Hiding the Historical Facts
My grandfather’s brother was one of the “early” workers. He was not from the first crop that came over from Ireland, but he was from one of the early families in the US to profess, and went into the work while the fellowship was still very young. In fact, he was Uncle Willie’s companion when the work was pioneered in China. His picture is in The Secret Sect. His name was Max Bumpus.
I can assure you that the historical facts are true and that I know for a fact that they were known to the early workers. I can vouch with 100 percent certainty that certain ones choose to hide the history from the flock Mr. George Walker, Uncle Jack Carroll, Uncle Willie, etc. The thing is they believed God called William Irvine with his revelation.
At first, the founder was acknowledged but quietly. Then after he got a bit weird they distanced themselves. Old workers would visit Uncle Max and talk openly about the problem. As a child, I was not included but I would spy on them. Some, like Uncle Willie had tender consciences and they felt a great deal of guilt over the deception. But, truly, they felt they were doing the right thing.
And, since the history was kept covered up, younger workers are usually unaware. In the old days, workers who had positions of authority were usually told after their investment in the way was so great there was little chance they would buck the system.
When the historical facts first became known it was very upsetting to those in power. They were angry because there were still many elderly people alive that knew the history was true. This made it hard to deny it.
One senior worker told me that if they could have just gone another generation or two with this covered then no one would have ever been able to pin it on them. But, unfortunately, there were plenty of people alive who remembered. Both my grandmothers professed through Edward Cooney!
Here is a kicker, we talked openly to senior workers in the Pacific Northwest about the history. They acknowledged the facts but told us to keep quiet and lie to others if they asked or we would be exed! I value honesty in a religion so there was no way I was staying.
The California workers were Eldon Tenniswood, Richard Middleton, and Don Fisher. Uncle Tharold was there as well, visiting. There were also a half dozen less prominent workers including Ed Alexander, young then; prominent now. All present knew and acknowledged the historical facts.
We were not in any kind of trouble at this meeting, the workers were discussing how to keep the books out of the hands of the flock. My family was assisting with ideas because of certain things about our situation.
They knew it was fact but were very anxious to not expose people to it. At that time, we agreed that our first line of defense would be to deny the books were about us; that it was just some other group that sounds a bit like us. At that point, we had not seen any of the books. We were shocked when confronted for the first time. My mother was staunch that it is not about us….it is about a similar group. Then the book was flipped open to the picture of her beloved relative with the question, “Do you know who this is?” That was an awkward moment!!!!
Later, we were told by Don to just flat out lie about the history if anyone asked. Apparently, this was at Eldon’s request but he had Don do his dirty work. This was around 1988.
In the generation following they have discovered it is better to just quietly admit the history when confronted. There is too much proof out there and no way to refute it when confronted.
Regarding the books, The Secret Sect had been published in the early ’80s and had already caused problems for the leaders. There were rumors that another book was on its way -probably the David Stone book that was released in the late 1980s about doctrine. The workers wanted to do damage control and keep the new book from reaching as many people as The Secret Sect had. The Secret Sect was advertised mostly by advertisement in local newspapers. We discussed the viability of keeping people from advertisements. My family was involved in the publishing industry so their advice was sought after.
There were several ideas but no agreement. And they did realize it would be very hard to take away something most people were used to, ie., their paper. Instructing people to avoid advertisements would have alerted suspicion – it was a rock and a hard place.
Honestly, many workers feel the book on doctrine has done them more damage than the history. They were very afraid of it even before it came out. There were rumors about how damaging it was. They were trying to be very proactive but could not figure out a strategy or agree on what to do.
I do know that they never counted on the internet. In 1997, Eldon told me that if he had any idea about the internet he would have banned computers from the beginning. When they first came out he just saw a glorified typewriter. But once they let them into people’s homes, it was impossible to take them away.
Source: Guest post on Truth Meeting Board (TMB) November 20, 2007 at: