Here is a response I wrote to George Potkonyak on Escape From the Fellowship.
[While I was still in it I never recognised the "pattern" as being something so
structured (of course, subsequently, after studying the coercive persuasion,
that is, brainwashing techniques, I saw it so clearly). I attributed it all to
the pastor being incompetent. One thing that I really noticed as a "pattern"
were those endless, repetitive altar calls: I hardly ever responded for the
simple reason of the pastor's invitation beginning with "If you heard from God
you come down to the front and... etc..." No, I have not heard from God; I heard
the pastor and am not to bow my knee before him. Yet, I observed all those
mule-like responses by about 95% of people, day in day out.]
You are an unusual case. You joined the fellowship at an age when most of the long timers had already left.
After the exodus of 1990, circa 1992, Wayman Mitchell preached a sermon in Tucson conference with the title, "40 something." He stated that there is a real danger of falling into rebellion after you turn 40. Ron Jones was 41 when he left the fellowship, and so the reference was obvious. Mitchell erroneously used Absalom as his example, saying that Absalom was 40 years old when he rebelled against his father, King David. I remember pointing out to Mark Aulson that this simply was not true, and that David's reign that began in Hebron, over the tribe of Judah, combined with his reign over all Israel was 40 and a half years. Absalom was born while David was ruling in Hebron. It's fairly obvious that David lived quite a while after Absalom's rebellion. Quite simply, "the young man Absalom" was nowhere near 40 years old. Aulson got red faced at my "arrogance" in thinking that I could spot such an error in an infallible Waymanchrist sermon.
Nonetheless, Wayman's main point in the sermon was that as the fellowship was getting older, we who were approaching 40 years old would have to be on guard not to rebel against "God," i.e., Waymanchrist. The real problem is that when people get to middle age, they are not so prone to just listen to those who speak with pseudo authority. They start to think for themselves, even when they have spent years, or even decades in a religious cult. They will no longer bow like teenage children when the pastor or leader speaks in that tone of "I am speaking for God," or any of that nonsense. So Wayman was trying to short circuit that tendency with his silly sermon. By the way, thinking for yourself is equal to rebellion in the fellowship, although Wayman and his appointed leaders will deny it. They don't mind if you think for yourself, as long as you conclude that they are right about everything.
So you, George, were very different than the average person in their teens or 20s who joined Wayman's World. You saw your pastor as simply incompetent, whereas a 20 year old would view him as a Christian guru. I remember Harold Warner preaching in the early days, when Harold was a young man himself, that older people had hardened their hearts and could not receive the things of God, and that "revival" is "youth oriented." This was to get us to accept the fact that we saw almost no middle aged people joining our great move of God.
Seeing your pastor as incompetent, you thought you could actually show him something from the Bible that he missed. That was seen as supreme arrogance and rebellion. You see, we were taught that these men were specially equipped by God. Even if their Bible knowledge was less than your own, they still understood it better. Far better. When I was a new convert, I was told by one guy in the church that Wayman and Harold had seen things that were not lawful to utter. Even as a new convert, I had trouble with that one, but that gives you an idea of just how deluded members of the church were, and still are, concerning this pastor guy. From what you have said from your study of the Bible, I am sure you know it better than Walsh. One of the statements that I heard when someone would argue against the fellowship from the Bible, and they had good Bible knowledge, was, "Well, the Devil knows his Bible, doesn't he?" I am sure that is how you are viewed by some who are duped by Walsh and the other pastors and disciples in Australia, and beyond.
One respect in which they show their ignorance is in saying that you tell people not to tithe. The last thing the pastors and leaders want the people in the churches to know is that you don't tell people not to tithe, but rather tell them how the Bible says you should tithe. As long as they can paint the picture of your being an anti tithing devil, then they can keep people from reading what you actually have to say on the subject. Wayman and his leaders are very good at getting people in the churches to stay away from anything a backslider has to say, whether in person, or through writing. They know all too well what could happen if those church members actually read something like your study on tithing.
In any event, most serious members of the fellowship of Wayman O. leave within their first 7 years. There have been many a gung ho disciple, 4 years into it, who is gone the next year. They are opening in prayer, going on outreaches, witnessing to everything that moves, praising Waymanchrist and their "God appointed" pastor, giving tons of money, taking all their vacation time to go to conferences, and then they are gone, and soon forgotten. A few shots are taken at them from the pulpit, and then the church goes on with new members coming in to replace the old ones. So many "on fire" disciples have recruited their own replacements. How ironic when the ones they brought into the church curse their name after they left.
Good to see you, George. I hope you find time for a bit more commentary.