Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Date: March 22, 2008 11:45AM
The following collective response was the first written after the final expulsion on Sunday 3 May, 1998 and it covers a long list of lies and false accusation that Dave had written to friends. Sorry it is so long, there was a lot to respond to.
Hello all, Craig, Kevin & co here. May 14,
It has been our intention to keep the details of the split with the community to a minimum with the object of preserving the possibility of us all operating as independent communities without putting pressure on third parties to choose sides.
Dave seems to have modified the grievance system to say that you only have to be "willing" to say the same things to someone's face to spread it on to others. But if one is ignorant of the claims being made against them, how can they offer up a defence before prejudice sets in? Everything we have written about the incident has been sent to Dave. He had asked for third parties to be spared the details, which we mistakenly presumed meant he was limiting his comments about us. The fact is NOTHING Dave has written has been addressed to us. We have written just one general letter each on Sat 2/5/98 about the blow up. Dave said "what they had written has been reasonably honest". Despite the truth in what we had written and our silence since, Dave has found it necessary to write lengthy letters contesting our account, leaving no stone unturned in an effort to discredit us with his extraordinary suspicions and accusations. Unfortunately his reports have not been as honest.
We understand if people are weary of the conflict (we are!) and we can sympathise with those who would like to maintain a position of neutrality. But, Dave has made so many false representations and incredible accusations, that we are compelled to reply for fear that our silence may be interpreted as accepting Dave's lies as fact.
Dave has made so many accusations that it is difficult to answer, as in many instances a challenge in one letter is contradicted with a counter challenge in another. e.g. In one letter we were laying seige to the house planning to stay as long as possible, and in another we were secretly planning to leave on Sunday. We "turned up our noses" at everything that was offered and were out "for everything we could get". When we left we took "half the house" ... and we stuck fairly closely to the list. Craig was a hypocrite for feigning a shocked response, and was guilty because he showed no sign of shock etc.
Some contradictions appear in the same letter. In Dave's 3/5 letter he writes "we didn't think it was really fair to be packing up stuff that they hadn't even bothered to ask for". In the next paragraph he says "There was no evidence of them packing up or vacating any of the house. The lack of consistency is a telling sign that Dave was seeing evil in every action we made, and we believe is evidence of the erratic nature of Dave's mind at the time.
Dave takes comments out of their context to try and prove our hatred. He writes: "We were surrounded by a pack of angry people who saw evil in such innocent things as me pushing my own luggage trolley. Yes, that was one of their accusations against us! I'm telling you these are crazy people!" But Dave was accusing Craig of being rude and inhospitable from the moment he arrived at the airport. Darren defended Craig, by saying he saw Craig make several offers to help Dave push his trolley, but that Dave refused. This is a common tactic used by Dave in his accounts of us.
Regarding Dave's claim; "their secret counsel to their community that the rest of should be taken back in as "enemies" who they were "loving" was totally in keeping with our observation that we had been painted as the enemy ever since we left three months ago. Dave was not viewed as the enemy when he left Australia. There was no "secret counsel" and we were not accepting Dave back as an enemy. Dave was the one who asked to have a private discussion with his community, soon after announcing the possibility of dropping all grievances and rejoining as one community. Darren expressed a concern that Dave may be speaking insincerely and this was just a ploy to gain control. The rest of the community felt Darren's fears were unjustified. Kevin said to Darren that if Jesus asks us to love our enemy, HOW MUCH MORE should we love a BROTHER. When Dave returned we told him what had been discussed, but that we had ALL agreed that it was the right thing ... to not only receive Dave back, but reinstate him as the leader.
The fact that Dave admits to arriving in Australia with the belief ('at the forefront of his mind') that a "coup" had been orchestrated soon after he left Australia is evidence that HE viewed us as the enemy, not the other way around. This preconceived judgement was either blinding Dave to contrary evidence, or has resulted in him consciously refusing to to see any fact that would prove his theories wrong.
If Dave felt God was telling him "If you will be my enemy, I will be your enemy too." should have been ample warning against proceeding with a plan to deceive the Oz base and depose Craig and Kevin as the "enemy".
On April 10 Dave announced that he was leaving the community and those who followed him were severing all responsibility to those who remained. We responded graciously in offering all the funds we had at that time, the Ford to Dave and Cherry and the van to Rols and Sue. We immediately deposited all the funds into the Colonial trust account and started our own budget from scratch. At that time Dave left us to keep what had been left after the split occurred, the (rented) house, two vehicles, the PO box etc, but we did not pursue this "justice". Our approach was consistent with Boyd's "Give what you think God wants you to give."
It is convenient for Dave to believe that he did not kick us out and that on Saturday morning we "asked" to leave. It is also important for Dave to convince himself that the agreement to rejoin as one community the day previous, placed him in a position of authority at the time of the split. We had agreed to rejoin as one community based on his proposal that the current conflict be dropped. The fact is Dave had no intention of living up to the terms of that agreement. Whatever he said was insincere and part of a strategy to remove us and regain possession of those things he claimed to have left.
Boyd and Sheri were the first to discover Dave's deception, because immediately after the fellowship drinks on Friday night, Dave called them aside privately and tried to enlist them in his conspiracy against us. Dave said to Sheri; "This may be a bit of a bombshell, but what happened today has been part of a strategy. I want you and Boyd to take the new disciples away. I don't care what happens to Darren and Donna, and I am through with Kevin and Craig." Sheri in a state of shock responded; "If you really feel that way, why didn't you just kick them out?" Dave replied; "We're doing all this for the new disciples benefit." Boyd and Sheri decided they could not be party to such premeditated scheming that disregarded every teaching of Jesus on dealing with conflict, and quite independently chose to leave.
When Dave's clandestine meetings and treachery was revelled on Saturday morning Dave said, "If you don't like it, you can leave!" Morally, Dave and company were in the same position he was in prior to the meeting on Friday. A community that had separated themselves from us. Kevin made the point of saying "Yesterday was a farce. There is no agreement between us. There are ten people living in this house and if you don't like it YOU can leave." Dave responded saying "Well, there are 11 of us (including those in India) and we're not leaving." Dave was the one threatening a "siege". We decided that we were not interested in fighting over the house or the rights of the continuing community, so we decided to let Dave keep it even though he had no real authority to do so.
We fail to understand Dave's logic when he explained how they decided to disregard Courtney's welfare (18 month old foster child Darren and Donna were caring for) because Kevin walked away from Dave while sorting out the lease. We had made efforts to talk to Dave about the possibility of keeping the house after Dave had revealed they intended moving out anyway. Dave refused to enter into conversation, so Kevin agreed to sign over the lease and bond. (He was legally entitled to claim half of it.) For some reason Dave changed his mind at the real estate office, and lectured Kevin about how he could not arbitrarily call the shots, and how discussion was necessary, but added "I'm not interested in discussing anything with YOU." Whatever was going on in Dave's mind it delayed our house hunting as it was almost 4 pm when he finally "consented" to us signing the house over.
Concerning the claim "There was no evidence... that they were doing anything about making plans. We never even saw a newspaper being checked for adds. We did buy and check newspapers. Dave's double think on whether or not we could have the house slowed things down, but Darren was out until after dark looking for a house in the Concord area. Dave had assured us they were not expecting us to find a place over Sunday (when real estate agents are closed), and that we could stay at least until Monday.
Concerning "relegating" Rols and Sue to the van: Several letters were written in which Darren and Donna offered their bedroom prior to their arrival, which were politely refused in preference to the van. R/S did sleep in D/D's bedroom on Thursday night. D/D made at least three more offers for them to continue using their room. But in each instance R/S declined the offer.
Dave said in a letter to Tony: "I asked Donna if R/S could have their room on Saturday evening and she refused to answer me. I took the matter to Craig, and he told them to move into the sleep out adjoining their room."
Dave did not speak to Craig at all. On Saturday evening Donna was washing Courtney in the bathroom. Dave entered and stood watching over her for approx. five minutes. No words were spoken, but Donna felt extremely uncomfortable. Donna was preparing to feed her when Dave asked "Where are you sleeping tonight?" Donna replied "In my room." Dave asked "Where are Rols and Sue sleeping?" Donna answered "Wherever they like." Dave said "Thanks!".... "Rols and Sue will be sleeping in your room". Cherry said; "Conner will be going to sleep at 6:30 in the cot." It was 6:20, so Donna asked Craig to help her move their stuff out of their room. Dave made no offers of alternative accommodation, so Kevin and Liz offered their room and went to stay with Rachel and Paolo.
Dave says of Sunday morning. "For some reason or other Boyd, Josh and Tim rolled up and were sitting in the front room. I don't know what the purpose was for their visit, and I was told that it was none of my business when I asked... They were probably here to pick up the goods as part of a grandstand attempt to shame us into giving in to their demands. Whatever the reason, it was clear that Boyd didn't mind getting himself and the new disciples into the thick of the fray when there were goodies to be had. We could see that Craig was working another strategy."
Dave's theory about Boyd was reported as fact in a letter to Gary. He said: "Boyd rolled up with Tim and Josh to load the stuff into vans to be taken SOMEWHERE on Sunday."
Once again Dave's description of these events are quite untrue. On Sunday morning we planned to meet together with Boyd and co. at a park for the purpose of discussing future direction and to seek solace in each other's fellowship. It was raining heavily and since the atmosphere was somewhat hostile there was some concern that if we all vacated the house we'd find ourselves locked out when we returned. Kevin met Boyd at the park with the suggestion to meet in Kevin's bedroom at the rear of the house. Yes, they arrived in vans, but that is because they live in them. We had no alternative accommodation, so they were not arriving to remove furniture. Dave and Rols meet us at the door asking "What do you want?" We explained we had come to meet the others. Dave said "You have no right to come in. As far as we are concerned you are treating us as enemies." After a brief standoff, Dave said he was calling a general meeting and invited Boyd and co into the loungeroom. Dave had stated that we had claimed the loungeroom as our territory, but everyone else was huddled in Kev and Liz' room at the rear of the house. When Kevin walked down the hallway to his bedroom, Dave objected and told him to wait in the lounge, Kevin said, I have come to see my friends, besides this is my room. Dave said "No its not. The lease is in my name." Dave ordered Kevin to leave and Kevin resisted saying while his and his wife's possessions remained in the room he still had some legal claim. But he decided to comply and returned to the loungeroom. Boyd upon hearing the conflict had left with Josh and Tim. Dave announced this as evidence of some trick, and could not be convinced otherwise.Contrary to Dave's claim, Boyd WAS trying to keep the new disciples out of the conflict. Kevin found them downstairs and convinced them to return.
The direction of the meeting was confusing. We did not go on the attack as Dave claimed. We were all quite restrained, knowing that Boyd was likely to walk out if we did. Dave began with a sermon repeating much that had already been covered and seemed upset by the list of items that Craig had requested. The previous night Dave said we should not presume to take anything without specifically asking. Two items were requested. Craig asked to take the tape recorder. Dave said "no." Darren asked to take a fishing rod purchased with pocket money. Dave said; "No! Do you think you are going on a holiday?" Dave said things could go "smoothly or roughly" and the choice was ours, and proceeded to call Craig a "pig" and a "churchy. Withdrawing to compile a list seemed more positive than continuing to cause and feel offence with each individual request.
During Sunday's meeting it seemed Dave did not want to take responsibility for either giving or refusing the items that were requested. He said the list would only be considered if we were friends. He did a few rounds of asking "Are you a friend, or an enemy?" Craig replied: "I am your friend. Are you a friend?" Dave made it clear he considered Craig an enemy.
Dave asked when we are leaving. He claims that we said "We'll take as long as we like". This is not true. Craig responded; "As soon as possible." Dave said; "That's not good enough. What action are you taking to get a house. Craig responded "We are doing what we can, but its a bit difficult on a Sunday." Kevin reminded Dave that he had given us at least until Monday. Dave threatened to tear up the list of requests, saying "I have the power to throw you out right now with nothing." Craig said "OK. if that is what you want." Kevin added, You have that power because I gave it to you when I signed the lease over to you yesterday." Dave refuted this saying "The only reason you signed the lease was because God blinded you." Kevin said if that is what you believe then go ahead and reveal where your authority comes from. You are wielding the system's sword at the moment trusting in money and power." Dave said "Yes, I am wielding a sword, and don't think I won't call the police." Kevin turned to Sue and asked "Would YOU call the police and take me to court?" He remained seated throughout the conversation and did not "push his face right up in Sue's face" as reported by Dave. Sue said "Yes." Kevin asked; "What does Jesus say about going to court against a brother?" Roland said "Shut up." Sue replied; "I do not consider you my brother." Kevin asked; "What does Jesus say about how you should treat your enemy?" Sue replied; "I support Dave in what he is doing." Kevin said "As Christians, I thought we were supposed to be following the teachings of Jesus." Rols said "Shut your face." Kevin said; "I will talk about the teachings of Jesus as much as I like." Craig warned that Rols looks like he might get violent. Kevin began discussing Dave's recent writings on Tolstoy and his position on "Judge Not". Dave replied, Tolstoy? Who is Tolstoy? Ha! We thought you were talking about the Teachings of Jesus". A plummer arrived to fix a leak in the kitchen, so Dave said "We won't get the POLICE to get rid of you. We'll get the LANDLORD to do it!" Dave stood up and asked the repairmen to evict us. Craig said "It looks like you have dropped your sword, Dave." Dave then called Cherry, Rols and Sue to a private meeting in their bedroom. Dave's suggestion that they were relegated there is nonsense. It was his choice to leave.
When Dave returned he sat down on the floor, sighed and hit the floor with his fist saying; "What do you want us to do with the $32,000?" We responded with surprise telling him to do with it as he pleased. Dave then made the extraordinary accusation that while Craig had given them the bankbooks, they could not access the funds and Craig had orchestrated everything so that he could steal the funds as soon as we left. Dave claims there was no shock in Craig's eyes, (its been my experience that the bigger the strife, the calmer Craig becomes to cope with it), but you can be sure our surprised approached outrage. Craig has been Dave's most loyal right hand man for many years, and the accusation only prooves how far Dave had turned his mind against him.
Dave escaped further scrutiny over the claim by turning the discussion to Kevin's emotional outburst on Saturday morning. Craig felt the bigger issue was the treachery that provoked the response and said "He's just been betrayed by his father."
The meeting came to an abrupt halt when Dave asked; "What will it take to get you to leave?" We were staying because we had thought we had until Monday and had no alternative accommodation, but the question implied we were holding out for something, so we said "Nothing". Dave said "Good!", opened the door and said "Get Out!". As people started heading for the door, Kevin said "I would like to get Liz' gear." Kevin was facing Dave and Dave leaned over Kevin pushing him with his chest. Roland approached from the side. Dave said; "You are going to take what you want anyway. Let your greed take its free reign!" Kevin repeated the request saying, "I am ASKING if I can take Liz' s things." Kevin;s feet remained planted, with his arms at his side, but he was pushed to the point of almost falling over. Tim approached and said "Settle down, guys." Dave eased back momentarily , turned and then leaned his right shoulder into Kevin, and leapt back staggered as though Kevin had pushed him. Kevin said; "What are you doing Dave? Do you expect people to believe that ?" Dave said "Take what you want." Kevin asked "So, can I take Liz's gear?" Craig asked "Can we take some tracts?" Dave shouted "Yes. Take what whatever you want and get out." People decided to take their clothes and personal necessities.
Dave is correct when he says we stuck fairly closely to the list of requests, however there were a few items we did not take as there was some doubt as to the sincerity of Dave's offer. Dave was on the phone to India telling stories about how we were clearing out the house... He seemed to be making some point about us packing up in a hurry. The fact is, Dave was quite double-minded about whether he was giving or we were taking as he ordered us to leave. So we did feel like the Hebrews fleeing Egypt, unsure whether Pharaoh would change his mind. Liz arrived at the end, and Dave made a point of standing over her in the bedroom watching every move she made.
Before leaving Kevin gave $400 to Dave which he explained was to cover the recent payment to Liz' mother. Dave returned the money saying "We have no intention of giving ANYTHING to Liz' family." Kevin explained that he thought the payment had already been made, so he took the money.
Dave can claim a drawn out grievance with Craig and Kevin as evidence for his suspicions and accusations of them, but what evidence did Dave need for his 24 hour turn on Boyd? No Saturday morning he viewed Boyd as a co-conspirator, but on Sunday morning Dave accused him of "acting like an enemy." Boyd and Sheri have a consistent reputation for living simply and forsaking things. They were living in a van and had collected their few things on Saturday afternoon. The suggestion that Boyd was part of some scheme to move out Sunday so we could rob the W.S> account on Monday and he was out for whatever "goodies" he could get is in total contrast to Boyd's character. When Dave claimed they could not access the money we gave them, Boyd signed withdrawal forms for them, and yet Dave claims that Boyd's disinterest in money was only a pretence.
Dave wrote to Tony; "I know that you and others say that we have misjudged Craig, but remember covcering for a guilty man is just as wrong as condemning an innocent one. All I ask is that you open your eyes and decide whether Craig was operating in faith and love, or whether he was pushing for all that he could. What a good or bad person will do in the future can only be guessed at what they are doing in the present."
We believe this is good advice and would ask that both sides be judged by the same standard.
Dave seems to be losing faith in his argument because he says; "But what if I am wrong? It would be a shame to accuse someone of planning to steal $32,000 when they had no such evil intention. The problem is the $32,000 was really nothing in itself... he had no shame for the almost totally unbroken hatred that we have experienced since we arrived. They are guilty of murder... as they have all worked together to destroy me... Unfairly accused them of planning to take money? As Craig himself would say, "So what?" It's small bikkies compared to hate."
If we stop looking through Dave's hate gogles and throw out the unsubstantiated claims, where is the evidence of our hatred?
Dave says "The argument is simply over who regarded the other as the enemy first and who is more guilty of covering up their real thoughts." We have tried hard to dismantle Dave's false accusations, unfortunately his efforts to paint us as the enemy has produced a self-fulfilling result. False accusations condemn the one making them. Dave's deception and deceit has created a catch 22 situation. The fact that Dave "repented" insincerely and feigned respect for us as brothers will make it difficult to ever believe him again. We feel Dave has a history of faith behind him, and the many years that we have all lived together as a community still compell us to hope for the best, but we cannot close our eyes to the actions of the present without sharing responsibility for the consequences of the future... This situation is not reverible, but at this stage It would take a 'Saul of Tarsus' experience to change things.
Dave replied to this email by saying "Don't think that anyone other than me gets to read what you write." So here it is a decade later for those who are interested.