“Loyal Brother”

This is a short story from a brother who wishes to remain anonymous, who said we could use the name Loyal Brother.

Surprisingly, I got voted to go out to a Center House at Cleveland from the Manhattan Training Center and I lasted there one week. Got back to NYC and I had no apartment, so I slept on old carpet rolls and had no way to wake up to be at work which started there in the loft, so I ended up late every day, so didn’t get my “dollar a day.” And because I didn’t live in an apartment, I got no bag lunch and I had no money. We worked until all hours and when we did come back to an apartment building, there was no food left, and there was never any in the loft. Then eventually, when I was questioned first thing in the morning at the brothers business meeting about why I wasn’t more zealous, I told Rick J. I hadn’t eaten in 3 days, and he was amazed and took me to Munson’s Diner to get a cheap breakfast.

One time, in the late 1970’s, the Loyal Brother and the Artist were doing a carpet-cleaning job in a seedy neighborhood in NYC. They got done and were paid with a check. They were carrying the machine, crates and buckets down to a mail truck, parked near the dilapidated building. It was dark, they were tired and hungry, hoping there was still food left at their apartment. The last thing they wanted was adventure.

A gang of about four guys started milling around the truck. The Artist, (who is really a sort of genius in terms of human observation), noticed them, and started, of all things, to sing.

“I’m gonna lay down my burdens,” he sang out (and the Loyal Bro. did the “bum, bum, bum” base-line), “Down by the riverside,” (“bum bum bum,”) “down by the riverside,” and they glided into the truck loading the equipment, just sort of sashaying to the song, while the gang watched them.

The Artist got into the driver’s seat, the Loyal Bro was standing at the back, arm up, ready to pull the overhead door down, when the gang leader stood at the back of the truck on the ground to address him.

“Hey, I’ve heard about you guys. You’re those Christian Brothers. You guys are supposed to be ‘kind,’ right? You got any money to help us out? You guys get paid in cash? We need a little cash. Hey even Jesus drank wine, right? He was ‘kind,’ right?” the guy said to the Loyal Bro., in a snake-like voice. In the meantime, another gang member was trying to get into the passenger side door, and another was approaching the driver’s side of the truck.

“OH YEAH? WHO TOLD YOU THAT?” yelled the Loyal Bro, and in one motion he slammed down the door. “Gun It!” he yelled, and the Artist did! The old mail truck lurched forward, screeching, throwing the guy trying to come in the side to the ground, and loosening the guy`s hand from the driver`s door handle. The Loyal Bro. flew backwards, up to the front of the truck, the two friends laughing at the riff they’d pulled off.

They zoomed off with the gang running after them on foot for several yards, cussing to no avail! They had been paid by check anyway! It still brings a smile to the Loyal Bro’s face whenever he hears that song, and re-admires the Artist brother’s street smarts.


More to follow…. And in the meantime, Loyal Brother and his wife brainstormed up some old FF words, which they say open up a whole concept just to hear.

Covenant of Death

Say what you see

Remember your purpose

Encourage our hearts in Christ brother (as they looked at their watch)

Food runs

The food room

The garage brothers

Cleaning the machines

The art show


The Haitian brothers


Am I speaking loud enough?

Trip apartment


16 thoughts on ““Loyal Brother”

  1. ugh, what memories, especially with the words at the end…..food browns, round and round (R & R), manuevering women, “trip” (saved for idiots who sinned from time to time), I am recommitting myself to the proposition, does anyone believe me??? I never heard anyone say they loved me for ten years…..but I was questioned daily on “Hows your faith in Jesus?” and “whats your motive?” I was the last sister to work in the carpet business, and then I made flyers for their construction business, and never saw a dime from that!

    1. I don’t see how to leave my story. Also: would inappropriate to give a testimony of escaping the cult? I was dissed and dismissed for asking to do so on M.M’s list

  2. ok some more of those words

    are you going round and round

    and some of my favorite ones is when we were at one of “those” meetings when no one said a word for hours, someone would get up and say why don’t we sing,
    ok “lets vote on it”. When that didn’t go so well they would say, let’s circle the wagons”, :” ok well lets take a vote on whether or not we should vote. “

    1. Yes, I remember those meetings. Stewart would come in after we had been waiting for a while, and then sit in front of us and then say nothing for an hour or more, looking down at his notes, or just reading his bible – just sitting there to see what we’d do, letting us wear ourselves out as various ones among us stood up and talked to everyone, asking, “what should we do?” After an hour (or two), when we were all worn out, after having deliberated, voted, made speeches to one another, exhorted one another to take action, when we were finally all played out, he would begin speaking about strange we were, about how all these attempts to get started were just cheerleading, games, deceit, etc. (And the worst ones were those who sat back and did nothing.)

      He used this tactic in the mid 80’s. He resorted to other things later on. But, imagine, you go to church and your pastor arrives and just sits in silence before the assembled church for an hour…. No other church would put up with this. It was definitely a psychological manipulation tactic, designed to train us into something. What do you think the purpose was? I’d be interested in hearing your opinions on why he did this to us.

      My guess is that he used this to train us into helplessness, to make us believe we were incapable of any independent action, so that we’d rely only on him to know what to do. That is, we was creating extreme dependents who did not rely on their own thoughts and who did not take independent action because whatever we did would probably be wrong and that is would be better to wait instead for “Stewart said,” because only Stewart really knows what to do and what we should do.

      And when we used to meet without Stewart in the basement at night at 162 Woodruff Avenue, it took so long to get started in any direction, because of the need to vote first on everything. And, after we had started moving in some direction, someone with an anxious worried voice would chime in, “But we didn’t vote!” So, then we’d have to stop what we were doing, and take a vote on whether we wanted to do it or not. Then after we voted, sometimes someone would say the classic line, “But… we didn’t vote first on whether we wanted to vote or not.” Can you believe it? (Yes.) We wasted hours in meetings like this. But that was the point, wasn’t it? It was sleep deprivation, the classic mark of a cult. Up till late at night, going over everything, examining every individual. Up until 2 or 3 in the morning sometimes. And nobody’s allowed to go to bed until we settle it.

      What was behind all that? Well, there’s the saying, too many cooks spoil the stew. (No, no pun is intended here.) We did not have one or two leaders among us the rank and file church members, that lead meetings. In an authoritarian community, the ony real decision making comes from the top. When I began reading about cults, corporations and total institutions before I left, I learned how these organizations make all the important life decisions for their members, and the members only get to work out the details about how those orders are to be carried out. All this meeting and discussing can feel like active participation in your life. You are not deciding whether or not to do something, just deciding how you are going to carry what you’ve been told to do.

  3. oh yeah more words

    ” I choose death over life” which some would say openly at a meeting.

    and just before I left we were encouraged to say ” I volunteer for the lake of fire” in order to make us face how serious of a situation we were in,” some did say it, and some refused.

    1. Right after I left, in September 1993, I heard that they were “taking volunteers for the lake of fire.” “They” meaning, this is what Stewart Traill was trying to make everyone say. This is classic spiritual abuse. I thought, the cult has just gotten one more step worse.

      You’re right that it was being done in the name of making us face our spiritual condition – at least that is the explanation that was sold to us. We were like, (as your username, asthefrogboils,suggests) the frog in the boiling kettle. Stewart didn’t spring this stuff on us suddenly, but slowly over the years, turned up the temperature a little at a time, with slight increases in the abuse, all with plausible sounding reasons and long teaching sessions on why this was true and necessary, and we bought it, a little piece at a time, until water was boiling.

      Though I was no longer there, I could completely understand what it must be like to be in those meetings where they were taking those (compulsory) “volunteers” for the lake of fire, with Traill inducing the brothers and sisters to say these things before the assembled body. The closest thing I saw to this, right before I left, was Stewart trying to make Joe S. say he was a “son of the devil,” using all kinds of “proofs” about Joe’s life to “prove” it, such as that he has no record of faithfulness to Christ (according to COBU standards, when really people like this are extremely faithful to Christ – and also extremely abused as well). Joe would only say that, “From the evidence, it looks like it’s true, but I can’t say that I am a son of the devil” It was a long session, and he worked on Joe for a long while. I thought Joe did pretty well standing up to it. Sterwart drove the horse to the well over and over again, but couldn’t make him drink the poisoned water.

      What is it like to be there now?

  4. Loyal Brother, I also am from Cleveland. Lamb House not the Older brother House. I also went to the YSTC in Brooklyn(1980).
    There are also times I was in the wrong neighborhood and as it turned out in my Jesus Bubble: Harlem at 1:00 P (Wandering around Alone), Valentine ave. in the Bronx at night (Same Night/time Police were shot). working hell’s Kitchen. I was a Sheep, And Protected, COBU may have went astray Yet Jesus is real and some members did have faith. I find myself longing for a bible study or all night fellowship as from my Youth.
    Children when growing up never know how simple they lived until they are older and still there are time in that simple life that allowed us to grow. NOTE: I am not praising COBU but how in my ignorance and Youth I did have a relationship with Jesus I would not have had any other way. For Me to receive Jesus, I had to go through COBU for at that time no church would have shown me the attention I needed. When My Family fell on hard times Brother Jimmy Had me sent home to care for my family.
    Just so you know, For identification. I am “WE PEOPLE” brother Ted (Teddy not Theodore), I am from and still in Cleveland, And I would Like to hear from my Three Fold Cord. MIKE M, JOE G. LOUIS P. COBU may have gone astray I have not heard from them since 1982, However I am Still Christian.

      1. Sorry I am Not On Facebook, My employer does monitor social media and filters on employers equipment prevents some access. In pharaoh’s land, Render to Pharaoh (Or don’t play the game).

  5. Hi Brother Ted!!! I remember you, a bit quiet back then, but was kind to me. This is Sandra (Bloomfield) Jones YSTC.

  6. “Greetings Sandra,

    I remember the YSTC very well. I am very poor with names, And sadly I do not recall someone coming from MTC to the Cleveland House for only a week. I might have been at the Brooklyn YSTC at the time. For you to remember me than would be over 35 Years ago. a welcome blast from my past. Are you contacting former COBU or YSTC Christians? Thank you for brightening my day

  7. Greetings:

    I had to do some searching to re-find this page, The above message by sandra though very nice came by a mail system that gave the error 404 to every link. When I answered her greeting I saw part of the loyal brother short story, that was in front of her message. now that I have re-discovered this page I see my error.
    Thank you for remembering Me Sandra. I hope the years have been a blessing to you. Just so you know: Married at 26Y, Still married 28 years, Two Boys, grown.not married (YET). in Three years I retire from the cleveland school district Safety and security. thank you for the note..

  8. Ted that is Awesome!!! It’s so good to hear that Yeshua has kept you and that you and your family are doing well….what a blessing!!! I too am doing well and He has kept me by His Grace!!! I thank and praise Him for it!!! I too am married and coming up on my 10th Anniversary and we have 1 son who is coming up on his 21st birthday. I work in the Federal Government and am no where near retirement…LOL! But one day. It’s good to hear from you brother Ted and thanks for your response to me. May God continue to keep you and richly bless you!!!!!

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