This is Earl George's story of how he used to be a 2x2 elder in Alaska and came to believe in Jesus Christ as God in the flesh and left the 2x2 religion.
Looking back over my life I am in awe and continual thanksgiving for the many ways my Lord and Savior has wooed, carried, protected, provided, and shaped me. Below is a summary of my story of how the Lord opened my eyes and gave me a new life. I’ve left out many details which I can provide at a later date as I have time to write more, Lord willing.
I was born/raised in a 4th generation “divided” home and professed in 1986 at age 11 and departed from this group at age 38. My earliest memories of meetings, workers, and friends were very good. I felt loved and surrounded by many who appeared to love “truth”. Deciding to “profess” was more about peer pressure than an actual conviction of the Holy Spirit but didn’t know any better. Just belonging to this group (who they refer to as “the truth” which label I strongly now oppose since this title is reserved for Christ alone who said that He is “The Truth”) had really become my identity.
All seemed well and enjoyed the benefits of this strongly knit social community with its kindness and genuine friends. At a young age I was especially moved and impressed by some notable workers who genuinely loved me and taught truth and vigorously sought it. I was richly blessed by some friends and workers that genuinely loved others and showed the fruits of righteousness in their lives.
I never really considered what life could be like outside of this group because it suited me just fine. Even in my youth I did wrestle with some key questions that conflicted with my “reality”. Those thoughts were basically “how was I so lucky to have been picked by God to be born into a group that is the only way to heaven?”…..AND…..”what about all those people in the world that will never get to hear the workers or be in a gospel meeting…are they really all going to hell? how could God pre-select some to hear the workers and others not?”
As I grew older I started to discern that there were others in this group who in my estimation seemed to be nothing more than walking dead men, worker parrots, puppets, puppeteers, or wolves. This was somewhat discouraging but I was easily placated by this groups naïve little quips such as, “the way is perfect but the people are not” or “if they are not of God then they will leave”. This created a terrible thought trap that was paralyzing since leaving the group would imply you are not one of God’s children. To further compound my frustration the behavior of the dogs, their false teachings, and maltreatment of others was either ignored, encouraged, or fostered to grow to its fuller uglier and uglier potential. The spirit of anti-Christ with its false teachings finally took their toll on me. I began to really question many things about the ministry of the 2x2s since the age of 13 or 14. This was around the time that the Truitt Oyler and Bob Ingram were removed from the ministry by a staff of overseeing workers from the region without any satisfying answers for why this happened. In the following years many meetings were removed from homes throughout Alaska over some apparent false teachings and loyalty to Bob and Truitt. Again no explanations as to why good people were getting hurt, accused, and character assassinated. The reasons given were accusations of false teachings from Bob and Truitt. However, there was a spirit problem I sensed between the overseeing workers and Bob and Truitt that didn’t match up with the accusations of the overseeing workers and their puppets and parrots. Over the course of time I had gradually understood that the internal struggle amongst workers centered around the deity of Christ. Was Christ God or simply a good man to follow? The internal struggle I sensed amongst the workers exposed a divide that was always there but wasn’t readily apparent until the spirits were tested to reveal their true natures. Don’t misunderstand this controversy is not based on human differences of opinion but real spiritual warfare. Understand that false teachings, abuses, and power struggles are only the fruit of a spirit opposed to the spirit of Christ.
Other stories of spiritual abuses that I witnessed included not allowing some to partake of the communion elements of Christ as a form of “punishment” for sin. This was so sick to me since all it really accomplished was embarrassment and ostracism and provided a remembrance of sin rather than the beautiful provision for our sin and entering into life through our Lord’s body and blood. Also, I witnessed how divorced couples were “dealt” with as if they committed the one unforgiveable sin. I’m not defending sin; I hate sin. I strongly oppose how sin is dealt with in this group. Scriptures are very clear about how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ and that we edify one another in love which includes gently restoring a fallen brother to their feet, pointing them to a loving Saviour ready to forgive, cleanse, and heal considering carefully our own weakness and not giving occasion to our common enemy (which is not flesh and blood) to cause even more harm.
Approximate timeline of my “professing career” below:
Age 11 – “professed”
Age 17 – baptized
Age 24 – married inside
Age 27 – first born son and approximate year of a Wednesday night meeting placed in our home
Age 28 to 30 – Sunday morning meeting placed in our home
Age 38 – meeting removed from our home and we departed from the 2x2s at this point
All for now.
Final years leading up to final exit from the 2x2s
Years before leaving this group the Lord gently led me to grow in relationship with Him. One cord of bondage at a time was broken as He began to reveal to me personally who He really is, His great plan of salvation for me, His love for me, and so much more. Now looking back at His work in my life I realize I was being wrapped in His love for me and pulled out of Egypt during those days leading up to my exit from the 2x2s. Below is a list of the ways He specifically spoke to me and released me and led me out of Egypt:
1) Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. There is only one way to Father God and that is through God the Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus did not say the way is through Jesus and the workers or the way to the Father is through the workers. Any who attempt to take any one of those titles (The Way, The Truth, The Life) for themselves are counterfeits and are trying to enter another way and are thieves and robbers (John 10:1). This counterfeiting spirit has its origins that go back to even before the creation (Isaiah 14: 12-14; Gen 11: 3-4; Gen 3: 4-6).
2) What is redemption and why do I need it? This topic is never touched on in meetings. How can the gospel be such good news when we don’t even begin to understand the dire situation we are all in (Rom 3:10-23)? I gradually began to understand that where I was headed was not where I wanted to be and not where God wanted me to be. In the beginning of creation God established the law of harvest. He set each living thing in its own order to multiply after its own kind (Gen 1). You reap only what you sow (Gal 6:7). You cannot sow apple seeds and expect to reap oranges; dogs do not have cats, humans do not have chimpanzee babies. You cannot sow to the flesh and reap life; you cannot sow in the Spirit of God and reap death. This universal law has been established and nobody can escape this reality. Therefore in the Garden of Eden when God declared that in the day Adam and Eve would partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die. A simple law yet so powerful in its implications. There is a tree that leads to life and one that leads to death. We partook of the tree of death and have been suffering as a human race ever since that day. However, there was also another law that was established before the law of harvest. This law is that dark cannot overcome light; you see how God masterfully established this first (Gen 1:3-4)? This is reiterated in John 1:5. So even though we all must now taste of the first death (death of our bodies) the Light (that is Christ) overcomes our second death sentence (darkness and eternal separation) when indwelling our hearts and guarantees us a new resurrection body in time to come. This is also why resurrection is an important theme of the gospel also as the final conclusion of the great problem of sin and death and how it will be the final enemy put under Christ’s feet in the ages to come (I Cor 15:20-28).
3) The way to salvation is exclusively through Jesus Christ. It is a gift of God by grace, through faith in Christ alone and not of ourselves lest any man should boast (Eph 2: 8-10). In heaven there will be no one that sings praises to themselves for earning their way into heaven (Rev 4:8-11).
1. I became excited to see in Him this beautiful arrangement whereby He alone in His sovereignty loved and chose to save men before time ever was (Eph 1:4-6). Christ was slain before the foundation of the world. By His grace alone chose to save us in spite of our weakness, failures, and the fact that we were even enemies to Him! What Love is this? I couldn’t believe it; is this really true??!!!! If He had never chosen us it wouldn’t even matter how much we strove for an eternal inheritance. But He so anxiously desires to give us the kingdom?! Wow! This blows my mind every time I consider it.
2. Why is it that this message is never really spoken about in meetings, gospel meetings, conventions, etc? Ask workers about this and it seems to escape them as to what powerful versus these and how tremendously freeing this is!!! I was so exhausted within myself to try and break free of my own sin, find a way to be a “good boy” and impress God in my own strength and sense of rightness, have 100% attendance record to meetings, have as many workers to stay with us as possible, make sure our home was a “worker fit” home to host meetings, help setup conventions, throw my entire support behind this 2x2 ministry, provide a car, housing, money, etc. Yet I was so frustrated with continued failure in this endeavor to save myself and felt emptier and tired the more I tried.
One of my most memorable answered prayers when begging for strength to continue on was one word from heaven……”Rest”. That’s it? Rest? That’s too simple. But then He showed me what He meant when He said “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30). The burden I was carrying was my sin and all attempts to deal with it myself; this was too heavy for me to carry but I refused to admit it to myself for a long time because “hey, I’m a man…I’m tough…I can deal with this one…no problem”……what foolish thinking this was. I was too blind and proud to see that I was losing a battle I could never win.
By focusing on sin all the time, as we encouraged to do in the meetings with same worn out message of “dying to yourself”, ironically I fell more into sin….the key missing message was LIFE and a SAVIOR that already takes care of that for us!!!! Why focus on death when the way through Christ is about life? Christ was in the grave for only 3 days and now lives forevermore….so we die once that we might also live forever more. If we’ve died and set the old man away why dwell on that death component so vigorously? There’s too much life to be lived to stay on that topic for rest of your life. I guess the focus on “dying to self” is so prevalent amongst the 2x2 group because they only know death and desperately need revival. If we would just throw our entire lot in with Him and Him alone we find a waiting loving Savior who so desperately wants us to experience wonderful life and life abundantly with Him beyond anything our hopes or dreams could even possibly fathom.
Additionally, He led me to more refreshing life-giving words in Hebrews 4 when talking about entering into His rest when we trust and depend completely on Him and His most excellent and wonderful promises. This helped me understand really more about what Sabbath was intended to be…..A rest for our own dead works of unbelief (which I was doing by trying to “earn” my salvation rather than receive it simply as a gift through faith in Christ) and enter into His finished work on Calvary when He clearly declared “It is finished”! The work of salvation has been done; now believers get to simply collect the spoils of the great battle Christ won on their behalf when He crucified the sins of the world placed onto his flesh, burying it in the grave, and then triumphantly resurrecting from the grave forever defeating sin and death as a result. This is why we are more than conquerors in Him because He did the work for us that we could never do and now we get to enjoy life in Him and sin has lost all of its power against us as a result.
I finally saw how silly and futile my attempts were to deal with the sin problem in years past; I had been taking a knife to a gun battle!! The weapons I needed had to come from God and not of myself. This sheds light on Ephesians 6 in talking about the armor of God and why it’s crucial. It also taught me who the real enemy is. The enemy is not flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places, etc. This helps me to have compassion on the 2x2 ministry as they all need to experience this same wonderful life in Christ and be free!! I pray for this 2x2 ministry and the many friends I still have in this group to be pricked in their consciences to dare to trust in Him and not the group for their salvation and dealing with the sin problem. They don’t understand the hours in prayer and tears I’ve shed over them; I’m not bitter against them….I only now begin to understand how Christ must have felt when He wept over Jerusalem when they had rejected Him (Luke 19:41-44); He wasn’t pouting that they rejected Him. He was in sorrow knowing their destruction and didn’t want that for them and wanted to share His love for them that could make all the difference. The Love of God just loves to love others even when it’s not returned.
Who is Jesus and why is this important to understand? If redemption and salvation is important to understand then the understanding WHO provides this gift is equally important. As my Lord gradually opened my understanding on this topic I began to see this would finally pull me away from this 2x2 group. The little that was ever taught on Jesus in meetings was not the real “jesus” but instead a “jesus” of the workers own creation conveniently fitting into their agenda and poisoning the minds of men. I believe many workers err in this in ignorance and don’t know what they’re teaching; they just simply needed to start with the milk of the Word and shouldn’t be placed in a position of teaching and counciling others.
Jesus is God! The Pharisees primary reason for crucifying Christ was “because he made himself the Son of God” or “because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 19:7, John 8:58-59, John 10:30-33). This same murderous spirit still lives on in the hearts of men and it is one that must be cast out to receive salvation. Throughout history many Christians have also been burned at the stake, crucified, tortured, etc. for this simple declaration that Jesus is God and Lord and not the Pope, not bishops, not the Sanhedrin, not Ellen White, not workers, not Joseph Smith, not any man. God alone saves and is the only one that can save us; this makes the choice as simple as possible either you believe and trust on Him for your salvation or you do not. Only the priceless blood of the blemishless Lamb of God can save men. The blood of bulls and goats can’t do this (Heb 10:4) and even the blood of the best man on earth that ever lived cannot redeem us because he is not blemishless. Jesus was not just a perfect man….He is God the Son in human flesh (John 1:1 & 14); God is perfect…man is not. Why is Christ’s identity important? In John chapter 8 Christ simply told the Pharisees that unless they believed who He claimed to be then they would die in their sins (John 8:24). Later in that same chapter He declared that He is “I AM” (John 8:58). This same “I AM” is the same I AM that appeared to Moses in the burning bush. It’s strange to me the most everyone in the meeting system seems to understand that it was God who was in the burning bush yet seem to deny or be confused as to why this is not the same I AM that Christ claimed to be. So does dying in our sins an important thing to avoid? If so, then why aren’t His words taken seriously? Was He lying when He made this claim? If He’s lying then He can’t be our Savior because this would make Him a sinner. Yet somehow many seem to believe that Jesus is the Savior and even the hymns they sing make reference to His redeeming blemishless qualities but then seem to some get confused and claim that He isn’t God or that the title I AM is not referring to His deity?
If you call a wrong phone number then you simply hang up the phone and try the correct phone number. Likewise attending the 2x2 meetings and listening to the teachings of a different “jesus” is simply calling on the wrong source of life. The solution is to hang up and call upon the only one true living Christ and acknowledge Him for who He claimed to be. We are warned about worshipping false gods and idols. When the children of Israel fell in idol worship they perished, fell into captivity, suffered diseases, suffered famines, and so on. This illustrates what happens to us spiritually when we turn to our own devices and false gods….we simply become what we worship (Psalm 115:8). This is why Isaiah, Hosea, and Christ all say things like eyes and ears they have but see and hear not because they worship idols who also see and hear not. You sow to dead things you reap death; you sow to the Spirit of Life you reap Life eternal. There is only one Christ that gives life and none other. This shouldn’t be surprising because we are also warned in scriptures that are and always will be false ministries in the world who take the name of God in vain yet deny the power thereof. Some 2x2s will be adamant that they do not worship workers but their lives and actions say otherwise; I would know because I fell into this trap for a long time and later the Lord revealed to me that I was worshipping workers. Just listen to the testimony of most any 2x2 and they will either reference what a worker said in a gospel meeting, have oodles of convention notes that they speak from more than scripture, and their language is always worker-centric rather than Christ-centric. At convention they have special little labeled “Worker” dining tables, special tea-time events only arranged for workers during convention, there’s speaking list/schedule lists made up for workers during convention, there’s special worker photos taken and distributed to everyone with great joy during conventions, specially catered meals during home visits, repeating things that workers said and really trying to live by that (worker parrots), people would rather have a worker over for a meal or stay the night than to visit the oppressed or abused souls in their meeting, etc.
The deity of Christ is so compelling and throughout all scriptures yet it is not revealed by flesh and blood but by the Father (Matt 16:16-17). So the deity of Christ cannot be explained away no matter how well it may be presented. The revelation of who Christ is is the foundation upon which Christ is building His church (Matt 16:18); to deny this truth places one completely outside of the body of Christ. Denying the true identity of Christ actually places one in direct opposition to God and is considered a liar (I John 2:22-23). A few verses that really were refreshing to me on this revelation (and also the perfect union of Son, Father, and Holy Spirit that are ONE as Jesus declared also) are…Gen 1:26 (“let US make man….), Gen 11:6-7 (“….let US go down, and there confound….”), John 1:1, Hebrews 1:8-10, Rev 1:8, Col 2:8-10, Matt 1:23, Isaiah 9:6, Psalms 45:6-7, Isaiah 44:6 with Rev 1:8 & Rev 22:13, Psalm 110:1, Matt 22:42-45, John 10:30, I John 5:7, Matt 28:19, John 20:28, Luke 5:19-21, and many cases where people approached Christ and states they worshipped Him; worship is only permissible toward God. Christ accepted worship without rebuking it like the good angels and godly men would always forbid worship of anything (including themselves) other than God himself.
Common err amongst the 2x2 ministry and the friends is to say Jesus can’t be God because the Father is God and there is only one God. It is true there is one God and there’s no conflict if you take the words of Christ seriously when He said I and the Father are One (John 10:30). Unity was established even on earth when God created man and woman when He established that a man and his wife would become One flesh (Gen 2:24). There is no conflict by saying that Jesus is God and that the Father is God since they are unified together as One. Christ and His body (the church) are also considered One; notice when Christ dealt with Saul on the road to Damascus He said why persecutes thou Me? Saul/Paul was persecuting the church on earth but Christ felt as if it was being done to Him. As a matter of fact the union of Christ and His body (the church) is described in the scriptures as a husband/wife marriage relationship (Ephesians 6:24-33).
Part 3 – Final Exit
In 2002 my wife and I had our first son. This was about time the workers placed a Wednesday night bible study meeting into our home. Two and a half years later our daughter was born and shortly thereafter the workers placed a Sunday morning meeting in our home. From about 2005 until 2013 the Sunday morning meeting was in our home. I gradually discovered that as an elder you’re supposed to defer decisions to workers on almost a regular basis; I did not do this as I firmly believed an elder led of the Spirit was completely equipped to make everyday decisions to avoid concerning workers with these everyday decisions. I took Acts chapter 6 literally. The appointing of elders by the apostles in Acts 6 was specifically to free the apostles from the duty of “serving tables” to preach the gospel freely throughout the world. However, this is not how the workers actually operate. The elder from the other meeting would always make a point with me to say “well we better ask the workers about that”. Then there were those who would report to the workers (unbeknownst to me until they told me so) who said what in meetings, who was saying what in meeting, etc. If someone needed a little correcting then I would hear about from the workers without realizing someone was informing them of certain things. Decisions are made by workers, based on the regional policy established by the overseer, without question, without prayer, nor without guidance of the Holy Spirit. Often assumptions and decisions were made by workers without really talking and praying with the people involved in whatever situation was before them. As a result, things were said and done that didn’t make any sense, sowed distrust, and it clearly pointed to a hidden agenda held by the workers.
Workers stowed their stuff in our house and our house was a “staging point” for the field. We left a sizeable portion of the house alone for them to reside, come and go as they pleased, and stayed out of their business entirely as I respected privacy, a courtesy some did not extend to me and my family. At one point a worker called me from out of town and asked me to rummage through one of their drawers in our house to find a “field manual”. I had no clue what they were referring to but found what they needed and read off a phone number from it and an address. This “field manual” I discovered had a summary write-up on the status of the friends in that field, who was struggling with what, who was a good supporter, arrangements made for meetings, etc. The “who’s who” of the field; how convenient. Now it made sense why certain decisions were made regarding others in the meeting even by newly arriving workers reassigned to our field. For example, there were some men in the meetings that were simply never allowed to be a “backup elder” when the elder was out of town, the way meetings were arranged (who would go where) and why, who could have the privilege of having a meeting and who could not (even if the “could-nots” were qualified scripturally), preferred treatment of others, pointed comments/hints and lectures in your home in front of your kids, the custom tailored messages in “gospel meetings” pointed at certain individuals on the worker “poop list”, who’s allowed to partake in the meetings and who’s not, etc.
Workers were so busy with their travels to/from special meetings, conventions, home visits, special convention project, etc. that on average they only spent about 5 to 6 months in their actual assigned fields. I didn’t actually witness any workers expanding into new areas, visiting people, spreading the gospel (according to them). They relied on the friends to make new contacts to bring more “outsiders” to meeting. Some couch surfed, constantly on their laptops or phones, hopped from home to home frequently (since they’re homeless – this completely goes against Christ’s instructions to a homeless ministry – see Luke 10:7), did almost nothing to help around the house, some had special diets that they expected to be catered to, most didn’t visit the afflicted (unless you were “really special”), no heart toward lost souls, no thought toward the sick/dying/prisoners, etc. They just don’t behave at all like a true minister at all. Even in today’s fairly affluent society this is a pretty luxurious arrangement.
As I grew more disgusted with this 2x2 ministry I really just stopped caring about what the ministry thought of me. I started just speaking truth in meetings regardless of consequences as I was warned not to do by some of my closest friends in the meetings in whom I felt comfortable confiding in. I’d just speak on topics that really excited me such as redemption, grace, Love, holiness, Christ in His awesomeness and His sacrifice. These topics are so far out of the scope of what you’re supposed to believe in the 2x2 system that it made some uncomfortable especially since we were expected to focus on the sacrifice of the workers or ourselves in obedience to the workers and their words. Redemption and grace were topics you simply weren’t supposed to really discuss since they didn’t glorify the workers. Speaking praises of Christ the redeemer and Savior in meetings sounded so foreign and so out of place in the meetings but I didn’t care anymore. I felt within myself not speaking openly about what was really in my heart would just drive me to insanity. Some seemed to love to talk about these things but workers especially avoided follow up discussions on these crucial topics.
During 2013 special meeting rounds in Southeast Alaska we had Wayne Bechtol and Eric Hawkins stay with us in our home in Juneau. As the evening and conversation progressed Wayne and Eric finally steered the conversation to Jesus and His humanity. With my wife and kids in the same room, they made the shocking statement that “Jesus is not God and anyone who believes that Jesus is God is evil.” They proceeded to justify this statement with some seemingly logical human reasoning and then the conversation wound down as I just remained silent after that statement. Wayne and Eric finally clearly identified who they really were; before they would hide behind veiled statements and deceit but now boldly proclaimed where they stood.
At this point I was completely resolved that Wayne or Eric were no longer welcome in my home (2 John 1:7-11). They confessed that God (Jesus Christ) had not come in the flesh and therefore carried the spirit of antichrist. We are instructed not to receive them into your house neither bid him God speed.
The workers proceeded onward in their special meeting rounds south to Ketchikan. Upon Wayne’s return to his northern field he was scheduled to pass back through Juneau and wanted to stay a night with us. My wife had said that was fine at first (which was just a normal almost automatic response in our house at this point); but after further discussing this together decided this was not actually acceptable. I called Wayne and uninvited him from staying with us. Wayne seemed fine with this and understood but I told him that I need him to understand clearly why we were uninviting him. I told him directly over the phone that he can’t stay with us because of the statement he made in our house regarding Christ and that I knew Christ personally as God and taught that in our own home to our kids and could not allow a spirit contrary to this in our home. Wayne had to end the call since he was in the middle of something and wanted to discuss further when he had opportunity. He called sometime later prior to arrival in Juneau and the phone conversation went pretty much like this:
Wayne: Earl, do you know Mark Huddle or Dean Bruer?
Wayne: Would you like to discuss this issue with either one of them?
Earl: I confer not with flesh and blood
Wayne: Well, you should know that all of the Washington and Alaska friends don’t see it the way you do.
Earl: Again, I confer not with flesh and blood
Wayne: So we can’t come to your house now for meals or stay the night?
Earl: And you can no longer come to the meeting in our home
Wayne: Well, what should we do with the meeting in your home
Earl: What you do with the meeting in our home concerns me little, do as you wish
Wayne: Ok, I’ll call you Monday with a decision
Monday was a few days away and this gave me opportunity to tell most all the friends in our meeting what was going down. I told my friends that meeting would most likely be removed from our home and why. Many did not know how to receive the news as I suspected would happen. However, I felt it was only fair to them to understand clearly what was going on so they wouldn’t be left in the same daze and fog that I had been left in when no one was forthcoming with me during the many heart-wrenching years when Truitt and Bob and many home meetings were removed.
On the Monday following, Wayne called and removed the meeting from our home. We were free at last! Our home was finally the sanctuary it should be dedicated to Christ and Christ alone as Lord and Savior! In the years since we have grown tremendously in Christ and could truly now enter into the Psalmist declaration that The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We have discovered that contrary to what workers want you to believe by leaving the 2x2 system that actually when you are led by the Most High, the Great Deliverer, Lord of Angel armies, Precious Savior, Holy Redeemer that workers really have no power and they are wrong about “losing out” as they say.
Be of good courage brothers; do not look upon the fierceness of the enemy of our souls (not workers – rather the spirit that leads them) nor the weakness of ourselves, but be greatly encouraged in the Lord and look up to behold the Lord of lords, King of kings, and Prince of Peace besides whom none can compare and before whom none can stand.
All for now.
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