasn’t going to allow that. I took a broom and threw it like a spear and hit the boy in the eye. Splinters came out of the end of the broom and were lodged in the corner of his eye, not in the actual eye. He was bleeding and came after me. I just ran and stayed ahead of him. I could run all day and was not worried about being caught. Not a word was spoken of this incident in our home.

We attended meetings on a regular basis, as we had no other choice, except on Wednesday nights. My mom made sure that we would stop for ice cream or a hamburger. That was a treat, and a great blackmail tactic, but it worked for the most part. We would go most Wednesdays due to this factor. We did not eat out much, and only on special occasions, so this was special to us.

One day, my poor, ignorant dad bought a black and white TV and was thinking he was going to watch it in our living room. My mother covered it with a cloth that hung down over the screen, and if she went to meetings, and we were home, she would feel the TV set to see if it had been on and was still warm. Somewhere along the way, that TV disappeared.

Now since this was the ’50s, we were constantly worried about the Russians bombing us with A-bombs. Also, my father was an active pilot, so we listened to the Armed Forces radio, but the news only. My brother and I would sneak in some rock and roll occasionally but usually were caught. Funny how this evil radio, now provided us with critical information about our father’s flights, and the Russian threat.

Also at this time, while my brother had his paper route, he managed to win or buy a transistor radio, which we would listen to at night. My brother would occasionally let me listen, and I was totally taken with music. I couldn’t understand this, as it was alright for my brother to have this instrument of evil, but then he was the favored son.

This brings the presence of the piano back into play (again no pun intended). My brother was the first to take lessons, and was progressing well, and started playing some more complicated pieces, and started getting “Boogie Woogie” music sheets. When I started taking lessons, we moved, and then the teachers wanted to start me all over again, and I just figured I would learn on my own. I had the basics and knew that the rest would come as I worked at it. My mother hated my “pounding” on the piano, but my brother’s progression, playing some pretty worldly music was “practice”. Okay, I would just play when I was alone.

Being alone seemed to become a popular thing as my mother seemed to be gone a lot, involved with other of the friends, doing what, I have no idea. The morning Bible studies continued, and I became more sure that I was doomed to hell, as I just couldn’t be the child my parents wanted me to be. Apparently, that was reserved for my brother and sister. I do not remember my sister much at this time.

Last I wrote, we had moved to Sacramento, California, and now we get our marching orders again. This is around 1959. At this time, I was in the 6th grade, and on my 7th school. I did not attend kindergarten as this cost money and was reserved for other “more important” things. I think that at that time, kindergarten was naps and coloring anyway, so I don’t think I missed much.

Anyway, we were moving to Newfoundland, Canada, from Sacramento. We are talking major climate and culture shock here. Shortly before we left, I was taken to the dentist, and it was discovered that my teeth had a crossbite in the back teeth. This is a condition that does not allow you to chew your food correctly, and so you don’t get the nutrients from your food that your body requires.

I don’t know if this was the cause of me being so small and having an appetite that was unbelievable. I could outeat anyone in the family, and I was very small, and thin. I think that the dentist shamed my parents into getting braces put on my teeth. I mention this because this was key in our move to Newfoundland. Also at this time, I had become a class clown, I think mostly to get attention.

I mention culture shock. When we arrived, my mother made contact with the F&W’s and started going to meetings. At this time the people in Newfoundland were very remote. Most of the people that were in the meetings were related, and the kids were really behind in school.

Most of the kids my age, or older were stuck in the 2nd and 3rd grades. They were going to Catholic schools, and if they didn’t pass, they stayed in the grades they were in. They were living very similar to what people lived like in the ’20s and ’30s here in the States. The thought of an annual income was beyond their grasp. They hunted, fished, and sold and bartered their meat for other things, and then with the short growing season, they grew small gardens.

Everything was canned or as they call it “bottled” as everything was in glass jars. These people had never seen fresh fruit, such as peaches, and had very little knowledge of the technology that was in the world. They were farming and living in the past.

They had wood stoves that were going 24/7, and electricity was a cord hanging in one room, with a light bulb and a pull switch chain on it. There were no sockets in the walls and no furnaces. In one instance, I was helping a farmer to bring in potatoes, and we were sitting on a stone boat, behind his horse, and he had plowed the field and we were picking up potatoes. I asked him “Don’t they have a machine to do this?”, and he smiled and answered in his Scotts-Irish brogue, “My son, when they can make a machine that can tell a potato from a stone, then they have done it”. There were such machines in America, but these people were so isolated, that they had no clue.

The reason for the little history lesson was that I was still required to go to meetings. Well, the first meeting was in an old couples’ house, and we, being the new folk, and showing up in a rather nice and new vehicle were a curiosity to them. The little village that we went to meetings in had quite a few kids in it that were my age, so I figured this may not be too bad.

I didn’t take into account that these kids had never seen braces on a kid’s teeth, so they began to tease me quite a bit. I tired of that rather quickly and figured I needed to stand my ground, as I had to be there. Now there were many sheep that just ran through the village while we were in meeting, so there were little deposits of sheep dung all over the roads and sides of the roads. The first time we were invited to “stay for dinner” after meeting, I figured I would go run around with the kids and try to let them know that I was a kid just like them.

Well, it didn’t take long and the sheep dung started flying, so I started throwing it back. I thought this must have been a playtime custom. I soon learned that I was on one side, and all of the other kids were on the other side. I held my own until I became fed up with this nonsense. I told one kid about my size, that if he threw one more turd at me, I was going to make him eat it. Now, while I was small, I had played in the neighborhoods all along with the “bigger” kids and was quite strong, and very agile. Well, I guess he thought I was joking so he threw the turd, and I picked it up, chased him down, tackled him, and made him eat the turd. That ended the teasing, and I became friends with these kids.

At this time, my brother and I shared a room, but he did not tolerate my presence, so I was on my own in making friends and surviving the abuse. One thing really changed. My parents were almost never home, so I had freedom to do what I wanted during the day, knowing I would pay for it at night but figured that I was going to have fun in the daytime.

Somewhere along the way, we were given the choice to go to meeting with mother, or church with our father. Due to the lengthy drive to meeting, I mostly chose to go to church with my father. I soon realized that I had to “work the system”. If I had to be around my mother a lot or wanted something from her, I went to meetings, and if I needed something from my father, or knew I was going to have to be around him, I went to church. This didn’t stop the abuse, but kind of worked to my advantage to get things I wanted.

Also somewhere along the way, a strange thing started happening. I have little recall of my sister, five years younger, but our rooms were upstairs, and my sister had a room down the hall from my brother and me. If she chose, she would let out a scream and start crying, and my father would come running up the stairs, come into my room, whip me, and then go see what I “had done” to my sister. She learned that worked great for her, so I was really caught in the middle now. I was also going to school, and being paddled there, and then required to go to a Psychiatrist after school, and the Psychiatrist would call my father, and tell him that I was paddled at school, so I got more when I got home, on top of the regular dose.

I had to go to convention which was in the same village we went to meetings in, and that was pretty different. We had to haul water in a horse-drawn wagon from the brook, to supply the entire convention, which was maybe a trip a day, and the food was really bad. Everything, being boiled, tasted the same. Fortunately, none of the kids had “professed” so I had no pressure from that while I was there. I was attending a military school, which was extremely strict, and they could do as they pleased. I had arrived at the end of my 6th grade, and I was assessed at 10th grade level in everything but math, where I tested at 8th grade level.

When I entered the 7th grade, I researched and wrote a paper for school, and was given an “F” for the paper. My father had seen me do this entire paper, research and all. I was told by the teacher that I was not smart enough to write a paper that good, and I got an “F” for copying out of a book. I think that was the end of my trying in school. I kind of weighed the options, work hard and get failing grades, or do nothing and just slide by and get “D’s” so I decided then and there that I would not crack another book.

Also, one day I was accused of stealing something and was taken to the Principal’s office and paddled. I found out later that someone had stolen something from my locker that belonged to my locker mate. My father did not stand up for me with the Principal and was sure that I had something to do with the stealing of the item from my friend. This put me in a bad position. I couldn’t win no matter what I did.

Now, being in this cold country out of the States, and also on an Island, I decided to run away. I didn’t care if I lived or died, I was willing to take my chances in the elements rather than endure the abuse at school and at home. This was crazy, as I realized later. I would have never survived. I was caught not too far from the house shortly after I left. I had wandered into the woods that were patrolled by the Mounties or the RCMP, and was taken in and sent home. This was the beginning of some real insanity in my life. I was stuck and had no way out, and getting pretty fed up with the whole process.

I am going to stop at this point and pick up later on. I hope this makes sense to someone, maybe that has gone through this, or has a child that they are concerned about and this will help.

I left off while we were in Newfoundland, Canada. We were informed that we would be returning to the states, so naturally, my brother, being in High School, needed “stability” as those are some of the hardest times in our lives. It was arranged that my brother would go and stay with some of the “friends” where we would be returning to. He couldn’t be expected to start one school, and then have to adjust to another, so this was the fix. I also was fortunate in the family considerations for this part of life. I only attended 5 High Schools in the 4 years.

One thing that I feel is important to put in here (excuse my forgetfulness) but I was severely bitten by the “Performance” bug. I had kept up on the piano and had learned to play, without music. For my 6th grade performance, I played Johnny Horton’s “Sink the Bismarck” in 5 flats with not a sheet of music and made it through the whole performance without a mistake.

While still out of the states, my father had bought me a guitar, a cheap, but decent acoustic guitar, in the duty-free shop (of course) and I believe his thinking was it would keep me from “Pounding on the piano”. Poor, misled, Dad. I could not find any books to learn guitar, so I started putting two notes together, then three, and was soon learning chords. I then started playing songs. Wow, I was being noticed for this accomplishment. For the first time, I was receiving positive reactions to my behavior.

Well, my brother returned to the states, and we returned after, and my father bought a farm in Snohomish, Washington, which is just a bit northeast of Seattle. My father stopped attending his church, so I was again, required to go to meetings. My brother started noticing the attention I was getting from playing guitar, so he decided to take it up too. When we arrived in Washington State, he had suddenly “acquired” a brand new Fender Stratocaster, like Eric Clapton would come to make famous. I was only allowed to play this guitar under his strict supervision (and I think he was copying chords from me that he didn’t know) but I was totally taken in.

Hard work, long days and isolation was the routine now. We lived out in the country and were not allowed to go into town, at least I wasn’t. I don’t remember my brother being “assigned” to farm chores, but I had cows to milk in the morning before school. I rode the bus, which was about an hour and a half ride, because of the chores, but my dad dropped my brother off at school because it was “more convenient”.

At this time, I was still very small, physically, but had become extremely strong. While in Newfoundland, I had spent a lot of time in the gym, due to the severe weather there, and now the farm work was building me up. My brother was an early developer and was much bigger than me. He also started beating me up a lot at this time.

Fortunately, he left for the service right out of High School. We both had started our music careers at this time in bands called “Combo’s” at the time. After my brother left for the service, I had a bit of relief, but still endured the unending tasks around the farm, and the verbal, and sometimes physical abuse, but the physical abuse was letting up some.

One boy from meetings, an Native American boy, became a good friend, and he lived with his grandparents, his grandmother being Native American also. His mother had been killed, and his dad was a drunk, but we kept trying to run away, and go to the Indian Reservation up in the farthest North West part of Washington. We were always busted and returned to home.

Our next move was to Iowa, Sioux City to be exact. Once there, I got in with some musicians, and really started getting serious about music and started making good money from it. I was starting to grow, and soon became 6’2”, and was in pretty good shape. I was 16 and could pass for over 21, so I started playing in bars and nightclubs.

I also had finally had enough of the abusive treatment at home, so I announced that I would be moving out. My father told me to go, and I made him sign a paper stating that I was on my own, and responsible for myself. I had to do this to keep him from calling the police again on me to bring me home again. I continued to go to school and played in nightclubs six nights a week. I was really learning and making good money.

I might mention that my father became the Base Commander at the Sioux City Air Base. This worked in my favor because when I left home, my hatred of him was shared by the Airmen and many others that were my age, or those of lesser rank, NCO’s, whose kids I played music with. The benefit was that I could go to the “Special Services” Department, and check out all the musical instruments I wanted, so I started playing drums and got a PA system.

Now while playing six nights a week, there would be times when we would take small breaks from playing. At those times, I would play with the local bands and got to play with some really great musicians. Needless to say, my father and mother were embarrassed and tried to get me to return home. I was not going to do this, as when I left home, it was over a physical confrontation with my father. He swung to hit me, and I stopped his fist with my hand and told him that he would never lay a hand on me again. He never did. He had no idea that I was learning Martial Arts, right across the street from his office.

Also embarrassing to him, was the fact that I was making more money than he was, and he had told me that I would never make a dime playing music. Oh, Karma is sweet. He was a Colonel in the Air Force, Base Commander, and his “punk” kid was making more money working less hours, and with no real responsibility.

In the summer of 1965, I traveled to Washington State, joined a band, and stayed for the summer. All of a sudden, I was in a huge city, Seattle, and started exploring life. At that time, the beatnik scene was happening, and there were coffee houses to frequent, and then I was introduced to drugs. I had taken a few bennies in Iowa, just to stay awake, while playing and going to school, but I had never been high on drugs. I experimented with “speed” and was taking Meth pills occasionally and staying up all night. Where I hung out, was right by the University of Washington, but it was where the “scene” was there also.

Drugs were very easy to come by but weren’t being used openly too much at the time. I returned to Iowa to finish High School. My last year and I was glad. I was making big-time friends in music, and had dreams of “making it big”. There were no drugs in Iowa at the time, and I wasn’t all that interested in them, as much as I was making it in music. I had jelled with a couple of other guys, and we had the entire town of Sioux City teaming with up-and-coming bands. Several guys I played with had some nice success, and one became world-famous.

I had completely lost all interest in meetings, although the guilt trip was still there. I “knew” what I should have been doing, or so I thought. I soon returned to Seattle, and from there, I was launched onto the music scene, and this being 1967, the “Hippie” scene was booming. I had grown my hair long for about 3 years at this time, so I was considered a “hippie”.

I soon had many friends in the music world, and out, and most were doing drugs. I was afraid to get too involved, but after hearing all of the hype about “drugs killing”, and seeing all the people taking drugs, I came to a conclusion. Either drugs weren’t so bad, or the drugs we were taking were not the real thing. When you are lied to, it is something you have to figure out for yourself.

I soon had gone through all of the drugs and started snorting heroin. I didn’t really think it was really heroin but liked the feeling, so I continued. One night at a party with friends, I was “coerced” into injecting the heroin. Now for most, it may be hard to understand, so I will explain this.

Most people that inject heroin usually get really sick and don’t do it again; others don’t like the feeling and quit messing with it. I was one that got the perfect dose, and I fell in love with the stuff. I did it every day, and sometimes a couple times a day, but I had lots of money, so I wasn’t addicted, I just liked it.

One day, I decided not to take it, probably to prove to myself that I was not addicted. It was a rainy day in Seattle, and I was hanging out in front of a coffee shop. A female friend came by, and we talked a bit. She asked me how I was feeling, and I said that I had a touch of the flu. She laughed and said, “You have the $25.00 flu”. I had no idea what she was talking about, and she invited me to her place and we went and got high. The minute the drug hit me I knew I was an addict. I no longer had “flu” symptoms. This was about a year into using the hard stuff.

I would stock up on the drug, and go and visit my folks in the country, just to get away, into the quiet, and I had some horses there, and would go and ride, and wasn’t expected to work. I was now at “guest” status. I even went to convention at Milltown and was using the whole time there. It was there that I was caught by my mother. I was shooting up in the trailer we had there, and she walked in on me. I pleaded with her that if I told her the truth about what I was doing, she would not tell my father.

A short time later I was confronted by my father, during another visit. I had to leave my parent’s house with a gun on my father, and my friend and I had about a 60-mile walk. We made it about 6 miles, and my parents picked us up. My father threatened me and pleaded with me to come home, but I told him I was returning to MY home and MY friends.

I was living a carefree life, playing music, and doing drugs, and there was the “free love” thing going on, and I was into the lifestyle, Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. I was targeted as a hippie and didn’t really care. One day, in 1968, I was walking down the street and was grabbed and arrested. I called my parents, and they did come to see me and tried to be supportive. I have to give them that.

While I was in jail, awaiting trial, I was “visited” by the overseer, Tharold Sylvester, and his companion, Doug (can’t remember the last name) was asking me all about drugs and seemed to be learning the street secrets. They didn’t preach to me much, and when they asked if I needed anything, I told them I could use cigarettes for cash. I don’t have to even say that I did not receive cigarettes from them.

I was in jail for two offenses, one of which I was involved in, and another I had nothing to do with. Due to a screw-up on the court’s part, all of my constitutional rights were violated on the crime I had been involved in, so I figured, “close call, I better cool it.” I went to court for the crime I did not commit, and it was crazy.

Tharold and his companion were there, and my mother and father were there. I had told my father that I had not been involved in this crime, and he, being military, attempted to have the press there. I had never lied to him, so he knew I was innocent. I was announced innocent by the judge and prosecutor, and then in a sudden weird move, I was sent to Federal Prison.

In my last installment, I was in jail and waiting to see what fate laid before me. As I mentioned, I was in for two charges, one pretty serious that I was guilty as sin of, and one that was pretty mild, that I had no part in. The latter was more of guilt by association with the wrong people.

Fortunately, I escaped punishment for the first crime, due to having all of my civil rights violated. I was not so lucky with the second charge, and in spite of the judge and prosecutor stating during my trial that I was not guilty, I wound up being convicted by the judge and was sent to one of the harshest Federal Penitentiaries in the country, McNeil Island, in Washington State.

At the age of 19, I entered the world of the worst prisoners with the likes of Charles Manson, the infamous “Birdman of Alcatraz” Charles Stroud, and one of the members of the 1930s bank robber gangs, “Creepy” Al Karpis from the Ma Barker gang. This was in 1968, and the authorities were going to rid society of all drug users and “hippies” by any means at their disposal and often times that meant lies and false charges.

Now mind you, I was a notorious criminal and my criminal record contained one previous charge. I had been in jail for 10 days on a charge of expectorating on the sidewalk. That is “spitting on the sidewalk” for those of us that have never heard the other term.

As you can see, I had no criminal record, and the charge I was going to serve time for was a misdemeanor aiding and abetting a minor drug sale. I have to believe there is a God, because when I was going out to prison, “on the chain” which is the expression where they ship prisoners to prison, chained together, and I knew the fellow chained to my right wrist very well. When I told him of the charge they had laid on me, he exclaimed ” You didn’t do that, that was me and another guy!” I told him that was what I had thought.

One thing that many that have not had experience with the prison system are told and led to believe is that all prisoners claim innocence. This is true to a degree, but when asked what one was “in” for, the truth or real charges were usually revealed, so to other prisoners, admission of guilt was common. I was pretty confused because I was not sure of what charge I had been “sent up” for as, I was arrested for one charge, arraigned on another, and sent away not really knowing the real charge.

I did not find out until my release and then it still is in contention as I can not get the court records, and the prison bureau claims one charge while another was on my release papers. The procedure for prison is to take the “fish” or newcomers and put them in isolation, together apart from general population in the “fish tank” and they are there to learn the rules and expectations of the institution, and where things were, such as chow hall, laundry and other things of that nature.

It was while in the “fish tank” that my friend, that had committed the crime I was serving time for, stood up and announced that I was innocent and was not to be touched or bothered. This only excluded me from things like gang rape and attempts to have me forced into homosexual relations or pressure to join up with one group or another.

Another “miracle” was that the institution was run by the head of the Mexican Mafia, and the population was largely Spanish. I do speak some, and the first man I saw was a large Spanish man, and I hailed him with a hearty “Que Paso” or “what is happening”. He took a liking to me, and I was to find out that the “Godfather” knew of my innocence, even though I never proclaimed it personally, and this large fellow was his right-hand man. When asked what I was in for, I simply said “Some drug charge, I am not sure”.

Because I had chosen to take my lumps and just do my time, I was admired for not sniveling and just accepting my position which bought me great favor with the “Godfather”. He was a very pleasant man, quiet and unassuming, about 35 years of age. I experienced knowing some of the power he had in this institution, but it wasn’t until near my release that I understood that he had more pull than the warden.

When I was “interviewed” by him, he simply told me that I would have to stand up for myself in personal matters, but not to worry about the other stuff. Fortunately for me, I only had to confront another inmate on one occasion, but it was an extremely frightening experience. This man, a large black man, had expressed a desire to have sexual relations with me, and my only recourse was to arm myself with a “shiv” or a homemade knife and confront him telling him that if he was going to attempt anything with me, he needed to do it then and there, and one of us would die in that process.

I stood my ground, but after the “showdown” I was shaking, and felt sick, knowing that I had narrowly escaped killing another human being, as this man backed down when confronted. Now this man, a newcomer, simply disappeared and I learned later that he had been transferred to another institution, and it was the Godfather’s” doing. That was the power that he had.

I can truly say that I often thought of Paul, being imprisoned for false reasons, and even though my imprisonment was not for such noble reasons, it was real to me what it was like to be locked up for no real reason other than political or having different beliefs than the general public.

Upon my release, I tried to get my records but was told I had never been convicted and had never served time in the system. I did have to serve three years of parole and to this day, that conviction keeps me from certain privileges and freedoms. This was a first offense misdemeanor in which I do not know of another person that has been sent to prison for such a minor offense, regardless of guilt.

Being a “marked man” I was left with the choice of a life of crime or hard labor as I could not get a job in any decent field, and I could have gotten all the education in the world but would have not been able to get decent work. Fortunately, this has changed, and today even convicted felons (which I am not) can go to school and enjoy good employment unlike in the days following my release.

I worked at a factory for a while, and then an opportunity opened up where I could purchase a business from some “professing” people. I had “professed” in 1969 several months after my release from prison, again, so I was exposed to the friends and workers again. This opportunity was a way out, and I could be the captain of my destiny and not have to sweat my life away in a labor position.

As it turned out, the “professing” couple were wealthy, had favor with the workers, and even though the worker that opened the door was trying to be cautious, he was overruled when this couple, an elder and his wife, took complete advantage of the situation, and I wound up getting taken advantage of, and the deal turned out costing me a lot of money, and the “professing” people made out like bandits and were backed by their position in the church to not be the ones in the wrong.

One of the most startling facts of this entire situation was that Tharold Sylvester, the overseer of Washington, had sat in the courtroom and watched the charade that was my trial, and knew that I was not guilty of the crime I served time for.

For those that know the way of the workers, when they get a “hard case” turned around, they usually pump them up and parade them as success stories for the 2×2’s. Tharold had already chosen a “heroin addict” that he was elevating in status, and I always speaking my mind, I was just not going to roll over and be his poster child, so we never got along.

Incidentally, the man he chose to elevate as the reformed “heroin addict” turned 2×2, turned out to be a child molester and molested his daughters and finally left the fellowship after all of this was finally brought to light in spite of Tharold’s efforts to “conform” and sweep the facts under the carpet.

Life moves on. I bounced around from job to job, place to place, and continued the struggle to get totally free from heroin and be the good professing lad I should be. I did not use heroin constantly, but would from time to time, after many months of being clean, I would use. This was called “chipping”. It was not out-and-out addiction, but just short binges of use, sometimes being only a day or two and then being clean for periods of up to a year.

I truly believe that the pressure of the choice of trying to measure up to the F&Ws expectations and the pull of the drug kept me in the prison of not truly being free from the addiction process until later on. They were the extremes, “professing” or heroin use. That is hard to deal with.

I moved to Vancouver, WA across the river from Portland, and went to work for some of the friends. This was my first real exposure to worker worship on an extremely high level. Everett Swanson was the worker there, and people would come for miles to hear him preach. He was very a good speaker and had a real appeal. He was also a very good-looking man and had a beautiful head of hair.

People were instructed to not come to the meetings unless they were in the field or bringing an “outsider”. Some of the women were taking notes, and there was a big stir about that. They were doing shorthand, and from what I heard, one lady had a neighbor that was “stealing” the notes. Silly me, I had to express my feelings of “if he is preaching truth, shouldn’t that be a good thing for others to see what he is saying?” Little did I know and was told they didn’t want “false preachers” getting hold of these sermons and using them. God forbid that people should hear the truth from someone other than a worker.

Being single, I was chosen, by Everett, to be his companion (temporary as I wasn’t a worker) for a week while his companion had returned home. I had high regard for Everett at the time, and was exposed to in-home “visits”. Everett could preach like nobody’s business, but when it came to counseling, he lacked greatly. Even though these experiences seemed strange to me at the time, I was brainwashed and thought, “God works in mysterious ways”, as I was told. Most people were just told to pray and read more in these visits.

After a period of time, I moved across the river from Vancouver, WA to Portland and I started dating a “professing” girl there. She was very attractive, and her father was an elder. I really developed strong feelings for her, and I was 21 and she was 19. Her family welcomed me and for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged to a family and this included “belonging to the truth, or ‘God’s Family’ “.

I really wanted to settle down, get married and have a family, and have a nice “professing home”. She was a fence walker, and I blame it all on her being young and having a mother that was a bit on the outspoken side and rebellious herself. She really had a great heart, and I think that we really had a wonderful relationship but I couldn’t go to meetings and do the things that we were doing, such as going to parties, listening to popular music, and hanging with those “outsiders”. I would try to go to meetings and take part, but my conscience would not allow it, and I had a couple of “backsliding” episodes with narcotics. We dated for nearly two years, and she was getting to my head, with her wanting to go to school, and get her education, and we were having problems in the conflict of things we both wanted. I had to get quite harsh with her, in order to get her to leave me alone, as she wanted to remain friends, and I was not able to do that at that time. I quickly lost favor with her parents and her little brother but remained friends with the rest of the family.

I left the truth at this time, again. I got very heavy into heroin again at this time in the Seattle area, and was smuggling heroin from Canada into the United States, and was a very large scale dealer. I became so addicted that I could no longer get high, and was using enough drugs in one day to satisfy 32 addicts, by myself. I became scared and went back to Portland and got on Methadone.

I think that this was the most lost I felt in my life. I got tired of the “Ping Ponging” in and out of the truth, and I didn’t know what to do. I really was lost.

One thing that I want to insert here is that I knew that my musician friends were all going to hell, so I cut myself off from them. I had some opportunities to make some serious money but knew it was “wrong” for me to be in music, even though I wasn’t professing at the time. 

I had an opportunity to go to Montana and work for my Uncle in his machine shop, so I did that around 1973-74. I attempted to go to meetings there, but in the small town I was in, all the “friends” were older people. I know that the youngest was my uncle and he must have been in his 50s at that time. I was in and out of meetings and just struggling to survive emotionally. There were no young women, in or out of the “truth” to date, and I wanted a family. Out in Montana, my uncle could keep me busy working for most of the year, but in the winter time, for about 3 months, I would pack up and go to Washington state, and “visit” my parents, but mostly, I would do some drugs, and run around with my “outsider” friends.

My parents had bought a mobile home for my brother back in the late ’60s and when he moved, a young couple rented it from my parents around 1973. I go to know them, before my move to Montana and in 1975 when I came out for the winter, I found out that this young couple had separated, and my mother had kept in touch with the young lady. I didn’t know it at the time, but this young lady had always had her eye on me, and so I started seeing her. In the spring of 1976, she became pregnant, and the baby was born in December of 1976. Not knowing if I really was the father, I went to southern California and worked there for a little, and got back into occasionally using drugs. Around September of 1977, I was arrested and charged with possession of heroin. I knew that I needed to get away from the drugs, and I needed to clean up my act and get custody of this baby girl, as her mother could not care for her. She had a nervous breakdown when our daughter was born.

In 1977, I returned to Snohomish, just north of Seattle, and went to work, and got custody of my daughter. Of course, I had to return to meetings to raise my daughter right, “in the truth”, so I spent some time back in meetings. I did not receive a welcome, due to me not having been married and having a child. I guess that taking responsibility for my actions was a bad example for other “professing” young people.

I got my life on track and kicked the desire to have anything to do with heroin, and started looking for a good professing woman to marry and settle down. I finally found what I was looking for in a wife, in 1980, and was getting ready to settle down. Around this time, before meeting this woman, I had been spending time with a young woman but not in a romantic sense. She was a preacher’s kid, and I was taking her to meetings. Well, the worker there had a fit and started having “gospel” meetings on Sunday morning, and soon the rumors were flying. I was back on drugs (due to being tired from working 58 hours a week and having no help from anyone in raising my daughter.

One night, the PK (preacher’s kid) invited me over to dinner, and my daughter was visiting at her mothers. I had some of the friends babysitting for me, while I was at work, and my daughter would be picked up there at their house for her visits. The “professing” man had tried to call me that Friday evening with something to do about my daughter. I was at the young lady’s house for dinner, and very tired, so I lay down on her couch to grab a quick nap before dinner. The woman realized I was tired and did not wake me, so I woke on her couch the next morning. She was in her bedroom, asleep, and as I said there was nothing romantic going on, so I didn’t think much of it. In the Sunday morning meeting, the “professing” man, mentioned that he had tried to call me and even quite late, but got no answer. I told him about the dinner and falling asleep on the couch.

On Tuesday, when I went to pick up my daughter after work, at their house, they said I had a meeting with Tharold, the overseer. I went to see him, and he started accusing me of having sexual relations with many different women and told me that when you had sexual relations with a woman, you were married to her. This started a stir in Seattle as many young men had been in the service and had been involved in physical relationships with women other than their wives. The next Sunday, I was excommunicated. The woman I had met and was thinking of marrying disappeared and I never saw her again. I did hear from her, but she denied that there was any romantic things going on between us, and I know from things that happened that she had told me that it was a lie.

I bounced around from in and out of meetings and finally in 1982 while living in Klamath Falls, Oregon, I was working in television productions. To back up a little, I was involved in a documentary film on Mt. St. Helen’s eruption, back in 1980, and we were on the headlines of the two newspapers for three days running. This was close to the time of my excommunication, coincident???

I then was asked by my parents to move to California in 1983, to help my father take care of his place and help take care of him as he was quite ill. My brother (the apple of his eye) was working in Southern California, and my sister was in the work in Washington/Idaho, so I was the only choice, not the first. My daughter and I packed up and moved to California, and I started a journey of 13 years of caring for my parents until their deaths. I attended some meetings there, and from my excommunication by Tharold in 1980, and Tharold had declared me to be a married man, and not eligible for marriage in the “truth”. I was told that my “case” was reviewed by Eldon Tenniswood and the decision was reversed. I just had a cold feeling about the whole thing and couldn’t really commit to meetings again, and started feeling like I didn’t need to go to meetings to be saved and I didn’t feel like I had “lost out”.

I raised my daughter alone until 1987 and was introduced to a woman, and began living with her.

I know that in my mother’s case, she really dialed in on “suffering for Jesus’ sake”. I do remember as a child, hearing about those that suffer for Jesus’ sake, and it was almost the theme that I remember most. We (the 2×2’s) would be laughed at, and put down for following Jesus and his example. What I see now, looking back, is that the “persecution” was from not conforming to the “world” and all that was part of the “world”. In looking deeper into that, the hair issues for the women (the dreaded bun), and dresses (avoiding pants), and not “succumbing” to the “allurements” of “the world” such as; no TV, no radio, no Christmas tree, no Halloween, no Easter, and all of the “no this and no that” all of which there was a big deal made out of, led people to ask why not, and it seemed to me that instead of just not doing it, that making a big deal out of not doing it was the issue.

In my mind as a child, I didn’t see that instead of just not partaking was the way that it should have been done, but we were taught to make a big deal out of letting people know that we didn’t “partake” and thus we were persecuted. I now think of what Jesus said about the Pharisees when they tithed and fasted, and how those things were to be done without drawing attention to yourself in those things. He spoke about when the Pharisees were fasting, they would draw up their faces into a “pinched look” and make it obvious that they were fasting. Jesus instructed those who were fasting, to wash, appear normal and keep their discomfort to themselves.

I soon came to see that my mother would go out of her way to let people know that she didn’t do this and didn’t do that, in order to follow Jesus and how that she was strictly following the scripture.

My mother made an art out of being “persecuted for Jesus”, in fact, I would have to say that her entire life and “testimony” was about her being persecuted. Little did I know, until later in life that she had built a huge life around persecution, and I came to realize that she had a “persecution complex”. She actually went out of her way to be “persecuted” in simple little ways like making big fusses about little things like the “elevator music” that the stores started playing over their speaker system, in the store, to kill the “silence” and make attempt to make the atmosphere a little more pleasant for shoppers. For those of us that are a bit older, we may remember going into stores, and there would be rattling of boxes, and carts, kind of like a warehouse effect, very cold and impersonal, unlike the stores today. In those days, the storekeepers didn’t worry about carpet in the stores, nice displays, or atmosphere, they just had what they had, that they were selling, and there was no thought to anything else.

She would always make a big scene in her own way about TVs on display, or anything that was “worldly” by making some sort of negative comment, and her face was always pinched up to where you would think that she was walking through an area where someone had just farted and left a trail of smell that was intolerable. (this being in the later years when they started paying more attention to displays and making the shopping experience more pleasant, in order to attempt to keep the customers in comfort and create a pleasant atmosphere for shoppers). She would create a scene when talking to an employee of the store, by acting like the light bit of music, trailing over the PA system, was equivalent to standing in front of a Gazillion watt speaker of a heavy metal concert. I was so embarrassed to be seen with her when she would go into the stores because her comments would be loud and directed at me, and I was supposed to comment back in agreement (of course).

I know I have gotten over the edge, in a sense, but the point I am making is that I was taught from an early age when we were first introduced to the “truth,” that this was the way to do it, and if you weren’t suffering persecution, you weren’t trying hard enough, and you just were giving in to the famous big three “The World, The Flesh, and The Devil.”

I was first exposed to the “truth” at age 5, and we were required to have bible studies every morning in which we would read a chapter, and then have to have it “interpreted” in the workers’ explanations of what it really meant. There was a process where my mother would “learn the meanings” of the scriptures, and then she would put her spin on it, which was always negative, and constantly putting down the beliefs of the “worldly churches” and how “off base” they all were, and then along with that, she would bring on the heavy doses of how this was all going to bring on persecution from the “world” in that this, being “God’s true way” and we (professing people) would be crucified, if we didn’t follow it to a “Tee”, and let others know how wrong they were, and why we were right, and we had the “truthspeak” answers to all of the things that would come up.

This indoctrination was a fairly quick process, with having had no religious background up until then, and then becoming a part of “God’s Only Way” we were rich soil to have these “seeds” planted to grow and flourish. I remember it starting out to be very pleasant and kind-hearted, but my father’s side of the family, mainly his mother and sister, were of the Lutheran persuasion, and my mother immediately started a battle with my father’s mother (Grandma), and with my mother becoming a “Christian” naturally, my Grandma and my father were the enemies, and my mother soon had a full-scale assault on them, since they were heathens and not willing to just jump into “God’s family”. Her nasty attitude of condemnation and the exclusive claim of this being “God’s only true way” and all other ways being of the Devil, did little to endear her to my Grandma, and Aunt, so thus began the battle for truth.

Again, this is background. As one can see, this was the only knowledge I was exposed to at this early age. My father was a self-proclaimed Lutheran but didn’t go to church until about seven years later when he started attending his church on a regular basis and was reading his Bible daily. In our house, my mother would sit in the living room, with her Bible, and so my father would counter with his Bible after he read his newspaper. It was a nice silent little “cold war”, with my mother becoming the dictator of what was going to be allowed in our house, such as no TV, no radio, and certainly, no influences of the world could be present. Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the comic book gang became agents of the devil, so those were contraband items and needed to be hidden at all costs if we were to have them in our possession.

The most conflicting thing, to me, was the fact that my father was an Air Force Officer, and usually had positions of power, such as Base Commander, or other positions that put him as the person that was in charge of a large number of men, in the service. Why my father let my mother take over the house, and not put his foot down about her rules, and absolute reign of terror, I will never know.

Now as for the post, (sorry about all of the background which may seem pointless) I started learning the “truthspeak” language at about 5 years of age, and like I say, the fire and brimstone that the workers would present, usually in a tactful way that wasn’t so “in your face”, was taken by my mother, and once her spin was on it, it was a very “in your face” and she was in charge of the household because she was the only one that had the information that was straight from the workers, which was straight from God.

We were taught this twisted way, and the workers were in our home quite a lot, due to the logistics and there being only two other women in the town that professed, (one was an elderly lady that lived with her daughter that would lock her out of the house when she went to meetings, and the workers were not allowed to show their faces at that house), and the other woman, was married to an alcoholic and had two teenage sons that were very rebellious, and made it quite difficult for her to have the workers, so they migrated to our home, and spent a lot of time there. These workers included Willie Jamieson, Eldon Tenniswood, Percy Barelli, and quite a few others that certainly knew of William Irvine ( I have a photo of Willie Jamison with William Irvine), but we were taught that this was from the shores of Galilee.

With the teachings of the workers, which I only remember a few things, such as the “Shores of Galilee” thing, and “God’s only true way”, being the “truth” the “lost eternity” and “losing out”, “not willing” and those lines, I pretty much got the rest of the teachings from my mother, which I have said, is like the “Workers on Crack” version of the “truth”

Since this was implanted in my brain from such an early age, and being the only real religious teaching that I had, I was firmly indoctrinated into the “truth” as my mother saw it, and that was how it was. She was one of 15 children most of whom professed so I got their take on it too, which lined up pretty much with my mother’s teaching. My one uncle who got *gasp* divorced, and then remarried and immediately became an outcast, and then the one I could never figure out was another of my mother’s sisters got married and had three children with her husband, and her husband died of cancer when the children were all under 5 years old, and she became an outcast, and I am not sure why. She never went to meetings, but she was working full time, and raising three children on her own, and most of my mother’s family had moved to Portland Oregon, where she lived, but none pitched in and helped her out. None of my uncles were highly educated, but most were in good financial shape because of good jobs, and the war (WWII) had just ended, so they all had work, and most were married and they did remain a pretty close-knit group, so why they deserted my aunt after her husband died, I could never figure out. She didn’t date or have loose morals but for some reason, no one helped her out.

I will try to tie this all together. Having learned all of this, in the manner that I did, I was really brainwashed into the 2×2 way of thinking, and really grew up totally believing that I was going to die and go to hell because I was such a bad child. I learned all of the 2×2’s thinking of that period and accepted it as truth, and when I became an adult, I still thought I had to profess in order to not go to hell. I professed so many times, and tried to “do it right” but I was so indoctrinated into thinking that the outward appearance was so important, that I never really had any thought to the inner part, and how important it was for me to know about God laying things upon my heart, and getting convictions from God, and following through.

I was in and out when it came to professing because I would profess, get my outward appearance all squared away, and then I would run into someone in the meetings or some workers that would start judging me, and I would try to follow what they were telling me, but it came to the point where one worker would tell me one thing, and another would tell me something that contradicted the other worker, and so I would just quit going to meetings. I always had an inner conflict because the things I was taught were so severe and really impossible for me to live up to, as what I was taught was that I had to live perfection and God would accept nothing less. I had no idea how to get there, and no workers took the time to explain how the process worked. Since I was a former heroin addict and ex-convict, they really had no idea about how to direct me, and I think most feared me and didn’t want to deal with me.

When I left Iowa and came to North Carolina, I had left with the door open, and considered myself still professing, but I had a problem in some dealings with the overseer, so I was not going to meetings here. I soon found out about the William Irvine connection, and after reading on TMB, I was so shocked to find that I had been deceived all those years. Other things started clicking into place and pretty soon, it all made sense to me, and I knew that I had not left the “truth” I had left deception, and a system that was seriously flawed, and I wanted no part of it anymore.

Being that this period was so intense in my life, I thought I had really come to know heart knowledge, and I still struggled with all of the head knowledge as I had really studied, but I now knew that most of what I knew was head knowledge. I really went into a tailspin, and I began to question all of it and wondered if I ever really knew anything. Was it possible that I had been led that far astray that I didn’t even know what things were real, and right or was it all just some made-up thinking?

After much time, discussion, thought, and attempted prayer, I finally declared myself out and done with it all. What I thought was heart knowledge even failed me, so I have come to where I don’t trust anything or anyone.

My quest now is simple. I speak to God and feel like if He can reveal things He wants to me then I will listen. I have to constantly check myself about things that I think about and ask “is this head or heart knowledge?”

In all of this, I have to say I really don’t know. I don’t know whether or not there really is a difference between head and heart knowledge, and certainly, I wonder if both are not just terms to make one feel like they are really getting something.

This is the one thing that angers me most is that I am now out there with no knowledge, either head or heart, and it is heartbreaking. After all of this, how am I supposed to believe anything again, ever?

Sorry if this seems pointless and not in line with the thread, but this is my thoughts on head and heart knowledge. How do you distinguish the difference? I am hoping someday it will click for me, until then???

I had been asked in 1983 to move to Sacramento to care for my parents. My father was ill and needed help, and the place where they lived was just too much for them. I moved there in 1983 and started getting the place fixed up.

In 1985, my brother (apple of my dad’s eye) was living in southern California, and his wife left him. He was a drunk and a pothead, but somehow able to work at really good jobs. Well, he was very abusive to his wife and kids, mentally to his wife, and mentally and physically to his kids. She got tired of it and left him. He just fell apart, blaming everyone but himself, and somehow he decided to come to live with our folks. Now, this was my “big brother” and I really looked up to him. We had really not spent much time together since he left high school in 1964.

I was living with my parents, going to school, and working part-time in a machine shop, while also raising my daughter. My father came to me one day and said I needed to quit school, get a full-time job, and move out as my brother was coming there with his two boys to live. Since this was my role in the family, taking the scraps, I moved out, got a job, and then was raising my daughter, working full-time, and still taking care of my parent’s place. The two young teenage boys had never really worked, and my brother was too drunk or high, so I just kept taking care of the place. Quite a few on here have been there, and know it was a large place. It was nearly 7 acres with about 2 acres fenced-in for the house and a nice yard.

My father decided that he needed to have the place surveyed, and had it split into three parcels. They lived on one, with the house, he let my brother pick one, and I got what was left. Now I must say, I am not complaining, I was happy to have anything, and from my father, wow!

I had worked all of ’85 and half of ’86, and my boss was a bad alcoholic and lied to me about me having a job where I worked, so when it came time for me to be hired on as full-time from temporary, he hired someone else. I started drawing unemployment, was playing music on the weekends, and taking care of the folk’s place.

In October, I met a woman that a friend of mine introduced me to, and we dated, and then she wanted me to move in with her. She had a son, and I had a daughter, and we could all live much cheaper together, and I figured she might make a good “mother substitute” for my daughter, who had never really had a mother. I know it sounds cold, but it just made sense, and we did get along fine, so I moved in around the first of the year in 1987. Now back to the land issue. My father had given me 2 acres so I figured I’d make the best of it.

So I decided to build a house. My “girlfriend” had a plant business, and she was making a few dollars running it on a small scale. I took hold and built the business up to where we were really making good money. I was still drawing unemployment, playing on the weekends, and taking care of my parent’s place.

I would work in the days with my “partner” and go over to the building site and work on the house at night. My days were a blur as I was working around the clock and never really had any time off, but I was used to that. As the house started taking shape, the place I was living in with my “partner” was seeing rent increases, and we decided to go for it. We dumped the plant business, bought a small trailer, and moved over to the building site. I had made a deal with the woman I was with, that if she worked a job, for one year, I would finish the house, and we could start making better changes, with both of us working, and living a decent life. She agreed to work for that one year, and nearly to the day, I was ready to move into the house. We were really happy to have our own house.

Just before we moved in, my mother came to me and told me that I couldn’t live in “that house” and live in sin. I was in a spot. I didn’t want to get married, but I couldn’t make a deal with the woman I was with and not keep it, so we drove up to Reno Nevada one night and got a marriage license, just to shut my mother up. I know that was not what she wanted, but when you are a manipulator, be better than the person you are manipulating. So my “new wife” and I moved into the house. My mother was not a happy camper, but she made the rules and had to live with them. She treated my wife and her son horribly. I think we were invited to dinner once after that when normally, the family all ate dinner at my parent’s house. My “Godly, professing” mother never made an effort to know my wife, and she hated her as she was dragging her son to hell, being divorced twice.

I kept taking care of my parent’s place and now had my own to take care of, plus I was working about 16 hours a day. My wife and my daughter never got along, and there really was no effort on my wife’s part, so I had to try to balance out everything, plus live with my mother’s insanity too. My father kept his head down and just let it all happen, which was his role in the whole matter.

Now for those keeping score, here is what my parents had on their hands.

My brother, the apple of their eye, was a drunken pothead and didn’t work, but lived off of them, and would not really take care of mowing the lawn and keeping the trees trimmed and such. My sister was in the work, and my dad was not happy that he had paid for her to go to nursing school in Alaska (don’t even ask me why she had to live in Alaska to go to school as it was the most expensive state to live in) and she had given all of that up to go into the work, also the apple of their eye.

Then there was the “no good, druggie, worthless son,” that being me, that was off of drugs, working and taking care of their place; definitely not the apple of anyone’s eye. In 1989, my father was still calling me names and putting me down and telling me I was worthless, and one day, I told him, “You are sick and not going to be around much longer, and I want to make peace. If you want to degrade me, do it on your own time, and without me here, and with that, I got up and left his house. He called me the next day and asked me if I would pick up some supplies for him. I asked him if he had a list, and went up to his house. He was as close to apologetic as I had ever seen him, and we sat and talked. He told me that I was the only one he could really trust and that he was disappointed in my sister, and my brother.

He and my mother had been making out their will, and he wanted me to be executor. I told him, “Dad, go spend all your money because you know it is only going to be a problem if you leave any. He said he wanted our lives to be a little easier. I appreciated that but knew that trouble was brewing. Well, as usual, my mother had my sister “God’s chosen one” appointed as executor of the will, and let us all know the conditions. Certain money was to go to us kids, our kids, and the three grandkids that were born by that time, and any that would be born before the will was executed.

In 1990, my father went into the hospital and passed away on October 11, 1990. He had made me promise to take care of my mother, and I told him I would. There were workers with my mother while my father was dying in the hospital, and they were led to believe that he had “made his choice”. I don’t believe it for a minute now. Dick Middleton and another worker had his funeral, and then life went on.

I had been in a terrible car accident in January of 1990, and was not able to work, but still kept up my parent’s place. I would go up every day and stop in and visit with my mother to make sure she was okay. I noticed that she had taken everything that showed my father had even existed and disposed of it. She gave all of his clothes to Goodwill and got rid of his “evil” books, from his church. There wasn’t even a picture of him anywhere. I figured people have to grieve in their own way, so I didn’t say anything.

Now my brother had met my female friend that had introduced me to my wife, and he lied to her telling her he was dying, and only had a short time left and needed someone to care for him. This was around 1987. She bought his lies and married him, and when she wanted to start seeing the reports and know about the doctors that he had seen, his story fell apart, and she realized she had been tricked and had married a liar. They had lived in Southern California and he worked down there. Soon after my father died, he came back to live with my mother. Now I have never been one to drink much, and one time I had asked if I could keep one beer in the refrigerator. My mother had said, “I don’t want that stuff in the house”. Well here comes brother home to live off of our mother, and he starts brewing beer in my dad’s shop, right off the house. My mother complained to me, and I told her to tell him and her answer was “I don’t want to make him mad”. He had intimidated her to the point where he could do anything he wanted to, and she was afraid to say anything.

He continued to brew beer, making it stronger and drinking more and more, and of course, smoking his pot. Where he got the money, I can only speculate that he was getting it from my mother. He did work for a short time but was not making much money. He finally ended that job, I don’t know if he was fired or quit or the assignment had just ended, but now he was around the house all the time. To his credit, he did pour a cement drive for them that made a nice circular driveway, but of course, it was done in squares and each square took a day and about a case of beer to pour the cement. I would go up and visit him, and he would come down to my house and sit and drink beer. He never got belligerent or anything but I knew he was drunk every day.

Now he had left his wife (#2) in southern California that he lied to get her to marry him, and needed to get her back to her home, in Sacramento. I loaned him the money (about $1,200.00) and went down and helped them move her back home. I just found out about a month ago that he lied about where the money came from, but I was not surprised. So he would stop by every week when he was working and give me $20 or $40 dollars for the loan. I kept a ledger to keep it all straight. When he quit working, he told me he couldn’t pay me but would do what he could do.

Around 1993, one day, I went up to see him, and he came at me like a mad man. He was yelling at me, cursing me, with spittle flying out of his mouth, and I had no idea what was going on. Every time I tried to talk to him, he would jump up and put his face in mine and start yelling again. I just figured he had lost it and left him alone. I had told my mother about the conflict and told her that if he ever attacked me, I would have to kill him or he would retaliate in some manner, and he had two handguns. She told me” Promise me you won’t hurt him,” and I nearly fainted. I was outraged and told her she needed to talk to him and tell him that he needed to not touch me.

I was still mowing my mother’s yard, keeping it watered, and keeping the place like a park. One day on a Saturday, my mother had gone somewhere, so I had to go up and check the water at her place. My wife was home, and I joked about my brother attacking me, and went up to water the lawn. Sure enough, I got up there and was walking in a place where it was near a fence, a tree, and some bushes. My brother sneaked up behind me, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He told me he was going to give me the beating of my life, which I took to mean, kill me.

I warned him not to touch me, and he started his attack, which ended quickly, as I had studied some martial arts and disarmed him and took him to the ground and made him quit the fight. He had no choice as I had him pinned and in a position to only surrender. Somehow, he grabbed my long hair and pulled a handful out, and that made me mad. I punched him several times in the face and I know I gave him a pretty good black eye. I don’t know what he told the police, but I called them, and they would not take him away. I guess the fact that I had little marks on me, and he had this huge shiner, was a factor. Anyway, whatever he told them, my mother and everyone else, somehow it was my fault. I still don’t know the story.

After that, I never went there when my mother wasn’t there, and nothing further happened. I had mentioned his two boys, which I really raised the rest of the way up since he was drunk all the time. His firstborn son came and invited me to his wedding, and I told him that I didn’t think it would be a good idea to have his dad and me there, as I didn’t want trouble at his wedding. He told me that if his dad couldn’t behave, he wasn’t welcome. I tried to get him to just accept it, let my brother be there and for me just stay home, but he insisted saying I was more of a father to him than his own. I told him I would come, but he needed to make it clear to his father that I had no intentions of anything and he better not start. The wedding went without a hitch, but one cousin came to me and asked me if we could patch things up. I told him “I don’t know what is wrong, how can I fix that?”

I had gone to some gospel meetings with my mother, and as I sat there, I got this feeling that since I was married to a divorced woman, “this was not truth to me”. This got me thinking, but I was still under the 2×2 spell. I didn’t return to meetings, because being as it was California, it wasn’t allowed. Eldon Tenniswood was still alive and it was a big “no no”.

Around 1996, my sister showed up, and she was usually higher than a kite, but I couldn’t convince my mother. My mother said, “She belongs to God and we can’t say anything”. She convinced my mother that I was draining her bank account (I was paying my own bills, plus paying for maintenance on her mower and gas to mow her lawn, and also did a lot of repairs on her house that would have cost her thousands, and I didn’t charge her a penny) and my sister was trying to get my mother to remove me from the will so there would be more for her. She was to inherit the folks’ house and property, and that was worth a pretty penny at that time. She got my mother so worked up, that I finally left with my wife and moved to Arkansas, and my mother was so upset by this, knowing it wasn’t right, that she had a massive stroke within less than 90 days and died in September of 1996.

I stayed in Arkansas and didn’t go to the funeral as my brother was threatening my life, and my sister was telling tall tales of my cheating my mother, to anyone who would listen. Fortunately, I had a professing friend that knew much better.

My sister, my brother and his kids, my daughter, and his first ex-wife came in for the funeral. Sadly to say, I didn’t shed one tear, and really was glad she was gone. I hate to say that but it was true.

The day after the funeral, some of the “friends” moved into my mother’s house and were paying rent to my sister, who has disappeared and no one could find her. The first thing my sister did when my mother died was to hire a lawyer, take all of the money, and go into hiding with the Friends & Workers. We couldn’t find her, and we never knew how much money she got away with. I am figuring between $200,000.00 to a half a million. She was taking her friends on cruises to Alaska and living the high life. She was also picking up prescriptions for narcotics for my mother, the day after she died. She was so messed up that she took my ex-sister-in-law with her, and she was a nurse and wondered why my sister was getting these narcotics.

Well, when I went to Arkansas, my brother moved into my house and proceeded to tear it up. When my mother died, I told him that we needed to get our property into our names before our sister got her hands on that too, so I hired a lawyer and got the land in our names. Since I had borrowed $60,000 dollars from my father to build my house, I was to pay my brother $30,000 as an offset. I had already paid back over $15,000 to my mother but figured I would leave nothing for my brother to have a problem with. I was going to move a young married man into my house and just have him pay me a reasonable amount and fix it up a little more.

My brother asked me if he could continue living there, and I told him he would have to pay rent. I charged him $500.00 a month, and I could easily have rented it out for twice that, but figured I would “help him out”. I gave him the $30,000 , he made payments to me for two months and I never received a dime from him again. He still owed me from before. I had my attorney start a lawsuit to get him to move out and pay for the damage he had done. We were at about $35,000 and I finally said I just needed to sell the house. I had taken a small loan against it to pay my brother, and I was working, paying that loan, and for my home in Arkansas.

My wife had heart problems and had to have immediate surgery, open-heart, double-bypass, so I had to quit my job to take care of her. In the interim, my brother was destroying my house, and I had no income. I had lawyer bills, and couldn’t get my brother to move, so I sold the house at a huge loss. My brother had to be removed by the sheriff from the house, as even after I sold it he wouldn’t move. He was angry at me for starting to sue him, and not “taking care of him” like that was my purpose in life. He had been taken care of by my parents all his life so I guess that taking care of himself was a foreign idea. He was angry at the F&Ws because they didn’t come in and help him out, but he was mean and nasty to them, and he had never professed so why should they suddenly show up?

In the end, my sister got clean away with all the money, my brother filed for bankruptcy, and I was left without much.

My wife mended well from the surgery and when she was able to return to work, she filed for divorce and that was that. Like a fool, I gave her our house in Arkansas, even though I didn’t have to, and went to Iowa to “start all over again” at age 50.

I was able to buy a small mobile home and had a couple of cars, but my health failed and I started losing those things. Then I came to North Carolina and a job was here for me. I worked and was doing well, and then one of the “friends” now an ex, told me that he would financially back an idea I had a patent for, and so I was to leave NC and come back to Iowa and he would be ready to roll in three weeks. Three weeks turned into over two years and the man turned out to be a liar and a cheat. I worked for him building the shop we were going to use, and he used it for his business instead. I had helped him start that business and really made the final adjustments to his product in order for him to enjoy success.

In 2001, my life had become so miserable that I figured that I knew that I had to profess, and I would do that no matter how miserable it made me. I spent four months preparing to get my life in order and came to the conclusion that I was going to profess, and I was not going to let the workers dictate to me the things I needed in my life. I spent a lot of time praying, and decided that I was going to let God lead me and lay convictions on my heart and then lean on His power to make the changes that He required in my life in order for me to have true salvation.

I had heard about head knowledge and heart knowledge, and was going for heart knowledge and I was going to follow my heart this time. I was making a lifetime commitment to God, and in return, I was going to let Him, and only Him lead me, and I was not going to be turned by what the workers thought or told me. I was not going to be disrespectful, but I was not going to be turned away by any workers and was not going to get involved in dealings with the friends.

I made this decision around the first week in July of 2001, and contacted the workers and told them of the decision I had made. I went to meetings and waited for them to “test” the meeting, but they never did, and they told me that they had some Amish people coming and didn’t want to run them off by testing the meeting. I told them that I didn’t mind and I had already made my “choice” and waiting to make it known in a meeting was just a formality to me.

I felt like I truly understood God’s calling, and was going on His guidance and I was being led by the spirit. This was a very intense time in my life because I felt like for the first time in my life, I understood what God wanted. I professed at the Saturday meeting at convention a couple of months later, and I started going to meetings. The people in my meeting were really, for the most part, wonderful people and kindhearted and I loved going there. I started noticing that my “testimonies” were somewhat in conflict with the general meetings thoughts. I am sure you all have been in meetings where the chapter or just the meeting seemed to almost have a theme to it. I could see where others were coming from, but I found that I didn’t fit in, in my thinking, so it was kind of an odd thing.

Here I was going to meetings, listening to others speak, and liking what I heard, but I was on a different page from them. I would have lunch with one man that was going to be the elder, once our present elder was no longer able, and we had wonderful lunches and talked about things of God. He was, and still is a very special person, and I believe that he really has the best Christian spirit that I have encountered. We connected, and when we talked, we were on the same plane, and I felt like these were things from God and things from the heart.

There was another elder I was not too happy with, and I went to the overseer, Jeff Thayer, and he turned it around on me, and that was the last straw. I left Iowa and returned to North Carolina, and tried to survive. I didn’t go to meetings anymore, and when I saw the overseer on Facebook in a very compromising situation, and after finding TMB, I was through with that bunch. I did keep in contact with many that had treated me well in Iowa, and most of them also now are exes.

I finally got my disability, and live in a small town, trying to get by, hoping to be able to sell some music, so that I can live with a little comfort and perhaps leave something to my daughter and grandkids.

One thing I want to make very clear. I have some friends that are still in the fellowship, and I think there are some honest and sincere people that are in this church. I did have some good experiences with some people in some places, but they were very few and far between. I blame it mostly on the organization. There are some in the fellowship that are too powerful and are absolutely corrupt. I do cherish those that were kind to me and remain friends with many.

I have probably left out some things. I may add certain situations from time to time, but for now, this is it.

I want to thank all of my ex-2×2 friends who have shown me support. It has meant a lot to me.

Thanks again to all…………….

Dale Peterson (aka Pianoman/Lazarus66)
Snohomish, Washington USA
Completed:  April 8, 2012