Paddon, Jack & Nan

February 15, 2024

Dear Kent, Rob, Harold & Sally,

This is the hardest and the easiest letter we have ever written. This paradox has been a constant presence of heart and mind these last 11 months. We have loved you each and that will never change. We cannot abide by nor condone the continued immorality, deceit and coverup. Words have meaning. Actions reveal hearts. Our love for Jesus has not waxed cold as some have speculated. Everything written here is before God as our witness and is accurate to the best of our knowledge. We humbly welcome any correction to the contrary.

We apologize in advance if anyone takes offense as none is intended. Our confidence is in Jesus only and we will continue to have fellowship with likeminded hearts. Last night there were 5 kids in our meeting who are trusting we adults to keep them safe physically and spiritually. I realized sitting there that we have made no progress in zero tolerance against Child Sex Abuse Perpetrators including those that have enabled, facilitated, and allowed CSA. When is it never right to stand for the abused and broken hearted?

This morning Scott Rauscher issued an “apology letter” for accessing immoral website content. Protecting child sexual abusers is his greater sin. This afternoon, three sisters the Bozeman field wrote letter in response. The first paragraph is below:

Dear Bozeman Friends… We are deeply disappointed as our own trust has been broken yet again. In our own words to him, “we will trust you until we can’t”. Unfortunately, this shock has made that time come, and we are sorry for all as we experience this sense of betrayal from another brother that has fallen…
With appreciation for each, Tammy Heidi and Alexis

The ugly truth of what has been revealed these last 11 months is stranger than fiction. This paradox has cast a pall over our fellowship. Why does the ministry continue kick against the pricks and pretend that “everything has been handled”? When we first heard about Dean B’s duplicitous lifestyle, we thought he was just one “hotspot” of isolated worker abuse. We have since discovered that there are many “Dean B hotspots” in our fellowship around the world.

These illicit “hot spots” have merged into the great conflagration lapping at our heels. Being in the spotlight for standing up for truth and decency is very uncomfortable but necessary. We admit to being blissfully ignorant for the last several decades. The bright light that has illuminated a number immoral and criminal abuses, including the deceit of coverup, over the past 11 months makes us complicit if we do nothing. We need to be honest with our children and neighbors about the evil in our fellowship. We could choose to be willfully blind by ignoring what God already knows. We could say this doesn’t affect us personally. We could say this doesn’t affect our family. However, in honesty and integrity we have prayed that God help us to hear the cries of the discarded survivors who have been left in the ditch for “the sake of the kingdom”.

We love Jesus the lamb in John 1. We hear Jesus the lion in John 2. In John 4, His answer to the woman by the well: “woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the father”. “God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth”. Meetings do not define our salvation. We’ve always loved our Sunday morning meeting and everyone who has met with us. Over the last several months the doctrine of exclusivity has created a division that has escalated and now some in our meeting have chosen to meet elsewhere. Nan and I have been true to everything we’ve been trusted with. We received the workers mail & phone calls long before email & text. Workers came & went freely because they were family to us. We loved our privilege.

Exclusivity is the ministry’s Achilles heel. The early workers first came to California in 1903 without companions and without the doctrine of exclusivity. Joesph Kerr and William Irvine adopted the Living Witness Doctrine in 1907. In the first years, there were no friends, no open homes, no Sunday or Wednesday meetings, and no conventions.

Some say it takes peace to give peace and so they do nothing. Doesn’t that seem a bit selfish when victim/survivors relive their abuse daily? Our human pride and sense of comfort would like to go back to our state of blissful ignorance. However, the betrayal of trust can only be repaired by honesty. Below is an excerpt of a letter written by a senior worker to a criminal abuser. This is the root of the problem:

if we do not report, we can be prosecuted for failure to report a sexual crime; you can understand that we love our people very much and don’t want to report their misdeeds to the authorities, so the way we have usually complied with the laws by asking an offender to see a professional counselor

A great searchlight has revealed some ugly & toxic abuses. In early June, Richard D said he heard in the twilight hours of morning “Richard, I gave you Dean Bruer and Mark Huddle, now clean it up”. We were promised transparency. The hint of transparency has turned to opacity. Action and inactions speak louder than words. The only “clean up” has been forced by the friends in the face of vigorous push back. Why? Several things have brought us to this tipping point where we can no longer support this ministry or continue in the facade of fellowship.

• A visit last week with a middle-aged worker on the California staff whose heart is crushed.

• A visit with a survivor who has endured verbal and spiritual abuse for 30 years. Her abuser is still in meetings. Workers and friends have slandered her.

• A visit with a family we’ve known for years where I poured out my heart only to be shunned and maligned to others.

• A 2.5 hour visit with Harold H where his only answer to every question was “Well, Jack and Nan, I just don’t know,” except to disparage a sister worker on the California staff. Thanks for the follow-up apology.

• A 2.5 hour visit with Sally kindly listening but unwilling to answer questions except to disagree with Kent on scriptural understandings of divorce & remarriage. Silence is a loud answer.

• 3 Phone visits with Kent not willing to engage in any meaningful way except to blame the sharp East/West dichotomy of DRM (Divorce & Remarriage) doctrine on eastern overseers who have been perpetrators. I would have preferred a scriptural answer. Yes, Kent we are all sinners, but not all of us are criminals.

• Understanding that the FBI has initiated a worldwide investigation on criminal activities within our church which includes North America, Vietnam and India at a minimum. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have started investigations in Canda. Similar governmental investigations have started in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Africa and Australia

• There has been worldwide news reporting on criminal and immoral abuses within our church viewed by millions. Some have calculated that we have more abuse per capita than the Catholic Church.

• Our neighbors and professional associates are beginning to connect us to this CSA and cover up. A business associate recently said, “Jack I’m sorry for all the CSA going on in your church”. This man has a professing brother, and knows we have meeting in our home. I will gladly ‘suffer’ for righteousness sake. It’s another thing entirely to be associated with a church whose fragrance to the community is felonious abuse and cover up.

These 11 months have stripped away any conceits of selfishness and exclusivity and we must cling to Jesus only. We are simply and plainly declaring our stand for truth, honesty & integrity. We don’t want to add nor take away from Jesus: The Way, The Truth, The Life. Our parents taught us to be honest in all things. Our love for Christ has only deepened. In Jesus alone we trust. It is clear that for our spiritual welfare we must give up our meeting after 40 years and step aside from fellowship as we have known it for almost 70 years.

With Love & Honesty,

Jack & Nan (Ball) Paddon
Newcastle, California
February 15, 2024

HISTORICAL NOTE: The first worker to preach in California was my grandfather, Irvine Weir, who came from Ireland through Ellis Island, USA with George Walker and William Irvine on September 14, 1903. George Walker went south and William Irvine apparently went back to Ireland within a few months. My Grandfather, Irvine Weir, went west by train with whistle stops in Springfield, MA; Buffalo, NY; and Chicago, IL to preach the Gospel on street corners and maybe to earn a little money for food. He arrived in Los Angles around late November and met Walter Slater in December of 1903 who was preaching on the street corners of Pasadena. Walter Slater and Irvine Weir continued preaching, perhaps together and/or independently.

At this time, there were no friends, no open homes, no Sunday or Wednesday meetings, and no conventions until 1906. In the fall of 1904, Irvine Weir was preaching in Long Beach when Clyde and Grace Brownlee heard him; they immediately went preaching as a married couple.

In February of 1905, after Willie Jamieson professed in a mission of William Irvine in Scotland, he went directly to California alone. In the fall of 1905, Irvine Weir, Walter Slater and Willie Jamieson had a 3-day mission in San Luis Obispo where the Waites professed. Sometime after the 1906 Paso Robles convention, open homes and Sunday meetings were established in California. The first time I know that my Grandpa Irvine Weir had a companion was in the 1909 Aptos, CA mission where Grandma Blair professed.

In 1907, Joseph Kerr introduced William Irvine to the then popular Living Witness Doctrine (aka LWD) theory that Henry Drummond presented in his book Natural Law in the Spiritual World, published in 1884. Irvine adopted the LWD and it became an essential core belief in the church. When applied to the workers’ gospel, in order to attain salvation, it was essential that one profess through a worker who had professed through a worker. The obstacle of the founder, William Irvine, having professed through Presbyterian Rev. John McNeill (not a worker) was solved by Irvine declaring himself to be the Alpha worker. This notion of exclusivity is not scriptural and has caused many excommunications over the last 120+ years.

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