The Liberty Connection

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Gerber, Faune (Fuller)

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May, 2011

Faune (Fuller) Gerber

I am a female, presently 60 years old, who was a latecomer to the faith, professing when I was about 15 years old in Upstate New York. I was a member of this Way for 30 years. I left when I was 45 years old and have been out 16 years. I reside in Middle Tennessee, U.S.A. I have an older sister, Dale, who professed for 30 years also, leaving two years after I did. She still lives in southern Connecticut, where we used to live before moving to Middle Tennessee in July of 1981. I'm a recent member of TMB and TLC, but was unaware of these Proboards in years past, discovering them only in the last two years.

I have been married for 38 years and we have three grown children, ages 30, 32, and 34 years old. None of our children professed, since the Way wasn't that appealing to them with all its limitations and restrictions. Our oldest son is still single; however, both of our girls are married with two children each. I have three granddaughters and one grandson, ranging in ages from 2 years old to 6 years old. I have been babysitting my oldest daughter's children, two girls, since September of 2006. I retired from federal government employment with the Veterans Administration after 20 years, and continued to work at another job for 5 years, before becoming a babysitter for my daughter who was in need of a replacement babysitter at the time.

During what free time I have to enjoy, I like to take walks, ride my bike, go to the gym and work-out, enjoy a good book to read, and surf the internet.

Presently, I attend a Southern Baptist Church nearby my home, which I joined in March of 2003. I had searched for a number of years for a church that was tailor-made for me and this one really made me feel connected and at home in my spiritual walk. I love the expository teaching and have learned so much from the Bible since the first day I attended services here. I like to use my talents where they can do the most good and found my niche in the Safe Harbor Ministry in this church, where I assisted as a facilitator, or group leader, for a few years. This was a very rewarding experience and I made many new friends through these group sessions within this church ministry to people with hurtful pasts and emotional and spiritual abuse issues.

As far as my spiritual life journey goes, I am very happy today to be numbered among the ex-2x2's! I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York, just north of Watertown and close to Lake Ontario. I was only a teenager, close to 15 years old, when two sister workers came to our home town in early October of 1965. They had left cards in the local Post Office mailboxes announcing these Gospel Meetings, which were starting at the local Town Hall, a block down from our home.

I remember attending the meetings with my mother at this time and being shocked by the dress and long hair worn in a bun by most of the women attending these meetings! I thought they were Conservative Mennonites at first, but they lacked the prayer caps and I knew that particular faith didn't believe in women ministers.

Two women preachers presiding over a meeting was new to me, but I continued attending these meetings until the Town Hall closed for elections. My mother decided to offer our home for more meetings, if they desired. The sister workers, who were Vera Smith and Rose Molettiere, are both deceased now. They accepted my mother's offer and carried on with meetings in our home for about another month.

My mother never professed, as they seemed too austere in dress to her; however, I did make my choice one night in November of 1965, Thanksgiving week, when the meeting was tested. I did not stand at the end, but later told the workers before they left that I had wanted to make my choice. They accepted me into the faith and I attended my first Sunday morning meeting a couple days later in Watertown, N.Y.

If there was one thing I will always remember about that night I professed, it was this Pentecostal lady who was visiting our home for Thanksgiving weekend. She was a caretaker for my great aunt, who also came along to visit us for Thanksgiving. Her initial reaction to my profession, after sitting through one of their meetings, left me stunned! When everyone had left and I was standing at the door saying farewell, she put her hand on my shoulder and prayed that the devil would leave me alone and the Lord Jesus would deliver me from this group! I turned around in shock and told her back then that I had no need of deliverance, but little did I know that I would down the road, many years later after years of brainwashing and conditioning by the 2x2's!

Perhaps I need to add what contributed to my decision for this "unknown way" that came to our town professing to be the Truth and God's only Way to heaven.

A couple years previously, when I was only 12 years old, I lost my Dad in a car accident. The night before this event, my Dad had a long talk with me in the kitchen that evening before his fatal accident the next day returning home from work. He spoke about some people who went out two by two, male and female, just like they did in the Bible day. They took no offering in their meetings and had meetings in the homes of their members. He had mentioned this sect before in conversation when we were younger, and I simply brushed it off as unnecessary information. However, this one night, my Dad actually had my full attention, although matters of religion didn't interest me that much. His last words before I went to bed that night were the following: "If you ever find the Truth, don't turn your back on it."

I found those words haunting me two years later when this group came to town professing to be "The Truth" and the one and only Way to God and Heaven. I made my decision with reservations about the cost to me personally, being a young person, but believing this might be my only chance to find the "Truth" my father professed to have found and left behind.

Years later, after I had just left the faith in April of 1995, my father's younger brother and his wife visited our home in Middle Tennessee on their way back North. I asked my uncle some questions about my Dad's younger days in Upstate N.Y. He advised me that my Dad had gotten involved with this religious group in his early 20's and they really messed up his thinking for a while; but, he finally left it some years later. These people were austere in dress and their teaching was different from what is found in normal Christianity as Bible truths.

Since I had little exposure to real Christianity growing up, I had no way of recognizing the deception being put forth by these workers and the twisted teaching from the Bible. Fortunately, my uncle confirmed my "gut feelings" all along concerning the 2x2's, since we moved down South ~ I just had no way of proving it. My sister, Dale, once got a little information on the Faith Mission years back, but an older sister worker in Connecticut, named Margaret Carey, denied any knowledge of a connection between them and the formation of the 2x2's at the turn of the century by William Irvine, who copied some of their practices and terminology. My sister was given the impression there was no link to our faith's early history and the Faith Mission and the matter was quietly dropped. This was back in the late 1970's.

However, I eventually learned that workers will deny their history when it serves their purpose to avoid exposure! I learned this early on in the very beginning when my mother found a small booklet about Cults which described the 2x2's in a nutshell and made reference to Edward Cooney as one of its early leaders. Vera Smith, one of the workers through whom I professed, denied any association with this man or that group when confronted with the booklet on cults that my mother had found. I took her word for it back then and never had a clue as to the connection between Edward Cooney and William Irvine until two years after I had left the faith.

A letter from Jeanie Dudley, an old friend from Connecticut, exposed the early history and the connection between William Irvine and Edward Cooney, who were both excommunicated by the other followers in the early 1900's, due to conflicting views. Both leaders had their own following after their departure from the original religious movement that William Irvine began in 1897. The 2x2's continue to this day, but are in decline due to the current times and internet exposure.

What I remember the most from my 30 years within the faith was all the unwritten rules and how hard it was to measure up to the workers standards. I rebelled, of course, in my late teens during college years and dropped out from meetings for a while. However, I made the mistake of introducing my husband, whom I was dating back then, to the meetings and he went on and professed `~ to my disbelief! It broke us up for almost a year, but we eventually got back together again and married in December of 1972, just a month before my 22nd birthday.

After our marriage, I tried hard to adapt again to the workers' standards and tried my best to "fit in" to the 2x2's after the kids were born and I became a mother with new responsibilities. However, the longer I professed, the more I realized the discrepancies and double standards within this "perfect way." All the legalistic bondage that goes along with such a belief system was becoming hard to bear and I found myself questioning a lot of their practices and beliefs. The "exclusivity" of the faith was perhaps the hardest thing for me to swallow.

While we lived in Connecticut, I had my three children, and was fairly content within the faith. However, after we moved to Middle Tennessee, I noticed many of the friends were different in their perspective on things compared to what we were used to in the New England area. I guess they found us too liberal and open-minded for their meeting down South, since we never quite fit into their mold. My husband got tired of the meetings early on and stopped professing in October of 1981. He became an agnostic and still remains the same to this day.

As for myself, I continued on alone with my three children until I finally left in April of 1995, at the age of 45 years old. I was totally burnt out by the 2x2's and just couldn't waste any more time trying to conform to something I had lost all confidence in over the remaining years, due to all the legalistic restrictions, unwritten rules, and the workers' over-involvement in the lives of the friends. I was not happy with my profession ~ I was totally miserable and felt spiritually bankrupt in the end!

The faith was a touchy subject with me for years after I left. I didn't find out about the history until about two years afterwards when the truth finally came out due to an old friend in the faith calling me and telling me of her experience and asking if I would like a copy of her Exit Letter. I wholeheartedly agreed and I was actually relieved, when I read of its history and all the the misguided teaching we had ingested over the years as truth! The anger and resentment over being shunned by a number of friends for questioning the faith towards the end finally alleviated when I learned my "gut feeling" about the faith being misleading in its core teachings was verified by facts and the testimonies of others who had also departed the faith. The book of testimonies from ex-members called "Reflections" and pamphlets from the earlier Threshing Floor Ministries helped me sort through the hidden history and twisted doctrine. Also, the book, "The Secret Sect" came into my possession and opened my eyes to the real history and completed the puzzle in my mind.

In August of 1997, I attempted to send out an Exit Letter, two years later, to some of the friends in my meeting, including the elder of our meeting, and a few friends in the Nashville area. This was done to explain why I walked away from the faith and what new information I had gained since then. I wanted to pass this information along, as I was concerned for their spiritual welfare. The only response I got by phone, when I attempted to contact this elder about the letter I had mailed recently, was a suggestion from his wife that I never call them again on this matter. The phone was suddenly hung-up before I could say anything else! My Exit Letter, along with a copy of Jeanie Dudley's Exit Letter was enclosed, addressed to this church elder. It was returned to me with the postal notation: "Refused ~ Return to Sender." Needless to say, I got the message and felt no need for future contact with any of these so-called Friends within the faith.

During my two years after I left the last meeting without a word, neither friend nor worker ever called me to see why I stopped attending meeting. It was as if they really didn't care and perhaps were glad to see me gone from meeting! The lack of love or concern didn't speak much to me of real Christianity. It was as if any love or care was only "feigned affection" with little substance behind it. While I was in the faith, I did try to communicate with these people, but their indifference drove me to lose complete interest in the fellowship and their rigid, legalistic teachings.

It was rather ironic that the workers always called outside denominational churches "man-made" and claimed they followed only man's ideas and theirs was so different ~ going back to Christ's first apostles. How deceitful they were in the cover-up of the real facts behind their history ~ along with the anti-Christian teaching which actually evolved from William Irvine's delusional thinking! It doesn't surprise me that they were called the "Damnation's Army" in the early days, nor that William Irvine went on to develop somewhat a Messiah Complex in latter years. He imagined that he would be one of the last two witnesses on the earth proclaiming the Gospel Message to the world in Jerusalem, where he ended up eventually ~ just outside the gates!

It took me a few years of searching to find another church home that met my needs and where I could feel connected to other believers. I eventually came to know my Lord and Saviour in a whole new light and really gained a love and appreciation for the Truth of God found only in Jesus and His Atonement for all mankind at the Cross.

I had missed out on so much sound Bible teaching as well as a normal lifestyle growing up. However, it's amazing how God can make up for the "lean years" in a short period of time once we get our focus set in the right direction. I love the freedom I feel now in my walk with God and all the new friends I have gained in my new church home and among the exes on TLC. Also, I'm elated to add, I did find the "real Truth in Jesus" that my Dad thought he had found and left behind in the 2x2's ~ back in his early 20's, during the Depression Era in Upstate New York.

Those memories haunted my father with a "guilt trip" to his last days on earth! How I wish he had the same opportunity I did, along with my children, to discover the real Gospel Story found only in Jesus, and not some "counterfeit" religion masquerading as Truth!

By Faune (Fuller) Gerber
Smyrna, Tennessee, USA
May 2011

Click Here to read Faune Gerber's Exit Letter