Tuesday, 29 January 2013


By high school graduation, almost every student has had some work experience. Unfortunately, nobody taught me how to find employment. As I wrote in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) never taught us such important skills.

As a result of this omission, I had no clue about how to look for a job. This excerpt from my newly released memoir demonstrates how helpless I was and how uninformed certain sighted people were about my dilemma.


"You must get a job, Bruce," Sister Roberta admonished as we ate supper in Sister Eileen's kitchen one Wednesday in January of 1976. "Don't, you know the Bible says if a man will not work, he should not eat? The Bible speaks against sloth you know."

"How can I find a job? CNIB didn't teach me how to do that when I was in Toronto,"

"Oh," she blurted, suddenly realizing her indiscretion.

Sister Roberta's words nagged at me more and more as I wiled away the days in my room. When I called Mom one morning and poured out my conflicted feelings, she asked, "Why should you worry about that? You've got money coming in. People shouldn't expect you to work. After all, you're blind. How can you be expected to find a job?"

Even with her encouragement, I felt guilty as I lounged in my room while others laboured. Since I lacked skills or training, I decided to wait for a CNIB counselor to find me work. I expected this organization would soon place me in a position somewhere.

The phone rang one morning in late January. A CNIB counselor named Bob gave me the good news that I would be employed as a dishwasher in the cafeteria at the Alberta legislature. As I gazed into the bathroom mirror while brushing my teeth, I realized that I needed to tidy up my appearance. That afternoon, I rode the bus downtown. At a barber school, I had my long hair cut and my scrawny beard shaved off.


I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Friday, 25 January 2013


I usually write about my books on this blog but this is a serious matter for all Albertans. In fact, everybody in the world is experiencing higher energy costs. What alarms me is that the system in my province is rigged so we don't get the power savings that we should.

Joe Anglin is a Member of the Legislature of Alberta for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. He also is a strong opponent of the governing Progressive Conservative Party's plan to export power to America and make us pay for the lines. In his YouTube presentation, Alberta Prices and Transmission Costs, a series of four videos, he describes in detail how the government has set up the system so that customers pay a higher price for electricity than they need to.

I was shocked when I saw how high my electricity bills had soared in 2012. A year earlier, my total charge was around $70.00. A year later, I was paying more than double that amount. Even with switching to LED lighting and turning off power bars in rooms where I usually didn't go, my bills remained painfully high.

While thinking over how I could lower my monthly bills, I realized that the gas heater might be able to warm the house sufficiently that I wouldn't need the furnace during the day. My practice of turning the thermostat down in the morning and up before bed is paying off. The December bill was around $87.00, a marked improvement from the previous year

Since natural gas is relatively cheap, I save money by not running the furnace fan all day. I need to do it at night as the bedroom doesn't have its own gas heater. Even so, the reduction inn power consumption is dramatic.

Adding to the savings is that I hang my clothes on a makeshift line in the basement. Dryers use too much electricity so I take advantage of my basement line.

Thanks to the folks at The Dollar Stretcher, I learned that putting bottles of water in the empty spaces in my fridge would help it run more efficiently. In addition, I have water in the event of a prolonged power outage. I use well water and the only way I can access the water is when the pump has electricity. This cold-saving method is another way that I try to save on my power bills.

As for where my newly-published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity can be found online, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Was I peddling the gospel?

When I returned from a short-term missionary trip to Saltillo, Mexico, I felt happy about contributing to the Lord's work. Imagine my surprise when the minister of the house church chided me for peddling the gospel.

From my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, here's an excerpt that shows how the cult leader's withering criticism spoiled my joy.


I don't like the idea of peddling books to pay for preaching the gospel," Brother Herald opined as he, Sister Roberta, Sister Eileen, and I ate supper in Sister Eileen's kitchen one Wednesday in January. "The gospel should be presented freely. Paul never charged for his missions work and neither should that outfit you were with, Bruce."

While he pontificated, hurt and anger boiled inside me. The mission leaders explained to us during their morning evangelism classes that we needed to sell the books so people would value them.

"Jesus said, 'Freely ye have received,'" Brother Herald continued as he glared at me. "The gospel is not for sale. If those book peddlers wish to evangelize, let them work first. I would have no more to do with them if I were you."

As our minister continued his diatribe, I silently wondered, Have I sinned by going on that trip with Operation Mobilization?

I heeded his directive but I still kept in contact with a few short-term missionaries from that organization.


I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Friday, 18 January 2013


Though I experienced many frustrating situations and contradictory pieces of advice while I was an Amway distributor, some of the stories I heard at rallies and on cassette tapes were extremely funny. Jim Jans, pictured at a rally in Lethbridge, Alberta, told a few that I'll never forget.

One story was about the time when Jim and his wife were just starting in Amway. One of the important duties a distributor needed to fulfil is to hold meetings at their homes in order to show the multi-marketing plan to prospective new members. Jim saw a large, red couch in a second hand shop for only $5.00. He somehow managed to get the oversized piece of furniture home and proudly showed it to his wife.

"Watch this," he exclaimed as he stood in front of it. Then he sat down. Instead of being cushioned in comfortable padding, Jim sunk right down to the floor. Springs and dust erupted from the spaces where the cloth of the couch had been held in place with stick pins. He ended up with his knees almost underneath his chin, feeling sheepish at his prideful showing off.

Before Jim had built his network to the point where he could afford expensive cars, he owned a two-tone Ford. It was blue and rust. As he drove a few distributors down an alley way one day, he lost patience with a back-seat driver.

"You want to drive?" he asked as he pulled off the steering wheel and tossed it into the back seat. As the car was slowly moving down the alley, he wasn't worried about crashing it. His pesky friend handed back the steering wheel and stopped giving Jim directions after that.

Then there was the time Jim tried to get a business loan from a bank. As he sat in the manager's office, he showed him all his sales receipts. After a while, the names he read off started sounding familiar. The manager realized after the third time around that Jim kept putting the slips he read at the back of the pile which he held in his hand. I can't remember if he received the loan or not but we all burst out laughing as we realized his sneaky way of making it sound like he had more customers than he actually did.

The funniest tale of all was when Jim, his wife, and daughter were driving away from a distributor's house. "What an entrepreneur that man is," Jim remarked.

"Dad!" his daughter exploded as she sat in the back seat. "How can you say a thing like that. You told us never to say bad things about others and now you just did that."

"What do you think I said?" Jim asked, clearly puzzled by his daughter's outrage.

"You called that man a pile of manure."

I still chuckle about those stories today, thirty years later. Though I failed to build a network of distributors and lost a lot of money, I have fond memories of the rallies and seminars that i attended.

I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Whether it's called the Eucharist, communion, or the Lord's supper, the ordinance that Jesus Christ instituted on the evening before his crucifixion remains controversial. Why must this be such a hotly-debated subject? On the other hand, why do some churches serve it only a few times each year? These questions used to bother me but they don't now.

I've written in the past about the house church I attended for fifteen years and their unbiblical beliefs. One of them was that only real wine and unleavened bread could be used. Brother Herald, the house church's self-appointed minister, believed that the elements had to be exactly the same as what Christ used. In his diatribe against grape juice-serving churches, he said he'd throw up if he drank Welch's if it was served to him for communion.

Though Brother Herald, as I've named him in my How I Was Razed memoir, considered the Catholic Church to be the beast on which the antichrist woman would ride on, he readily accepted their belief that the elements of the Eucharist actually became the body and blood of Christ. To spill any of the wine or drop the bread was considered a terrible sin by the church elders.

Brother Herald also twisted Hebrews 6:4-6 which says, "As for those who at one time saw the light, tasting the good things from heaven, and having their part in the Holy Spirit, With knowledge of the good word of God, and of the powers of the coming time, And then let themselves be turned away, it is not possible for their hearts to be made new a second time; because they themselves put the Son of God on the cross again, openly shaming him." Instead of it meaning the pretend Christians who abandoned the faith, he figured it meant defiling the communion.

What the Lord's supper really means is a memorial of Christ's sacrifice. When he said the bread was his body and the wine was his blood, he used metaphors which would be memorable to his followers. The materials used in the ordinance had no miraculous power and neither did the words spoken over them. Christ intended believers to keep his sacrifice for their sins foremost in their minds.

One concern I had for decades was that churches served grape juice and leavened bread during their communion services. I now understand that they didn't want to start former alcoholics back on their destructive paths by tempting them with wine. That makes perfect sense now that I'm free of Brother Heralds legalistic beliefs. Neither did serving leavened bread nullify the effectiveness of the Lord's supper since it was the memorial that mattered.

I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Friday, 11 January 2013


The problem with English is that words keep changing their meanings. For example, "suffer" used to mean "allow" four centuries ago. Likewise, "gay" used to mean "happy" or "cheerful" a mere fifty years ago.

The meaning of "cult" also has changed. We use it in one way to describe a following of a popular entertainer or film star. It has also taken on a sinister meaning, particularly after the deaths of nine-hundred people in Jonestown, Guyana.

In the category of religious cults, two types exist. The sociological cult is one in which a leader runs the lives of his followers. In a theological cult, the leader only dictates the religious practices and ideas of his flock. Jim Jone's ill-fated cult was an example of the sociological kind. The Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are examples of the latter. Sociological groups often isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Theological cults let their members live in society but they must eschew the activities that the leader determines are sinful.

In my recently-published paperback, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, I described my involvement in a theological cult. Like other aberrant groups, this church believed it had a teacher who received revelations from heaven. All other churches only had fragments of the truth but we supposedly had it all. In a theological cult, such as the one I joined, learning "advanced truth" was what kept us attending the meetings.

Not surprisingly, cult members never think of themselves as being in a cult. I know that I would have hotly denied back then that Thee Church, as I called it, was cultic. As far as I was concerned, all the other denominations were ignorant of the advanced truths that we learned. Any attempt to correct me met with stiff resistance, as when a woman tried to evangelize me at the CNIB smoke stand where I worked. Now I realize that I was the deluded one, not her.

So how did I break free from Thee Church? The elders' continual condemnation of my supposedly weak faith and criticisms about my non-church activities built up a seething anger in me. One Sunday, a woman condemned me from the pulpit, without mentioning my name of course. I stormed out of the house as soon as the meeting was over and never attended another of their services.

All this and more is laid out in my newly published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Can evolution and Christianity be harmonized? I've heard many people claim that both belief systems can be unified. A close examination of these paradigms shows that they are irreconcilable.

In the beginning, the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth. Evolution teaches that they came into being by themselves with no causal agent. How can God create and not create the universe at the same time? That's like making square circles or one-sided triangles.

Christ taught that we should love God and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Evolution proposes that we came into being through millions of random mutations. If we're mere animals with nobody to answer to, all standards of behaviour are arbitrary. Christianity, on the other hand, values selfless love toward others.

Evolution spawned both communism and Nazism. Though some people claimed to be Christian but proved otherwise by their actions, the teachings of Christ have greatly benefited the world. Why should the weak, which evolution teaches will lose to the strong, be helped and competed against at the same time.

I believe that the idea of theistic evolution is disproved by empirical science. The Cambrian explosion alone shows that every creature living back then was fully formed and perfectly adapted for its environment. People also confuse natural selection with evolution. A self-replicating system such, as what we have on this planet, needs to be able to adjust to shifts in climate and availability of food. Far from being the result of random changes, this universe and life itself are finely crafted. Only an eternal being such as God could set everything in motion.

Darwin's Dilemma is one of many videos which show the impossibility of evolution. It and other DVDs can be ordered through Illustra Media.

I mentioned my own dilemma regarding evolution being taught in science classes at school in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble stock the e-book version while Virtual Bookworm stock the paperback version. My previous titles are available on the left hand side of this page.

Friday, 4 January 2013


Have you ever watched the portrayal of a miracle on DVD? I did. In fact, God used it as part of his program of renovating my views about him and his Word.

In my newly-published testimony, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, I described how this history of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God blessed me.


Though my nervousness subsided, I still wanted to participate in some form of worship service. A Google search led me to Christianity without the Religion, an online congregation of people who had been burned by authoritarian clergy.

At first, I enjoyed the gentle sermons from the online church's pastor. Greg frequently described how his parents and the Worldwide Church of God misled him since childhood with the Armstrong's legalistic requirements. He showed through Scripture how the Lord wasn't a sadistic ogre in the sky who made devoted believers run on dogmatic treadmills, but a loving and generous granter of grace to all who came to him for forgiveness.

Upon hearing this amazing story, I subscribed to Plain Truth magazine. In one e-mail bulletin, the publication gave away a copy of a DVD entitled, Called to Be Free. Because it wasn't a paperback which I couldn't read, I e-mailed the publication to request it. My letter arrived as the ninth one in their Inbox, making me a winner. Hank Hanegraaff mentioned the amazing transformation of this works-based cult several times on his show, but I knew nothing of the profound changes which the organization underwent before I watched the video.

"I praise you, heavenly Father, for leading those people out from the bondage of a false gospel, just as you led me to authentic Christianity," I prayed after watching the DVD on the evening I received it.

Because of this documentary's compelling nature, I watched it many times that year. It's still one of my favourites.


I wrote extensively about the house church I once attended in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Happy new year to all you blog readers. I hope 2013 will be a great year for you. My goal is to have as many people as possible buy my newly-published book, How I Was Razed: a Journey from Cultism to Christianity

. My new book took more than four and a half years to complete. I began it in March of 2008 and had the basic text written by September. Then disaster struck. My 486 computer died. A friend offered to help me diagnose the problem by e-mail, an offer I thought would be helpful. Once I had my computer all apart, she stopped writing to me. No amount of letters to her e-mail box coaxed her to reply. Though I bought a new video board, I couldn't get the old PC working.

I decided that placing an ad in local papers would be a good idea. Certainly somebody must have an old PC that they'd be glad to sell for a few bucks. Though I bought seven old computers and was given several junkers, none of them would run my Mastertouch screen reader software.

A blind friend came to my rescue by e-mailing me Vocal Eyes 3.0. This program was designed to work with a variety of speech synthesizers. After considerable fiddling, it cooperated with my Keynote Gold speech synthesizer hardware.

Research also took up much of my time. One example of this was the topic of the stigmata. Brother Herald (as I called him), the false prophet I once followed claimed to bear in his body the marks of Christ's crucifixion. Though the material I studied was fascinating, the sheer volume of documentation overwhelmed me. The same was true of the research I did on the Nahanni Valley, claimed by Brother Herald to be the location of the city of refuge for weak Christians during the end times tribulation.

Though I have two Bible programs, I needed to use them many times during the writing of How I Was Razed. First, I needed to find the scriptures that Brother Herald twisted. After that, I needed to show the scriptures in their proper context.

Since I used WordPerfect 5.1 for the manuscript, converting it into MS Word proved problematic. Because of that, I asked my editor and proof reader to put their corrections and comments between asterisks so I could find them easier. Then I made the corrections to the WP5.1 version of my manuscript.

I finally finished the book in June of 2012. Word Alive Publishers held a contest, the prize being publication of the winning manuscript. Mine lost but the judges gave me a great idea for the beginning of my story. Since that company's prices were rather high, I published through Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

I received my shipment of How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity early last month. For more about my testimony of God's graciousness, visit the Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages. My previous two paperbacks are available on this page.