The Mt. Carmel Survivors Newletter
September – November 2005
To All The Survivors, Friends, and Supporters,
It has been nearly three months since my last newsletter and I apologize for the long delay in getting this one to you all. This has been partly due to ill health, partly due to trips out of town, and in part due to procrastination and permitting other things to take priority. Much has transpired since my last letter and I will try and include all that is noteworthy. I may not get everything in chronological order, ut will mention each as they come to mind.
I am happy to say that I am no longer having to wear the boot for my broken ankle and that I am back to work (part time). The ankle is still somewhat tender and remains swollen to some degree, but I can live with it. Back in September Janet Kendrick called and told me that she had undergone surgery for knee replacement. Although needing both knees replaced she decided on only getting one done and does not seem anxious to go through the procedure for the other, at least not at the present time. My prayers go out to her speedy recovery. Theresa Moore is also recovering from hip replacement surgery, and the word is that Athen Slawson is somewhat recovered after a series of strokes.
This month of November is about to become a historically significant month in that three of the Mt. Carmel prisoners are due to be released after serving nearly 13 years in Federal Prison. In September I had a call from Kevin Whitecliff, who was being held in Oregon, saying that he had finally been cleared to be released in San Antonio, Texas. A more recent telephone conversation with him confirmed that he is due to be released on November 16. His half-way house address will be: Cross Point, 605 Augusta, San Antonio, Texas 78215. I have also been told that Brad Branch is also to be released in San Antonio, but as of the last information I received it would not be until December 10 at the earliest. Whether he will be housed in the same place as Kevin remains to be seen. Hopefully we will be able to see them both fairly soon. I am waiting for Kevin to contact me with information about rules and/or restrictions on visitation, which I will pass on as it becomes available. As I have reported before Jaime and Paul are also due to get out this month and will be scheduled to go to half-way houses in California, Jaime is scheduled to be released on November 14. In a very recent phone call Jaime said that if he had known that he could have been released in Texas he would have requested that location, but had been given the idea that Texas was off-limits.
I understand that Ruth Riddle (from Canada) recently got married to Daniel Villarreal (from Texas) and they have a baby boy. For the information of those who do not know Ruth let me fill you in. Ruth was one of the nine survivors of the Mt. Carmel fire that took place on April 19, 1993. She escaped by jumping from a second-floor window breaking her ankle in the process and receiving some minor burns as well. It was she who brought out with her a disc containing part of the manuscript David Koresh was working on having to do with his understanding of “The Seven Seals.” Ruth was one of the eleven of us put on trial in San Antonio in 1994, and served five years in Federal Prison.
For the past eight or nine months I have been sitting in on lectures held here at Mt. Carmel by Charles Pace. Charles has resided here on the property, as many of you are aware. He actually moved back onto the property before I did after the fire. Charles believes he is a prophet and has a small following. Earlier this year I had invited he and his group to fellowship with us (the survivors) in the chapel. Over time Charles requested that he be allowed to address the group after we finished our Bible studies, and for a while this was done. Unfortunately, due to the things he was saying, members of our group decided to refrain from attending. It became obvious as time went on that Charles was making a move to take over, not only the meetings, but the whole of the Mt. Carmel property.
On October 8, Charles held a baptism in the large lake here on the property. Those who participated in that baptism were: Charles Pace, Alexa Pace (Charles’ wife), Angela, Michael and Benjamin Pace (Charles’ children), Margaret Tow, Ofelia Santoyo, Roland Saenz and Ron Goin. I was invited to submit to baptism with the others but declined due to the fact that I did not feel the Spirit moving me to do so, not being persuaded on quite a number of doctrines being promulgated by Charles. Since that time it has become increasingly stressed that I either join with Charles or remove myself from the Mt. Carmel property. Other developments recently have been that Charles has brought back onto the property a man by the name of Robert Arnold, alias “Andrew” or “X-98.” As far as I am concerned this is totally unacceptable.
Come Febrary of next year (2006), I will turn 65 and what with the problem of declining health the last couple of years, diabetes, arthritis, not to mention a broken ankle, I am seriously considering retiring. By that I mean bowing out as far as trying to fight and hold this property for the use of the surviving church members and as a memorial to what took place in 1993 when the Government forces raided, killed and destroyed the church community that was living here. This may not be good news for many of you who have supported the work I have tried to do here. I certainly appreciate all of the verbal and financial support that you have provided over the years. However, holding and maintaining this place is expensive, time consuming, and very draining. Seventy seven acres is a lot of land to mow, repair and generally uphold. So much money and time has been spent just catering to the droves of tourists and others who continue to flock here year after year. Hundreds of hours have been devoted to giving interviews, not just to the media, but also to academics, students, and others wanting to know about what took place here thirteen years ago and/or what the beliefs were of those who gave their lives for their faith. I am not complaining. I have enjoyed mowing and talking. I have not enjoyed the Court cases or the threatening confrontations that came with the job. Maybe I’m just getting old or tired? Maybe with the guys getting out of prison, and with the constant requests for Bible studies by people all over the country (and around the world for that matter) it is time to move on?
It is tax time again and this year they amount to over $3,000.The small group of survivors living here in the Waco area neither have that kind of money, nor are we inclined to spend that amount since we no longer have control or any say, for that matter, in what is done here. In 1984 David Koresh chose to walk away from Mt. Carmel rather than oppose George Roden who made his move to take over, rather than have a war over this property. In 1988 we were able to return because the Lord took care of George. This property, we believe, belongs to God, just what will become of it, and for how long, should I choose to leave, remains to be seen. One thing I know is that any stress I go through doesn’t help my trying to keep my blood sugar levels normal. The future is going to be filled with many major decisions, I ask for your prayers and for God’s guidance in what I end up doing for the rest of my life. I know that many opportunities to serve are out there. I don’t expect to be idle.
Should I choose to move I will keep you all informed as to where I relocate. I will also continue to send out the newsletter, God willing, and keep you up-to-date on what is happening around the Country with survivors and so forth.
Once again I ask for your forgiveness for taking so long to get this letter out. May God bless you all. Keep the faith, be strong, and may we all make it into the Kingdom is my prayer.