This site is about the "2x2 Church" which arrogantly calls itself "the truth." They want you to believe that their church has been around "since the beginning." But they will lie in order to convince you. The truth is, this church started in 1897. This site tells the truth about "the truth" since those in charge of "the truth" do not.
Events Preceding the Alberta Excommunications of 1999
The events leading up to the 1999 Alberta excommunications are outlined below. Let the reader decide.
A number of people have wondered about what were the events and issues that preceded the excommunications in Alberta in 1999. I will attempt to explain what was happening at the time, based on my recollections as well as notes, letters, and various documents that I have kept. As I'm sure you could imagine, there were many different issues, and there is probably no single issue that was the key one. It was really an accumulation of incidents and concerns, and the manner in which the ministry dealt with them (or, in most cases, refused to deal with them). As most of us are aware, the ministry does not take kindly to being questioned about their actions or being expected to be accountable to anyone, and I guess that was what resulted in the ministry having to take drastic action if they were to maintain the control and position that they were accustomed to having. I am sure I will miss some of the issues and if I do miss anything that someone else feels should be brought out, please feel free to provide any additional input.
I'm sure that we all had certain expectations when we were "professing," based on a number of "basic truths" that we learned in the group. But, during the period beginning about 1995, a number of issues came to light that caused many to question why some of the actions of the ministry seemed to not be in line with the "basic truths" that they taught. To fully appreciate the concerns that some of the Friends had during this period, it is necessary to review some of the things that we had all been taught as basic doctrines or truths in this group that calls itself "the Truth."
Some of these "basic truths" as we understood them in the group were:
These were just a few of the key ingredients of this way we called "the Truth." They had been instilled in us since our childhood. It wasn't until it became evident that some of these "basic truths" were not being adhered to by high profile workers that some of the Friends began to get concerned and started to take a closer look at what was going on. Of course, we know now that so much of what we were taught in that group was not sound doctrine, and this includes those "'basic truths" listed above. But, when we were in "the Truth," these teachings were very well ingrained and were just the way we believed things should be.
Some of the events that occurred that caused us to have concerns and to start looking into things a bit more deeply were the following:
So, these were a few of the issues that all seemed to surface at about the same time and there are others. But they were issues that raised doubts about the integrity of the ministry. I can't even be sure which issue would have been first it was probably a different one for each person. But, overall, it became obvious that the workers were not abiding by those "basic truths" that we had been taught all our lives. It was clear that:
I should stress that not all workers are guilty of these things some are very fine people (although very brainwashed and misguided). But, the really scary and disappointing thing was that even though many may not have agreed with what was being done by their leader(s), they, with very few exceptions, declared their full support for them. With very few exceptions, there was a total lack of backbone or readiness to stand for what was right. In one instance, I was discussing some of the concerns with a senior sister worker (Dorothy Tessman), and I asked her what she would do if she became aware that something Willis Propp wanted them to do or believe was completely contradictory to what we had always been taught. Her response "Well, I'm just a sister worker. I would just keep in my place." This seemed to be the general attitude you must not rock the boat or make waves and you must go along with whatever the senior workers demand of you, regardless of whether it was right or wrong.
The workers, as we all know, have not been accustomed to answering questions or being accountable in any way, so to be expected to explain why any of these things had happened didn't do great things for harmony between the workers and the inquisitive Friends. The workers' approach to dealing with questions they didn't want to answer would be to initially listen to the question, and advise that they would look into it, and that it was now in the workers' hands so we no longer needed to be concerned. Of course, they never took any action to get to the bottom of any of the concerns or to do anything about them, and they would imply that we were overstepping our bounds if we ever again brought the matter up. Generally, I suppose this approach had worked quite well for them over the years but in the situation that had developed in Alberta, there were enough people with enough concerns that they were not prepared to just drop the issue because the workers said so. As you can imagine, it started to get tense pretty quickly as soon as questions began to be asked to the workers regarding any of the above issues.
I can perhaps use our own situation as an example. We had been trying to get answers from the workers in our field that year (we were "blessed" to have Willis Propp and Merlin Howlett) regarding why the money issues and the incorporation had been handled the way they were. Willis generally made himself quite unavailable for any discussion, but Merlin was always up to the challenge. As we would ask questions, we would be provided with an evasive answer, a diversion, or an outright lie. They are experts in diverting a discussion off track if it isn't going the way they want it to. So, after each of our so-called discussions, we would go away and do some more checking and in almost all cases we would find out that the answers we had been given were not correct. So, we would call Merlin and ask him to come back because we would like to discuss some of his previous answers with us. Then we would get the response "Oh, you must have misunderstood me" again, another of their devious tactics. And as we would raise more questions, he would rise up from his chair, shake his finger at us and inform us (in a quite loud and threatening manner) that "You better watch your step. You are driving a wedge between you and the workers." So, things were not on good grounds for a number of months leading up to our excommunication. And I'm sure that most of the others who were eventually excommunicated experienced similar things.
An interesting observation we made during that time period was the change in the general theme that we heard in workers' sermons. In earlier years we would often hear that we should stand up for what was right, even if we were the only ones doing it, etc, etc. We'd hear quotes such as "Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose true, and dare to make it known," or "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." We suddenly noticed that the focus had shifted to being forgiving of a brother's sins, keeping in your place, minding our own business, not rocking the boat, keeping our brother's sins covered, etc, etc. Certainly there is a place for those thoughts, alright, but not as a means of covering up serious, ongoing concerns. They were obviously trying to shut down any discussion of serious issues, and to make it sound like it was scriptural to do so, and that raising concerns was an unscriptural thing to do.
Anyway, in the period leading up to the excommunications, it would seem that the ministry (well, Willis Propp and the other key decision-makers, anyway) had decided they had to get things under control. Since they had no intention of actually doing anything to remedy the problems, and they couldn't squelch the discussion by talking and threats, it would seem they felt the only solution would be to eliminate those who they saw as being the problems. We know that they find it very difficult (almost impossible, it seems) to admit they have made a mistake or to reverse any bad decision they have made or action they have committed. It seems that for them the only way to solve a problem is to eliminate those who are not willing to go along with their attempts to whitewash the situation.
In the case of Keith and Mabel Veitch, they had been talking to the workers in their field about one of the money issues, and the senior worker had lied to them about the situation. When they challenged her on the lying issue and informed her that workers who lied were not welcome in their home, the worker advised them that lying had nothing to do with doctrine and was therefore not a valid reason to deny a worker the right to come into their home. And, if she was not allowed in their home, then they could not have a meeting. So, that was one of the issues that sparked the removal of the first meeting. Of course, the rest is history the Veitches decided to continue to have a meeting if anyone wished to attend, and those who subsequently did attend were excommunicated and thus began the chain reaction that resulted in a number of meetings being removed from homes, and about 20 people being excommunicated.
At the time of the excommunications, 8 meetings were removed (actually, 1 of these was taken about 4 months earlier because the elder had said that Willis wasn't welcome to stay overnight in his house because of his lack of honesty in answering questions). Of these, 5 were Wednesday night meetings, 2 were Sunday, and 1 was Union meeting. In the period immediately after the excommunications (and extending for a couple years), at least 16 more elders gave up their meetings rather than be seen as supporting the workers in their actions. Of these, 7 were Wednesday, 8 were Sunday meetings, and 1 was a Union meeting and about half of those elders have also left the 2x2 system. This makes a total of at least 24 meetings that were closed in a period of about 2 years.
I should point out that the concerns at that time had very little to do with doctrine. We were convinced that what the workers were preaching was right or if we weren't totally convinced of that fact, we assumed it was just our own lack of understanding that was the problem. We have now come to understand just how far off track the workers' doctrine really is, but that was not an issue for us at that time.
I hope this answers some of the questions, although I am sure there are still some unanswered ones. There are numerous other incidents, as well, that contributed to the total loss of trust and confidence in the workers and their system. And, as noted earlier, others who went through the experience may have observed and experienced other issues that convinced them that things were not the way they should be and that they could no longer support a ministry and a system that behaved the way this one did.
On the next page, you can read about how some of the Alberta excommunications were carried out.