Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Most people know the parable of the prodigal son, the younger of two brothers who blew his inheritance through riotous living but was welcomed back by his father. I had a similar experience in my life when I turned my back on God for nine years. I wrote about how the Lord accepted me back in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Below is a sample from that book which tells of my tearful repentance.


While I unpacked the food and kitchen items at four-thirty, the floor began to vibrate. I followed the gut-curdling rumble to the French doors in the living room and discovered - to my horror - the noise came from the residents' cars as each one drove into the parking lot. Though my unit stood two-hundred feet or more from the avenue, the rush hour traffic din likewise penetrated my home. "I can't understand it," I muttered as I stared in disbelief. "Both times I was here, it was dead quiet."

More unpleasant surprises came my way that evening. As I made my bed after supper, loud rock music bore its way through the bedroom wall. "That real estate jerk lied to me," I sputtered as I comprehended the flimsy nature of the condos. "He said the walls were soundproof." I pounded on the wall with my fists, but the neighbour had cranked the volume far too high to notice.

The enormity of my blunder overwhelmed me. Instead of one noisy family, many boisterous residents now surrounded me. Rather than being somewhat insulated by the spaces between houses, I could hear common sounds, such as flushing toilets and closing doors, without effort.

I sat down on my bed and wept. "Lord Jesus," I prayed, then paused. I sensed the same spiritual stiffness I felt in that Portland hotel room three years earlier. "I'm so sorry for turning my back on you. Please forgive me. I've made a huge mess of things with this condo and I'm so sorry. I've squandered Dad's inheritance money and now I don't even have that house anymore. I made a mess of everything. Lord, I give you control of my life again. Please help me out of this condo mess."


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, 22 February 2013


Did you ever have one of those sublime experiences while in a forest or meadow? There are times when we witness stunning sunsets, astonishing cloud formations, or touching scenes of wildlife interactions. While on a self-improvement retreat in February of 1984, I experienced one of those precious moments.

Part of our daily routine at the retreat was silent meditation. We were allowed to find a quiet place in the forest or the camp to do this. I happened to be standing at the top of a path that went down to the beach. As I watched, a female deer walked along the shore. She turned her head and gazed at me for a few seconds. I stood still, not wishing to frighten her and ruin the moment. Then she turned her head and continued her journey along the beach.

When the time came for us to leave, I snapped a photo of the place where this awesome encounter happened. It doesn't look like much to the casual observer but it holds a special memory for me.

Perhaps I'm mistaken but I've often felt that most people don't treasure such sublime moments. They seem to hurry through life, oblivious to the wonders of God's creation. I, on the other hand, treasure even the small pleasures that the Lord has provided. My photo albums are filled with lovely landscapes, pets, and experiments with photographic composition. When I could, I've taken photos of wildlife or domestic animals living their lives as God programmed them to do.

I've also written about these special experiences in my three books. When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies and Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School are featured on the left side of this page. I also have a newly-published memoir called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


In past posts, I've mentioned the day that I was thrown out of a vacation Bible school because I couldn't read the microscopic print in the Bibles that the pastor handed out to us students. His calous action deeply hurt me. I had a keen interest in Christianity but my poor vision and lack of proper magnifying glasses thwarted my attempts to read sacred scripture.

When I did acquire a large print New Testament and a decent magnifying glass, I eagerly read it from cover to cover. Not only did I read what people formerly read to me but I learned much. One fact that touched me deeply was that many of the apostle Paul's letters were written in prison. I felt thrilled that I could read for myself what these early saints wrote. I began thinking of these people as friends rather than distant historical figures after reading their epistles.

I took a Bible correspondence course in 1979 and bought a large print King James version of the scriptures. As I rested between patrols while on guard duty at the bank, I read through the entire Old and New Testaments. The course also filled in the background regarding the culture and history of the Middle East. All those strange sacrifices that I'd formerly heard about began to make sense as I studied the Word.

Through friends, I heard the scriptures on cassette tapes. These were nice but I wasn't able to pinpoint individual verses as the numbers were left out of the reading. Though I enjoyed listening to God's Word being read, something was missing.

Bible Seeker, a free downloadable program from Lockette.com filled in the missing connection between hearing and reading scriptures. It let me not only read verses but copy and paste them into documents. Many of the scriptures quoted in how I Was Razed, my memoir of how God led me out of a cult and into the truth, were copied from Bible Seeker. Additionally, the program helped me learn the spelling of names and terms used in God's Word. If I didn't understand something, I could easily proceed word by word so I could get the gist of the passage. Better yet, Bible Seeker's functions are screen reader-friendly, allowing sight-impaired folks like me to study the Bible for free.

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, 15 February 2013


Have you ever been threatened with punishment as a child and figured it would be no punishment at all? That's what happened one day to my sister Diane and I when we were small children.

As we sat at the kitchen table one lunch time, Mom brought out a chocolate cake with lime green icing from the fridge. She set it on the table and admonished, "Don't you kids touch this until I get back." Then she left the kitchen to retrieve something from the freezer in the basement.

Diane and I eyed the tempting cake and wished Mom would hurry up. We could think of nothing else as the seconds slowly passed. Diane reached a tentative hand out and picked off a little of the icing. "I'll just have a little taste," she assured her selfe. Then I picked off a flake of icing and ate it.

When it comes to tasty food, there's no such thing as eating just a tiny bit. Dian and I soon began tearing off larger chunks of icing. By the time Mom walked back into the kitchen, we had picked almost half of the icing off the cake.

"Look what you kids did," Mom exclaimed. "I told you not to touch the cake and now you picked off so much icing." Then she interrupted our excuses by pronouncing our sentence. "Since you picked off all that icing, you're going to have to eat the half of the cake without it for lunch. You won't get any milk to drink with it either."

At first, this sounded like an easy punishment. Having nothing but chocolate cake for lunch sounded like a dream come true. Then reality set in. The bites of cake stuck in our throats.

We begged for just a glass of milk but Mom firmly refused our requests. "You didn't listen to me when I told you to leave the cake alone so I won't listen to you now."

Diane and I managed to get all the cake down but it was a hard struggle. We learned our lesson well after that experience. That was a far more effective punishment than a spanking and it also taught us about having too much of a good thing.

I wrote more about my childhood antics in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. It and my debut memoir, When A Man Loves a Rabbit, are available from this page. My newly-published book, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm .

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Some people come and go in a person's life without leaving much of an impression. Like the wind, they create a stir and then disappear. Then there are those individuals that linger in one's memory for decades.

Larry was one such man in my life. I met him through a friend from Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind. Because Larry was mentally impaired, he lived on his Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) pension.

One day, Larry called me with some exciting news. Since he had nothing much to do, he decided to tidy up the local 7-Eleven parking lot. He also asked the manager if there were other jobs that he could do. Soon enough, my friend was working all day at the store. He helped with sweeping the floor, carrying out boxes of goods from the store room, and other unskilled jobs.

One day, the manager called him aside. "Since you're doing such a good job for me, how about working as my employee?" Larry jumped at the chance to get off AISH, which gave him just enough to pay the rent and buy food, and start a real job.

This gave my friend more than just extra money. He felt like a valued member of society. Instead of lounging around on the public doll, he had a job that he could be proud of and a pay cheque with his name on it.

Though I lost track of this unique gentleman, I often think of him as the 7-Eleven man. His diligence was rewarded and he became self-sufficient. Though his IQ was lower than the average, his approach made a lot of sense. It just goes to prove that intelligence is good but wisdom is much better.

I wrote about Larry 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, 8 February 2013


Does mother always know best? It depends on the individual. My mom asked me to do something that I found to be not only distasteful but immoral. Though I wanted nothing to do with my brother, Roy, I also didn't want to go to prison.

From my How I Was Razed memoir, here's how Mom put me in an awkward moral position after my dad died and his common law wife distributed his estate money.


Though I crossed that bridge, I wasn't free of every burden and obligation. Mom phoned me one evening in January of 1988. "Why don't you put Roy's inheritance money in your account?" she urged. "He's on welfare and he'll be cut off if the government discovers he's received the payment. If they ask you about it, say he never got it, all right?"

"I can't do that, Mom," I exclaimed. "That's fraud!"

"But you have to do it - he's your brother. The government will take it all if you don't hide it. Just give him little bits at a time."

"Why can't somebody else do it?"

"You mean you don't even want to help your own brother - your own flesh and blood?" she cried, her voice rising.

"I don't want to get in trouble and go to jail."

"I can't believe you'd let the government take Roy's inheritance," she grumbled. "It's bad enough that Shirley is divvying up the money. I didn't get anything and neither do I want any of his filthy estate, especially from that woman." Mom badgered on, trying to goad me into handling Roy's inheritance, but I held to my convictions.

Shirley assumed control of my brother's inheritance several weeks later. That solved the problem but not in a righteous way


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, 5 February 2013


Everybody knows how to read a book, right? If that's so, why do so many people come up with different ideas of what the Bible says. I believe it's because they don't read verses in the context of the rest of the passage.

The minister of a cultic house church that I attended for more than fifteen years certainly was guilty of this. One example of his misreading was Deuteronomy 33:17. "His glory is like the first born of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh." Brother Herald, as i referred to him in my book, assumed this meant America and Canada. He reasoned that since the United States has ten times the population of Canada, they must be Ephraim. Canada was, according to his warped understanding, Manasseh.

Brother Herald also reinforced this belief with Psalm 72:8. "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." Since Canada stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic and from the Saint Lawrence River to the high Arctic, he assumed that it was a prophecy about the nation.

Another of Brother Herald's off-the-wall notions was that God would fly weak Christians to a city of refuge in the Nahanni Valley. He claimed that Revelation 12:1 to 6 justified this belief. "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, in order to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." From the metaphorical language, the meaning of this passage is the story of Christ's incarnation, not some future event.

Thanks to John MacArthur, Hank Hanegraaff, Alistair Begg, and many other biblically astute teachers, I know the proper way to read the Bible. Like any literature, it has cultural contexts, literary devices, symbolism, and similar attributes which need to be understood. Cherry-picking scriptures and forcing them into one's own notions does violence to the text and misleads naive believers, such as I was at one time.

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, 1 February 2013


One of the strange customs practiced by the cultic house church that I joined in the seventies was home dedication. From my How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, here's how it was done.


As I wrote in a previous chapter, Thee Church believed in the practice of blessing homes in order to protect the occupants from evil spirits. Nobody quoted to me the scriptures which justified this practice, but Deuteronomy 20:5 seems to fit. It reads, "And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, 'What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.'"

When I returned from Toronto the previous December, Mr. Forcier had a vacant second floor room with a balcony for rent. Since he showed me kindness and his house was close to the centre of the city, I moved in before Christmas.

"Can rooms be dedicated as well as houses?" I asked Brother Herald one January evening after the mid week meeting.

"Certainly. It's your home so God wants to protect you. People have had apartments and cars dedicated so your room should be protected by God's spirits too."

"Can I get it done soon?"

"Perhaps, if we're not too busy, we can do it next month."

Sister Roberta, Brother Herald, and Sister Eileen participated in the ceremony one evening several weeks later. As our teacher waddled around my twelve-by-fifteen-foot room, reaching out his hands to detect demons, he pronounced blessings and rebuked foul spirits. Then he dabbed anointing oil on the corridor and balcony doorposts as well as the window frame.

Having gone over the whole room, including the closet, he hesitated. "I feel that there is still an evil presence in this room. Do you have anything here which is wicked, Bruce?"

"Well, I have some war memoirs by Spike Milligan. They do have some vulgar language in them, I suppose."

"That's it then. You must get rid of those books. They're attracting demonic spirits."

My heart sank. I loved Spike's hilarious war memoirs. They contained some obscene buffoonery, but that was how secular soldiers coped in battle.

I also bought his comic novel, Puckoon, a fictional story of an Irish village divided in two by the Boundary Commission when it partitioned the country in 1924. As with Spike's memoirs, that book contained some bawdy humour. I sighed as I dropped it and the other brand-new paperbacks in the garbage.


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.