By Mark and Laura Nichols,
ex-leaders of Remnant Fellowship (Houston)
name is Laura Nichols. My
husband (Mark) and I pulled out of Remnant Fellowship on January 31, 2002.
We were the leaders of the Houston Remnant Fellowship at the time.
Let me start with a little history about ourselves.
We both were born and raised in
the Church of Christ. Both of us left the Church of Christ as young
adults because we both could not scripturally substantiate their beliefs.
I can remember as a child constantly challenging my Sunday school
teachers about those beliefs. Growing
up in the Church of Christ we both felt like we would never be good enough
to go to heaven. Both of us
starting searching for a religion that was more scripturally sound or should
I say their beliefs could be scripturally proven.
1970 my home town had a bad hurricane which almost destroyed our church.
At that time we met in a school while our church was being re-built.
It was at this time that my parents decided to stop going to church because
they liked to have an occasional mixed drink.
It was guilt that caused them to stop going to church.
Mark’s family went to church on occasion but for Mark it was
something that he wanted to do and he went every chance he could.
When my parents stopped going it pretty much put an end for me to be
able to attend. I was able to
go to church when I could get a ride with my Aunt or Grandmother.
One day after church, I over-heard a conversation with someone
pointing a finger at me saying, "Yeah, her parents used to go here but
they quit because they would rather drink.” It about killed me and it
was one reason why I stopped going to church as a young teen.
During the remainder of my teen
years, my life just kept going down hill.
I became sexually promiscuous and married my high school sweetheart
for just that reason. Just
prior to our marriage his best friend raped me one evening.
I cried out in so many ways, I started gaining weight very quickly, I
quit college, I followed my high school sweetheart to Houston, Texas and we
ultimately got married. He was
abusive and our marriage lasted a year and nine months.
I was devastated because I was taught that you could never divorce
unless there was adultery. I
just knew that I couldn’t stay in the abuse for I feared for my life.
When counseling with my uncle who was a Church of Christ minister
(the one who married us) he told me that if I divorced him I would go to
hell. I decided that if God was
that mean I didn’t need Him and I walked totally away from religion. I left my husband who ultimately filed for the divorce and I
just kept on the downward spiral.
years later I found myself unmarried and pregnant.
I chose to have an abortion.
of all this happened in such a short period of time, I ran up credit cards,
moved every 6 months, basically I started running from myself.
Because of my bills I found myself needing to work 2 jobs which
ultimately placed a wonderful friend in my life who was a very strong
Christian. She started pointing
me back to church. A year or so
later, I needed a roommate because of financial reasons.
My roommate wrecked her car and that brought Mark into my life, we
married in 1986.
By this time my weight had
crept up to 350 lbs. Mark loved me for my heart and not for what I
looked like. He is an absolute jewel! Long story short we have
gone through allot in our marriage and because of many failed diet attempts
my weight climbed up to 468 lbs. During this time Mark literally took
care of me! It was all I could do to work full time.
In 1993 I started having hearing problems and was referred to a
doctor. who happened to be the same one I had while doing Optifast.
He did some further testing on me and ultimately made the
recommendation for me to have a gastric segmentation. He told us that
the gastric surgery would most likely get only 100 lbs off me but I would be
more comfortable and would be able to function more normally. The
reason why he doubted that I would not get any more weight off was because
my body functions were so normal.
told us that based on all the tests that he had run that he truly felt that
my body thought it was normal to be 468!
Let me say, that my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol were
perfect! He told us both that
if he were to erase my weight out of my medical folder and send it across
the country to another Dr. and then called that Dr. to discuss me, he said
that the doctor. would never believe that I weighed 468 lbs.
Everything was too perfect.
I was furious when we left his
office and I told Mark that God would get the weight off me!
I did go ahead with the surgery after a lot of prayer and seeking
God’s will to do so. Insurance approved it and paid 100%. It
took me a year to lose 100 lbs. For
most patients they lost all their weight in less than a year! However
I felt like a new person because I could drive again and do things around
our home and do things for Mark once again.
I have never regretted the decision to have the surgery.
I praise God for it because it was truly a precious gift from Him!
November 1997 a friend put a Weigh Down Workshop tape in my hands.
After listening to it and questioning her as to where she got it, she
also informed me that she had been praying for someone to lead it at our
church. She told me that God
had laid me on her heart! In January 1998 I started coordinating Weigh
Down. I held 2 classes per week (sometimes 3) back to back until
August 2000 when I had to have surgery. I had complications to the
surgery and nearly died. I was in the hospital for a month!
We went to Weigh Down’s
Desert Oasis ‘99 for the first time and loved it.
The theme to that convention was entitled “Remnant”.
I had such a wonderful time and I couldn’t wait to go back the next
year. At the ‘99 Desert Oasis
we didn’t pick up on anything wrong that Gwen spoke about during the
convention, probably because we were so glad to be there. We did go
back for Desert Oasis 2000 and it blew us away. We heard Gwen’s
message loud and clear, however we felt like we were in a good church.
We did not feel that we needed to leave and start a fellowship like
Gwen suggested. Yes we heard
all the controversy. Did we pay attention? No! We
did see from other churches we attended in the past that they allowed their
members to remain in sin. I didn't see anything wrong with what she
said that entire weekend because she read from the bible!
The problem was I wasn’t grounded in the word of God.
I barely ever opened it.
way she read it I could see everything she was saying and I believed it
because I respected her as a teacher.
that I met there talked about her taking things out of context but we
couldn’t see what others were seeing.
After the August 2000 surgery
ordeal, it took me almost 8 months before I felt like I could start
coordinating again. Past participants were calling me and asking me to
start a new class. I approached my church and they were reluctant to
bring Weigh Down back. I pleaded with both the education director and
pastor and took them everything I could to prove that what they were hearing
was false. They were just reluctant because of all the bad reports that
had come out about Weigh Down. People continued to call me about
starting a new class so I called Weigh Down and got permission hold a class
in my home. I went to my pastor
and educational director again asking them to let Weigh Down back in the
church. They were still very
hesitant about doing so. I told
them that Gwen was doing an event in June and that I was going to go and
check her out once again. I
told them that I was going to take another member of our church and a Weigh
Down participant with me. They
agreed to talk to me once I went to Oklahoma and they would possibly
consider letting Weigh Down back into the church in the fall.
The three of us traveled to Oklahoma City to check things out.
We all were looking for something that would turn us off. However, it didn't.
caused the three of us to decide to leave our church.
Once back home Mark and I
contacted Weigh Down and told them that we were interested in starting a
Remnant Fellowship in Houston, Texas.
requested information on Remnant and they sent us a huge notebook, a video
and 2 cassette tapes. We never listened to the cassettes, but watched
the video and dug into the Remnant Fellowship Manual. That manual blew
us away and we fell for “the message”. At that time our 19-year
old daughter, Stacey, was still in church. Mark and I went to her and
asked her to step out of church long enough to go through the Remnant Manual
with us. With a lot of pressure she hesitantly agreed. The very
first Sunday that we sat with Stacey and read for about 3 hours, she blurted
out "They have been lying to us!" Stacey was referring to the
church that we all had been attending for years. She quit church as
well and continued to study with us.
A few weeks later we received a
letter on the First Annual Remnant Fellowship Family Camp.
Mark and I pondered about going because we were not sure that he
could get off of work. Houston
had just been through the most horrific flood from Tropical Storm Allison. Mark is an insurance adjuster so he was very busy at the
time. He asked off and the
company agreed to the vacation time.
called and paid for our first Remnant Fellowship event. We wanted to go because it would really give us an
opportunity to spend a week with the Nashville church and felt like we could
check things out.
So we traveled to Nashville to
attend camp. We were blown away
by how nice every one was and how they wanted to serve us and welcome us. They made us feel so special and so loved!
While at camp we went out on the Shamblin's houseboat on two
different days. We had lots of
fellowship and instruction time from Gwen. Met quite a few people
outside of RF Nashville! We met
Kent and Regina Smith from Oklahoma City, Steve and Mary Mournout from South
Bend Indiana, Judy Frazier from South Bend, Connie Dansby from Dallas Texas,
Don and Tonya Fischer who had just moved to Nashville the week of camp from
Missouri, Therese Jost and Lisa Peters from California, Cheryl Chatham from
Memphis, Marcia Blanchford from Chicago.
makes me sick that I didn't listen to my gut feelings while we were
attending camp. On Tuesday afternoon we watched a video from DO 2000.
After watching it, Robie Bass talked to all of us and let me say this, that
boy could quote scripture! In fact so well, I felt pretty stupid!
I wanted to get out of there! I felt as if I would never stand up to the same level as
Remnant Nashville. Later that night in our room I told Mark “I want
to flee!” I truly wanted to load our van up in the middle of the
night and leave even if we had to push it out of there. Mark convinced
me that it would be alright so we stayed. By the end of the week after
everyone there catered to us, loved on us and paid so much attention to us I
didn't want to leave! I was
hooked! So was Mark. We
came back to Texas and just kept studying and doing what Gwen told us
to...stay in the word and wait for Weigh Down Advance because that really
would get us more grounded. So that is exactly what we did.
funny thing was that we only told my family what we were doing. We
couldn't bring ourselves to tell our friends. We kept it a secret.
THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WARNING! But we ignored it! In August,
we had a little problem with Stacey and we felt that we should get advice
from RF leadership as to what to do. Gwen sent word through Jane
Fiedler to tell me this: When you stop all rebellion in your life and
start losing weight at 3-5 lbs a week for 3-4 months and you are still
having a problem with Stacey then Gwen will talk to you about it. It
really aggravated me but I accepted it. It really angered me about the
numbers she imposed on my weight loss, as I had never been able to lose 3-5
per week! NEVER! Then I rationalized that she just meant
consistent weight loss. Well Stacey, straightened up, got under our
authority and we as a family kept moving on. When we would have
problems we would warn each other to make sure that we weren't the cause of
each other stumbling because laying down sin and dying to self was
Mark and I started losing
weight as soon as we got home from camp. Stacey has always been a thin
eater but she lost about 10 lbs over the remaining summer and fall.
Mark lost nearly 50 since the end of July. I had done the same which
brings my total weight loss to nearly 200 lbs. I still have about 150
to lose, but I know that God will remove it, as He has been so faithful.
In October went and
visited the RF in Oklahoma City (Kent and Regina Smith’s). We met
another RF couple there. (They
also have since left.) We all
wanted to see how a church really worked because we both were still
worshipping alone. I had also started a Weigh Down Advance group in September
with 13 participants. During that session I did not lose any
participants. I was open with the class about being a part of RF but
never pressured anyone to come. We always felt that they would on
their own...you know God's leading. Well, in November Weigh Down wrote
all the coordinators and encouraged us to visit other WDA groups especially
the ones that were struggling and were not a part of Remnant. Mine
wasn't struggling, however I did have a lady contact me here in Houston to
come and share my testimony with her group. I went and shared with
that group. The first weekend in December we added our first family
(Leona Hagans’ and her two children, Jessica and Jonathan) to our Remnant!
The coordinator of the group also came and just visited us that Sunday, she
in November we sent Stacey to Nashville for an extended weekend so that she
could get to know the Youth Group in Remnant Nashville.
She was having a hard time giving up her friends that were “lost”
in the “counterfeit church” that we had left.
We felt it would be good for her to see that other College students
who were dying to self, laying down sin and living for God.
I stated earlier that we would periodically have problems with our daughter
Stacey. Well, on Thanksgiving Day, which was her 20th birthday, we had
another problem arise with her. She had left for the evening to go and
have coffee with some of her friends. We had asked her to come home
early as we had company all day and wanted to spend time with her on her
birthday. We told her to be home by 10:30. When 11:00 rolled
around, Marked called her on her cell phone and requested that she come
home. Around 11:30 someone was banging so hard on our door I thought
that it would break the glass out. Needless to say, it was our
next-door neighbor with Stacey in tow. She had almost run over them
while they were getting something out of their car parked on the street.
She was going too fast because she was so late. After apologizing to
our neighbors we had a little rift with Stacey and it did in fact escalate
and Mark told her that maybe she ought to get out. She had told him
that she had done nothing wrong.
infuriated both of us! Long story short we walked over to our
neighbors that night and spent some time with them.
We came back home and talked with Stacey some more and told
her that we were sorry that we had gotten so mad at her but laid the law
down that she could not continue to get out from under our authority.
She had to live by the rules.
seemed to straighten out and things got better at home. On December
15, Mark and Stacey dressed up as Santa and an elf and rode a fire truck
through our subdivision for a toy and food drive. Afterwards we left
the club house and dropped Stacey off at the house because she didn't want
to come and have a late lunch with us. She had a babysitting job and
she claimed that she just had too much to do. Mark and I went and had
lunch and came home to the surprise of our life!
we walked through the back door of our home I noticed that there was mud
tracked through our living room. I didn't think too much about it as I
was headed across the house to the bathroom. Mark came in the house
right behind me. As I entered the bathroom he commented, "What is
all over the carpet?" I then noticed that Stacey's door was shut
which was unusual. I then thought that someone was in our house and I
darted across the living room and grabbed our cordless phone and told Mark
"Get out! Someone is in the house!" He told me "No
they’re not!" I told him "Yes, someone is in Stacey's
room, GET OUT!" Mark pushed passed me and headed across our house
to Stacey's room. I headed for the back door. All of a sudden I
heard Mark wailing "OH MY GOD, SHE'S GONE, OH GOD, SHE'S GONE, STACEY'S
GONE! OH GOD SHE'S GONE!" I bolted through the house to find our
daughter's room totally empty except for her bed frame.
Mark was down on the floor on his hands and knees crying. Mark got up
then opened her closet door and it was cleaned out. We had a terrible
past with Stacey's real mother. The
first thing that I thought was Oh my God, her mother got one of her crazy
boyfriends and they have taken Stacey by gunpoint! I told Mark
this and he told me I was nuts. I kept pursuing the idea. I kept
urging him to call the police and he wouldn't so I called my Dad hysterical.
My poor Dad could hardly make sense of anything I was saying because
I crying so hard. I just kept saying, "Daddy, Stacey's Gone,
Stacey's Gone, Oh Daddy help us!" My Dad finally managed to calm
me down and tried to get me to urge Mark to call the police. My Dad
then got his wits and told me to get Mark to talk to the neighbors because
someone must have seen what had happened since she left during broad
daylight! I stayed on the phone with my Dad and Mark walked next door.
Our neighbor just happens to be a Sheriff's Deputy. I got off the
phone with my Dad and I walked next door. Sure enough our neighbor saw
everything and had even written down the license tags of the cars that
helped Stacey moved and he had already run them through his patrol car.
He had all kinds of information for us. But we still didn't have a
clue as to where our child was.
next 2 hours seemed liked eternity as we called her cell phone and were
waiting and praying that she would call. During that time we called
people that we had come to love in Remnant. We talked to Kent and
Regina in Oklahoma City, a couple in Wichita and Robie and Donna Bass
in Nashville. Robie Bass spent hours on the phone with us that night,
counseling with us, praying with us and he also asked permission to let the
leadership in Remnant know. We agreed. When we sent Stacey to
Nashville to meet with Youth group she stayed with Donna and Robie Bass.
did call that night around 9:00. She was very arrogant but was willing
to come by after she got through babysitting. She showed up at our
house around 2:00 Sunday morning. She kept telling us that she did it
because that was what we wanted and because she didn't want to be the cause
of our struggling with sin according to Remnant. She told us that she
had a 2-bedroom apartment with a girl named Shelley and that she felt as
though God brought her Shelley. We
had never heard of Shelley. She
had only 1 semester of college left. It was the semester that she
would have to do her clinicals (she is studying to be an Occupational
Therapist Assistant). We knew that the semester was going to be tough
and one that she probably would not be able to work.
We were dumfounded by what she had done. She was so snippy and
arrogant I thought that I would die.
was as if I didn’t even know who she was. As she got up to leave she
stood up and requested a hug from us as to confirm what she had just done
had our blessings. I didn't want to hug her, but knew that I had to because
I was so scared it may be my last opportunity to hold my child. When I
put my arms around her I totally lost it. I started crying and
hyperventilating, choking and just wanted to die. She left our home
with out my awareness because I was so upset. Mark was scared to death
that he was fixing to lose me because I couldn't breathe and had started
throwing up. I had never in my life felt that way before and I pray
that I never ever have to experience that kind of pain again.
managed to get Stacey's address out of her but for a few days the girls
didn't have a phone. Stacey's
cell phone was the only lifeline that we had. The next Saturday we had
her come and finish cleaning out her room. We had moved to being very
angry at the situation because of the way that she did it all. When
she showed up we had a really decent conversation with her and we felt that
we had convinced her to find someone to take over her lease. We had
even told her that we would borrow the money to buy her out of the lease if
she would just come home. She told us that she would try and find
someone because she wanted to come home. She told us that she could see that
she had made a mistake. School was important to her.
following Monday, I received an e-mail from Joe Langsdon in Remnant
Nashville wanting to call and talk to Mark and I. I e-mailed him back
and told him that we both were at home and that he could call anytime.
He informed us that Gwen wanted to add a stop in Houston during her
Rebuilding the Wall Tour set for January in Dallas. He told me that
Gwen wanted to speak in Houston the Thursday before the Saturday event in
Dallas. He asked Mark and me to help secure a place for her to have
What a distraction over what we had just gone through with
Stacey! We knew no matter what
that we had better do what Joe requested.
We had already become accustomed to things not being about us but
only about God. So we dropped everything and found them a hotel for
her to speak at. We offered our home to them and we offered any other
services that they might need.
you can imagine, Christmas that year was the absolute pits! It was
very strange to have your child show up and ring the doorbell at 8:00 in the
morning when you had expected for her to wake-up in your home.
Remember it had been only 10 days since we came home and found her
gone. My parents were here from
Corpus and it was so uncomfortable. We were hurt, angry, and sad; you
can only imagine all the emotions tied up in Mark and me. Stacey spent
the day with us but announced early evening that she had to go because her
and Shelley were going to look at Christmas lights. I was a little
aggravated but handled it. I knew that I had to.
we didn't hear from Stacey during the next week. We were still hurt,
mad and in total disbelief of what was really happening. Stacey's car
payment was due by the 7th of January so New Year's Day, Mark called her to
remind her that she needed to get us a check for her car payment as the car
is in our name and financed in our name. She came by the house New
Year’s Day to bring us the car payment but she showed up with a boy that I
had never seen. Mark had seen
him one other time when she came to get the bed frame out of her room.
Mark knew him as Shelley's boyfriend. I was really aggravated since we
had not heard a peep from her since Christmas and I was under the impression
that she wanted to come home. I was in the kitchen preparing a meal as
we were expecting friends to come over for a New Year's dinner. I
walked into the living room and asked Stacey...”So have you told Shelley
about you wanting to move home?” She bowed her head and looked at
the floor and told us "I'm not living with Shelley, I'm living with
I want to tell you I almost lost it! I thought I was
fixing to die a 2nd time. I knew then that I didn't know this child
like I thought I did. I have been around her since she was 3 years
old. I felt like I had raised her and I love her like my own.
I had never had so much pain. Mark
couldn't say anything either, so Stacey and the boy left. We can only
assume that the boy was Keith.
phone rang and it was Tanya Fisher who we met at Remnant camp. Tanya
wanted to share with me how she had broke through a long plateau she had
with her weight loss. I told Tanya what had happened and that I was
expecting company any minute and I needed to get myself together. We
agreed that I would call her back later that night so that she could share
with me. Mark and I managed to get through our dinner party with our friends
and we both were relieved when they left.
called Tanya back and she started our conversation about how when she was
younger that she did the same thing as Stacey and that her Dad took her car
away. Her Dad stopped all financial support and it straightened her
up. She told us how grateful now she was that he did it because if he
hadn't her life wouldn't have turned out they way it had. Tanya had
gone on to finish school and marry a guy who ultimately became a pastor.
He was fired for bringing the Remnant message to the pulpit of his church.
Anyway, Tanya went on to discuss with me that she discovered that she still
had greed with food and upon talking to Gwen she had prayed and sought God
to take her food intake down to bites. The saucer of food no longer
worked for her and it had stopped working for me as well. I agreed to
try her method and to see if I still had any greed in the area of food.
After we talked, Don wanted to talk to Mark. Don encouraged Mark to do
the same thing to Stacey as Tanya’s father did to her. Mark really
struggled with the thought of taking her car back. She had made the
down payment, she had made all the payments, and she had paid for all the
maintenance. He just didn't think that it was fair.
We didn’t know if we could do that or not.
the next day, David Martin, Don, Joe, Robie and other men from Leadership
called to talk to Mark. David Martin told Mark that
he didn't cut off financial ties to Stacey that we would be engaging in her
sin! He quoted us the verse in Proverbs 19:18 "Discipline your
son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his
death." You see, according to the belief in Remnant, Stacey was
dead in hideous rebellion to God and to us and out from under all authority.
They told us that if we didn't take her car and cut all financial ties with
her that we were engaging ourselves in her sin. He told us that God
would judge us as harshly as He would Stacey. Mark really struggled
with it. I was so mad I would have done anything to get that baby back
next day we went to Saturn, took our copy of the title with VIN# and Saturn
gave us a key to her car. That night at 10:00 we went and stole our
daughter’s car. We brought it home and blocked it in our driveway so
that she could not get it out. At 2:00 in the morning our phone rang
and it was Stacey crying..."Daddy do you have my car?" Mark
told her yes and that he was going to sell it. He explained to her
that he was not going to support her life of sin. She told him
"But, Daddy I have paid for it.
is my car!" Mark explained again to her that he was not going to
give any support to her life of sin and that he was going to sell her car.
He explained to her that it was in his name, financed in his name and that
the insurance was in his name and that he did not want the liability in his
name. During the night Stacey came and broke into the car and took
things out of it. We took the car the next day and hid it in a
neighbor’s garage because she still had a key to it and we didn't want her
to steal it back. Also that morning, Mark had me cut her cell-phone
off. We no longer had contact with our daughter. All we had was
her address and her phone at the apartment. Mark decided that he would
obey Remnant Leadership and no longer talk to his child. It was a
tough decision but we were so deceived and didn't know it. We just did
what they told us to. They were the authority.
we didn't hear much from Stacey. She made a couple of calls to Mark
and told us that she was trying her best to find another car to buy.
She wanted to go to school and she needed one.
Classes started the week of January 15.
just went on with pain but everyday got easier as we started looking forward
to being with our new family "Remnant".
We were also excited about being with them and traveling with them to
Dallas. We had also started looking into making plane reservations for
a Remnant family weekend to be held February 22. We decided that we
wanted to stay a week. We wanted to experience worship with them on
Sunday and Wednesday night. Our friends in Nashville started fighting
over whom we were going to stay with. The Basses, Fishers and Graves
were all offering their homes to us. I hate to say that we started
finding peace with Stacey being out of our house. We started realizing that we did not want her to come back.
We didn't want her arrogance and rebellion anymore. God could just
have her and do anything he wanted to get her attention to straighten up.
next couple of weeks were real trying on Mark. He drives all day
everyday in his job and has for 28 years here in the Houston traffic.
The week after taking Stacey's car he had an accident. He said that he just
couldn't focus on his job. In less than a week, I got a phone call
from Mark and he had another accident. My husband was out of control!
He scared the living daylights out of me. I have never seen him
that way. Mark is always calm. People will tell you that he is a step
up from death because nothing bothers him. Well, I'm here to testify I
thought I was fixing to lose my husband to insanity. I must have
talked to Mark over the cell phone for over an hour. I prayed with him
and encouraged him the best way I knew how. I told him that as soon as
I got home I would call David Martin and have him call Mark to counsel with
him further. When I got home I did just that. David told me that
we were just being tested and at all costs we must stay obedient to God.
We must stand strong he told us. He called Mark on his cell phone and
set up a time for leadership to counsel with him again. That night, Joe,
David, Robie, Michael, Rick, Don and others called and counseled with Mark
and prayed with him. They told him how excited they were to be able to
spend some time with us when they arrived in Texas.
going to back up just a little and tell you that I did start my 3 bites per
growl and God really showed me my greed with food. The first week I
went 48 hours without a growl. I had a headache and flu symptoms and
even though Mark begged me to eat but I wouldn't. I wanted to kill all
greed in me in area of food. I wanted to stop being a “billboard to
sin”. During the next 10 days I lost 13 lbs. The day I called
David Martin about Mark's 2nd wreck I shared this information with him.
He wrote on his calendar what I had done and told me how proud he was of me
and told me that by camp this summer that I should have all my weight off.
I told him that I was down to 280. He kind of blew me away with the
thought that by June I could have 150 lbs off but when you look at 13 lbs in
10 days I believed that was a real good possibility. I had become
content with 6-9 bites of food per day. I was satisfied.
the week finally came for Gwen and everyone to come to Houston. Joe
e-mailed and asked for us to arrange for a dinner somewhere nice after the
talk. Mark and I made reservations at an upscale restaurant, McCormick
and Schmick’s. It is an incredible seafood place. Mark and I
decided early on that we would pick up the tab that night. There were
only going to be 9 of us and we thought that would be the proper thing to do
even though we really couldn’t afford it.
day finally came and there were 55 people who showed up for the event.
Mark and I arrived at the hotel early to help set things up. Joe asked
Mark to go out to get a part that they needed to fix the sound system that
broke and to get an ice chest with ice and some cokes for everyone. While he
was gone Gwen came in and hugged and greeted me and told me how wonderful I
looked. I had lost 50 lbs since she saw me at camp last July.
She had us all gather around and we held hands while she prayed for the day.
People started showing up and Amy worked the check-in table and Mark, Rick
Mendel and I worked the merchandise. Gwen spoke and everything seemed
to go just like always.
One thing that gripped me during her talk was
that she announced that if you didn't believe what she was saying and that
if you bought anything that you would not use that she would buy
it back. She didn't want anyone to have anything that they were not
going to use. Well after her talk, Mark actually had someone come back
to the table and return merchandise. Mark gave the lady her credit
card slip and told her that it was o.k. Even though the lady was trying to
apologize, she tried to find something else to buy that she might use.
the talk, a really nice man walked up to me and introduced himself.
He told me that he and his wife wanted to start a Remnant and that he
knew we already had one. This man was very spiritual. We had an
instant connection. His name was Marcus.
we were still working the merchandise, Gwen came and got Mark and took him
to the front as she gather people who showed interest in Remnant. Now
I thought it was a bit odd that she did not include me but I was busy and
just excused it. She never asked me to join them she just talked to
the small group that was left and answered any questions that they may have.
through everyone wanted to go up to their room and freshen up.
Mark and I waited outside in our van for them to come to go to
dinner. Gwen, Amy and David Martin got into our van.
Gwen was pumped and started going over the list of names that showed
an interest in Remnant. Gwen
informed us that there could be as many as 40 people added to the Houston
Remnant. Mark and I were blown
away since there were just 7 of us as of the past Sunday. Gwen made it
a point to tell us that we needed to seek out Marcus, as he would be an
awesome additional leader in our Remnant. Mark told Gwen that Marcus
had said that he wanted to start one. Gwen then informed Mark that
there is only 1 Remnant per city and Marcus would just have to join ours.
She really voiced her opinion to get him involved in the leadership as well.
We agreed to do so. Gwen then
made cell phone calls to her husband David back in Nashville to tell him how
the day went.
had bought Gwen a prayer scroll keychain which I gave her at the restaurant.
She had a fit over it. Once at our table, we all started to
order. Mark asked me what I wanted because I was only eating 3 bites,
I had become accustomed to just eat off his plate. I told Mark to get
whatever he wanted. Well, Gwen overheard us and asked me "You
know Laura, I keep hearing about this 3 bite thing in Nashville, and I am
getting real concerned. What is going on?" I explained to
her about my conversation with Tanya and that I had gone to 3 bites per
growl and that God had shown me that I did have greed with food.
I shared that my weight had started to come off and how great it all
was. She got all over me and told me that I was putting God into a
box. She went on further to say
that it was legalism and that I better ask God exactly what he wanted and I
had better listen to him. She went on and on.
Frankly I can't remember all that she said but I got the message to
STOP THE 3 BITE THING! At dinner that night I ate my 3 bites and I
didn't care. I would worry
about eating more after I could figure out what she said and meant.
The thing was 3 bites satisfied me and I had no struggle with food.
conversation we had at dinner surrounded around the youth group.
Gwen talked about which girl in the group should be with what guy.
She even talked about Michelle being with Brandon Hannah.
Conversation was such that Gwen was having everyone try and convince
Michelle that she needed to date Brandon.
She even tried to get us to tell Michelle that Brandon would get
better looking the older he got.
was apparent that Michelle wasn’t interested and the conversation caused
her to stomp her foot and slump in her chair and just look down at the
table! I felt sorry for her.
Later Mark and I discussed that apparently Gwen was matching the
youth up as couples. We
wondered if there were going to be arranged marriages in Remnant and even
talked about that possibly happening.
whole conversation made us very uncomfortable.
finished our dinner and they headed back to the hotel and we headed home.
We had all decided that we would caravan to Dallas the next day. Gwen
had asked me to bring a pillow and a blanket because she wanted to sleep in
our van on the way up to Dallas. She complained of being really tired. By the way,
dinner that night was nearly $300, which they let us pick up.
Luckily we had the money.
we got home we started packing to go to Dallas the next day. The next
day we got up really early to finish up and load our van to rush back to the
hotel to meet everyone. Gwen,
Michael and Michelle rode with us. Gwen was having a fit to go through McDonalds for breakfast.
Joe said that he had to get gas so we took them through McDonalds and then
met up with everyone else getting gas. At McDonald’s Gwen ordered a
sausage biscuit and hash browns with honey. She got furious when she
discovered that they did not give us any salt for her sausage, however it
didn’t keep her from eating it all anyway. She did pay for breakfast.
When we pulled across the street to meet up with the others Gwen
decided that she had business to conduct so she went and got into the other
van. Michael and Michelle stayed with us.
started off toward Dallas with Joe and the others following us. They
passed us just north of Houston and of all things our van started acting up.
The funny thing was we always had problems with the van anytime we did
anything that involved Weigh Down. Mark was laughing it off and I was
scared because the van kept cutting out. It felt like the fuel pump
was going out. We lost each
other but Joe called on his cell phone to tell us that they had stopped in
Madisonville. Now Madisonville is only about 90 miles north of
Houston. You won't believe this but they were all eating again at
another McDonalds. In fact,
Gwen told us that David and the guys walked over to a Sonic to get food for
everyone! She said that she
wanted some Cheddar Peppers! Mark went and put fuel treatment in our van and
topped the tank off with some premium gas. He felt that we had some
bad gas. We all got back on the road.
and Michelle went switched to the other van.
Amy came and rode with us. They again got ahead of us because
they couldn’t stay within the speed limit.
Our van was still acting up.
time they stopped and waited for us at a Dairy Queen about 30 minutes
outside of Dallas. They were all eating again! I couldn't believe it!
I had my 3 bites of a biscuit and they were eating for the 3rd time in 4
hours! It really bugged me!
kept asking everyone if they wanted a bite of her hot fudge sundae.
Joe joined us to continue the ride with us into Dallas. We went
straight to the Arena to set-up. While we were there the New York Remnant
(Greg and Rene Heck and Ted and Candace Anger) showed up.
Then slowly and surely other People from Nashville started arriving
at the arena. As we were wrapping up there, Amy came up to us and
asked us to take her on to the hotel that we all were staying at because she
had some things to get worked out there. Once there even more people
started arriving. The hotel was all Remnant people. Gwen arrived
and asked everyone to her hotel room to party.
went to our room to get ready for dinner and then went down to Gwen's room.
We were the first to show up. She let us in and turned the T.V. while
she and Michelle continued to get ready in the bathroom. A few minutes
later Gwen walks out with rollers in her hair. I just cracked up!
She looked so funny. I told her "I wish I had a camera” and
she told me I bet you do but I'm glad you don't because I know what you
would do with it. I jokingly said “Yeah I would be rich!”
She just laughed at me. Soon more people showed up and we were flowing
out from Gwen’s room into the hall way having fun fellowshipping with each
other. We hadn't seen everyone since camp the summer before so it was
a fun time. Then we all climbed
into cars and headed to the Restaurant for dinner.
dinner, Gwen stood up and spoke.
informed everyone that there were 7 Remnants represented that evening!
She reminded us that 7 meant completion. She went on to pray for the
next day and asked God to call the exiles out.
When Gwen spoke about the 7 Remnants I had rubbed my arms as it had
given me goose bumps and I had taken a deep breath.
After Gwen’s prayer Joe leaned across the table and told me to
humble myself. I didn’t for
the life of me know why he said that to me.
I could tell by the look on his face that he was really upset with
me. I felt horrible and
couldn’t figure out what I had done!!!! We all went back to the
hotel and many stayed up and visited with each other.
Mark and I went to our room and went to bed because I felt so bad and
strange from what Joe had said to me.
next day we got up, had breakfast and car-pooled people down to the arena.
Gwen spoke and she moved the crowed. It was the same talk that I heard
in Oklahoma City and Houston but it seemed even bolder. David Martin
announced her as "The Prophetess Gwen Shamblin” and the crowd
cheered. Mark and I looked at
each other because we had never heard anyone refer to Gwen as a Prophet!!!
People around us were looking at each other shocked. One thing
she said that day blew me away. She said that she had this message
from the beginning. She said that she sugared coated it through Weigh
Down in order to get it into the churches. She said her purpose all
along was to open the eyes of the people that sin that had crept through the
door and that God was no longer there. She said that it had worked.
That was the first time I heard her say anything about that. Later I
came to realize that the Out of Egypt cassettes had the Remnant
message very plainly. It scared me to realize that it had really been
there all along.
afternoon she had several of us come up on stage to give testimony.
Mark told about our leaving our church and how no one had even called to see
what had happened to us. Gwen took the microphone away from Mark before
he could continue and handed it to the couple next to us.
After several gave their testimony Gwen had all of us leave the stage
with the exception of Greg Heck and Ted Anger from New York.
Greg Heck spoke first and gave a brief testimony of his survival of
the Twin Tower collapse back in September.
Bless his heart; it was really tough for him.
Then Ted talked. I
couldn’t understand why Greg’s talk was so short I could tell that he
had a lot more to say. Ted got
up and talked for awhile. He
basically looked at the floor and rambled about nothing.
A few who knew him commented that he was nervous talking in front of
large groups, especially on a stage.
next day they had another place reserved to meet for church. Gwen
talked, other people in Remnant gave testimony, we sang praise songs and had
communion together. Afterwards, Gwen wanted to meet with the new
Dallas Remnant. We felt really left out and confused because since her
talk in Houston, she kept promising to meet with us. We felt as though
the Houston Remnant should have been included in the Dallas meeting.
There were allot of people who ended up traveling to Dallas from Houston as
well. They were coming up to us and were wondering why we didn't have
a meeting. Mark and I told them that we would be contacting them the
next week. We told them that we would have a fellowship that coming
Friday night and we would be in touch with them to let them know the final
walked up to Joe and asked him about filing all the paperwork with the State
of Texas to get Remnant registered as a church here. He floundered
when I asked him about it. One minute he told me to hold off, then he
goes "No go ahead", "No we are...” "No go ahead, just
e-mail me what you are going to file before you file it to let me review
it" I told Joe, "You know Joe, if ya'll don't want us to, if
ya'll are thinking about doing something different and you want us to wait
that is o.k.". He told me to go ahead and so we left. A few
of us from Houston went to Bennigan's for lunch before heading back.
had two friends that were in my WDA group follow us home since our van was
still acting up. We made it
home in our van, in fact on the way home it started running right!
Well, the next day I was busy calling every name on the list that Amy had
given me. I spent time with
each person on the phone explaining that we were going to find a centrally
located restaurant to have a fellowship that Friday evening.
night during my WDA class Gwen called the house and talked to Mark to check
and see how things were going. She was on a plane from Wichita back to
Nashville, their final stop in the Rebuilding the Wall Tour. Mark told
her that we had talk to Marcus (the person she requested us to) about being
a co-leader in the Houston Remnant. Mark told me that she was a little
confused and wanted to know why he had done that. She calmed down when
Mark reminded her that she had told us to do so when she was here.
Mark told her about the arrangements we had made to have a fellowship Friday
night and she immediately asked Mark to make arrangements with the
Restaurant to have a speakerphone so that we could call her and have her
speak to the group. We did just as she requested.
very next day David Martin called Mark on his cell-phone and wanted to talk
to him about how things were going. Mark told him that Gwen had called
the previous night and just filled him in on their conversation. When
Mark told David about asking Marcus to be a co-leader, David got a little
upset and told Mark that he shouldn't have done that since we don't know
anything about him. Mark reminded him that we did what Gwen had
requested and David changed his tune with Mark and accepted that we had
asked Marcus to co-lead the Houston Remnant.
came and we all met at the Restaurant. We had a private dining room
and everyone was getting to know each other and we gave out maps to our
home. We also had everyone sign
up to bring a salad for the fellowship after worship. That is one
thing that you do in Remnant is have a fellowship every time you meet.
We called Gwen just as she requested us to do so and she talked to the group
to further pump them up that they were making the right decision and told
them all how much she loved us and was here for us anytime we needed her.
She answered any other questions that anyone else had. In fact, one
girl who was in my WDA group's husband was not a believer and she asked Gwen
if it was o.k. for her husband to attend Remnant. Gwen rattled on for
a while and Mark, Marcus and I thought that she would never answer her
question. She ended up telling her that she would be honored to do this....
and honored to do that.... and the deepest honor to do this, that and the
other. We just all sensed that it was o.k. For him to come but none of
us could make sense as to what she was going on about.
Mark and I frantically went pricing and purchasing chairs for everyone.
There were 22 people expected to come to our home on Sunday. So we
bought 20 chairs, paper products and coffee supplies from Sam's. Our
bill was $300.00. We paid for it out of our own money because we only had
checks made out to Remnant Fellowship Houston.
We had been waiting to get the church registered with the state so
that we could open a bank account for our offerings. The day before we
had received an e-mail from Amy stating that all Remnants were to call in
for a conference-worship time that Sunday as Gwen wanted to speak to all
Remnants since so much had happened over the Rebuilding the Wall Tour in
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. This had become common practice for larger
Remnants to be assigned a lone Remnant to worship with, so we also had to
purchase a speaker phone back in December, luckily Marcus had a really large
speaker phone with a lot of power so all of us could hear easily.
came and we never in our wildest dreams ever thought that we would have a
church in our home! We had prayer, praise and worship, we called into
Nashville for Gwen's talk, which was basically the same talk, only
abbreviated that she does for the Rebuilding the Wall events.
Also during this call she told everyone that they were not to read
any other authors materials and not to listen to anyone’s music unless she
authorized it. She told us to
just stay in God's word and the WDA tapes. After the call we continued
with communion. We had been
instructed to use real wine because the counterfeit churches used grape
juice and Jesus used wine. So we had bought one of those big boxes of
red wine and communion cups on Saturday as well. After communion Mark
told this Remnant there needed to be no concern that this was a cult that as
far as he was concerned that we were going to follow the Word of God and we
were not going to bow to the east towards Mecca (meaning Nashville).
Marcus just shook his head agreeing with Mark.
Mark then asked anyone if they had questions.
Marcus shared with the group how he was a survivor of brain cancer
while some of the women went into the kitchen to prepare lunch.
Everyone was blessed and we decided that we would meet on Wednesday evening
to watch the movie Jeremiah since Gwen taught so much from that book and
that we would do a book study on Jeremiah in the coming weeks on Wednesday
nights. We also talked about
possibly starting a Strongholds class.
also want to add here that through the ordeal with Stacey, Mark's wrecks,
and stress in general, I was late for my period. I was freaked out
because I was 45 years old! My weight had jumped up 10 lbs in one week
and I was real concerned since I was still pretty much was eating 3 bits per
growl! On occasion I might eat 6-7 bits but for the most I tried to
keep my eating to 3 bites per growl.
was still trying to figure out what I should be eating since Gwen had gotten
after me and told me that my eating was legalism. I called the WD
office because I was desperate to find out if I was in fact pregnant could
my weight jump like that. Jenny Mendel answered the phone (I had met
her at camp and she recently had a baby). She told me that yes the
body does so many things when we conceive a child and not to worry. I
told her about my conversation with leadership and how they wanted my weight
to be coming off at 3-5 lbs a week and I was scared to have to tell them
that I was up 10 lbs. Jenny just encouraged me to go get a home
pregnancy kit from Wal-Mart. She
also wanted me to call her and let her know how it turned out; she also told
me that she would be praying for me.
I didn't go get a pregnancy kit.
just kept telling everyone I knew that I thought I was pregnant in hopes
that I would just start my period. Well on Wednesday morning I did
start and I was just praising God because I was so happy. I didn't
want to be pregnant...NOT AT MY AGE! Anyway that afternoon I was
feeling pretty bad and crawled into my recliner to take a nap before the
Remnant got together for church that night. While I was sleeping the
phone rang and it was Gwen and David Martin. They wanted to know if
Mark was at home and I told them that he wasn't that he was out doing his
job. I offered them his cell phone number. Gwen said, "No,
there is just a few things that we need to get straight with you guys and we
want to see how things are going." I again told her that they
could call Mark on his cell phone and she then started questioning me what
time would be a good time for them to call back because they wanted to talk
to both of us. We agreed that they would call Thursday morning around
8:30 or so.
immediately called Mark on his cell phone because I heard so plainly that
they had “a few things to get straight” with us. It upset me
because they wouldn’t just talk to me or call Mark on his cell.
Mark told me that he didn't care what they had to say. He
reminded me that he was not going to bow down to the east or to Gwen.
He told me that we hadn’t done anything wrong and told me to calm
down. He said that we would
listen to whatever they wanted to say to us the next day. I begged
Mark to call Gwen back on her cell phone. He refused. It bugged
me the rest of the day and that evening.
the next morning I really had an attitude. I didn't want to talk to
either of them. I’m the type
of person that you don’t start to tell me something and then stop!!!
It drives me nuts!!! The phone finally rang around 9:30.
Mark was in our study working and yelled out "There's God!"
I was pretty ticked off at this point. Mark answered the phone and it
was David Martin. Mark had me get on the phone and David went through
whatever he had to connect us to a 3-way call with Gwen. Gwen was in a
meeting but David made it a point to tell us that Amy and others were there.
Gwen finally got on the phone and addressed us very kindly. She asked
Mark about the previous night of worship and they talked for a few minutes.
Then Gwen turned to me...
next few lines are all that I can remember of our conversation. It has
no sequence because when she started she put me in such a state of shock.
Gwen starts by…
I'm really scared about some things that I have been hearing about you.
You called the office and talked with Jenny and said something about being
pregnant and that you did not want to report your weight to Leadership...Let
me tell you Laura that I was shock when I saw you in Houston…that you had
not lost any more weight that you have since this past summer.
Your body just can't go on in this state.... I need to have Charlie
Crossland call and counsel you cause he lost 330 lbs in 18 months....There
is no reason why you have not lost your weight.... Your weight should be
coming off at nearly 10 lbs per week. Laura, I'm scared for you.
Now remember Laura I could not be saying this to you if I didn't love
you so much."
I heard David say,
"Amen, Laura we do love you”.
continued: "Mark, you ought to be getting after her every time she is
disobedient. You ought to love her enough and be scared enough to
understand that if she dies, she is lost and you should be doing all that
you can do not to let this over-indulging with food continue.
Mark I want you to put Laura on the scales every week and call me
with her weight loss. Laura I
want you to get up in front of that Houston Remnant and confess your sin of
greed of food to them and tell them that you are going to step down in
leadership and show them who your God really is. Laura, get the weight
off. I also want you to find someone in your WDA group to take over
your class and you step down as a coordinator.
Laura, I should have put a stop to you 5 years ago and I didn't.
You should have never had this weight on your body this long...but I love
you and I want to help you. Please
understand Laura that I could only say these things to you because I love
you. I want the best for you."
"Amen!" from David Martin)
went on to say "O.K. guys! Mark
are you o.k.?” Mark replied yes.
“Laura are you o.k.?”
I could hardly speak or even breathe.
I didn't know what had hit me.
just knew that the words that were fixing to come out of my mouth, Gwen was
going to take the wrong way. I managed to say "I need to get on
She goes on
"Oh Baby, I love you, I really love you, everything is going to be
alright. This is going to be the first day of the rest of your life
and I couldn't be more proud of you."
Of course, David just goes on
with "Amen, Laura we do love you and we are behind you!"
I was so numb the only thing I remember was they said good-bye.
I was the last one to hang up our cordless phone.
I slammed in down on a table next to my recliner and nearly broke it.
Mark came in and told me "I know that you are mad, will you talk to
me?" I couldn't say anything to Mark.
I couldn't even look at him. I was paralyzed. It was the
weirdest state I had even been in.
was raped when I was 18 and this was far worse than any feeling I had
related to that.
I don't know how long I sat there before I got up and
went to the computer and deleted everything in my computer that was either
Weigh Down or Remnant. I started deleting addresses out of my address
phone rang and you will not believe what happened next. A lady had
called the WD office looking for an Out of Egypt class and I had one
due to start on Valentine's Day. I simply told her that she had the
wrong information. I was in such a state I had forgotten that I had
even set-up those classes. I immediately logged into the WD site and
found those class ID numbers and called the office. Gina Graves
answered the phone and I told her the best I could to get those classes
cancelled and out of the computer. I told her that I was no longer
going to coordinate. Gina
flipped out. She asked me “Are you leaving Remnant?” I told
her no that I was just not going to coordinate any longer. Gina
told me, "Laura you need to get come counseling about this."
I told Gina "I have been counseled very well and that I would no longer
be a coordinator. Gina backed off immediately. She told me how much she
loved me and how she was going to pray that God would really move in my
life. When I hung up the phone I walked into our study and told Mark
to call Gwen and to tell her to make sure that her Call Center knew not to
give out my name and number since she had made the decision for me not to
coordinate. Gwen was a little confused until Mark told her that we had
just received a call from a lady inquiring about a new class I was
starting. Gwen told Mark that
she would take care of that!
went back and sat in our living room for awhile.
I got up and went into our study and told Mark:
“Pray to your God that I don’t die” Mark swung around in his
chair and he said “Laura don’t go there.”
I repeated myself. ”Pray to your God that I don’t die because I am not going
to put one more thing in my mouth until there is not one fat cell left on
this body.” Mark said
“Laura don’t do this!” I
just looked at him and kept speaking.
I happen to die then make sure everyone knows my testimony as to what has
happened…but pray to your God that I don’t die”.
I turned and walked out of the room.
Mark came into our living room and begged me to talked to him and I
just couldn’t I just sat and stared straight forward.
I could not get anything out.
he tried for a while he went back to work.
just want to say that for the next 4 hours or so I was very suicidal over
all of this. I could not even get my mind to think right. I
scared Mark to death. He was scared to even leave me that day. I
would get in the bed and cry and cover my face with the sheets, get up and
just sit and stare. It was awful! It was more than awful!
It is a state that I pray that I will never ever experience in this life
again! That afternoon as Mark
was getting ready to go out and do the outside portion of his job (he is an
insurance adjuster) he was scared to death to leave me.
He wanted me to go with him and I wouldn’t.
I just laid in bed and begged God to let my next breath be my last.
I told God, “I don’t understand why you will not let me die, why
do you want me to be miserable, why do you keep allowing this crap to
continue to happen to me? Why
God? Answer me! Why
God? Why?" Mark came over to the bed and begged me not to do
anything. Even though I wanted
to end my life; I told Mark that I would be o.k.
I lied to him because I did not know that I would be o.k.
I just told him to go on that I would be here when he got home.
He finally left. I laid there a while longer when all of a sudden something
snapped and I threw back the covers and jumped out of bed and went back to
remembered receiving an e-mail from Linda Frances that was sent to me early
December that I had saved. I
didn’t even understand why I felt led to save her e-mail but I did.
PRAISE GOD! That I did save it!
I went to that e-mail and it was full of links about Weigh Down.
The first link I click on was to
I just started clicking, reading and listening.
The more I listened the madder I got!
These were stories that were done when several employees took Gwen to
court. When I heard the portion
of Gwen’s sworn testimony that the opposing counsel asked her…”So Ms.
Shamblin are you saying that if someone is large that they have sin?
And Gwen’s response was “No, you can’t tell if a person has sin
by the way they look, you have to know their heart.”
I about splashed off my ceiling and I wanted to take my fist and just
start punching holes in the walls of my house I was so furious.
I thought to myself “So what in the hell did you just do to me!”
I have never hit that anger level before in my life.
It was at the totally opposite end of the spectrum that I had just
picked up the old cordless phone and called Mark on his cell and told him
what I had heard. I made him
promise me that when he got home that we would come and sit at the computer
and listen to what I was hearing and reading.
I remember talking to someone over the phone but I don’t remember
who it was or what was said because I was reeling so bad!
I know that later I called someone in another Remnant.
In talking to this person I found out that they had also left.
We must have talked for hours!
came home and he did spend time with me going over all that was on the
Channel 5 News links. He was
shocked! Mark actually got mad.
evening I talked again to my friend who had left Remnant.
This is the sad thing, her children and grandchildren are still in
the clutches of Remnant. We
talked till midnight. I went to
bed totally exhausted but could not sleep.
At about 6:30 in the morning the phone rang and it was my friend
again. She started apologizing
because she forgot about the time difference!
I told her that it was o.k. because I couldn’t sleep.
We started talking about everything again, except that I can’t
remember what we said, I just know that when we hung up, I punched Mark and
asked him to make some coffee.
jumped out of bed and walked into our living room, picked up my address book
and called my uncle, whom I had tried talking into Remnant and when he
answered I said, “Uncle Bill, (I started crying) I’m in a cult and I
don’t know what to do!” He answered me “I know baby, Your Aunt Kay and I are on our
way!” They live in College
Station and they got dressed and jumped in the car and got here about 1-½
hours later and spent the rest of the day reading scriptures to us and
showing us God’s truth. I
must say something else, after I had called them early that morning; I
called my parents who just happened to be at our family’s beach house with
my mother’s 2 other sisters and I made the same announcement to them.
They all offered to come as well.
I told them no, but I can tell you I had never felt such love from my
family. They just encouraged me
and told me that they would be there for me and told me that they were
afraid that Remnant was a cult, but they knew that I would have to figure
that out. That is the one thing
that bugs me most is that most people have told me that God told them to
just pray and not talk to us about it.
I hung up with them, I called our daughter Stacey and told her about Remnant
being a cult and that Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay were on their way.
I told her that we were wrong taking her car and I told her to come
and get it. I asked her to
forgive us for doing the things that we did and she forgave us.
I told her that we wanted some time with her so that we could help
straighten her out. I
encouraged her to find a good church home.
She ended up coming over that afternoon while my uncle was there. She had just recently bought another car and she tried to get
out of the contract but they would have kept her $1,500.00 down payment so
she decided to just keep her new car.
was good to see Stacey that day!
was determined to still have Remnant meet in our home the next day.
I absolutely could not believe it.
I almost went nuts on him.
my uncle convinced him that he just needed to halt it right then and to let
go of the idea that he needed to do what was right.
Around 7:00 that evening, Mark started calling everyone in the
Remnant to let them know that they would be meeting at Marcus’ home the
next morning. Some asked why
and Mark told them. Several
were furious at what Gwen did to us.
even wanted to write to Gwen but she didn’t, she also wanted to talk to me
and I called her a few days later but she never returned my call.
She is still a part of Remnant.
At 11:30 Saturday night we took chairs, and supplies that we had
bought to Marcus so that Remnant Houston could continue under his
leadership. It made me sick!
It still does! I really feel that if Marcus sees the light the Houston
Remnant will fall! I pray
everyday for that to happen. I
also pray for all in Remnant to see the truth!
and I ended up at Bennigan’s around 12:30 a.m. for a bite to eat!
He was hungry and I was exhausted, sick to my stomach and scared out
of my mind. After we got
through eating, we drove by a church that my uncle had recommended for us to
go to. Mark pulled up into the parking lot to read the sign to see
what time Sunday school started and I told him “I can’t go here; this
place gives me the chills!”
pulled out of there and asked me “So where do we go?”
I told him “I just don’t know, I don’t know if I can do this,
maybe we are making a mistake!” He
drove home and started looking in the Yellow pages for a church to go to. He found one that I agreed to go and visit.
The next morning we got up and went.
pulled into the parking lot and I started hyperventilating and shaking.
I had never been so scared in all my life.
As he parked I told him “I can’t do this, I’ll die if I walk
into that church! I just
can’t do this! Let’s go
home!” Mark told me no and that I would be all right.
He put our car in park and got out.
I just froze! He came around to my door and opened it up and literally
dragged me out of our van! He
had me by the arm and I kept telling him “I can’t do this, Mark, I just
can’t, I don’t want to die and Gwen said that we would if we went back
to the counterfeit church and that the veil would drop and we would never be
able to understand the bible again!
can’t do this Mark!”
grabbed the door with one hand; he had me by his other hand and pushed me
inside the building. I promise
I thought I was going to drop dead.
hated the way I felt, I wanted to start screaming but didn’t want to cause
a scene. One of the greeters took us to an information desk where Mark
filled out a card and they gave us a list of Sunday school classes.
Mark picked the Pastors class because it was on David and he knew
that Gwen hadn’t missed that up! I made him sit in the back.
I refused to open my bible in fear that when I did, it would be in
Hebrew symbols and not in English!
was also afraid that none of it would ever make sense to me.
The feeling was just awful!
halfway through the class, Mark took my bible and opened it and stuck it
under my nose to prove to me that I could understand it and it didn’t
transform to Hebrew symbols. What
a relief! After class we moved over a section for worship but still
stayed in the back. I was a
nervous wreck and I couldn’t wait to get out of there!
I did survive that first day back at church.
It took me several weeks to get to the point that I didn’t shake to
death about walking into a church building!
next 3 weeks I didn’t sleep much, couldn’t eat because I remained nauseous
and just wanted to sit and stare. I literally didn’t know what to do with myself.
It blew me away because Mark seemed to just get on with his life.
I asked him one night, why wasn’t all of this having an effect on
him. He told me that he
had made up his mind from the beginning that he was not going to bow to
Gwen. He told me that I needed
to understand that I was way more involved with Weigh Down than he ever was.
He said that he knew and understood that it was going to be harder on
He has been right!
I can say that I do see the effects that it had on Mark.
While they are subtle you can see effects.
He has lost the desire to read the Bible everyday like we were.
However, he is longing to be in a good Bible study.
We both wish that God would just come down and sit with us awhile and
just straighten our heads out once and for all!
I can tell you that He has been faithful!
He has placed several incredible people in our lives that are
ministering to us right now! People
that we need! The approach that
we need! I use to just shutter
when someone talked about “grace” because that was such a “No-No!”
in Remnant. I can tell you I
can’t get enough of that word now!
used to drive by every church yelling “Counterfeit” and now I just think
about the precious sheep that are in there!
I thank God everyday for rescuing us out of Remnant and I pray that
He will heal everyone who has been affected by this message and he will
deliver all of those involved in Remnant Fellowship!
has been painful to write, but at least it is freeing to share!
I know that sometime in the future God will have me write this again
in a new way. I believe one day
I will be able to share how I was deceived and how God has taught me the
truth. But for now it is all my
feelings and emotions. I can
tell you and I want to encourage you that you must stay in His word every
single day without fail. You
must learn it all! Feed on it!
I was the Christian that just thought that going to church on Sunday
was enough. I depended on
someone to teach me!
If I have
learned one thing, it is that I must do my part!
I must depend on nothing but the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide
last thing that I would like to share is an e-mail that fell into our hands
shortly after leaving Remnant. The week after we pulled out of Remnant, Carolyn Llorens had
contacted _____________. ______
called me and asked me if I would call her as she felt that Carolyn too was
seeing that Remnant was a cult. I called Carolyn and spoke with her. Carolyn was hysterical and scared and didn’t know what to
do. I did tell her that Remnant
was a cult and that she needed to get out and go back to church with her
husband (he was not a part of Remnant but played in his church’s Praise
Band). Carolyn was hysterical
and afraid that people would not accept her back.
She was afraid to put her children back in public school as she had
been home schooling them since joining Remnant.
I tried the best I could to help her and encourage her to leave.
When I hung up from sharing with her I truly felt like she would
leave Remnant and return to church with her husband.
I guess I was wrong as it is my opinion that after Carolyn and I
spoke she called Nashville and spoke with Gwen.
The following is a result of Carolyn speaking with Gwen as she was
the only person that we talked to after our decision to get out.
As you can see this went out to all of the Remnant Fellowship
Wednesday, February 06, 2002 03:01:08 PM
God is moving!
Good afternoon!! I just wanted to let you all know that I love you all very
much, and I am very proud of all of your efforts to crown God as the
rightful Sovereign that He is and to further His Kingdom territory! I have
just a quick bit of information for all of you about some recent purging
that God has done. Ezekiel 20:38 says, I will purge you of those who revolt
and rebel against me. This
means that only those that want God to rule and love it that way will be
left on His Holy Hill.
Of course you all know that Satan is very upset about our sincere effort to
let God be the only God in our lives - and he is constantly trying to
confuse the saints but you must be grounded on the Word of God. The Apostle
Paul would name names of people that the lambs of God - the Saints needed to
stay away from. See 2 Tim 2:17. Just recently, two families have pulled off
from Remnant Fellowship due to their strong desire to keep their
strongholds. They are now trying to call other Remnant Fellowships and are
lying about what we said or did - that is all that they can find on us. Like
Paul, I will also mention names. The families I am referring to are
______________ and Mark and Laura Nichols. We have loved these two
families very much, but they have chosen to leave based on lies. They are
actually calling up Remnant members and claiming Remnant is a cult. The one
church clearing God's temple of idols and clearing the way so that God rules
is the only place that is not a cult. How vague and a how unfair and how
unchristian not to take their complaint to the leaders. Both have refused to
talk to the leaders - yet we have tried. They all have more of a heart for
people that are kissing idols than for poor God who has had to share glory
with deaf and dumb idols! They have no respect for people that are clearing
the temple of false gods. After 7 years of knowing Laura as coordinator and
then as remnant member - I loved on her and urged her strongly to lay down
the food idol for I was afraid for her.
(She had called our office and said that this was too hard and that
she had put on weight) I asked her to give up leadership so that she could
concentrate on herself. Sometimes when serving others - we can deceive
ourselves that we are okay with God even if we do not teach ourselves. Fair
enough after no weight loss in 7 years. The only weight loss ever achieved
was from a stomach bypass before Weigh Down. My first suggestion after 7
years of her teaching my classes was not received.
know that total Sovereignty is the only way to go. Total obedience to the
one true God is the ONLY way to go. I urge you all NOT to take phone calls
from these families. By the way - this did not surprise some of us for we
could sense their side ways allegiance to each other and people over God. We
must put Him first - He is testing all of us.
Do not be discouraged, dear friends. Some people may turn from the
truth but you all are firmly grounded into the true Jesus that said, Not my
will but yours be done. So keep
at it!! You all are doing so wonderfully!! Do not lose heart.. for you are
achieving for yourselves an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.. (2
Cor. 4:16) Keep going after total obedience for our Lord, and be ready for
Satan's attacks and lies. If you have ANY questions, PLEASE call me
immediately! You know I am here for you!! The good news was that God did an
amazing work in Orlando and Tampa and other new cities. It was great to see
Remnant Ft. Lauderdale (Coral Springs) and Remnant St. Paul, Remnant Memphis,
Remnant Georgia. Thirty Nashville Remnant volunteers came to help the
church. Michael and Michelle both did their first sermons and we were blown
away. Watch out! Many more are now coming Feb 22 from Florida. What a week.
God is marching through and finding those that want a church with no idols.
I love for Him to rule!
I love you all
Gwen and Remnant Leadership, NashvilleJ
P.S. It has
been snowing here all day. I love it!
would like the opportunity to point out lies that Gwen Shamblin wrote about
never refused to talk to leadership.
had never even heard of Weigh Down until November 1997, so there is no way
that Gwen had time to know me for the 7 years that she claimed in this
e-mail. I did not become a
Weigh Down Coordinator until January 1998.
Also note that I never called the Weigh Down office and said that
this was too hard. She did not
ask me to “give up leadership to concentrate on myself” but told me that
I had to get in front of the Houston Remnant and confess my sin of greed of
food and show them who my God was.
also claims that I had no weight lost in 7 years.
Again she is very wrong.
never had gastric by-pass surgery.
1993 I did have a gastric segmentation which was nothing but having a band
put around my stomach to form a small pouch, I have no staples in my stomach
nor have I had my intestines cut and reconnected.
The surgery that I had in 1993 is fully reversible and once the band
is removed there is no proof that anything happened to the inside my body
with the exception of the 2 inch scar on the outside from the surgical site.
Prior to surgery in August 1993 I weighed 468 lbs.
During the time period of August 1993 and August 1994, I lost 100
lbs. I did not lose any other
weight until I started Weigh Down in 1998.
From January 1998 to July 2000 I lost down to 331 lbs.
I attended Remnant Family camp in July 2001 until I left Remnant in January
2002 I lost down to 281 lbs. Also
the statement that Gwen wrote in the e-mail “My first suggestion after
teaching my classes for 7 years was not well received” makes no sense to
me. I only led classes for
Weigh Down Workshop for 4 years.
you for the opportunity to set the record straight from the false writings
written against me/us by Gwen Shamblin.
This testimony was written just
after leaving Remnant Fellowship in early spring 2002. We want you the
reader to know and understand that there is life after Remnant Fellowship.
While it takes time to heal from the mind control and the fear taught
in Remnant you will be able to return to church and grow in your
relationship with our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is no veil that will drop over your eyes not allowing you hear
God’s truth. For Mark and I leaving Remnant has shown us God’s true
mercy and grace. Our faith and
our relationship with Jesus Christ have grown immensely.
God is faithful and He does provide a way of escape.
Our prayer is that you will walk through the door and escape the
horrendous false teachings from Remnant. We will forever be praying for the
leadership of Remnant and all of those trapped in this false teaching.
We are here and available to help you.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
the Remnant Nation:
you have comments or criticisms you want to leave with us?
there questions you'd like to ask in the strictest confidence?
so, CLICK HERE!
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