by Nancy (Nichols) Cork

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 1:04 pm:

My precious parents and grandparents were "marked" about 25 years ago in Arizona. The attack on them was very well orchestrated and planned over a long period of time. The final result of the "men's meetings" were shocking to me because my family had truly been "servants to all" with an abundance of the "fruit of the Spirit". Those directly involved in the "set-up" and markings were Keith Gardner, Marcel Jean, Robert Grove, Jack Langford, Jack Bowman, Gordy Grant and Bob Birkholz. Even though our family was and continues to be incredibly blessed, it amazed me that my parents and grandparents harbored no resentment or bitterness. My father, especially, had been lied about and slandered after he had given so much and his heart was broken that people he loved so much hated him so intently. But as we would discuss the events, my Father and my Mother would smile at me through their tears and explain that they served as unto the Lord and the Lord knew their hearts. Dad would say "Honey, Calvary covers it all." Words cannot express the anger and animosity I had toward these men. I knew that God does not contradict Himself, but, in Luke 17:4 I would read "If your brother sins, rebuke him. IF HE REPENTS, forgive him". In Mark 12:25 I also would read "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him." This seemed like a contradiction and it motivated me to do a Bible study on forgiveness. After studying the original Greek words that had been translated "forgive", I found that Mark 12:25 refers to "Vertical" forgiveness. I needed to unconditionally "release or let go" to the Lord my "supposed right to get even" with these evil men recognizing that "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I WILL REPAY". Vertical forgiveness is a commitment that I make with my Lord through prayer and it is FOR MY benefit. It is so I can move on. It has nothing to do with the offender. Luke 17:4 however, refers to "Horizontal" forgiveness and is conditional upon the offender's repentance (meaning "a change in his/her mind - and to head in the opposite direction"). Also, forgiveness does not necessarily establish fellowship or trust with the offender. It took some time but I have "released" my "right to get even" with these men to the Lord. I am convinced that God is much more angry than I over what these evil men have done, and are continuing to do. The thing that is so frightening is that intelligent people within this group become "mind numbed robots". How can a man allow another man to have immoral conversations with his daughter/fiancé/wife? But even so, God gives us all a brain and we will answer for our decisions and actions. When my parents were marked, the men were encouraging me to stand against my Father. Jack Langford said "You need to do what we recommend and if we are wrong, we will answer to the Lord - not you." I asked Jack to show me where that verse was in Scripture. I'd never read that verse. Everything I read stated that we would each, individually, stand before the Lord at the Bema seat. There was no response from Jack. I know that the "still small voice" of God has spoken to those Christians who have chosen to remain in that group. I pray that they will listen to Him, study HIS Word FOR THEMSELVES, RIGHTLY DIVIDE and start heading in the opposite direction - for their sake and for the sake of their families.

I hope my comments will bring glory to the Lord and assist in the restoration of families. This is one way those men can be "rebuked" in adherence to Luke 17:4 and other verses.

RESPONSE by Doorkeeper

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 5:12 pm:

Nancy, We appreciate so much your comments and the memories you stirred within our hearts. We, too, were grateful to God for your parents and grandparents. Some of us remember our first acquaintance at the Oklahoma Camp in the late 50’s. How often we have thought of the horrible injustice that was placed upon them.

The early days were wonderful to us. We hope that we never forget those good times. Some of us were saved and came out unto the Lord from various places and religious confusion. The truth was so beautiful and the love for each other was so warm and genuine. We were not following men or obeying human rulers. Brother Johnson would say, “I don’t want to have authority over anyone except in my God given authority toward my wife and my children.” and “The worst ite is a Johnsonite.” The men became skilled in the word of God, and some became proud and dictatorial. The truth would stand against the wiles of the devil, but the sword of envy and strive from within began to destroy that beautiful relationship until finally it became worse than any of us ever imagined.

Certainly, our motivations should not be in hatred or for revenge, but to honor the Lord, allowing our every purpose to be lead by the word of God and trust the Lord to deliver our people from tyranny, bring parents and children together again, convict the leaders of their unscriptural markings, etc.

Remember how Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He did not give-up and quit. He did not compromise or defect into the religion of the Egyptians. He remained true to God and the Lord blessed him. The time came when he exposed his brothers, sorely tried them, not for revenge, but to know if they would also desert Benjamin and go home without him. When they were humbled and he revealed himself to them, they were afraid, but Joseph said, “Fear not,” and then provided for them abundantly. Their sins haunted them for years to come, but Joseph again said, “Fear not.” Even as he, we would have no greater joy for our brethren than to know that they walk in truth. 

RESPONSE by Betty Dunton

Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 3:19 pm: 

I have been wondering for quite a while about the Phoenix markings - isn't that the first one that Robert had a preeminent part in? There was a big controversy about it at the time. If I remember correctly, Bro. Maurice and Bro. Wilbur both did not agree with Robert Grove and Keith Gardner. Wasn't Bill Nichols and others "marked," "unmarked," and "marked" again?

I may not remember correctly, but I DO remember that it was reported by more than one that R.G. said "we don't have to follow Bro. Maurice." and
he didn't. That is one reason it angers me that they are still pretending to follow in Brother Maurice's ministry. And so many really think that they are, and are loyal to them for that reason.

One woman I ran into several years after we left asked me " Well, do you still believe what Bro. Johnson taught?" I told her that we did, but that the doctrine in the group was changing. She said that she didn't know about that as she was not a Bible student!!

I Thank the Lord we know what we believe and are more firm in our convictions than ever.

The Davises and the Nichols were some of the finest, most generous and devoted Christians that we have ever known. I can remember sitting in the Nichols home and listening to my aunt and uncle and the Davises, especially, talking about the things of the Lord and reminiscing about earlier times and occasionally laughing together. It is still a blessing to me.

I could mention several of the things that they went out of their way to do for others that would encourage them in our Lord, and their hospitality was legend. In His own good time our Heavenly Father will make known who is approved of Him, and all we have to do is wait for His time. 


Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 7:30 pm:

Hi Betty! I think you are correct in what you remember about the Phoenix markings.

If I remember correctly, Dad was "marked" but Bro. Wilbur and many of the other men found out about it and flew out to Phoenix. Dad was then "un-marked". Then, some time later, Robert, Gordy, Bob B., Marcel Jean, Keith Gardener, Jack Bowman, Adair Grove, Jack Langford (and maybe some others I don't remember) had a meeting with Dad at Marcel's house. That was the meeting they tore Dad apart emotionally and marked him. Dad had to leave the meeting because he was crying so hard. On the tape, the men all begin laughing after Dad walked out the door. Adair Grove made the statement "You have muddied the waters!" and one of the men responded "How can you muddy, muddy waters". Then, on the tape, they all started laughing again. One of the men then turned off the tape recorder.

These men had a list of all the reasons they were marking Dad but I can only remember 3. One was that I had gone over to my Grandparents during my lunch hour (I was in a mgmt. position in a Heavy Hwy. Construction Co.) and I had on a business pants suit. Fred Karth happened to drop in on my Grandparents and saw me and then reported to "the men" that I had on "men's clothing". (In addition to not agreeing with them on the pants issue, the other thing that I took issue with was I owned my own home, car, etc. and supported myself. I did not live with my parents. They stated that "if Dad had raised me up in the way I should go" I wouldn't be wearing a pants suit.) The second thing that I remember was they said that Dad's "children were too successful in business". That Dad, in raising us, had placed to much emphasis on success in this world. The third thing I remember was Dad had given Disneyland tickets to quite a few families and these men stated he was encouraging these families in the ways of the world. There were some other things but I guess I remember these 3 because they are so ridiculous.

In looking back, I realize that "the Lord's way IS Perfect." My parents had to be forced out to leave that group. As a result of our marking, we started having Bible Studies in our home again, met many, many incredible Christian people. I met my husband and my Father led my husband in prayer as he gave his life to the Lord. We, as a family, gradually became excited again about being "an army of lamps". We studied Dispensationism again, Prophecy and each Gospel in detail, etc. In 1984, my Father left this world to keep an appointment with his Lord and Savior. I know the Lord met him with "Well, done my good and faithful servant." Before he transferred zones, he lead several people to Christ. One man committed his life to the Lord at Dad's home-going service. My family has so many beautiful memories that we would not have if we had remained in that group. I know I wouldn't have met my wonderful husband! He wouldn't have come close to that group!

That period of time and those experiences in our lives was a major test, and sometimes "we don't know that the Lord is all we need until the Lord is all we got."

Betty, I also have so many priceless memories of Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Earl together with my family, as well as wonderful memories of many others. It's a blessing to be able to focus on all the "good stuff". 

RESPONSE by Holly (Poulter) Pietsch

Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 3:27 pm:

I have been thinking of the following comments from Nancy:

"If I remember correctly, Dad was "marked" but Bro. Wilbur and many of the other men found out about it and flew out to Phoenix. Dad was then "un-marked". Then, some time later, Robert, Gordy, Bob B., Marcel Jean, Keith Gardener, Jack Bowman, Adair Grove, Jack Langford (and maybe some others I don't remember) had a meeting with Dad at Marcel's house. That was the meeting they tore Dad apart emotionally and marked him. Dad had to leave the meeting because he was crying so hard. On the tape, the men all begin laughing after Dad walked out the door. Adair Grove made the statement "You have muddied the waters!" and one of the men responded "How can you muddy, muddy waters". Then, on the tape, they all started laughing again. One of the men then turned off the tape recorder."

If the purpose of this meeting was to mark and discipline Mr. Nichols, it should have been very hard on the men if they truly loved him as a brother and hoped for his return to "the flock." As any parent who truly disciplines their child through love, it is hard to imagine how they found any part of the conversation funny. When I have to discipline my own daughter it breaks my heart and I have never had the desire to laugh about it.
I cannot imagine trying to find a reason to discipline just for the thrill of it. There actions show the true nature of their character--sadistic, unfeeling, without natural human kindness, egotistical, and manipulative!!!

Nancy, I find your attitude pretty amazing considering the circumstances!! If Uncle Robert had done that to my father I don't know that I could have forgiven him. I can't imagine the helpless frustration your father must have gone through trying to get these men to understand and work together towards a solution. I don't think it was in their agenda to bring any sort of restoration. They are on a path that only leads to destruction.

Thank you for your story. I hope that anyone from the group that reads it will have a clear enough mind to see it for what it was and not make excuses for Robert and his band of egomaniacs.


RESPONSE by mommyii

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 7:33 am: 

Hello all,

It has been a long time since I have heard from some of you and a Lot longer for others. Mickey Jean was my cousin. His dad did try to get him help but the law in California states that anyone over the age of 18 has to commit themselves for help. He was told by the leaders that counseled him that he was not worthy of a good christian girl. Now go figure, at 22 years old that had to be devastating. Also I don't know how many of you heard that Grampa Jean after he had his stroke, encouraged some of the grandchildren to 'get out of the church while you still can'. Of course this was interpreted to his coming out of the Catholic Church but I think it was a real insight. Well Nancy, I want you to know that your dad is One of the very Happy Memories of my childhood. All the way back to when he cooked with my grandma at Camp Seeley. Donna and Pam, I remember many time and visits we had when we came to visit. Some of the others of you are younger and I just don't remember well. You are the ages of my children and I missed so much of all the growing up. When we were marked my children were 3,4,7,8 and they grew up without grandparents, aunts and uncles so I know things hurt but sometimes its best for me just to let them go. I cannot change others but I can keep myself from being bitter. Well now that I have found this I will keep reading. Nice to hear you all. Oh and I found this because I have a passion of research and I was looking for Zelder's since my cousin is married to one.

Praying always

RESPONSE by Beth Conover-Joseph

Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 1:06 pm:

I am astounded to read postings from Nancy "Nichols" I am Beth Conover- Joseph. It is almost inexpressible, the feelings I have remembering Bill and Dixie Nichols and the Davis's. They were paramount in my young life as an Arizona assembly member.  I would love to correspond with you, Nancy. I need some closure in some areas that you might be able to provide. I would appreciate a response. God bless you.

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