It was a dark and stormy night and the moon was blood red….
Ok, that’s not exactly how it all began. lol It was more like a hot summer day and the sun was still shinning. I came home from working at the Hotel del Coronado main pool. I’d spent a little too much time in the sun that day and my glasses protected my eye area enough that when I took them off I looked like a clown. The fresh sun burn was on the tip of my nose and lower cheeks.
When I came in the door I saw that we had company. My mom quickly introduced me to a man called Elder Turner. We had a friend of my moms that she had met at San Diego community collage staying with us named Marcia. Marcia had met Elder Turner at her church in San Diego. He had been a guest speaker at her church. Marcia was the MC in her church. Elder Turner said that the Lord had pointed her out to him because she was anointed to do his work. Elder Turner also said he noticed that Marcia was neglected by her church because of her shady past and they held it against her. Marcia had learned how to put together illegal drugs from her older bother during her back sliding time, but had repented and was living right.
So here I am at age 19 with them in my living room and my mom asks me if I remember Elder Turner. I couldn’t remember him so they clued me in.
Going back to the age of seven my mom was searching for a church for us, (my sister, me and her), to go to. We had been to a revival at Revival Christian Center in Anaheim, (we lived in Orange,) and my mom felt the leading of the Lord to go back there. So that is just what we did. Turned out it was an all black church and we ended up being the only white members. We attended that church for three years. During that time we had a lot of guest speakers and sometimes we would travel to other churches to be a part of their services. One of the guest speakers was, yep, you guessed it, Elder Turner. I didn’t remember him so well but I did remember his wife and his son and daughter who were younger than me.
My mom has always been a problem for pastors. We didn’t have much trouble at Vineyard Christian fellowship in New Port Beach, Ca. cause it was very large and easy to get lost it. Other than that Revival Christian Center was the only church I don’t recall there being any major problem arising. But then again I was quite young. In San Diego at the age of fourteen we attended Son Rise Christian Outreach for three years. My mom constantly frustrated Pastor Washabaugh. Finally he had enough and kicked us out. She got an idea in her head and she wouldn’t stop till she gets her way. Even after being kicked out she still insisted on helping a couple he told her to leave alone. They were both divorcees and she felt that it displeased God for someone who had been married and still had the living spouse to remarry again. Any way, Pastor Washabaugh told his congregation to ostracize us, so they did just that. They would walk by us on the street and turn their heads wither my mom was with us or not. It was heart wrenchingly painful especially since they were the only friends we had.
The next church we went to called Living Waters also in Coronado, we were almost three years as well. I remember that every time someone left the church but still lived in the area the pastor and others would go on about how they had back slid. One such family I ran into at the market told me about the church they were going to and I could tell they had not back slid at all. Well, it was in our third year there that my mom met Marcia and then Elder Turner. We had recently moved into an apartment from the sail boat we had been living on for the past nine years.
My mom had wanted to be a missionary to a foreign land sinse I could remember. By this time she was frustrated that she had never made it overseas and was asking the Lord what he wanted to change in her so she could serve him. She said he asked her if she would accept who ever he sent to teach her and she said she would. Then her asked her if she would accept a man, then a black man. She said she would accept who ever he sent to help her. It was right after that that Marcia brought Elder Turner to our home.
He wasn’t a pretty sight. He was large and sloppy and he didn’t care. He ate like a pig and when he preached he spit a lot and it was difficult to understand him. He didn’t hold back at all,het said what was on his mind and exactly what he thought wither folks liked it or not.
Elder Turner told us later that when Marcia told him about my mom, Joan, he would reply that he didn’t want to meet no Joans. He also told us that when he would look at the Coronado bridge he would always say that who ever crossed that bridge had to be crazy.
My mom told Marcia about how Easter vacation was the best time to go to the bus and train stations in Mexico and witness to people. Marcia told Elder Turner that she wanted to go and Elder Turner told her that that country had different kinds of spirits that she knew nothing about and it was to dangerous. He told us later that he heard from that Lord that Marica was going to come to him again about it and that he was to bless her. She did come to him again about it and he gave his blessing and then told her he would fast until she got back. My mom and Marcia did go to Mexico and witness at the stations. They stayed at Colina De Luz the orphanage that my sister and I did missionary work at. Marcia and my mom were quite happy about their trip.
I guess this impressed Elder Turner and he decide it was time to met Sister Joans, that’s what he called my mom for years. I was nineteen that fateful day when I met Elder Turner in my living room. He began teaching my mom and Marcia a couple times a week. My mom told another friend of ours from Living Waters named Monica about Elder Turner and soon she became a regular student of his as well. My parents invited Elder Turner and Pastor Shear, (Pastor of living Waters) to have dinner with us. Pastor Leon Shear was appalled by Elder Turners manners and began to talk down about him to others.
The followers of Elder Turner began to grow slowly. Marcia told her good friend Patti about him and soon Patti became part of the group. She brought along her husband and two children. Later she had two more kids. As time went by the bad rummers about Elder Turner started spreading and mounting around the small Coronado Island. Pastor Leon had warned all the other pastors and such of the evil of Elder Turner or something on that order and that he was stealing sheep from his congregation though it was only my mom and Monica who were from his congregation and he didn’t care for either ladies.
I remember telling my dad that with all the bad things said about Elder Turner I couldn’t help but notice that my mom was changing into a better person. My dad agreed but still remained faithful to Pastor Leon. I began to wonder who was telling the truth.
I would sometimes visit the meeting that Elder Turner had likely due to getting my mom off my case. I always sat in the back because I really didn’t want to be there. After some time I was impressed with how human Elder Turner acted. If he said something wrong and it was pointed out to him he would apologies. The other two churches I had been in prior did not have Pastors who acted so humbly.
Summer was coming and I wanted to do another summer mission. I made an appointment with Pastor Shear to discuss this. When I got to the appointment another church member was there named Rob. Rob had been like me in that he was ready to do a summer mission as well but Pastor Shear talked him out of it and into working with the youth in the church. He then proceeded to try to talk me out of my plans and into doing the same thing. Normally I would have jumped at the opportunity to work with teens but it just didn’t feel right to me. Also, normally I would have wimped out and just did as I was told but it really felt wrong, wrong enough that I just refused. Finally Pastor Shear got so frustrated he turned red in the face and began yelling at me. It was quite unpleasant and very disturbing.
My heart was no longer in Living Waters Fellowship after that. Before Sun Rise Christian Outreach my dad had never regularly gone to church and then being kicked out was quite a blow. He had finally start coming to Living Waters regularly and that mean a lot to me so although I wasn’t to keen on the church I remained in attendance. One Sunday morning Pastor Leon was preaching and he decided it would be a good time to warn people about Elder Turner. I remember him saying, “Elder Turner is a tool of the devil.” I stood up and walked out. My dad came out soon after and found me sitting on a ledge on the verge of crying. After talking for a bit he asked me why I still went there and I told him it was because I wanted to be with him. He kindly rebuked me and told me to never do that but to do what my heart said to do, what I knew was right. I never went back to that church again.
Though I was impressed with my moms new found church I was nineteen and wanted to find my own way, in other words, I didn’t want to go to my mommies church. I tried going to Horizons Christian Fellowship but I felt like I was hearing the same sermons over and over again. I had been brought up ultra conservative and Horizons wasn’t exactly ultra on the conservative side. Then I tried my friends church and it turned out to be the “prosperity doctrine” kind, so that didn’t work. I finally decided to settle down and attend my mom’s church, besides becoming a part of the fellowship would make it my church.
Some where along the line Elder Turners small following took on the name of United Fellowship House of Praise. We usually had Sunday morning service, Sunday night service and Wednesday night service plus teachings on different times and days often ending up in a services or two every day of the week.
I remember one day I had arranged to see a movie with my dad which was something I didn’t get to do often. I was at a meeting at Monica’s house and Elder Turner was finished teaching. Every one was sittin around talkin and as usual he started preaching off and on. Finally I stood up to excuse my self and leave to meet my dad. Elder Turner rebuked me for putting carnal things over hearing the word of God. I wanted more than everything to please God so I listened to him and called my dad to let him know I would not be meeting him. He was so disappointed and it hurt me real bad too.
Other than going to services almost every day I often traveled across country to different revival, conventions and church meeting with United Fellowship As a matter of fact when AI was about to sign up for some more collage courses Elder Turner said I would learn more and better things traveling with him instead. Of course, I gullible took his advise. Before I joined the church my mom had done quite a bit of traveling with the church. Most her stories of the time she spent in the south was about extreme heat and lots of demonic battles. The time they spent in Vegas wasn’t so bad though. They didn’t gamble but other than going to services they got to go bowling. My mom is very competitive and she happens to be good at bowling. Elder Turner rebuked her and used her as an example for years about having a competitive spirit. When I ended up traveling with the church to Las Vegas I had to either stay in the hotel or be in the church service. One time Monica’s son and I went to one of the hotels that had some family fun stuff. Derek was afraid of rides so I went on the train simulator while he played video games. I got to meet Captain Kangaroo while he was exiting the ride. I don’t think Elder Turner really understood that we had dome that cause if he had he woul dhave made me feel like a worm. He must have had his mind on something else. The time in the south was more difficult. We were usually in a hotel with several other members and there was usually three services a day. The night service often went till eleven or midnight. Some times we had a meal but often we tried to make our stomachs feel better by scrounging around for crackers. I remember Monica was known for bringing food along but was very reluctant to share any. And she had a vary particular way of eating in front of you and making you feel bad if you asked her to share. A lot of times Elder Turner would come to our hotel room and teach us about what we had seen and heard in the services. He would tell us what was done right and a whole lot of what was done wrong. It would usually go on till the wee hours of the morning. If he was hungry sometimes we would all get to eat but often just he would. Then it was up bright and early in the morning for prayer at the church. If we didn’t beat everyone in rising and find some food then we’d have to wait till prayer time was over. Elder Turner was rarely at the prayer services till they were about done. He said he was either in his hotel room or the woods praying and hearing from God. We accepted this difficult life caue we were being trained to be spiritual solders of Jesus.
Elder Turner let us all know that he was a prophet of God. He also made us remember the scripture that says, “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.” Which he explained meant that if you even talked bad about a prophet God would punish you, and that only God could correct a prophet. Thus making him untouchable and always right.
Elder Turner was raised in Chicago and Las Angles. He grew up in a large family and ended up in the gangs. Somewhere along the line he got out of that life style and married Willy Mae also known as Lilly. He wasn’t a stupid man and I believe his ability to prophesy and tell people he had just met all about their lives was due to his experiences and talent. I had noticed the entire twenty years I was a part of United Fellowship that he never prophesied over me and he never picked up on when I needed help like he did for everyone else. I had spent my whole childhood teaching myself to hide my emotions cause I was embarrassed by them. (That’s a different story for a different blog.) Now I see why he couldn’t prophesy over me, simply because he couldn’t read me.
I never had a boy friend even before United Fellowship, not that ia didn’t want one. My parents were very professional at scaring off any interested guys. I’ve learned with in the last two year that is exactly how it happened. Then add Elder turner to the mix. Yep, he wasn’t willing to just let some guy marry me and take of with is cook and ,well, slave. I remember there was a really nice Christian guy I worked with named Tom Zimbellman. I was head over heals for him. He went to Horizons and took me with him once to a weeknight meeting. He came with me to church a few times to. One day at a prayer meeting Sister Marcia said she had a vision that I married Tom and that I died and went to hell. So it was clear it wasn’t God’s will for me to be with him. It was heart breaking but I knew I had to obey God. Tom didn’t know about all this and we remained friends. He eventually met another girl and was very disappointment when I didn’t come to his wedding cause I was in the South at a church conference.
I had wanted to marry sinse i was thirteen and time was going by. I finally met Karl Preston Revels who I call Preston when I was twenty six through mutual friends. By this time Elder Turner’s wife Lilly had passed away from cancer and he married Sister Marcia. He had ofter taught that you never really know someone till you marry them. So he didn’t see any reason for long engagements or dating. He figured the longer you waited the more likely you would sin and commit fornication. At the time it made sense to me. So when I realized Preston was interested in me I pushed for marriage. Preston was having his own kind of trouble finding a lady and so we both fell into the trap with ease. The Turners were in Arkansas and hadn’t met him but they were happy that he was a regular at the church. We planned on having an outside wedding. I was quite excited, I always dreamed of dressing up and having a wedding shower and all the frills that go along with weddings. Of course it would be a small wedding but that was fine. My dad was in a very strange mood at that time. He was putting me down and talking me out of everything I wanted to do or even thought about. He had joined United Fellowship some time back by the way. My mom had a talk with Preston and I about my dads mood. She was sure he would find a way to talk us out of gettin married so soon. She suggested we go to the court house right away and get the paper side of the wedding done then continue on with the ceremony when as planned. It made sense at the time so the three of us went to the court house and Preston and I got married. We were both surprised that the “papers” were’nt just papers but that there was a tiny chapel in the court house where we said our vows before a judge much like a wedding but with just the one witness. It was a little disturbing but we went through with it. Because I was so set on having a wedding I tried to put the formality of it out of my head and save the excitement for the soon coming wedding ceremony we had planned. The wedding date was to be after the conference in Arkansas and brother Doug Young was to be the man who married us and his daughter Alison was going to be one of my brides maids. Preston’s brother was flying out to be his beast man along with his eldest son who would be our ring barer and so on and so forth. My parents, Preston and some other friends and I all drove out to Arkansas for the church convention. Preston had a room with Elder Turners brother Pastor Levi and Stefan and I believe Jeff. Something came up and we told Elder Turner about how we had already gone to the judge. He got so upset and said we had been lying to everyone. He said he noticed that something was odd cause Preston and I were to close. I guess he meant we held hands cause that was as close as we had gotten. I desperately wanted Preston to kiss me but he never had. Later he told me it was because he thought I wanted to wait till we were married. Boy, was that annoying. Any way Elder Turner let us know we had to stop lying, (that still irritates me cause we were not lying), and to tell starting with my dad. A few years after this my dad admitted that he understood why we had done that, he remembered that he was being very difficult. But, up until that time and then after that time till he died he held it against me.
We had some where along the line decided to drive up to Wisconsin to see Preston’s parents after the convention in Arkansas. The others who had ridden with us had other rides home so it was just my parents, Preston and me. On that trip is when Preston finally decided it would be ok to kiss me. It was the worlds worst kiss ever. Naturally we blame each other for that. lol I was glad we didn’t do it in front of an audience. It was great meeting Preston’s parents but the event ended up a disaster due to my mom. She decided she had to save Preston’s mom, Rose. She also felt the need one morning when we were all sleeping, all except her and Rose that she needed to let Rose know that she had a demon and needed deliverance. This was over twelve years ago and I have never seen nor heard Rose go off about anything. She went off on my mom that day and rightly so. I was so embarrassed by what my mom did. There was nothing I could do to fix it. Rose is a lovely lady and she found her own way to forgive my mom after that.
I was expecting a baby a month after we tied the knot at the court house. I was still twenty six but by the time the baby came I would be twenty seven. It was nice to finally have a family of my own. The hard part was that we were either living with my parents or in a hotel. My mom found a small apartment that was a set of three on top of a huge garage in back of a mansion on top of Golden Hills San Diego. What a relief to finally be on our own. My first three months were very difficult due to the pregnant hormones setting in and my new husband going out to sea every week and coming home every weekend. Then to make it harder he spent most his home time programing the computer. Some woman marry gamers that spend all their time gaming, I married a geek who had to do programing all the time. I was known for my cooking skills and was considered the churches cook but I couldn’t cook a thing with out burning it to a chard crisp during those three months. I hated crying in fron tof people and really I hated crying aty all but I cried an aweful lot during that time too.
Again my mom found us a better place to stay. It was in Linda Vista and it was a three bedroom duplex with a back yard. It was a better neighborhood and we no longer had to listen to the street person with the shopping cart go down our alley in the wee hours of the night. It was big enough too that we had some of the church services in our home. The Turners were spending more and more time in Arkansas so Brother Young, Brother Tanson or my dad would usually step in as the preachers or teachers. Sometimes Elder Turner would get frustrated with us for some particular reason and call one of his brothers to come preach at our meetings as if it were a punishment. Other that the “lording over you” kinda feel that he put out we usually enjoyed his teaching and company. We also enjoyed when Elder Turners sister and her husband, Brother and Sister Walker, came to preach. He didn’t usually call his brother Levi to come when he was absent but when ever Pastor Levi came we were always glad. Him and the Walkers were good people and more down to earth.
The Turners finally heard from the Lord to settle in Camden Arkansas. They rented a house there on Locust street. I remember one night we all got a call to pray cause a woman across the street a few houses down set fire to her self. Sister Turner and my mom who was staying with them at the time had gone out to help. We were told that Sister Turner burned her hands trying to help put the fire out. She said every time she would get the flame to go down it would flare back up. It was horrible. Elder Turner said that before they saw the burning woman he had heard a man in that house yell, “No,”and then the ladies name a few times and then “don’t do it” and then the burning woman came stumbling out of the house, down the stairs and to the curb where she fell. The man he heard yell turned out to be her boy friend who was breaking up with her. The cops arrested him. Elder Turner told us he told them what he heard and they said they’d call if they needed his testimony. He was never called and the man was convicted of murder. Elder Turner used this event as preaching material for years after. He said the woman was offered an opportunity to repent the day before and refused. He said the reason that the fire kept leaping out of her groin was because she was using sex to get what she wanted and so on.
Elder Turner had a way with using every little bit of information about a person or an event and going over and over it for years in his sermons to get a point across and to keep folks in their place. I am not over exaggerating when I say years. I’m sure this will come up more as I write on.
The members of United Fellowship House of Praise were all told that God required us all to move to Arkansas and be a part of what the Lord was doing there. Sister Tanson took a flight out to Camden and found a house and a job almost right away for her family. Her family consisted of her and her husband and her daughter and her husband. Her son stayed in San Diego, he had never been a part of the church. They sold their beautiful house and moved soon there after. My dad said he had a dream that they moved to Arkansas and God told him they would be persecuted by the blacks. If you ever live in or near Camden it is common knowledge that the black people are just as predigest as the white people and they are not afraid to show it. Our church had mostly white members and a black leader. When we traveled in the south we were always stared at and sometimes the stares were very angry looking. The churches we visited were always black. I only barley remember visiting a white church once. Ok, back to who moved… Stefan moved and stayed with the Turners till he got his own place. Jeff decided not to go but to stay in San Diego. Oh yeah, my mom and dad moved, they got a house that was once a church. Kinda cool looking but I didn’t feel comfortable in it. My sister and her children had been members for a while now but her husband wasn’t. There were so many prophecies about how he would be put in a wheel chair and that he would die because he was disobeying the Lord by not becoming a member. Any how, her family stayed in San Diego but Kari and kids were faithful to call into listen to the services. I forgot to mention that often when Elder Turner wasn’t with us we would have a conference call and he’d preach to us on the phone. I used to wonder why one of the other preachers couldn’t preach, why he had to be the one on the phone so much of the time. It was quite disappointing when someone brought a friend and all he wanted to do was talk business or ball us out for something. That actually happened a lot. We were always to carnal, not praying enough, not keeping our minds on the Lord, always something.
The Young’s planned on moving but they had some lose ends to tie us such as selling their house. Mean while they got in a car accident and their car was totaled. That became a part of Elder Turners teachings. He explained that because they didn’t obey God and move out right away they got in the accident like a punishment. I don’t know if they were fully aware he was using them as an example because he knew which people would take it and which wouldn’t. Sister Young was the type that would argue back and get upset besides her family was on the wealthier side so Elder Turner was more careful when they were listening. I remember him laying into my mom and Monica about something and then lightly rebuking Sister Young. He would then tell Sister Young that God had this and that great work for her to do and nothing like that was ever said to Monica or my mom or me for that matter. Later he started doing that to my sister as well. She would get the lighter rebuke and then the build back up. She was also in a wealthier family.
I was not only concerned about being punished by God for not obeying and moving to Camden, Arkansas right away but like I’ve mentioned before my main goal in life was to please the Lord Jesus Christ. So I was itchin to move. Preston was still out to sea on west pack at that time so Elder Turner encouraged me to stay and wait a while, then move when Preston got back. The fear of being punished was still inside me. Sadly, that was how I lived my whole life. I was a good kid simply because I didn’t want to be punished and because I didn’t want to disappoint people.
So, there I was in San Diego with a new baby and a husband out to sea. I discovered that it was dirt cheep to eat off the kids meal at Denny’s. It was actually about two bucks plus a tip. Hannah was nursing and then baby food so it was just me. Eating at home was fine but it gets boring and dull after a while so I ate lunch at Denny’s about once a week. Before meeting and marring Preston I had always worked. I didn’t have a lot of money and I couldn’t live any where but with my folks cause they had always charged me half my paycheck for rent and I often bought groceries and stuff so money was tight. I did save enough to be able to get plane tickets from time to time to go to the conventions or to help pay for gas and hotel when we drove. I was actually the only one in my family who knew how to save money, well, to an extent. I didn’t know how to say no and I was always talked out of my savings by my parents. They always promised to pay me back but never did. They never intended to. When I was finally able to face them on this they thought I was being greedy and unforgiving and that I actually owed it to them after all they did for me. I’m talking about them “borrowing” my baby sitting money when I was twelve and all. When I was fourteen I sold the golf balls I found in the bay and that money was used as the only income we had for a few months till my dad got a job. I didn’t expect that money back but I did believe my parents when they said they would do something. Especially since they taught us to obey the scriptures and that lying was a terrible sin and there were always consequences.
Right after I got married we went to the NEX to shop around. I remember seeing a two sound tracks I really liked and showing it to Preston. The last time I bought any tapes was right after The Last of the Mohecans came out and my dad and I split the cost on the soundtrack. When I showed the sound tracks that I liked to Preston he said, “charge it!” Those were words I was not used to hearing. It was fun finding small things that I really wanted and having Preston so willing to buy them for me. I was like a little girl in a candy store that finally go to have some candy. Preston was an adult and I trusted he knew what he was doing. Boy, was I ever wrong. By the time he went out to sea most of the money was going toward the bills. In order to provide for Hannah and I, I had to use the credit card. I didn’t buy much, after all I was used to skimping so I knew how to do that. Sense the credit card was mostly full I filled it all the way up by the time he returned home six months later. He was so very upset with me. He told folks that his wife had maxed out the credit card while he was gone by eating at Denny’s. There was nothing I could say to make him understand that that was not the case. For one thing any time we disagreed on something he would say, ‘I don’t want to argue” and then leave. He would then never allow that subject to come up again cause he felt it was already dealt with. He would often brag to people about how he and his wife never argue. That bothered me a lot.
One he was back from West pac I got back into the cooking bug. I wasn’t burning things so much and began to enjoy cooking for him and the church again. I wanted to be a good wife and have a meal ready for him when he got home from work. However, that didn’t go so well. I would spend time preparing and having a meal ready for him when he walked in the door and he would tell me he ate at work and then go to the computer. Eventually I stopped cooking cause it’s not the same just cooking for one. By the time we finally packed up to move to Arkansas I was pregnant and had lost my cooking skills. Elder Turner got on Preston’s case many times about ruining his cook. I certainly couldn’t argue with that one.
Well, I got you all to Camden Arkansas so I will continue this life story of mine in another blog at a later time.
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