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My Jim Roberts Group Testimony

My Jim Roberts Group Testimony

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A true story of the most important events that led up to my joining the Jim Roberts group in January 1995.
A true story of the most important events that led up to my joining the Jim Roberts group in January 1995.

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Published by: Jim Roberts Group Official Fan and Glee Club on Feb 03, 2011
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06/28/2012

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Some of you are puzzled as to why I am somewhat defensive of the brothers…this is for you.I don’t view the Roberts group the way they view themselves. If I were allowed to do so, I would definitelylobby for changes within the group that I think are vital. It so happens that I am not particularly optimisticabout the likelihood, even if I were 100% correct in the areas I differ with them, (and I am not saying that Iam,) that they are very open to change. I don’t think they are looking all around how they could change to be closer to the center of God’s perfect will. That is as far as I really care to go right now.I want to express that if it were not for that group, I would be in a much sorrier state. Maybe I would havelost my mind, maybe I would be dead, who really knows. All I know, is that when I needed them to bethere, to show me something that was true beyond all reasonable doubt, in a confusing, messed up world,they were on point.It seems like a lot of people join the Roberts group for all kinds of reasons. I don’t know what the reasonsare. They seem to collect a lot of riff-raff, and sometimes people just become riff-raff within the confines of the group. All I know for certain is the reason why I joined the group. So this is what I am here to say.I met brother Jonathan in the fall of ’94. He wheeled a sharp looking KHS mountain bike up to me as I satin Renaissance square, a small park along the Guadalupe “drag”, a street facing the UT campus that catersto the college kids in Austin. I was nineteen. When I first looked up, I saw Jonathan’s beard, andimmediately took him for a homeless person. Then, eyeing him up and down, it seemed that he wasabsolutely spotless; I realized he could not have possibly have been homeless.His countenance was also astonishing. It smacked of learned intelligence. Of Wisdom. He talked to me for some time about how the brothers lived, how they got by, and I saw so much truth in it. It seemed to methat here was a group of people that had it all figured out, and here I was, alone, trying to figure it out in myhead but essentially doing nothing about it, whatever IT was.I remember being so deeply disappointed when I found out they were Christians. Here was a group of  people, and they saw so many things the way I did, and were aware of the problems in the world, and couldsee them with the same sense of gravity, but somehow perhaps without the same urgency. Oh! I thought. I just have to bring them around to the need for violent revolution! How could they not see the need for action?!?I got another chance to make my case later that day, when Jonathan approached me the second time. I wasmore confident in the presence of my friends, and could make my case for a change. I probably didn’t makethat good an impression on poor Jonathan, but he had gained respect in my eyes.The next day, I remember passing another bearded man, whose presence in the crowded square seemedexceptionally small. As I passed, he asked me if I had any interest in the Bible, exactly the type of questionI had become habitually conditioned to brush off like a “head and shoulders” commercial. I suddenlyrealized that this was certainly one of Jonathan’s companions, and had to follow up a curt dismissal with amore welcoming question to this effect.He affirmed that he was Jonathan’s friend, and so we sat down and talked. This was Michael Berens. Theway he talked was different, and I remember mostly listening and saying very little. I had suchconversations with Michael on several occasions, mostly sitting down on the benches built around the treesin the square. He spoke softly, with little emotion. I remember finding it very odd, that, despite how little Ihad said to him, he seemed to know me, or know something about how I worked inside. Although I was inthe habit of searching for rational explanations of phenomena, to resort to paranoid reasoning seemed theobvious choice, since I had decided long ago that it was best for a revolutionary to entertain a certainamount of paranoia. I thought it would be silly to underestimate what counter-revolutionary activities wereemployed in this country.I tossed around the hypothesis, that maybe the brothers were an elite government counter-revolutionaryunit, scouring the college towns of America to neutralize dangerous insurgents such as I enjoyed fancying
 
myself.Other than paranoid suspicion, the other main impression I remember receiving from his words, was a basic, abstract idea of what it was they were preaching. I had listened to Christians before, and almost aslong as I had been free-thinking, I was always very amused to find how poorly thought out and reasonedwere the beliefs they held with such emotionally-driven affection. I never found it challenging to find and point out where their logic was weak, or just how they contradicted and invalidated themselves. What I washearing from Michael was very different; very challenging indeed.There was also something else. It was a very uncomfortable feeling inside that I would get as he spoke, andthe picture he was painting began to come more into focus. My friend Bob asked me recently if the feelingwas “conviction”. I’ve thought a lot about that in the last week or so. I would say that that’s exactly what itwas. It was a feeling that, if what they were saying was true, then I was a bad person, a sinner, if you will.That I would be in big trouble if I didn’t face that fact, and change.And I couldn’t find any flaw in it. Nor could I see where my own belief system, so carefully thought out,was wrong or illogical. I remember these inner forces of psychological conflict coming to a head more andmore as I listened to them talk.Michael was speaking to me once when everything became clear. What I was dealing with was twodifferent belief systems (A is not B, nor is B A), basically irreconcilable (A plus B is not a function; i.e., Acannot be combined with B, either in whole or in part), completely exclusive of each other (If A is true thenB cannot possibly be true; vice versa). As I beheld this conundrum, that feeling in my heart wasuncomfortable and strong. I saw what I had to do, there was no getting around it: I needed to find out which belief system was true, and which false. At that moment all I knew for sure was that I had some major soul-searching to do, and I couldn’t do it sitting here with this guy talking and making this feeling souncomfortable. I abruptly excused myself.Later—perhaps days later—I found myself walking down a pretty road by myself. I thought, now is the perfect time to revisit that topic of “which is true?” So help me God I tried a little bit to think about it, butfor some reason, I had the most extreme difficulty facing it. I couldn’t dwell on it; for some reason itseemed like I could not possibly remove my own subjectivity; it was too heavy a mental load; I justremember feeling like I stood to lose too much. Too much of my own philosophical insights, so carefullyworked and reasoned out in my mind; so much of my identity, which was bound up with those insights.Ultimately, I would have to start over.I viewed myself as enlightened, powerful, sophisticated. Starting over would mean losing all my dignity.All my pride. I couldn’t reject the possibility that all of that was precisely what was necessary, but Icouldn’t do it without more proof. So I waited. I didn’t think about it really until it was time to talk to them, but the more I did interact with them, the more quickly I was getting convicted.It got to the point when one day, I was on the drag, under the overhang that used to be the front porch of the building where the Scientology office was. It was afternoon, overcast, and it had been lightly drizzling onand off all day. I liked this type of weather. Chris Ryan approached me, and started talking to me abouthow futile any attempt to overthrow the government would be. He was saying that all three major Television networks would have to be simultaneously sabotaged, (Apparently he wasn’t too aware of howmany people got their news from cable in America, which I guess, theoretically, only strengthens hisargument.) I remember thinking little more than that this guy is missing the point entirely, but theuncomfortable feeling was there anyway. It quickly exhausted my patience.“Look,” I cut in, desiring to get to the root of the matter sooner than later, “this is my big sin, from youguys’ perspective: I don’t have any FAITH!”I didn’t know if he knew what I was trying to say, but I also didn’t wait around to find out. I was gettingtired of that feeling. If they believed that they could sit back, let the world go to shit, and that God wouldoverthrow civilization in one fatal blow when it had gone far enough, that was just fine. I didn’t feel like I
 
could, because I didn’t really know for sure that there was any God or not, so how could I refuse to try togive my life to fixing things on my own—even if it WAS futile? I thought it would be a rotten thing to findout that sitting back had only allowed the enemy to succeed in total destruction.I turned and walked away. I walked to the health food co-op down the street and bought a baguette, then Iwalked back to the overhang. Chris was still there, but this time he was engaged with someone else, and hisyounger counterpart, Don, approached me. I had just squatted down, and reached into my bag for the bread,when he started talking to me. I remember just picking him apart in my mind. The guy was obviously anovice, and for all his newfound enthusiasm, half of what he said seemed to be an attempt to mentallyadjust to his new beliefs.I distinctly remember him emphatically shouting, as if this fact alone was sufficient to prove everythingelse he believed, that his mother was “living in adultery—RIGHT NOW!!!”I thought to myself that this guy obviously has “issues” with his mother, but I still listened, and tried toopen my mind. While he was talking, the rain began crashing down furiously, and he was forced to shout if he wanted to continue his message. I called to mind the pamphlet that Jonathan or someone gave to mecalled “the Days of Noah”. It was about the end of the world and the prophecy in Matthew and in Luke17:26,27:
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, theydrank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
It was basically a pamphlet comparing the world in the period immediately leading up to the flood with themodern world, showing the exponential increase in violence and other things over the course of the lastcentury that should be obvious harbingers of the immanence of the end times.I never made the connection until now, but I had a vision a month or two before this time that revisiting this prophecy just now reminded me of. I have always seen it in connection with the conversion process I wasgoing through at that time in my life, but I never connected it with this prophecy before.I was having a discussion with my friend David Taylor about the magical knowledge used by theEgyptians. He was getting pretty excited about it, and trying to get the point across to me that if we couldtap into the magic that they used, then we could use it for basically some form or other of personal gain.Finally, he punctuated his speech with the exclamation “That’s IT! That’s IT Doo[d]!!!”I had an intuitive grasp of what he was trying to say, and something inside me, perhaps my first significantdisagreement with him, felt uneasy. As I focused on my reservations, I saw a clear picture in my mind, of aman (who represented David, or someone who had taken the same attitude towards “power”) in the water atthe beach, pushing the water around with an enthusiasm that mirrored David’s. The field of vision pannedout to reveal a number of other people also in the water, pushing, splashing, moving the water, and feelinglike so many fine fellows that they were so powerful as to be capable of exerting their will and control over the water. Then it panned out once more to reveal myself in the air above the seashore below, and I saw awall of water, a tsunami, towering just offshore, very near to them, waiting at the ready to utterly crushthem all. Then, the vision became instructive. It showed me to “fade” into that very wall of water. Though Icould not exert my will or any control over the tsunami, I would have found the source of true power, become one with it, and thereby been safe. I saw all of this in an instant; it did not so much as affect theconversation.Anyway, for whatever reason, as Don was yelling, I looked out at the ferocity of the downpour on thesidewalk. A lot of people had taken refuge under the overhang, and a foreboding feeling was creeping over me. I thought, what if the world was ending right now? What if everything had been leading up to this verymoment, and this was the end, at least for me? It was a scary thought.Michael Berens had sometimes given me the feeling that he knew me, or that he knew things about me, that

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Hi Zevi, I appreciate you sharing that testimony. sd

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